“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem;
government is the problem”
Ronal Reagan about a different crisis
Books have been written about President Eisenhower’s famous farewell warning
in 1961 about the “military-industrial complex,” and what he described as its “unwarranted influence.”
But an even greater leviathan today, one that the public knows little about, is the “intelligence-industrial
If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of
fighting a foreign enemy.
- James Madison
The National Security State is an ideology and practice of the USA elite, closely connected
with the idea of the rule of the Media-Military-Industrial
Complex. In this social system US intelligence apparatus and military
establishment are close to being beyond civilian control and becoming an autonomous system, whose colossal
budget with its juicy cost-plus contracts is only controlled by vested ideological and financial interests.
The key "three letter agencies" (CIA,
Dept. of Defense, NSA, FBI) were established by the National Security Act of 1947, an enduring
legacy of then President Harry S. Truman. This year can be considered as the year when national
Security state was born and celebrated accordingly.
National Security State is a new of corporatism that was made possible with the advent of computers
Internet and wireless communication. In some features it is close to neo-fascism and Latin-American
authoritarian regimes, but it achieved its goals without relentless physical repression/elimination
of opponents. At the same time, like neo-fascism and authoritarian regimes it make opposition
to the government virtually impossible. Of the
20 characteristic traits
probably more then half are applicable.
Similar processes took place in other nations after WWII. Of course the USSR was a National Security
Surveillance State even before WWII, being one of the "pioneers" of this form of state along with Italy
and Germany. Tremendous push (or acceleration o pre-existing tendencies) toward National Security State
occurred after 9/11 under the banner of fighting terrorism.
Formally Truman Doctrine was created "to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation
by armed minorities or by outside pressures." but in reality their function was more questionable
and eventually they created what is called "The State Within a State" similar to the USSR KGB
The State Within a State by Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick). Here is one review of
passionate albeit muddled, August 24, 1999
I have problems with the author's obvious hatred of the Russian Revolution and Stalin and
the way she claims there is an unbroken chain of horror going all the way back to 1917. Obviously
things are better today -- hence her book! She says 66.7 million people died under "Chekist"
rule since the Russian Revolution -- and then cites the Guiness Book of Records as her source!?
No one could ever prove such a figure, I think its one of things that's repeated 'til it becomes
I also find the author's lack of knowledge about our own CIA kind of disheartening. This
fine organization has spread as much death and terror in the Third World (Indonesia, Guatemala,Chile,
Argentina, Brazil etc. etc. ) as the KGB ever did anywhere, yet she seems to make them out to
be benevolent compared to the KGB (which if you read this book are responsible for everything
wrong with the world today).
After reading this book I still don't understand why she thinks the KGB or its incarnations
are as bad today as they were at the height of the Terror in 1937. Its not really explained
in the book. I still am not convinced that the KGB was the NKVD, and definitely convinced that
either was the SS. Research I have done casually has never come up with hard, convincing figures
for a Nazi style genocide in the USSR, and this anecdotal, unconvincing book didn't change my
See Michael J. Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National
Security State, 1945-1954. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998; which "explains the transformative
process that ended in the ultimate demise of the New Deal state with its emphasis on social spending
and ushered in the militarist National Security State.". From Amazon review:
Hogan, a specialist in American diplomatic and national security studies, has written a complex
but interesting work on the emergence of the national security state. To create this state,
it was necessary to merge the armed forces, the Defense Department, and scientists into a single
unit to enhance the military's capabilities. To a large extent, this unification was accomplished
in the 1950s. The driving forces were James Forrestal, Dean Acheson, and powerful members of Congress
such as Carl Vinson (D-GA), who chaired the Committee on Naval Affairs, along with presidents Truman
Hogan presents a compelling case but overemphasizes the importance of Truman and Eisenhower while
downplaying the role of Vinson and others in the security state's creation. In fact, both Truman
and Eisenhower often seemed opposed to it but succumbed to pressure from Congress and key figures
like Acheson. This extremely complex study, which deals with a subject few other books handle, is
designed for scholars and informed lay readers interested in the creation of the "military-industrial
complex." by Richard P. Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., KY
Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti in his book "Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures
"As I pointed out in the preface to The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence in 1974, democratic
governments fighting totalitarian enemies run the risk of imitating their methods and thereby destroying
democracy. By suppressing historical fact, and by manufacturing historical fiction, the CIA,
with its obsessive secrecy and its vast resources, has posed a particular threat to the right
of Americans to be informed for the present and future by an objective knowledge of the past.
As long as the CIA continues to manipulate history, historians of its activities must be Revisionist
if we are to know the truth about the agency's activities, past and present."
In his October 19, 2012 review of the book Saman Mohammadi (The
Let's put the question of morality aside. What are the "national security" reasons that legitimize
the existence of the CIA? Once you learn that Al-Qaeda is a CIA creation and
proxyinsurgent army and that 9/11 was a massive false flag operation, you come to the natural
conclusion that the CIA does not perform a national security role.
The CIA plays a much dirtier role: engineering the American mind. It is not denied that the shadow
CIA has major influence in the mainstream media, especially amongst top newspapers such as The Washington
Post and The New York Times. Michael S. Rozeff
speculates that the New York Times is entirely run by the CIA.
We can't know for certain if that is true because of the lack of historical documentation in
the public domain, but there is a mountain of observable evidence that proves the CIA has many of
its spooks working for the New York Times. Go
here for just
Until the American people demand that the U.S. government commit to radical transparency and
the principles enshrined in the U.S. constitution, the shadow CIA and the mainstream media can twist
history and manage public perceptions of reality as much as they like.
The shadow CIA's greatest power comes from its
command of the American public mind as well as its ability to create a fictional version
of history. The false flag September 11 events was the shadow CIA's biggest media operation to date.
It was their Mona Lisa. They painted the canvas of reality with the brush of myth, and worked day
and night to shape the collective memory of the American people while the horror of the tragic attacks
was still fresh in the nation's mind.
Although the shadow CIA doesn't have a total command of the American mind and of history, as
proven by the rise of the global 9/11 truth and justice movement, it possesses enough media power
to mold world public opinion and dictate government policy for the United States with ease. There
is no question that its power is totalitarian in nature and its aims are evil. It does not serve
the interests of the American people; that much is clear.
How can there be freedom when CIA officials in television studios, newspaper offices, and publishing
companies drive the public conversation and form the national narrative on every issue of significance.
The global alternative media is the only global civil society actor that is putting limits on the
CIA's power to make up history and suppress the truth about historical events like 9/11 and the
occult sacrifice of JFK.
In the past, the shadow CIA was presented with roadblocks in the Congress. But 9/11 fixed that
problem. The laws and the politics changed. In
"The Big Chill,"
author Dan Froomkin says the absence of Congressional leadership in the post-9/11 political universe
has strengthened executive power. Here is an excerpt his article:
After past periods of executive excess, the Fourth Estate was certainly more robust and arguably
more persistent, but it also found natural allies in the other branches of government—particularly
Congress. By contrast, over the summer of 2012, the publication of a minimal amount of new information
regarding drones, cyberwarfare and targeted killings incited bipartisan agreement on Capitol
Hill—not to conduct hearings into what had been revealed, but to demand criminal investigations
into the leaking.
That's how Congress has been ever since the terrorist attacks 11 years ago. "We never got
our post 9/11
Committee," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists's
Project on Government Secrecy,
referring to a special investigative Senate committee that held hearings on widespread intelligence
abuses after the Watergate scandal. "What we've got instead is the intelligence oversight committee
drafting legislation to penalize leaks."
Since the Congress is not willing to stand up for the rights of the American people, the truth,
human rights, and the U.S. Constitution, then the American people and global civil society must
stand up. Congress has no real power. According to a recent
Rasmussen survey, Congress only has an eight percent approval rating. There are underground,
neo-Nazi groups in Europe that are more popular than the Congress.
The mainstream media is no better. It is content with its role as a propaganda arm of the shadow
CIA, and that is a tragedy. American newspapers have the power to improve their nation and change
the world for the better, but instead they choose to cover up independent investigations of shady
events like 9/11 that shed light on how the U.S. government really operates.
Alternative media outlets like Infowars.com, Veterans Today, Lew Rockwell.com, Washington's Blog,
The Corbett Report, and countless others are doing the best they can to educate the American people
and wake up humanity.
The last thing the shadow CIA wants to see is an informed and awakened America. It is waging
war on human consciousness because it is scared of an enlightened world. A world that
is awake and aware of its crimes against humanity is its greatest nightmare.
If the shadow CIA has its way, it will continue inventing stories and passing it off as history
with total immunity. But the global alternative media is telling the shadow CIA: Enough is enough,
stop lying to the American people and the world.
The CIA's reckless disregard of U.S. traditions and laws made former President Harry Truman rethink
his decision to create the CIA in the first place. On December 22, 1963, Truman wrote in The Washington
For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment.
It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to
trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas. I never had any thought
that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations.
On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press
without mentioning the name of the NSA about this agency (Wikipedia):
In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States
government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that
go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad
at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could
be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the
capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would
be no place to hide.
If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the
technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it
to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort
to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within
the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.
I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there
to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess
this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over
that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.
In his book "Brave
New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer argues that the Bush I
war in Iraq (as well as Bush II invasion and occupation of the country) was an action of the military
industrial complex usurping the "peace dividend". Iraq was attractive target as it has oil and far enough
away to prove a good vehicle for eating up contract cash. He views the rise of the National Security
Defense State as a consequence of "the threat of peace" for military industrial complex and identifies
seven characteristics of a such a state:
The military is the highest authority.
In a National Security State the military not only guarantees the security of the state against
all internal and external enemies, it has enough power to determine the overall direction of the
society. In a National Security State the military exerts important influence over political, economic,
as well as military affairs.
Political democracy and democratic elections are viewed with suspicion,
contempt, or in terms of political expediency. National Security States often maintain
an appearance of democracy. However, ultimate power rests with the military or
within a broader National Security Establishment.
The military and related sectors wield substantial political and economic power.
They do so in the context of an ideology which stresses that 'freedom"
and "development" are possible only when capital is concentrated in the hands of elites.
Obsession with enemies. There are enemies of the state everywhere.
Defending against external and/or internal enemies becomes a leading preoccupation of the state,
a distorting factor in the economy, and a major source of national identity and purpose.
The working assumption is that the enemies of the state are cunning
and ruthless. Therefore, any means used to destroy or control these enemies is justified.
It restricts public debate and limits popular participation through
secrecy or intimidation. Authentic democracy depends on participation of the people.
National Security States limit such participation in a number of ways: They sow fear and thereby
narrow the range of public debate; they restrict and distort information; and they define policies
in secret and implement those policies through covert channels and clandestine activities. The state
justifies such actions through rhetorical pleas of "higher purpose" and vague appeals to "national
The church is expected to mobilize its financial, ideological, and
theological resources in service to the National Security State.
Now we can add one additional feature
Compare that definition of the National Security State with the definition of
Inverted Totalitarism. Most countries now have
features of both.
The debate about National Security State reemerged in June 2008 due to revelations make about existence
of the Prism program and similar program
by British security services. For example, Jacob Augstein used the term "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism"
in his article
Europe Must Stand Up to American Cyber-Snooping published by SPIEGEL.
Here's the thing about the NSA, the GCHQ, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, et al...
We all have to stop commenting as if the NSA and the GCHQ are in this thing on their own; the
reality is that no one was supposed to know one iota about any of these programs; the NSA and the
GCHQ began and put in place the structure that would allow all internet service providers, and indeed
all corporations using the net, the ability to track and profile each and every user on the planet,
whether they be using the net, texting, cell, and landline.
We all now know that Google, Yahoo, and the rest, likely including major retailers, and perhaps
not so major retailers, are all getting paid by the United States government, hundreds of millions
of dollars of taxpayer money, our money, to profile 24/7 each and every one of us..., they know
how we think, our desires, our sexual preferences, our religious persuasion, what we spend, etc.;
make no mistake about it, they know it all, and what they don’t currently have, they will very soon…
These agencies and indeed all those who are paid by them, will be engaged over the next few weeks
in a unified program of "perception management" meaning that they will together come up with an
all-encompassing plan that will include the release of all manner of statements attesting to the
enforcement of several different disciplinary actions against whomever for "illegal" breaches of
They may even bring criminal actions against a few poor unfortunate souls who had no idea they
would be sacrificed as one part of the "perception management" game.
Has anyone wondered why, to date, no one in power has really come out and suggested that the
program must be curtailed to limit its application to terrorism and terrorist types?
Here’s why; I was fortunate recently to have given an education on how networks such as Prism,
really work, aside from the rudimentary details given in many publications. They cannot, and will
not, stop monitoring even one individuals activity, because to do so will eventually cause loss
of the ability to effectively monitor as many as 2.5 Million individuals.
Remember the “Two to Three Hop” scenario, which the idiot in one of the hearings inadvertently
spoke of; therein lies the answer. If the average person called 40 unique people, three-hop analysis
would allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans Do the math; Internet usage
in the United States as of June 30, 2012 reached a total of over 245,000,000 million…
The following link shows how connected the world is… http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm
We should never forget how the Internet began, and who developed it, the United States Armed
Forces; initially it was known as Arpanet, see excerpt and link below…
"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation." - Supreme Court
Judge statement on considering first amendment rights for Internet users.
"On a cold war kind of day, in swinging 1969, work began on the ARPAnet, grandfather to the
Internet. Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the
flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated
computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers
interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol).”
There is no government anywhere on the planet that will give up any part of the program…, not
without one hell of a fight...
Incidentally, they do hope and believe that everyone will come to the same conclusion; they will
keep all of us at bay for however long it takes; they have the money, they have the time, and they
economically control all of us...
Pretty good bet they win...
Whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it ?
The book American Exceptionalism and Human
Rights (edited by Ignatieff) raised an important and probably the most controversial question in
world politics: whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside
To a secular humanist, the principles of international law seems logical, right, and crucial.
Yet, there is one archetypal political philosophy that is anathema to almost all of these principles.
It is fascism. And fascism’s principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading
as something else, challenging everything we stand for. The cliché that people and nations learn
from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history,
or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.
We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant
reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define
this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics
of these models have been imitated by protofascist regimes at various times in the twentieth century.
Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar
characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few
can dispute their visual similarities.
Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of these fascist and protofascist regimes reveals the
absolutely striking convergence of their modus operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation
to the informed political observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective to
restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current circumstances.
The following regimes can be studies in this respect: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain,
Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. They constitute
a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history. But they all followed
the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these
regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics
and abuses is possible. Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link
them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics
are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some
level of similarity.
One can wonder how many of those are applicable to Bush/McCain. What do you think ?
Propaganda of nationalism and Exceptionalism ("shining city on the hill", beckon
of democracy, etc). Prominent displays of flags and ubiquitous lapel pins. The fervor to
show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up
in its frenzy. Pride in the military, and demands for unity are way of expressing this nationalism.
It was usually coupled with a level of suspicion of things foreign that often bordered
on xenophobia (French fries - Freedom fries).
Disdain for the importance of human rights. Despite "freedom rhetorics" the
party views human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the
ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human
rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious
and truth about gulags is out, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.
Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The use of
scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame
for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless
propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the parties would incite “spontaneous”
acts against the target scapegoats, such as Muslims, communists/socialists/liberals, ethnic
and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists,
homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Opponents of these party were inevitably labeled as terrorists
stooges and dealt with accordingly.
The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites identified closely
with the military. A disproportionate share of national budget is allocated to the military,
even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an ultimate expression of nationalism,
and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase
the power and prestige of the ruling elite.
Sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture
were male-dominated, the party covertly views women as second-class citizens. Often are both
anti-abortion and homophobic with the cover of religious values. For propaganda reasons those
attitudes were masterfully blended into strong support of the fundamentalist religious
sects, thus lending the party some legitimacy to cover for its abuses.
A controlled mass media. The mass media could be relied upon never to stray
from the party line. Control can be indirect and subtle with formal adoption of slogan about
"free media". Methods included the control of licensing, access to resources, economic pressure,
appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders and owners
of the mass media are part of the power elite. The result is rampant brainwashing,
which usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the party's excesses.
Obsession with national security. A national security apparatus is bend to
come under direct control of the ruling elite. It is used to bypass laws as a direct instrument
of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under
the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as
unpatriotic or even treasonous.
Abuse of religion. The party attaches itself to the dominant religion of the
country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of religious values. The fact
that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with those values is swept under the rug.
Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents
are “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the party is tantamount to
an attack on religion.
Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens
was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was
not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military
production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members
of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality
of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.
Power of organized labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was
seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite
and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass,
viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Being poor was considered akin to a vice.
Disdain and suppression of intellectuals.Intellectuals and the inherent freedom
of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these party. Intellectual and
academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities
professors come under close scrutiny; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated.
Unorthodox ideas or scientific theories, especially economic, are strongly attacked, silenced,
Obsession with crime and punishment.Draconian systems of criminal justice
with huge prison populations. The police is often glorified and had almost unchecked power,
leading to rampant abuse. Criminal charges sometimes are used against political opponents. Fear,
and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse
for more police power.
Rampant cronyism and corruption.Those in business circles and close to the
power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways;
the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn
would gain the benefit of government favoritism. With the national security apparatus under
control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood
by the general population.
Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of two candidates representing the same
power elite are usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually
be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining
control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, suppressing
responsibilities for legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to
the power elite.
Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy
with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public
constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises
in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.
The most recent debate was sparked by Edward Snowden revelations. Here are an interesting quotes
from his interviews (via Zerohedge):
The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about U.S. government spying that should
send a chill up your spine...
#1 "The majority of people in developed
countries spend at least some time interacting with the Internet, and Governments are abusing that
necessity in secret to extend their powers beyond what is necessary and appropriate."
#2 "...I believe that at this point in
history, the greatest danger to our freedom and way of life comes from the reasonable fear of omniscient
State powers kept in check by nothing more than policy documents."
#3 "The government has granted itself
power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have
the latitude to go further than they are allowed to."
#4 "...I can't in good conscience allow
the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the
world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."
#5 "The NSA has built an infrastructure
that allows it to intercept almost everything."
#6 "With this capability, the vast majority
of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your e-mails
or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your e-mails, passwords, phone
records, credit cards."
#7 "Any analyst at any time can target
anyone. Any selector, anywhere... I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap
anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President..."
#8 "To do that, the NSA specifically targets
the communications of everyone. It ingests them by default. It collects them in its system and it
filters them and it analyzes them and it measures them and it stores them for periods of time simply
because that's the easiest, most efficient and most valuable way to achieve these ends. So while
they may be intending to target someone associated with a foreign government, or someone that they
suspect of terrorism, they are collecting YOUR communications to do so."
#9 "I believe that when [senator Ron]
Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have
the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been
scrutinized most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians."
#10 "...they are intent on making every
conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them."
#11 "Even if you're not doing anything
wrong, you're being watched and recorded. ...it's getting to the point where you don't have to have
done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a
wrong call, and then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you've
ever made, every friend you've ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis, to sort
of derive suspicion from an innocent life."
#12 "Allowing the U.S. government to
intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public
#13 "Everyone everywhere now understands
how bad things have gotten — and they’re talking about it. They have the power to decide for themselves
whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state."
#14 "I do not want to live in a world
where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live
#15 "I don't want to live in a world
where there's no privacy, and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity."
#16 "I have no intention of hiding who
I am because I know I have done nothing wrong."
#17 "I had been looking for leaders,
but I realized that leadership is about being the first to act."
#18 "There are more important things
than money. If I were motivated by money, I could have sold these documents to any number of countries
and gotten very rich."
#19 "The great fear that I have regarding
the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. [People] won't be willing
to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things... And in the months ahead, the
years ahead, it's only going to get worse. [The NSA will] say that... because of the crisis, the
dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need
more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will
be turnkey tyranny."
#20 "I will be satisfied if the federation
of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love
are revealed even for an instant."
#21 "You can't come up against the world's
most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk."
#22 "I know the media likes to personalize
political debates, and I know the government will demonize me."
#23 "We have got a CIA station just up
the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next
week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens
#24 "I understand that I will be made
to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end."
Given that most all of us living today have been
born and raised under a national-security state
apparatus, we’ve all been inculcated with the notion
that the enormous military empire, CIA, and NSA are a
necessary and permanent part of our lives. We’ve all
been taught that our very freedom and well-being depend
on the existence of these agencies. In fact, we praise
them and glorify them for “defending our freedoms,”
“keeping us safe,” and protecting “national security.”
It’s important, however, to bear in mind that the
Founding Fathers fully and totally rejected this type of
governmental structure and way of life, which is why our
American ancestors lived without such an apparatus for
the first 150 years of American history. Our
predecessors understood that enormous, permanent
military establishments and secret intelligence agencies
were hallmarks of totalitarian regimes, not free
societies, and, in fact, constituted grave threats
against the freedom and well-being of the citizenry.
So, how did the U.S. national-security state
apparatus come into existence? What caused the American
people to move in this totalitarian-like direction? Why
did Americans decide to reject the philosophy of liberty
and limited government of the Founding Fathers in favor
of militarism, empire, foreign interventionism, covert
operations, coups, torture, assassinations, spying,
surveillance, and the like?
The justification for this revolutionary change in
direction for the United States was rooted in the post-
World War II fear of the Soviet Union in particular (and
to a certain extent communist China) and communism in
general. U.S. officials convinced the American people
that a national-security state apparatus was necessary
to prevent the United States from being conquered by
communism and the Soviet Union.
As Senator Arthur Vandenberg told President Harry
Truman, the president needed to “scare hell out of the
American people,” which is precisely what Truman and his
successor President Eisenhower did. Americans who grew
up in the 1950s lived lives of constant fear—fear that
communists were everywhere, fear that communism was a
contagious illness of the mind that was spreading
throughout America and the rest of the world, and fear
that the Soviet Union was going to initiate a nuclear
attack on the United States. Fear became the coin of the
realm for the national-security state.
Why was there even a Cold War? Why was there a
constant state of hostilities between the United States
and Soviet Union for so long? After all, let’s not
forget that these two nations worked together in
partnership for four years to defeat the Nazi regime.
Why couldn’t that spirit of cooperation have continued
after World War II?
Sure, the Soviet Union was a brutal communist regime.
No doubt about that. But the fact remains—the United
States and the Soviet Union worked together to win the
war. It didn’t have to be that way. The war could have
been waged with the Soviet Union and the United States
(and the Allied powers) acting independently of each
other to defeat Nazi Germany. Instead, they worked
So, why couldn’t the United States and the Soviet
Union have co-existed after World War II in the same way
that the United States coexists with countries like
China and Vietnam today? Those two countries are run by
brutal communist regimes. In fact, during the Cold War
U.S. officials taught Americans to hate China as much as
the Soviet Union. Why couldn’t that type of situation
have developed after World War II?
One big reason is that then there would have been no
justification for the national-security state apparatus
that the statists wanted to graft onto our
constitutional order. In order to induce Americans to
move in a totalitarian-type direction, the statists
needed a new big official enemy, one as big as the Nazi
regime, one that could be used to “scare hell out of the
U.S. officials pointed to the Soviet occupation of
Eastern Europe after the war was over and essentially
ordered the Soviets to get out of those countries and to
refrain from installing puppet regimes there. They
expected their orders to be followed, especially given
that the U.S. government was the only power to have
nuclear weapons and, as shown by Nagasaki and Hiroshima,
had the will to employ them.
President Truman went out of his way to insult and
demean the Soviets. At a meeting in April 1945, Truman
lashed out at Soviet Minister Molotov, insulting and
demeaning him to such an extent that Molotov said to
Truman that he had never been talked to like that.
Truman said to him—Keep your agreements and you won’t be
talked to like that. Truman later bragged to a friend
that he had given Molotov “the straight one-two to the
To Truman, it was irrelevant that the United States
and Great Britain had previously delivered Eastern
Europe into the hands of the Soviet Union. That was the
cost of the partnership between the West and the
Soviets. In fact, at any time during the war, the United
States could have attempted to negotiate a peace with
Germany before the Soviets had begun pushing the German
forces back across Eastern Europe, that could have, say,
sent Hitler and his henchmen to South America and kept
Eastern Europe free and independent of both Nazi and
Soviet control. FDR said no because this would
constitute a betrayal of his partnership with the Soviet
communists. Unconditional surrender was his policy.
Was it any surprise that the Soviets remained
occupying Eastern Europe after the war? How could it be?
The Soviet Union had been invaded by Germany twice in
the past 20 years. Moreover, don’t forget that the
United States was quickly rebuilding and rearming West
Germany as well as integrating many Nazi officials into
its Cold War military-intelligence operations.
While no one could condone the Soviet Union’s refusal
to exit East Germany and Eastern Europe, one can still
understand why they were doing it—to provide a buffer
against a possible third invasion from Germany. Don’t
forget, after all, that the extreme irrational paranoia
that the U.S. government displayed with communist
regimes in Cuba, Chile, and elsewhere in Latin America.
Why would we expect the Soviet Union to behave with less
paranoia about another German attack in the future?
But U.S. officials couldn’t see it that way. They
used the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe and East
Germany to convince Americans that the Soviet Union was
bent on worldwide conquest. The Russians are coming! The
Russians are coming They’re going to attack the United
States, occupy our country too, run the IRS and the
public schools, and brainwash Americans into loving
It was a totally irrational fear. The last thing the
Soviets wanted was a war with the United States.
Remember: They lost more than 20 million people in WWII.
Compare that to American deaths of 418,000. Their
country had been invaded and destroyed by Nazi forces.
The United States was never invaded or bombed. The
Soviet Union’s productive capacity was decimated at the
end of the war. The American productive capacity was
still running at full speed.
Why in the world would the Soviets have wanted a war
against its WWII partner and ally under those
unfavorable conditions, especially since there was no
possibility that they could have won such a war? And
don’t forget the biggest factor of all: The United
States had atomic weapons and the Soviets didn’t.
Equally important, as U.S. officials showed the Soviets
with their atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
U.S. officials wouldn’t hesitate to use them against
Peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union was the
last thing that U.S. officials wanted. Peaceful
coexistence wouldn’t justify the rise of the permanent
military establishment, a foreign empire of military
bases, a CIA, a NSA, covert operations, spying, foreign
interventionism, coups, assassinations, torture,
surveillance, spying, and support of foreign
dictatorships. By “scaring hell out of the American
people,” U.S. officials could induce them to reject the
founding principles of their nation and support a
communist-like and totalitarian-like governmental
structure grafted onto their constitutional system, all
in the new name of “national security” and protecting
the nation from communists and the Soviet Union.
It wasn’t until the administration of John F. Kennedy
when a glimmer of light shone through the Cold War
darkness. In his famous Peace Speech at American
University, Kennedy reminded Americans of the World War
II partnership that had been entered into between the
United States and the Soviet Union. He talked about the
devastating losses that the Soviet people had lost
during the war. He emphasized that the Russian people
were human too. He asked Americans to put themselves in
the position of the Russians and to empathize and
understand their reasoning. Most important, he called
for ending the Cold War. He said that there was
absolutely no reason why the two nations, despite their
philosophical differences, couldn’t peacefully coexist
in the world.
While Kennedy’s Peace Speech was overwhelmingly
well-received by the Russian people, including Soviet
Premier Nikita Khrushchev, it was a shocking notion to
the U.S. national-security establishment, a notion that
added to the deep anger and hatred that
national-security officials had for Kennedy. For them,
war with the Soviet Union was inevitable and necessary.
They believed that the sooner war came, the better,
given that the U.S. still had nuclear superiority over
But Kennedy, of course, has been proven right. If the
United States could peacefully coexist with communist
China and communist Vietnam, along with communist North
Korea and communist Cuba, and a whole host of
leftist-socialist regimes in Latin America, Africa,
Europe, and elsewhere, there is absolutely no reason why
the same couldn’t have been done with the Soviet Union,
not only in 1963 but also in 1945. Of course though,
that would have meant that there would have been no
justification for the establishment and rise of the
permanent U.S. national-security state, along with its
army of well-paid lobbyists and contractors.
The Aftermath of 9/11: America’s Second Great Transformation and the Emergence of a Brave
One might think the United States would have learned from the country it now copies closely:
Israel has had a paralyzing web of secret police, border restrictions, secret prisons, and a massive
military establishment for 65 years, yet it has never enjoyed genuine peace and lives in a chilling,
unpleasant relationship with all of its neighbors. The average Israeli too does not enjoy a great
life in an economically-inefficient society (whose interests, moreover, are heavily tilted towards
those of its privileged groups), and then there’s that “great mob of Arabs out there” regarded in
much the same way America regards its poor blacks. And were it not for immense subsidies and special
favors keeping Israel afloat, that security state likely would collapse under the weight of its
economic inefficiency. When any state puts absolute security above everything else, much of what
it achieves is not worth having. Stalin perhaps provides history’s bleakest, most extreme example
of running an absolute security state.
Of course, security, as understood by what Stalin called “wreckers of the revolution” and what
Israel and the United States call “terrorism,” is not the complete reason for secret prisons and
building walls and networks and police forces and spy systems. Those with great power and wealth
and special interests have always had an instinctive impulse to control their environment, including
the other people who inhabit it. Vast guarded estates and fences and bodyguards and summary justice
for those trespassing have always been features of life for the great and powerful, and the same
impulses exist for powerful organizations within a state, especially militarized states. Close control
over behavior unacceptable to an establishment – including behavior that is merely different or
dissident or embarrassing or slightly shady or emotionally off-balance or politically threatening
– is at the heart of the matter. A gigantic network has been created in the United States which
will detect, track, and file away information on these behaviors in perpetuity. The potential for
blackmail and intimidation of political opponents or NGO leaders or writers or the press is enormous.
While this may not be the case at first, over time, can you think of any apparatus that has gone
unused by those with power, any apparatus which has not been abused? We should not forget that as
recently as the 1960s, the FBI was actively trying to get Martin Luther King to commit suicide with
anonymous letters threatening to reveal secret recordings. America is, after all, a country that
has used atomic weapons, twice, and both times on civilian targets.
A note to readers: Normally, I post my book reviews only on another site of mine, Chuckman’s
Miscellanea of Words, but because of the nature of this book and its being the tenth anniversary
of 9/11, I am also posting on this site.
I have long been an admirer of the work of Anthony Summers, one of the world’s great investigative
His biographical notes on J. Edgar Hoover, Official and Confidential: The Secret
Life of J. Edgar Hoover are required reading for an understanding of how the center of American
power operated for a major portion of the 20th century.
His first book on the Kennedy assassination, Conspiracy, is the greatest book ever written
on that event, and it has never been surpassed for the depth of its analysis and gripping nature
of its writing. Indeed, because so little new evidence of any importance has emerged since that
time, it remains the definitive study.
When I read that he was publishing a book on 9/11 – an event around which swirl clouds of doubt
and mystery as great as the ferocious storm of dust which swept through lower Manhattan when the
World Trade Center collapsed – I was ready to devour it.
And while there is a good deal to admire in the new book, my lasting impression is one of disappointment.
It simply does not measure up to what I think of as the standard of excellence set previously by
There are assumptions here I cannot accept without better evidence, much of the main thread of
detailed facts contained come ultimately from American torture of countless people in the CIA’s
“rendition program,” a bureaucratic euphemism for an international torture gulag, and there are
important facts not even touched on.
I have never accepted notions like insider plots and false flag operations pertaining to this
event, but anyone who has followed matters over the last decade knows that a great deal remains
obscured and unexplained, almost certainly deliberately so by the American government.
Mr. Summers believes it is essentially for several reasons: one is to cover up the close to utter
incompetence of the CIA and other agencies leading up to the event. Another is to cover up the almost
criminal incompetence of the Bush administration both before and after the event. And another is
to guard the long and deep and fairly secret intimate relationship America has with Saudi Arabia.
... ... ...
New facts Summers presents us with are interesting and not contemptible, but they are inadequate
to our curiosity. Some of those involved in 9/11 from Saudi Arabia may well have been double or
triple agents for Saudi intelligence. Osama bin Laden was paid handsomely by Saudi princes to keep
his various operations off Saudi soil, thus indirectly funding 9/11. After dumbly dawdling at a
school-reading photo-op, Bush was finally whisked away in Air Force One where the commander-in-chief
was virtually out of the loop with remarkably faulty communications. His Secretary of Defense, Donald
Rumsfeld, the number two man in a wartime chain of command, was for some time wondering around the
Pentagon unavailable to military commanders needing his authority.
Summers pretty well accepts the official version of 9/11, with the important proviso that the
official version, the commission report, includes such matters as the fact that there was little
cooperation from Bush officials during the investigation, and the CIA certainly did not explain
The collapse of building 7, which was not hit by an airplane and which occurred after the collapse
of the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center, is attributed to debris falling from the
other towers. I just don’t know, but it did bother me that Mr. Summers seemed to go out of his way
to poke fun at some of the scientists or engineers who doubt that.
The large effort of Israeli spies around 9/11 is not even mentioned in the book, and I found
that a disturbing omission.
There was a group of five Israeli spies who were seen on the roof of their truck taking pictures
of the explosions and then behaving in a raucous congratulatory manner, yelling and high-fiving.
The police were called and they were arrested, but we know nothing of their purpose or achievements.
There was another large group of Mossad agents posing as art students who travelled around the country
apparently following some or all of the 9/11 plotters. They, too, were arrested and later deported,
but we know nothing of them.
Summers accepts the “let’s roll” scenario for the fourth high-jacked plane which crashed in Pennsylvania,
but I have always doubted it. First, the photos of the debris field certainly suggest to a non-technical
person that it may have been shot down. Second, after three deliberate crashes into buildings, it
seems almost unbelievable that the huge air defenses of the United States had not finally taken
action. Third, on at least one occasion, Donald Rumsfeld spoke to the press inadvertently using
the expression “shooting down” the plane over Pennsylvania in discussing the high-jackings. Fourth,
only naturally, the United States’ government would not publicize the shooting-down of a civilian
airliner because the resulting lawsuits would be colossal. I am willing to be convinced otherwise,
but Mr. Summers does not succeed in doing it for me.
Another important fact is not mentioned in the book. An American consular official at the time
was complaining in public about all the visas they were issuing in the Middle East owing to pressure
from the CIA. It was not a headline story, but it was an important clue to something unusual going
I have always regarded it as a strong hypothesis that the high-jackers were part of a secret
CIA operation which badly backfired, an operation which saw many questionable people receiving visas
and being allowed to do some pilot training. Risky CIA operations have a number of times backfired,
and they even have nickname for that happening, blowback.
Of course, we could see the entire matter also as blowback from the CIA’s secret war against
the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Fundamentalist Muslims in Afghanistan, Mujahideen, were
recruited, provided training and money and sophisticated weapons to fight the Soviets. Several billion
dollars were poured in. Osama bin Laden was himself part of the business, but, as Mr. Summers agrees,
he later did not see the United States as any different to the Soviets when they sent troops onto
the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Summers is trying to place a good deal of blame on the Saudis for their funding and secret
operations, and while I regard it as an interesting observation that certain members of the royal
family paid Osama, I do not regard that as a stunning fact. After all, Saudi Arabia’s countless
billions come in good part either directly or indirectly from the United States and Osama bin Laden’s
family was a very successful wealthy contractor there, so you could say in the same sense that the
United States subsidized Osama’s operations. And it goes deeper than that, for Saudi business connections
in the United States, including connections directly with the Bush family, go back many years.
This reader for one would like to see some hard proof of some things that Mr. Summers takes as
fact. First, that bin Laden even was responsible for 9/11: the public has never been provided a
shred of good evidence. Second, that bin Laden was not in fact killed in the unbelievable bombardment
at Tora Bora, his death being kept hidden to prevent martyrdom. Third, that the recent assassination
in Pakistan was genuine, not the effort of a president down in the polls and feeling that after
ten years he could afford to make the claim.
Fourth, that there ever was an organization called al Qaeda. I know that sounds odd to people
who assume everything they hear on television is true, but there are good reasons for doubting it.
While Mr. Summers gives one translation for the Arabic word, people who speak Arabic have said it
commonly means toilet, and surely no one running a terror organization would use such a
name. Indeed, we have several very prominent people quoted in the past, including former British
Foreign Minister Robin Cook, saying that al Qaeda was just a derogatory catch-all term used for
various “bad guys” out there. That is a tremendously meaningful difference between the two things,
but Mr. Summers does not touch the issue.
Again, I cannot stress how important it is for all decent-minded people holding to democratic
values to accept neither the CIA’s international torture gulag nor the results of its dark work.
Yet the bulk of Mr. Summers’ idea of events is based on evidence deriving ultimately from torture,
the people being tortured never receiving the benefits of counsel, fair trial, or even opportunity
In summary, a book worth reading, if only to get mad at, but it hardly represents a definitive
effort on its subject.
JFK assassination as a turning event in US history: "...our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon,
with Congress reduced to a debating society...We won't build Dachaus and Auschwitzes; the clever manipulation
of the mass media is creating a concentration camp of the mind that promises to be far more effective
in keeping the populace in line...I've learned enough about the machinations of the CIA in the past
year to know that this is no longer the dream world America I once believed in...Huey Long once said,
'Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.' I'm afraid, based on my own experience,
that fascism will come to America in the name of national security." - Garrison's interview
given to Playboy magazine in October 1967
"...our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society...We
won't build Dachaus and Auschwitzes; the clever manipulation of the mass media is creating a
concentration camp of the mind that promises to be far more effective in keeping the populace
in line...I've learned enough about the machinations of the CIA in the past year to know that
this is no longer the dream world America I once believed in...Huey Long once said, 'Fascism
will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.' I'm afraid, based on my own experience,
that fascism will come to America in the name of national security." - Garrison's interview
given to Playboy magazine in October 1967
Since 9/11, and the growth of the National Security
State under Bush and Obama, that quote now seems a lot less paranoid today than it did 46 years
ago. The existence of the NSA was not even known to the public back then.
Nonetheless, I've always had mixed feelings about Garrison. His heart was in the right place,
and his ultimate targets were probably the right ones, but his methods were often questionable.
He sometimes had an "end-justifies-the-means" mentality. There's no doubt today that Clay Shaw
was associated with US intelligence, but I doubt that he was involved in the JFK plot itself.
More likely he was one of Oswald's handlers, and given the compartmentalization of such a project,
may not have known how Oswald would ultimately be used (the same is probably true of people
like George De Mohrenschildt and Guy Banister). If Garrison could have continued his investigation
privately, without being exposed by the press, things might have turned out differently.
Still, with better witnesses and suspects either dead or uncooperative, or living in states
where he couldn't extradite them, Garrison rolled the dice with a very weak case and hoped something
would break loose. It didn't. The mainstream media went on the attack, rushing out a flood of
books questioning his integrity and sanity: Plot or Politics by Rosemary James; Counterplot
by Edward J. Epstein; The Garrison Case by Milton Brener; American Grotesque by James Kirkwood.
Federal agents did everything possible to disrupt and infiltrate his investigation. Jim
DiEugenio's two editions of Destiny Betrayed go into great detail about the powerful forces
intent on stopping Garrison.
Eventually, other JFK researchers like Harold Weisberg and Sylvia Meagher turned against
him when they saw how he was bluffing his way through the case against Shaw, lining up highly
questionable witnesses against him. Every attempt to go after higher-ups failed. Garrison subpoenaed
former CIA director Allen Dulles to testify, but Dulles ignored it. He managed to convince the
jury that a conspiracy was behind JFK's death, but the evidence of Shaw's involvement was (and
is) not enough to convict the man.
Before being sentenced inside a packed courthouse in Lower Manhattan, Mr. Hammond, 28, described
his hacking activities as “acts of civil disobedience” against both an expanding surveillance state
and the companies that do the government’s bidding. His lawyers said their client was part of a
proud tradition of protest in the United States, dating back to the American Revolution.
But Federal District Judge Loretta A. Preska was unmoved, telling Mr. Hammond “there’s nothing
high-minded or public-spirited about causing mayhem.”
“These are not the actions of Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, John Adams or even Daniel Ellsberg,”
she said, referring to the former analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers to several news organizations.
Mr. Ellsberg had written a letter to the court praising Mr. Hammond’s hacking campaign.
... ... ...
Mr. Hammond and several other hackers were arrested based on information from another prominent
member of Anonymous, Hector Xavier Monsegur, whom the FBI had turned into a government informant.
... ... ...
Dressed in two T-shirts and baggy pants, Mr. Hammond at one point stood at a podium at the front
of the courtroom, speaking directly to Judge Preska. He said he had been inspired by Chelsea Manning,
formerly known as Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier who gave hundreds of thousands of American diplomatic
cables and military records to WikiLeaks.
“If Chelsea Manning fell into the abysmal nightmare of prison fighting for the truth, could I
in good conscience do any less, if I was able?” he said.
Central Intelligence Agency is secretly collecting bulk records of international money transfers
handled by companies like Western Union — including transactions into and out of the United States
— under the same law that the
National Security Agency uses for its huge database of Americans’ phone records, according to
current and former government officials.
... ... ...
Orders for business records from the surveillance court generally prohibit recipients from talking
about them. A spokeswoman for one large company that handles money transfers abroad, Western Union,
did not directly address a question about whether it had been ordered to turn over records in bulk,
but said that the company complies with legal requirements to provide information.
“We collect consumer information to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act and other laws,” said the spokeswoman,
Luella Chavez D’Angelo. “In doing so, we also protect our consumers’ privacy
... ... ...
In addition, a Justice Department “white
paper” on the N.S.A.’s call records program, released in August, said that communications logs
are “a context” in which the “collection of a large volume of data” is necessary for investigators
to be able to analyze links between terrorism suspects and their associates. It did not say that
call records are the only context that meets the criteria for bulk gathering.
... ... ....
In September, the Obama administration
declassified and released a lengthy opinion by Judge Claire Eagan
of the surveillance court, written a month earlier and explaining
why the panel had given legal blessing to the call log program.
A largely overlooked passage of her ruling suggested that the court
has also issued orders for at least two other types of bulk data
Specifically, Judge Eagan noted that the
court had previously examined the issue of what records are relevant
to an investigation for the purpose of “bulk collections,” plural.
There followed more than six lines that were censored in the publicly
released version of her opinion.
In 1975, I was invited to join the US Senate’s Church Committee that was formed after the Watergate
scandals. Its goal was to investigate massive illegalities committed by the CIA, National Security
Agency and FBI.
As a then staunch Republican, and having worked on President Nixon’s reelection campaign developing
Mideast policy, I declined.
With the wisdom of hindsight, I should have joined the investigation.
Senator Frank Church warned:
“ If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this
country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government
could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the
most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately
it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. “
The Church Committee revealed Washington’s role in the assassinations of foreign leaders, CIA
collaboration with the Mafia, wide scale subversion around the globe, mail and phone intercepts,
spying on Americans by the US Army and intelligence services, collusion with right-wing terrorist
groups like Gladio, and much, much more.
Edward Snowden’s revelations of NSA malfeasance have done much the same thing today. Both Church
and Snowden were branded traitors by rightwing zealots and flag-wavers. Government security agencies
were reined in for decades. But it’s now clear they are not only back to their old tricks, but are
out of control.
The gigantic rock lifted by the courageous Snowden revealed the chilling global reach of US electronic
domination and intrusion.
Take operation “Stateroom.” NSA reportedly used the embassies and consulates of Canada, Britain,
Australia and New Zealand to spy on Asian targets. This was part of the “Five Eyes” system in which
Anglo-Saxon intelligence agencies act as subsidiaries of US intelligence.
One reason we have so far heard little about NSA spying against these nations is that they spy
on their own citizens using NSA technology, then pass the data to Big Brother in the US.
It seems that data on US citizens hoovered up by NSA is also routinely passed to Israel’s intelligence
services, a double violation of US law. Israel has long tapped into the US communications networks
and even, it is alleged, the White House phone system – installed by an Israeli electronic firm.
Sen. Church’s prescient warning was made 38 years ago when electronic were still in their infancy,
compared to today’s high-tech gear. Not only do we see US intelligence agencies again spying on
their own citizens, but a total failure in controlling them by their ostensible “masters,” the US
Congress and White House.
Clearly, neither Congress nor the president know what’s going on behind CIA and NSA’s wall of
secrecy – not to mention the 14 other US intelligence agencies.
The cowardly acceptance by Congress of the evil Patriot Act has removed any reins from intelligence/security,
allowing them to spy on everyone, anytime, anywhere by simply invoking the magical mantra, “terrorism.”
There was little difference between America’s post-9/11 hysteria that produced the Patriot Act
and Germany’s frenzy after the burning down of the Reichstag in 1933, an act that opened the way
to Hitler’s dictatorship. In both cases, civil rights were swept away supposedly to fight “terrorism.”
President George W. Bush doubled the size and budget of America’s Intelligence State.
America’s intelligence establishment has been trying to excuse its malfeasance by the old “everyone
else does it” adage. Untrue. No other nation we know of so thoroughly sifts through the world’s
communications, bugs 35 key leaders, targets individuals for assassination by CIA drones or US special
forces and stores every word its citizens ever sent. No other case where the spy agencies are so
uncontrolled. Besides, the US, which claims “exceptionalism,” should be setting a good example.
We should hold Congress almost as liable. Its members have been too busy using insider information
to make money in the market, and too busy boot-licking donors to do their job of supervision. They
should all be fired, starting with intelligence committee chair, Diane Feinstein and the chief Republic
dolt, Mike Rogers.
Ben Franklin, that great thinker and sage, put it perfectly when he said that government (read
spy agencies) is like fire – a useful tool, but a terrible master.
These are major long term wars each lasting two to three times as long as World War II. Forbes
reports that one million US soldiers have been injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. RT
reports that the cost
of keeping each US soldier in Afghanistan has risen from $1.3 million per soldier to $2.1 million
per soldier. Matthew J. Nasuti reports in the
Kabul Press that it cost US taxpayers
$50 million to kill one Taliban soldier. That means it cost $1 billion to kill 20 Taliban fighters.
This is a war that can be won only at the cost of the total bankruptcy of the United States.
Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have estimated that the current out-of-pocket and already
incurred future costs of the Afghan and Iraq wars is at least $6 trillion.
... ... ...
Why is it necessary for Washington to attack the freedom of the press and speech, to run roughshod
over the legislation that protects whistleblowers such as Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, to
criminalize dissent and protests, and to threaten journalists such as Julian Assange, Glenn Greenwald,
and Fox News reporter James Rosen?
How does keeping citizens ignorant of their government’s crimes make citizens safe from terrorists?
These persecutions of truth-tellers have nothing whatsoever to do with “national security” and
“keeping Americans safe from terrorists.” The only purpose of these persecutions is to protect
the executive branch from having its crimes revealed. Some of Washington’s crimes are so horrendous
that the International Criminal Court would issue a death sentence if those guilty could be brought
to trial. A government that will destroy the constitutional protections of free speech and a free
press in order to prevent its criminal actions from being disclosed is a tyrannical government.
One hesitates to ask these questions and to make even the most obvious remarks out of fear not
only of being put on a watch list and framed on some charge or the other, but also out of fear that
such questions might provoke a false flag attack that could be used to justify the police state
that has been put in place.
Perhaps that was what the Boston Marathon Bombing was. Evidence of the two brothers’ guilt has
taken backseat to the government’s claims. There is nothing new about government frame-ups of patsies.
What is new and unprecedented is the lockdown of Boston and its suburbs, the appearance of 10,000
heavily armed troops and tanks to patrol the streets and search without warrants the homes of citizens,
all in the name of protecting the public from one wounded 19 year old kid.
The UK’s electronic spying agency has been using spoof version of LinkedIn professional social
network's website to target global roaming data exchange companies as well as top management employees
in the OPEC oil cartel, according to Der Spiegel report.
The Government Communications Headquarters
has implemented a technique known as Quantum Insert, placing its servers in strategic spots where
they could intercept and redirect target traffic to a fake website faster than the legitimate
service could respond.
A similar technique was used earlier this year to inject malware into the systems of BICS,
a subsidiary of Belgian state-owned telecommunications company Belgacom, which is another major
In the Belgacom scandal first it was
the attacks were coming from. Then documents from Snowden’s collection
the surveillance attack probably emanated from the British GCHQ – and that British intelligence
had palmed off spyware on several Belgacom employees.
The Global Roaming Exchange (GRX) is a service which allows mobile data providers to exchange
roaming traffic of their user with other providers. There are only a few dozen companies providing
such services globally.
Now it turns out the GCHQ was also targeting networking, maintenance and security personnel of
another two companies, Comfone and Mach, according to new leaks published in the German magazine
by Laura Poitras,
one of few
journalists believed to have access to all documents stolen by Snowden from the NSA.
Through Quantum Insert method, GCHQ has managed to infiltrate the systems of targeted Mach
employees and successfully procured detailed knowledge of the company’s communications infrastructure,
business, and personal information of several important figures.
A spokesman for ‘Starhome Mach’, a Mach-successor company, said it would launch “a comprehensive
safety inspection with immediate effect.”
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries was yet another target of the Quantum Insert
attack, according to the report. According to a leaked document, it was in 2010 that GCHQ managed
to infiltrate the computers of nine OPEC employees. The spying agency reportedly succeeded in penetrating
the operating space of the OPEC Secretary-General and also managed to spy the on Saudi Arabian OPEC
governor, the report suggests.
LinkedIn is currently the largest network for creating and maintaining business contacts. According
to its own data the company has nearly 260 million registered users in more than 200 countries.
When contacted by The Independent, a LinkedIn spokesman said that the company was “never told
about this alleged activity” and it would “never approve of it, irrespective of what purpose
it was used for.”
According to a cryptographer and security expert Bruce Schneier, Quantum Insert attacks are
for anyone except the NSA to execute, because for that one would need to “to have a privileged
position on the Internet backbone.”
The latest details of GCHQ’s partnership with the NSA were revealed just last week, after the
reports emerged that GCHQ was feeding the NSA with the internal informationintercepted from Google and
Yahoo’s private networks.
The head of GCHQ, Sir Ian Lobban,
lashed out at the global
media for the coverage of Edward Snowden’s leaks, claiming it has made it “far harder”
for years to come to search for “needles and fragments of needles” in “an enormous hay
field” of the Internet.
However, the intelligence chiefs failed to address public fears that Britain’s intelligence agencies
are unaccountable and are operating outside the law.
New style in diplomacy. Nice blowback for excessive snooping ...
November 9, 2013 | NYT
...Even when Mr. Obama travels to allied nations, aides quickly set up the security tent
— which has opaque sides and noise-making devices inside — in a room near his hotel suite.
When the president needs to read a classified document or have a sensitive conversation, he ducks
into the tent to shield himself from secret video cameras and listening devices.
American security officials demand that their bosses — not just the president, but members of
Congress, diplomats, policy makers and military officers — take such precautions when traveling
abroad because it is widely acknowledged that their hosts often have no qualms about snooping on
... ... ...
On a trip to Latin America in 2011, for example, a White House photo showed Mr. Obama talking
from a security tent in a Rio de Janeiro hotel suite with Hillary Rodham Clinton, then the secretary
of state, and Robert M. Gates, the defense secretary at the time, about the air war against Libya
that had been launched the previous day. Another photo, taken three days later in San Salvador,
showed him conferring from the tent with advisers about the attack.
Spokesmen for the State Department, the C.I.A. and the National Security Council declined to
provide details on the measures the government takes to protect officials overseas. But more than
a dozen current and former government officials, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity,
described in interviews some of those measures.
They range from instructing officials traveling overseas to assume every utterance and move is
under surveillance and requiring them to scrub their cellphones for listening devices after they
have visited government offices, to equipping the president’s limousine, which always travels with
him, to keep private conversations private. Mr. Obama carries a specially encrypted BlackBerry;
one member of his cabinet was told he could not take his iPad on an overseas trip because it was
not considered a secure device.
Countermeasures are taken on American soil as well. When cabinet secretaries and top national
security officials take up their new jobs, the government retrofits their homes with special secure
rooms for top-secret conversations and computer use.
In accordance with a several-hundred-page classified manual, the rooms are lined with foil and
soundproofed. An interior location, preferably with no windows, is recommended.
Since when does Carl Levin, one of the most powerful members of Congress, have to take legislation
that's changed by the White House and enact it into law? 'Cause they're all afraid. And you and I had
a little dispute about this two years ago. I said it was because of Occupy. I still think it was because
of Occupy. They want to protect themselves against a mass movement, which is, you know, fledgling right
now, but they want to be able to arrest people off the streets. They have the capability the NSA provides.
They're going to do it real easy.
RAY MCGOVERN, RETIRED CIA ANALYST: Welcome.
JAY: So Ray, in case you don't know, is a former CIA analyst. He's now a political
activist. He's--was instrumental in founding the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.
He's a cofounder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
Thank you. And I know you actually have found some veterans and professionals with some sanity.
It's somewhat of a--.
MCGOVERN: And with some conscience.
JAY: You have. I've actually been quite impressed. You know, I got politicized
during Vietnam days, and then we had no idea there actually were anyone like you in the CIA.
MCGOVERN: Thanks a lot.
JAY: You were all the bad guys.
I'm going to pick up--part one of the interview I suggest you watch, 'cause I'm going to kind
of pick up on something we talked about in part one. You said that the Constitution defends people's
rights at home and that should be respected in an ironclad way--my words, but that's what you meant.
But you understand the need for adult intelligence abroad, meaning don't do something stupid like
spy on Merkel, but you might do something else that's required.
MCGOVERN: That's correct. Yeah.
JAY: I want to push back a little bit on that, which is, with U.S. foreign policy
as it is, with the basic mindset of the American elite, whether it's represented by Republicans
or Democrats in terms of their leadership, that you will necessarily violate the Constitution at
home if you have this mindset abroad.
And let me just quickly--from right after World War II, with the development of Truman and the
national security state and the fighting of the Cold War and the beginnings of the fight against
national liberation movements and anything that smelled anything like socialism anywhere in the
world, you have at home the House Un-American Activities Committee. You have McCarthyism, which,
if they had had the NSA kind of spying in those days--and I'm sure they did as much as they could
in terms of listening to phones, but they were going after everybody. I mean, they were going after
ordinary teachers and union members and actors. And let me emphasize how much it was directed against
trade unions to get rid of militants.
Jump ahead. The Vietnam War creates the conditions at home for the criminalizing of dissent,
and even to the point of shooting students on university campuses. You know.
Jump ahead. And, of course, I'm missing all kinds of stuff in between. The ambition, objective,
which actually gets enunciated most clearly by Zbigniew Brzezinski--if you want to, you know, run
the world, you'd better dominate Eurasia, and Brzezinski works for Jimmy Carter, a Democrat. And
I'm not saying that Brzezinski was saying anything that a Kissinger wouldn't, a Republican, but
the desire to dominate the world, dominate Eurasia, leads to the arming of jihadists in Afghanistan
and gives rise to bin Laden, gives rise to 9/11, you know, in terms of not just that thread but
the whole issue of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and attitude towards Israel and so on
and so on, you wind up getting 9/11, which becomes a whole new rationale for spying on Americans
What I'm saying is you cannot disconnect the two, that if you seek hegemony abroad, you will
violate people's rights at home. And if you really want to deal with this issue of the development
of a security state that violates people's constitutional rights at home, then people have to also
take a stand against this kind of superpower activities abroad.
MCGOVERN: Paul, you don't understand. America is the sole exceptional country
in the world, the soul indispensable country in the world. Now, if you know the antonym for indispensable,
it's dispensable. Okay? So the rest of you Canadians, everybody else, are dispensible by definition.
Okay? The president said that. He said that as recently as just a couple of months ago. And Putin
of all places--of all persons says, you know, you ought to be careful giving the impression that
your country is so exceptional that it can do what it wants around the world.
Now, the answer to this is that after World War II, that's when we became the sole remaining
superpower in the world. Russia was decimated, 30 million people killed. You know, Europe was in
ashes. We had to devise a policy. And what did we do? George Kennan, who used to be my hero, George
Kennan, head of the policy planning staff at State Department, policy planning paper number one,
we comprise--we dominate 50 percent of the world's national resources but comprise only 6.3 percent
of its population. Therefore our policy has to be devised in such a way as to maintain this equilibrium.
We can't be diverted by thoughts about soft power or democracy or civil rights. The time will come
when we have to exert hard straight power.
JAY: Yeah, if you want to consume 50 percent of the world's resources, then
you do what it takes.
MCGOVERN: That's right. So that's the policy, okay? And that's 1948. First policy.
Now, what happened? He's instrumental in setting up an intelligence agency that is far from what
President Truman wanted, an analysis shop to tell him what was going on in the world, with a clandestine
collection part, which would give us some spies to tell us that kind of information. And Kennan
says, no, let's put these OSS guys, these people that overturn governments, these people that, you
know, can really operate abroad, let's put them in with these analysts. What happens? Well, these
operators get all the money and all the attention, and when this upstart, Mosaddegh, in Iran gets
this weird notion that the oil underneath the sands of Iran should be--you know, should go to the
benefit of the Iranian people at least, and he doesn't realize it all belongs to British Petroleum,
well, the British take this by the--you know, MI6 says, okay, you fledgling CIA, you're only six
years old; this is what you do. So we--.
Now, was that a smart thing?
JAY: Overthrew Mosaddegh.
MCGOVERN: Overthrow Mosaddegh, yeah. And, you know, BP emerge.
Now, what were the results of that? Well, we know what--the results of that. We can see them
So what we have is a sort of myopic view of what the world is like. It goes in four-year cycles,
or two-year cycles if you talk about Congress, four-year cycles about what would be good for politicians.
And it hinders the achievement of a broad policy that could be based, despite George Tenet's disavowal
of this, on a certain degree of altruism. You know? On a certain degree of recognition that we're
all in this together. And, God, if we don't come to that now with, what, 7 billion people in the
world and resources going down the drain, we'll never do that. But the political cycle makes that
Now, with respect to the intelligence services, you know, this goes in waves as well. After Vietnam,
after all those abuses, after Bill Colby, the head of the CIA, to his credit, decided he would be
a lawyer and obey the law and testify to Congress about the incredible abuses that took place in
the '50s and '60s by the CIA, after the FISA law was put it in in '78, this Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act, which prohibited precisely the kinds of things that NSA is doing now--.
JAY: And it has become a kind of rubberstamp for the NSA.
MCGOVERN: Yeah, now it's become a complete--. So these things do go in circle--in
cycles. And I'm hopeful that out of all this, with the help of some of our allies that know what
it's like to live under a different kind of regime, you know, know what it's like to live under
fascism--let's say the word--that we can come to our senses, and maybe some leadership will come
to the top and say, well, you know, President Obama, you know, you think you can't deal with these
security types, you don't have the backbone or you don't want to risk the political costs it would
take, but you really can, because the American people are fed up with this kind of stuff.
JAY: But there's no reason to think President Obama doesn't share the same mindset.
In fact, there's every reason to think he does.
MCGOVERN: Well, share the same mindset of--.
JAY: Which--that the United States needs to project power abroad, and to do
so, if you have to curtail rights at home, you do so.
MCGOVERN: Well, you know, I don't know. It doesn't really matter, because even
if he thought that, even if he thought the better of that, he doesn't seem to have the backbone
implant that he needs to stand up to those.
JAY: Doesn't even articulated anything, any--. He more or less justifies it.
MCGOVERN: Well, his--well, in some of his speeches he does. But the point is
that as far as Obama is concerned, he is intimidated.
JAY: But I guess what I'm saying is I'm kind of less speaking to the elites
here, 'cause I don't think the elites are going to change much, except for one thing. There are
sections of the elites that don't want to get spied on by other sections of the elite. I mean, I
saw Hayden on TV a couple of months ago, and Hayden was--Hayden's the former head of the CIA and
is right in the--.
MCGOVERN: And NSA too.
JAY: NSA. And NSA.
JAY: Both. Yeah. And Hayden was defending all this. But all of a sudden
he was upset about something, and he says, who exactly authorized the spying on Petraeus? Now
he's concerned, 'cause, like, one of his guys actually got, you know, listened to. So, I mean, there
are fractures in the elite who don't like this 'cause they may be on it. And I'm sure, you know,
Congress, there's a lot of congressmen who don't want to be listened to, 'cause what if some of
that leaks, some of the stuff they're up to, both in terms of their personal life and what--all
the money they get in the connection between policy and receiving money? So within the elite there's
But I'm kind of talking to more ordinary people who find foreign policy abstract, who think what
happens over there doesn't affect me. And what I'm saying, I guess, is, number one, not only are
you paying for it, and as a result--. Like, in an ordinary worker in the United States pays about
the same taxes a Canadian worker does. You know, Canadian workers get a health care policy, and
here you get a Pentagon that spends almost $1 trillion a year. But to speak to what's happening
now, the issue of people's constitutional rights, it is affecting you, because it's--that foreign
policy creates the condition and the rationale for violating all these rights that people consider
at the core of what it is to be an American.
MCGOVERN: You're right. And one of the major problems is the military leadership
and the way it gets to be--gets to the top. When Hayden was told by Dick Cheney very early--before
9/11, mind you--forget about that first commandment out of NSA, okay, forget about the commandment
that says thou shalt not eavesdrop on Americans without a court warrant, forget about it, okay,
before 9/11, okay, Hayden said, okay, I'll do that, despite his constitutional oath to defend the
Fourth Amendment and everything else.
Now, earlier heads of the NSA, Bill Odom, for example, said, as soon as he realized that, that
Hayden should be court-martialed. Okay? And Bobby Ray Inman, who was sort of the father of the NSA,
who helped actually with the wording of the FISA act, said what Hayden did was clearly illegal,
was clearly beyond what FISA, what the FISA law--.
Okay. Now, I heard Inman say that one Thursday. And the next Thursday, I'm in with Lou Dobbs's
blue room, okay, and I'm going to talk about my little debate with Rumsfeld. And in rushes Bobby
Ray Inman. You know, he's got no tie on. So they put it on. And they say, what are you talking about?
Hayden's nomination. He's just been nominated to be the CIA director. I said, oh! I said, great.
Tell them what you told the New York Library folks there a week ago when Bobby Ray Inman said, look,
what Hayden did was beyond the law, it's illegal, and I know, and I even put wording in that FISA
law saying you can't do anything else that's not expressly put in this law! [incompr.] go at it!
So I'm watching a monitor. Lou Dobbs: Admiral Inman, what do you think of Michael Hayden becoming
the head of the CIA? He said, I couldn't pick a more qualified person. He's an excellent--he's very
bright and he's devoted to our country. And he comes out, and I say, what the hell happened there?
And he just--he's out of there. [incompr.]
Well, that's how it works. You know, they were all in this together [incompr.] except people
like Bill Odom, who was really furious. He said, Hayden, you know, we take this oath to the Constitution.
I take that seriously. Every other NSA director before me, Bill Odom says, did. And to watch that
happen, that's not a trivial thing. Okay? That's the Fourth Amendment. And that's what, you know,
the Third Reich just--they had a similar provision in their Constitution in 1933. All that went
by the board.
So this is important stuff. And you're right to point out that some repression internally is
often a companion, a handmaiden of what's going on abroad. But I don't see that it needs to be that
way. And I see that with all this that's been happening, you know, if people can unshackle themselves
from party affiliation--.
You know, I'm a Bronx Irish Catholic. Okay? When I was baptized, I had membership in the Democratic
Party, as well as the union, automatically. Okay? And I am incredibly ashamed for what's happened
to the Democratic Party. I don't want any part of it anymore. When people come canvassing, I say,
are you in favor of targeted assassination? Oh, what's that about? And I says, well, you know, look
what the Democratic president is tolerating or even approving before he has lunch with Michelle
every Tuesday at noon time. Hello? First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment. You know,
I'm a Virginian now. And when those folks said that we're going to risk their--pledge their lives,
their fortunes, and their sacred honor to this enterprise, they meant it. And it was just as likely
they would end up on the end of a rope as they would emerge as new leaders of a wonderful country.
Okay? Well, the latter happened. And we have an obligation to safeguard those freedoms.
JAY: And let's not forget the NDAA amendment, because it's kind of--you know,
there was a lot of fuss about it, and it's now not being talked about, 'cause everything's on the
intelligence gathering, but President Obama signs this thing, right? It's become law. Did I miss
something? The military can arrest you if they can just somehow--like, we were talking in part one
how the British can call Glenn Greenwald's partner, Dave Miranda, call him a terrorist, well, if
you can start using language like that, then you got the NDAA amendment, which has been passed,
which is if you can be defined as a terrorist or some sort of ally of the Taliban and al-Qaeda,
you can be arrested by the army, never mind the FBI. You can be put into military detention.
MCGOVERN: Right, come in here right now, Paul, pluck me out, and--. No, they
wouldn't detain me forever; just so long as there are no terrorists around in the world. Okay?
Now, I thought that that was John McCain and Lindsey Graham in the Senate. You know? That came
out of the Senate, okay? And when the bill came back and indicated that American citizens could
be wrapped up this way, there was a hue and cry by some progressive senators. And they asked Carl
Levin, the head of the Armed Services [Committee], well, what about this [incompr.]? And he said,
and I quote, well, it wasn't that way when we sent it over to the White House, but that's the way
it came back.
JAY: Actually, we're going to run the tape right now that has Levin doing that.
MCGOVERN: Two questions. Since when does Carl Levin, one of the most powerful
members of Congress, have to take legislation that's changed by the White House and enact it into
law? 'Cause they're all afraid. And you and I had a little dispute about this two years ago.
I said it was because of Occupy. I still think it was because of Occupy. They want to protect themselves
against a mass movement, which is, you know, fledgling right now, but they want to be able to arrest
people off the streets. They have the capability the NSA provides. They're going to do it real
JAY: Oh, I never said it wasn't about fear of a mass movement. I'm just said
Occupy wasn't going to be that mass movement. It wasn't Occupy they were afraid of.
MCGOVERN: Yeah, but Occupy was a symptom of what they're afraid of, yeah. So,
So it's really kind of--we're at a crossroads now, and I feel it, I feel it in my bones. And
for some reason I think that the people who feel violated, you know, in that sense of the word,
in Western Europe and others of our allies, the Brazilians and other--you know, maybe, maybe they
will be able to stop their servile, their supine posture towards the U.S. and say, look, enough
of this stuff. This is the way the new world is. You're losing your clout. We've got all kinds of
movements that are exceeding your power to dictate to people. And maybe, just maybe enlightened
leadership will come along and say, oh, you know, read the signs of the times and say, well, we
need really not to think that we can do what George Kennan advocated in 1948, that we're no longer
the sole remaining superpower in the world, that we have to deal with these other countries in a
more mutually beneficial and--what's the word?--respectful way.
Edward Snowden saw things he thought we, as Americans, should know. He valued the truth and
thought you could handle it, says Alec Baldwin.
Obviously, we’ve been here before. The United States has been here before. The friction between
democracy (or democracy as we like to think of it) and capitalism has often created agonising tensions
and dramatic upheavals for America. Those spasms left us at least as demoralised as many Americans
feel in the wake of the Edward Snowden-NSA revelations. The reality that the government is spying
on Americans on a wholesale level, seemingly indiscriminately, doesn’t really come as a surprise
to many, given the assumed imperatives of the post- 9/11 security state. People seem more stricken
by the fact that Barack Obama, who once vowed to close Guantanamo, has adopted CIA-NSA policies
regarding domestic spying, as well as by government attempts to silence, even hunt down, the press.
Americans, in terms of their enthusiasm for defending their beloved democratic principles in the
face of an ever more muscular assault on those principles by the state in the name of national security,
are exhausted. If you are a “boomer”, like me, and have lived through the past five decades with
any degree of political efficacy, you can draw a line from JFK’s assassination to the subsequent
escalation of the Vietnam war, on to 1968 with the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy,
the Chicago Democratic Convention and Nixon’s resurrection; from there, to Kent State, the Pentagon
Papers, Nixon’s re-election, Watergate, Nixon’s resignation, Ford’s pardon, Carter’s one term and
out, the curious Iran hostage situation, Reagan (who brings back a degree of the charm and affability
that died in Dallas), Iran Contra, Oliver North, Bush the First (as in first CIA director to become
president), Iraq the First, Clinton kills welfare, Gingrich shuts down the Congress, Clinton’s impeachment,
the 2000 election, Bush v Gore, Bush the Second, 9/11, Iraq the Second, “Mission Accomplished”,
the Swift Boaters, Afghanistan, Gitmo, Assange, Manning, Snowden.
I have left out a good deal. There is, of course, a lot that’s positive running through the American
narrative during this time, but I think more bad than good. You look at all of this laid end to
end and you’d think the US might have had a nervous breakdown. I believe it actually did.
Americans are pretty basic. Generally speaking, they are a “suit up and show up” type of crowd.
In spite of images of rampant obesity running throughout the country, gun laws that border on madness
and our debt ceiling made of Swiss cheese, more Americans wake up every day to participate in an
experience defined by work, sacrifice and moderate self-denial. They are workaholics who exercise,
eat fairly well, drink in moderation and refrain from drugs and extramarital affairs while, perhaps,
fantasising about either or both. They are devoted to family, friends, churches and social organisations.
They are generous with their money as well as time. When disaster strikes, America is a good place
But one thing that Americans fail at, miserably, is taking their government to task when that
government has lied to them, defrauded them, covered up its crimes and otherwise blocked them from
knowing essential truths. In political terms, Americans have a strong devotion to afflicting the
afflicted and comforting the comfortable. They have a hard time contemplating any meaningful overhaul
of the rules of their political system, preferring to say “Please, sir, may I have another” in the
face of abuses of power. Americans, despite all of their claims to an “exceptionalism” among the
nations of the world, have been lied to for so long about so many relevant topics, they have lost
sight of what the truth is.
It seems more difficult, at least to me, to effectively assess historical events that came before
my lifetime with the same perspective as those I lived through. Pearl Harbor, Nazi appeasement,
Hiroshima and Nagasaki or the Pumpkin Papers feel slightly more remote, more like history, than
what’s happened since 1958, the year that I was born. And two great and urgent factors that emerged
during my lifetime, I believe, have kept us in a type of karmic stall and prevented the US from
growing into what it might have been. One is the Vietnam war and the other is the assassination
of President Kennedy.
Kennedy died 50 years ago. Since then, Americans have honoured his legacy, or their somewhat
beatified version of it, in every conceivable way. Countless schools, highways, bridges and even
airports have been renamed in his honour. Kennedy is not on Mount Rushmore, but in the hearts and
minds of many of my generation he exists on his own equally exalted plateau. Yet while a mere photo
of Kennedy can still overwhelm one with a sense of loss, while innumerable books have been written
and countless words have flowed that till the soil of who Kennedy was, what he stood for and what
might have been if he had lived, Americans have not done the one thing you would expect such deep
affection for a fallen hero would demand: we still don’t know who killed him.
How much has been written on this subject? Too much, perhaps. To wander into the rabbit hole
of JFK assassination theory, one must prepare for a Lewis Carroll-esque tumble through a record,
half a century in the making, that is among the greatest lies any society has ever been asked to
swallow in the name of moving forward in order to heal itself.
No sane person believes Kennedy was killed by one bitter ex-marine. To be an American today is
to accept this awful truth and to live your life with unresolved doubts about your country as a
result. Those who promote the Oswald theory do so knowing that some Americans are still incapable
of seeing the truth, or they are still working on behalf of the portion of the US intelligence community
that remains invested in the cover-up.
Kennedy died because a hell-bent confluence of anti-Castro, pro-interventionist Vietnam war architects
believed, after the Bay of Pigs, that Kennedy didn’t have the mettle that a cold war US commander-in-chief
required. They swore that Kennedy had to go for the sake of national security. Enter a crew of FBI-monitored
American Mafia bosses who had their own beef with the Kennedy White House. A little Fair Play for
Cuba here, a bit of David Ferrie there, a touch of David Atlee Phillips and a dollop of Jack Ruby,
and it all comes out in a way that adds up to more than a Mannlicher-Carcano and a sixth-floor window.
Anyone with eyes can see that Kennedy was shot from the front. Why we haven’t demanded answers after
all this time relates to why what happens to Snowden seems so essential to our future.
Snowden saw things he thought we, as Americans, should know. He valued the truth and thought
you could handle it. He thought you needed it. Here, in America, 50 years after Kennedy was murdered,
after 50 years of destroyed or altered records and vital evidence, someone risked his career, reputation
and even his life to bring you the truth about what US intelligence is keeping from you.
I am uncomfortable, no doubt, with the idea that exposing secret government information could
jeopardise the lives of US troops or operatives. The efforts of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning
and Edward Snowden carry with them the possible risk of real harm to US forces and agents. But I
believe that without a random appearance by the truth now and then, from whatever source, we learn
nothing. We are thus doomed to remain on a course bound for not only threats to our own security
from within, but a spiritual death as well. As long as we choose to remain in the dark we risk a
further erosion of our true nature.
And then we become a nation defined only by our consumption. We are closer to that now than we
have ever been. Watergate is the dividing line in the American consciousness, separating the time
when we suspected from the time we confirmed certain truths about our government. Setting aside
Nixon’s own political campaign operations, Watergate’s subsequent revelations about Vietnam alone
changed for ever the way a generation viewed their country and its motives. The government knew
the war could not be won and yet ventured on out of pride, greed, ignorance and hatred. Fifty years
laced with singlebullet theory, Eric Starvo Galt, the LAPD destroying the RFK crime scene, J Edgar
Hoover, the Chicago Seven gagged in court, Nixon, Laos, Howard Hunt, Daniel Ellsberg, Woodward and
Bernstein, gas shortages, airline deregulation, Ed Meese, Richard Secord, Dan Quayle, “Read My Lips”,
Shutdown One, Kenneth Starr, Richard Mellon Scaife, hanging chads, Bin Laden Determined to Strike
in US, yellowcake, Valerie Plame, Cheney, birthers, Shutdown Two.
That is quite a run and a reality that bears certain consequences. I am mistrustful of my government.
I think it lies to us, reflexively and without a scintilla of compunction, on a regular basis. That
mistrust began on 22 November 1963. In honour of the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, I
stand for truth. I stand for more truth and transparency in government. The intelligence community
believes that most Americans don’t want to know how the sausage is made. But I can handle it. I
think most Americans, a pretty tough bunch, can handle it, too.
Alec Baldwin is an actor and author. Follow him on Twitter: @AlecBaldwin
The UK intelligence agency GCHQ has repeatedly
warned it fears a "damaging public debate" on the scale of its activities because it could lead
to legal challenges against its mass-surveillance programmes, classified internal documents reveal.
Memos contained in the cache disclosed by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden detail the agency's
long fight against making intercept evidence admissible as evidence in criminal trials – a policy
supported by all three major political parties, but ultimately defeated by the UK's intelligence
Foremost among the reasons was a desire to minimise the potential for challenges against the
agency's large-scale interception programmes, rather than any intrinsic threat to security, the
The papers also reveal that:
• GCHQ lobbied furiously to keep secret the fact that telecoms firms had gone "well beyond" what
they were legally required to do to help intelligence agencies' mass interception of communications,
both in the UK and overseas.
• GCHQ feared a legal challenge under the right to privacy in the Human Rights Act if evidence
of its surveillance methods became admissible in court.
• GCHQ assisted the Home Office in lining up sympathetic people to help with "press handling",
including the Liberal Democrat peer and former intelligence services commissioner Lord Carlile,
who this week criticised the Guardian for its coverage of mass surveillance by GCHQ and America's
National Security Agency.
The most recent attempt to make intelligence gathered from intercepts admissible in court, proposed
by the last Labour government, was finally stymied by GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 in 2009.
A briefing memo prepared for the board of GCHQ shortly before the decision was made public revealed
that one reason the agency was keen to quash the proposals was the fear that even passing references
to its wide-reaching surveillance powers could start a "damaging" public debate.
US electronic surveillance in Mexico reportedly targeted top officials, including both current
and previous presidents. Intelligence produced by the NSA helped Americans get an upper hand in
diplomatic talks and find good investment opportunities.
The US National Security Agency was apparently very happy with its successes in America’s southern
neighbor, according to classified documents leaked by Edwards Snowden and analyzed by the German
magazine, Der Spiegel. It reports on new details of the spying on the Mexican government, which
dates back at least several years.
The fact that Mexican President Peña Nieto is of interest to the NSA was revealed earlier by
Brazilian TV Globo, which also had access to the documents provided by Snowden. Spiegel says his
predecessor Felipe Calderon was a target too, and the Americans hacked into his public email back
in May 2010.
The access to Calderon electronic exchanges gave the US spies "diplomatic, economic and leadership
communications which continue to provide insight into Mexico's political system and internal stability,"
the magazine cites an NSA top secret internal report as saying. The operation to hack into presidential
email account was dubbed “Flatliquid” by the American e-spooks.
The bitter irony of the situation is that Calderon during his term in office worked more closely
with Washington than any other Mexican president before him. In 2007 he even authorized the creation
of a secret facility for electronic surveillance, according to a July publication in the Mexican
The surveillance on President Nieto started when he was campaigning for office in the early summer
of 2012, the report goes on. The NSA targeted his phone and the phones of nine of his close associates
to build a map of their regular contacts. From then it closely monitored those individuals’ phones
as well, intercepting 85,489 text messages, including those sent by Nieto.
After the Globo TV report, which mentioned spying on Mexico only in passing, Nieto stated that
US President Barack Obama had promised him to investigate the accusations and to punish those responsible
of any misconduct. The reaction was far milder than that from Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff,
another target of NSA’s intensive interest, who has since canceled a planned trip to the US and
delivered a withering speech at the UN General Assembly, which condemned American electronic surveillance.
Another NSA operation in Mexico dubbed “Whitetamale” allowed the agency to gain access
to emails of high-ranking officials in country’s Public Security Secretariat, a law enforcement
body that combats drug cartels and human trafficking rings. The hacking, which happened in August
2009, gave the US information about Mexican crime fighting, but also provided access to "diplomatic
talking-points," an internal NSA document says.
In a single year, this operation produced 260 classified reports that facilitated talks on political
issues and helped the Americans plan international investments.
"These TAO [Tailored Access Operations – an NSA division that handles missions like hacking
presidential emails] accesses into several Mexican government agencies are just the beginning -
we intend to go much further against this important target," the document reads. It praises
the operation as a "tremendous success" and states that the divisions responsible for this
surveillance are "poised for future successes."
Economic espionage is a motive for NSA spying, which the agency vocally denied, but which appears
in the previous leaks. The agency had spied on the Brazilian oil giant, Petrobras, according to
earlier revelations. This combined with reports that the NSA hacked into the email of Brazilian
President Dilma Rouseff, triggered a serious deterioration of relations between the two countries.
While the NSA declined comment to the German magazine, the Mexican Foreign Ministry replied with
an email, which condemned any form of espionage on Mexican citizens. The NSA presumably could read
that email at the same time as the journalists, Der Spiegel joked.
"Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic writes up a new report (and infographic) from the
Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. 'What the Government Does With
Americans' Data' is the best single attempt I've seen to explain all of the ways that surveillance
professionals are collecting, storing, and disseminating private data on U.S. citizens. The
report's text and helpful flow-chart illustrations run to roughly 50 pages. Unless you're already
one of America's foremost experts on these subjects, it is virtually impossible to read this
synthesis without coming away better informed.."
Cough (Score:5, Interesting)
Unless you're already one of America's foremost experts on these subjects,
Okay first, two things: Other countries are doing this too. Their experts are not any less
'expert-y' than the USA is. In fact, I'm betting they can at least build a data center that
doesn't spontaniously shoot lightning at the equipment and catch fire. Soo... sorry but maybe
you need to just stick with "expert" without the qualifier there, mate.
Second, why do you have to be a "foremost expert" on this? I see plenty of people in this
thread that know everything! *cough* But more seriously; You don't have to work for the government,
or be a security expert, to figure out how they use the data. Look at what they have access
to, look at their stated goals, then forget the stated goals and look at what they're actually
trying to do and have done... and it's easy-peasy:
They're supplying the internet with limitless porn captured from surveillance footage. Duh.
Where do you think all the crappy amateur pics come from?
Data Retention By the Numbers
5 years: How long the National Security Agency keeps “metadata” about all
Americans’ domestic and international phone calls without suspicion of wrongdoing
5 years: How long the National Counterterrorism Center can keep and search databases
of non-terrorism information about Americans
5 to 20 years: Retention periods for databases that store at least some information
from border searches of Americans’ laptops, phones, hard drives, and more
6 years:Time period, beginning with the start of surveillance, that the
NSA can keep Americans’ incidentally gathered communications
20 to 30 years: Amount of time the FBI keeps information collected via assessments
and National Security Letters, even when it is irrelevant to a current investigation
30 years: Time period that Suspicious Activity Reports with no nexus to terrorism
are kept by the FBI
1 Billion and growing: Records in the FBI’s Investigative Data Warehouse
1,000,000 sq. ft.: Size of National Security Agency’s data center (opening in
41 billion: Communications records stored by NSA’s XKEYSCORE system every 30
Problem partially identified (Score:3)
Their distortions continue in part because no matter how many times President Obama,
NSA Director Keith Alexander, Clapper and others egregiously mislead the public in their
statements about surveillance, news organizations treat them as honest men and report on
subsequent statements as if they're presumptively true.
Who then has watched the news media just lap up every word the ONDCP puts out as if the drug
czar was reading the word of god off golden tablets for them; knows this is nothing new, but
is a huge problem.
These people get way more credibility than they rightly deserve.
Terrorism and our situation (Score:5, Insightful)
The idea that the United States clumsily, but accidentally, brought the terrorism situation
and surveillance state that followed on itself can be approached from enough angles that it
represents an undeniable truth... or does it fully?
We all now know that the tin foil hat crowd was not only right all along, they didn't take
it far enough. Perhaps we are still not taking it far enough. With extreme paranoia over our
governments conspiracy to subvert its people now wholly justified, perhaps creating the
terrorist situation was intentional and represents a broader and more sinister plan that has
been in play longer than we know with goals more far reaching than we are prepared to entertain.
If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting
a foreign enemy. - James Madison
As vague as I'm being, I know that I am still presenting a level of paranoia that is completely
insane... or am I? It sounds crazy now, and I hope it is.
NSA exists for 3 main reasons (Score:1)
ONE (the most important) - to 'read' the mind of the public. Your masters control
you via propaganda -- control messages disseminated via mainstream media and public schooling.
The NSA provides near real-time feedback as to the effectiveness of any given propaganda
project, allowing that project to be refined for greater effectiveness, or even aborted
(see the recent failure of Obama's intended holocaust of Syria -- killed by an inability
to gain public support despite a saturated mainstream media project demonising Syria at
TWO- to identify ALL emerging grassroots social and political activity, allowing
groups and potential leaders to be co-opted or eliminated BEFORE they reach significant
levels of power and/or influence.
THREE- to gather blackmail and coercion intelligence on ALL people in potential
positions of power and influence, so they can be 'persuaded' to follow the 'correct' agendas
as and when required. The mainstream media, for instance, was created in its modern
form as a 'scandal' mechanism to allow the ire of the sheeple to be directed at ANY target
designated by those that rule. Assange, and the recent rape scandal that ruined the prospects
of one of France's likely next leaders shows this tactic in action.
It should be noted that throughout Human History, intelligence agencies have ALWAYS existed
to serve the above three listed agendas. Fighting crime and 'terrorism' (which is almost non-existent
outside of state-sponsered terror by nations like the USA, Britain, and Israel) has always been
the domain of ordinary policing. NSA full surveillance is about YOU. Who you are, what you think,
and who you may become.
Re:NSA exists for 3 main reasons (Score:1)
So you worked for them.
Way back when there was an org called the OSI, and some earlier incarnations, the going thread
was "All you have to topple a government is 3% of the people".
What you posted is *precisely* what the NSA does, if anyone doubts this just Google "The
Better question, what they don't do with it.
Considering all of this has materialized after the concept of corporate lobbying I'd have
to say that what doesn't fall into what the goberment is directly looking for: (actual terrorists,
and undermine the lives of individuals they do not like, and corporate secrets sold to competitors),
the rest is probably sold as marketing data. This would be congruent to the 3 pronged, both
sides played against the middle template of the war on drugs, yet another ponzi scheme just
like the war on terror. Just goes to show ya, if it's illegal and the goberment does it, it's
classified, goberment seems to be into crime, and they don't like competitors.
When I searched for the term “parallel
construction” only Wikipedia provided the definition I needed. The first dozen links returned
grammar-related definitions, and that’s OK. Actually, it’s more than OK. The state
is empowered and exists largely in the realm of language – not by facts or reality. Language
is the most useful tool of government. Language shapes beliefs, constructs arguments, and lends
credence to fantasy. Orwell explained this truth about language and government, and
how language as control agent could, and would be technologically facilitated. Goebbels understood
this, as do the ruling classes, neoconservatives, and of course, advertisers everywhere. There
is what is said and believed, and then there is a measureable concrete reality.
In words, government at all levels helps us do “things” we couldn’t or wouldn’t do otherwise.
In reality, government is parasitical in the way of the tapeworm or tick, consuming what we produce,
feeding itself, and
growing larger, until it becomes unsustainable and is gracelessly shed by an exhausted population.
In words, the United States is at war with her enemies. In reality, there is no “war” with
any US “enemies.” Rather, the US government is a war-loving and warfare-dependent organization
that seeks internal and external conflict using two key and opposing criteria: 1) conflicts
and wars it may involve itself in
without attracting any domestic attention, and 2) conflicts fomented to attract the “right”
kind of domestic attention, i.e. against “terror” and for “democracy” or “justice.” This is precisely
why there is such rage in the machine against truthtellers Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden.
Manning was subjected to institutionalized torture, mistreated, and labeled a “guilty traitor”
by bureaucrats for nearly four years before his date with
a kangaroo court. He faces up to 90 years of prison for what has already been shown in
the court to be
a crime without a victim. In reality, his actions did little more than embarrass
State Department lackeys and reveal the real nature of America’s
modern day “fighting men” to people around the world. Many who watched the incriminating video
of US soldiers killing civilians and laughing about it were already familiar with America’s high
tech and soulless wars against fourth rate militaries or no-count insurgencies in far away countries
filled with poor brown people. Having a conscience, a backbone and faith in the good
of mankind has gotten Manning nowhere in his government career, and if he is not a martyr, he is
certainly a posterboy for why every good and honorable person should tread lightly around the snake
Snowden seems to have particularly infuriated the head of state in this country – by ingeniously
honoring his oath to the Constitution and acting on his own faith that government works for us,
not the other way around. He was mistaken in this belief, but by acting nobly he exposed the
nefarious lying hypocrite that is the President, the executive branch and the warfare state, and
as we no doubt will see in coming years,
the welfare state as well. Because he is mild mannered and polite, intelligent and honest,
he makes a perfect superman to the USG villains. That he wisely sought personal safety and
freedom of speech outside of the United States (in Putin’s Russia!) is a further source of enragement
to our “government” – viscerally and fundamentally exposing its hypocrisy and lawlessness to the
In words, Washington seeks democracy and fights terrorism. In reality, the US government
funds Islamic fundamentalism around the world, subsidizes tyrants and dictators, and actively trades
with and works with al Qaeda places like Libya and Syria. In reality, US tax dollars funds
murder of innocents and those of good will. The
US government funds and facilitates the murders of Christians in Iraq, Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere
and has done so for years with the reliable, predictable, and entirely indefensible support
of “pro-Christian values” Congressmen and Senators.
A few days ago, in a parking lot picking up supplies from our
regional organic supplier, I was reminded that
Obama policies in Syria (and our own tax dollars) have directly caused
a recent atrocity that is similar to many others, none of which seem to make mainstream news
in the “heartland” or to shift state policy.
In that parking lot, my Catholic neighbor was frustrated that our own conservative Congressman
for the 6th Virginia district had continually voted to support the foreign policy of
aid to tyrants and al Qaeda linked groups. He has written repeatedly to the Congressman’s
office, recently on the US-funded murder of Friar Murad in Syria, and he has garnered no response.
Silence. Checking this conservative Congressman’s voting record finds that he also recently
voted to continue funding the illegal domestic monitoring and data collection ongoing by NSA, unconstitutional
programs that Ed Snowden helped us better understand (building on the truths told by
James Bamford and
Russ Tice.) The Democrats
are no better — they support murder and monitoring at home and abroad as predictably as the Republicans.
New fractures along the lines of state and anti-state seem to be emerging, and this is at once a
sign of hope, but also a harbinger for the centralized state’s larger ongoing battle against the
rest of us for its survival, a battle that increasingly forces all of us to choose sides, to clarify
our values, and to prepare.
Truthtellers like Manning and Snowden have impacted the world of lying and wordsmithing governments
in ways that may not have been initially seen. The unraveling of the government storyline
is irreversible. From knowledge of our government’s ability and intentions to know everything
about us have come demands from defense attorneys, corporations, and interest groups for the data
“they paid for.” From this data we get a closer semblance of “justice” in individual cases,
and from this we open the door more widely to recognizing broad government stupidity, excess and
overreach. From widespread recognition of stupidity, excess and overreach we get a new confidence
from the nether regions and otherwise unempowered rubes (present company included). We get
resource flows away from government. We see that the IRS can’t enforce Obamacare, IT guys
buy government-allied newspapers
for pennies on the
dollar, and private sector engineers design space, time and transportation
as government bureaucrats gaze helpless, speechless, doe-eyed.
A small but perfect intersection of these concepts is demonstrated by “parallel construction,”
as defined by the FBI, DEA and dozens of other agencies that share “sources.” Simply
put, the government recreates a fact stream to hide the actual facts, as a matter of longstanding
It’s always done for a “good cause,” to protect the paid stooges, narcs and government informers
so critical to the government “making its case” and justifying its activities. Except, now that
we know more about how the government operates, and we see how the government works not for us,
but for itself and its connected corporate or bureaucratic “friends,” we the people don’t really
like “parallel construction.” We the people don’t like being taken for idiots, being lied
to, getting the runaround, funding their own accusers and paying bureaucratic peeping Toms.
The Constitution bound no man, and the Founders knew it wouldn’t. However, its language
offers a grappling hook for those who value liberty and honesty – and inevitably it is language
today that powerfully arms us against the state. As in any guerilla war, we systematically
acquire our enemy’s cache and use his techniques and weaponry against him. The concept
of parallel construction – a weapon of the state – is so understandably in violation of the law
in a way that touches so many people – that we who oppose the state must chuckle and celebrate.
The government’s admission and embrace of a policy of “parallel construction” in the ongoing
era of the Panopticon is one more revelation of the utter lawlessness of the state, and it has
great potential to increase mass intolerance of state “authority.”
I’m eternally grateful that curious and justice-minded Edward Snowden grew to adulthood without
becoming jaded, wedded to power and position, or prescribed into numbness by ubiquitous authority.
His less than stellar performance within the public schooling machine was an early cause for
celebration. Despite his nonconformity in state schools – or perhaps because of it, Snowden was
and is very interested in serving his country and fellow man.
Believing his country needed him in the military, he enlisted and tried to get through some serious
combat training. Perversely, his broken legs in training probably preserved his moral compass. Early
on, he noticed his military instructors were more interested in getting trainees to enthusiastically
kill Middle Easterners than in preserving and securing the country. This makes sense. Expeditionary
volunteer forces, mercenaries for an empire, whatever you want to call the modern American standing
army, must emphasize the attractiveness and the excitement of the fight rather than the necessity
of it. To do otherwise would be self-defeating and hypocritical. To admit the truth beforehand would
be harmful to recruitment, as much as
record suicide rates do after recruitment.
Snowdon has confirmed what has already been reported and published in books by
James Bamford and others. The aims and workings of the US Congress and Executive branch have
studied and reported for years, and we understand the agenda both in terms of
bureaucratic tendencies as well as
specific executive goals in the
post 9/11 era. So far, nothing really new has been revealed, and all neoconservative state worshippers
of both parties have to complain about is that Snowdon confirms the existing suspicions and expectations
of the majority of Americans.
What angers the D.C. elitists is that one more serf stood up and publicly denied the commands
of the government father figure.
Implicit in the phrase “to suspect” is a sense that all this government surveillance and data
capture and storage is bad. A minority of Americans suspect their government. On the other hand,
“to expect” is somewhat value neutral – and sadly a majority of Americans expect the government
to own its citizens, their communications, their written and verbal commentary, their networks and
friends, their very thoughts and imagination and dreams.
seem willing to give away our fundamental humanity to empty bureaucrats, hated federal representatives
and even employees of the widely despised IRS and TSA. They lie back and take it, so to speak. Being
repeatedly raped in this way – invaded, owned, subdued and frightened – is not just what so many
“law and order” types and state-loving neoconservatives advocate with a wink for prisoners in our
many penitentiaries, it is apparently what they advocate outright for every man, woman and child
in the country, every day.
Perhaps Americans don’t mind this daily rape by the state because they have become used to it,
or perhaps, like abused wives and children, they feel there is nothing they can do – the state also
supplies so much that they need, so they feel they must endure the bad side of being a citizen.
Perhaps they are afraid. At least what is being done today is survivable, endurable; perhaps
what could happen may be worse.
For a country and a government so intensely concerned about the treatment of far away Afghani
women by a patriarchal clan system, it has little problem with the same kind of state-enforced ownership
of the daily communications activities of 300 million average Americans – real-time collection of
metadata plus content storage for years – without consent or court order.
Clan leaders in Afghanistan justify their traditions as safer for women, and in their best interests.
Curiously, that’s the same excuse given by the ruling goons in D.C.
Of course, the U.S. government is so large that it is impossible to know what it is doing, and
if we could know, it would be impractical to monitor it. The better choice is to drastically limit
it, and current trends show us that this is already happening. Law and constitutions certainly haven’t
worked, but happily the federal government
borrows or prints 46% of what it spends, a percentage that has been inching up for years. We
the people are not directly financing the growth of government, even as we the people seem to demand
more and more government spending. Inflation, currency collapse, and peaceful secessions of the
productive parts of the country will ultimately comprise “payment due”, and it will be traumatic.
But we have already stopped directly funding nearly half of our excessive government.
As Gary North points out, government monitoring of everyone is relatively cheap, efficient
and technologically easy. Further, it supports the driving state objective of continuing government
growth and borrowing by ensuring taxes are gathered, property annotated, and opposition voices punished,
quelled, and silenced.
The fevered obsession of our rulers with everything we are doing, writing, saying and thinking
is simply one more sign that the clay foundation of the corporatist state is crumbling. The
ongoing bankruptcy of the state, financially and morally, is on display and it is to be celebrated.
The very overreach of government is its undoing, and the fact that Russia and China are both publicly
condemning the behavior of the United States government is sweet icing on the cake.
Much as in Russia and China, we the people in America don’t exercise positive power over our
government. Elections are kabuki dances, entertaining but we know how the story ends. Like serfs
everywhere, we only have the negative power of consent –
we get what we tolerate. Edward Snowdon decided
to withdraw his consent, and his action offers each of us multitudinous opportunities to withdraw
our consent as well.
He is an enemy of the state. May he live long and prosper!
What is privacy? Why should we want to hold onto it? Why is it important, necessary, precious?
Is it just some prissy relic of the pretechnological past?
We talk about this now because of Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency revelations,
and new fears that we are operating, all of us, within what has become or is becoming a massive
surveillance state. They log your calls here, they can listen in, they can read your emails.
They keep the data in mammoth machines that contain a huge collection of information about you
and yours. This of course is in pursuit of a laudable goal, security in the age of terror.
Is it excessive? It certainly appears to be. Does that matter? Yes. Among other reasons:
The end of the expectation that citizens' communications are and will remain private will probably
change us as a people, and a country.
Among the pertinent definitions of privacy from the Oxford English Dictionary: "freedom from
disturbance or intrusion," "intended only for the use of a particular person or persons," belonging
to "the property of a particular person." Also: "confidential, not to be disclosed to others."
Among others, the OED quotes the playwright Arthur Miller, describing the McCarthy era: "Conscience
was no longer a private matter but one of state administration."
Privacy is connected to personhood. It has to do with intimate things—the innards of your
head and heart, the workings of your mind—and the boundary between those things and the world
A loss of the expectation of privacy in communications is a loss of something personal and
intimate, and it will have broader implications. That is the view of Nat Hentoff, the great
journalist and civil libertarian. He is 88 now and on fire on the issue of privacy. "The media
has awakened," he told me. "Congress has awakened, to some extent." Both are beginning to realize
"that there are particular constitutional liberty rights that [Americans] have that distinguish
them from all other people, and one of them is privacy."
Mr. Hentoff sees excessive government surveillance as violative of the Fourth Amendment,
which protects "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,
against unreasonable searches and seizures" and requires that warrants be issued only "upon
probable cause . . . particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things
to be seized."
But Mr. Hentoff sees the surveillance state as a threat to free speech, too. About a year
ago he went up to Harvard to speak to a class. He asked, he recalled: "How many of you realize
the connection between what's happening with the Fourth Amendment with the First Amendment?"
He told the students that if citizens don't have basic privacies—firm protections against the
search and seizure of your private communications, for instance—they will be left feeling "threatened."
This will make citizens increasingly concerned "about what they say, and they do, and they think."
It will have the effect of constricting freedom of expression. Americans will become careful
about what they say that can be misunderstood or misinterpreted, and then too careful about
what they say that can be understood. The inevitable end of surveillance is self-censorship.
All of a sudden, the room became quiet. "These were bright kids, interested, concerned, but
they hadn't made an obvious connection about who we are as a people." We are "free citizens
in a self-governing republic."
Mr. Hentoff once asked Justice William Brennan "a schoolboy's question": What is the most
important amendment to the Constitution? "Brennan said the First Amendment, because all the
other ones come from that. If you don't have free speech you have to be afraid, you lack a vital
part of what it is to be a human being who is free to be who you want to be." Your own growth
as a person will in time be constricted, because we come to know ourselves by our thoughts.
He wonders if Americans know who they are compared to what the Constitution says they are.
Mr. Hentoff's second point: An entrenched surveillance state will change and distort the
balance that allows free government to function successfully. Broad and intrusive surveillance
will, definitively, put government in charge. But a republic only works, Mr. Hentoff notes,
if public officials know that they—and the government itself—answer to the citizens. It doesn't
work, and is distorted, if the citizens must answer to the government. And that will happen
more and more if the government knows—and you know—that the government has something, or some
things, on you. "The bad thing is you no longer have the one thing we're supposed to have as
Americans living in a self-governing republic," Mr. Hentoff said. "The people we elect are not
your bosses, they are responsible to us." They must answer to us. But if they increasingly control
our privacy, "suddenly they're in charge if they know what you're thinking."
This is a shift in the democratic dynamic. "If we don't have free speech then what can we
do if the people who govern us have no respect for us, may indeed make life difficult for us,
and in fact belittle us?"
If massive surveillance continues and grows, could it change the national character? "Yes,
because it will change free speech."
What of those who say, "I have nothing to fear, I don't do anything wrong"? Mr. Hentoff suggests
that's a false sense of security. "When you have this amount of privacy invasion put into these
huge data banks, who knows what will come out?" Or can be made to come out through misunderstanding
the data, or finagling, or mischief of one sort or another. "People say, 'Well I've done nothing
wrong so why should I worry?' But that's too easy a way to get out of what is in our history—constant
attempts to try to change who we are as Americans." Asked about those attempts, he mentions
the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, the Red Scare of the 1920s and the McCarthy era. Those
times and incidents, he says, were more than specific scandals or news stories, they were attempts
to change our nature as a people.
What of those who say they don't care what the federal government does as long as it keeps
us safe? The threat of terrorism is real, Mr. Hentoff acknowledges. Al Qaeda is still here,
its networks are growing. But you have to be careful about who's running U.S. intelligence and
U.S. security, and they have to be fully versed in and obey constitutional guarantees.
"There has to be somebody supervising them who knows what's right. . . . Terrorism is
not going to go away. But we need someone in charge of the whole apparatus who has read
Advances in technology constantly up the ability of what government can do. Its technological
expertise will only become deeper and broader.
"They think they're getting to how you think. The technology is such that with the masses
of databases, then privacy will get even weaker."
Mr. Hentoff notes that J. Edgar Hoover didn't have all this technology. "He would be so envious
of what NSA can do."
"Surreal." "Kafkaesque." The best you can say is "pathetic." The kicker is that without
a single finger lifted on the part of congress Obama could have implemented four years ago procedures
for his administration that match those that he now wants congress to undertake. He could have:
had the government's presentations to FISA include arguments from an advocatus diaboli
created a task force
established internal executive-branch safeguards against abuse of §215
released his own administration's justifications
required the NSA to explain what it was doing.
He did none of those things, which he now says that he dearly wants to do.
Obama concedes that Snowden's leaks triggered a passionate and welcome debate. But he claims
that Snowden is no patriot because "we would have gotten to the same place" eventually.
This does not pass the bullshit test. ...
Tom Shillock :
Obama and his regime are a continuation of the Cheney / Bush regime albeit with a rhetorical
style. Given what is required to become president via the usual mechanisms of party, vested
interest support for campaign financing, and so on it would be surprising had he turned out
Cheryl -> Tom Shillock...
If this is true then Americans need to be very careful who becomes the next President. If
one more administration carries on the Cheney/Bush regime it will be very hard to overturn it.
Darryl FKA Ron -> Cheryl...
I would be more concerned about NSA spying if the oligarchy actually had a domestic political
enemy to spy on.
Apparently no espionage tool that Congress gives the National Security Agency is big enough
or intrusive enough to satisfy the agency’s inexhaustible appetite for delving into the communications
of Americans. Time and again, the N.S.A. has pushed past the limits that lawmakers thought they
had imposed to prevent it from invading basic privacy, as guaranteed by the Constitution.
It was bad enough in 2008 when Congress allowed the agency to spy without a warrant on e-mails
and text messages between Americans and foreign targets of an investigation. That already strained
the Fourth Amendment’s protections against illegal searches, but lawmakers decided it was justified
as part of a terror investigation.
It turns out, as Charlie Savage revealed in The New York Times, * that the N.S.A. went far
beyond those boundaries. Instead, it copies virtually all overseas messages that Americans send
or receive, then scans them to see if they contain any references to people or subjects the
agency thinks might have a link to terrorists.
That could very well include innocent communications between family members expressing fears
of a t Fourth Amendment. It’s as if the government were telling its citizens not to even talk
about security issues in private messages or else they will come to the attention of the nation’s
spies. “By injecting the N.S.A. into virtually every crossborder interaction, the U.S. government
will forever alter what has always been an open exchange of ideas,” said Jameel Jaffer,
the deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Obama administration officials justified this unwarranted expansion of surveillance powers
with the usual hairsplitting arguments over semantics. It’s not “bulk collection” of messages
if the messages aren’t stored, they said (even if every message is analyzed by supercomputers
as it is sent). It’s legitimate to search through conversations “about” a target, even if the
target isn’t part of the conversation. Naturally, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
approved these half-baked assertions with a secret opinion.
The disclosure of this practice makes it more urgent than ever that Congress clamp down
on what is unquestionably the bulk collection of American communications and restrict it to
clear targets of an investigation. Despite President Obama’s claim this week that “there
is no spying on Americans,” the evidence shows that such spying is greater than the public ever
President Obama, who seems to think the American people simply need some reassurance that
their privacy rights are intact, proposed a series of measures on Friday that only tinker around
the edges of the nation’s abusive surveillance programs.
He said he wants “greater oversight, greater transparency, and constraints” on the mass collection
of every American’s phone records by the National Security Agency. He didn’t specify what those
constraints and oversight measures would be, only that he would work with Congress to develop
them. But, in the meantime, the collection of records will continue as it has for years, gathering
far more information than is necessary to fight terrorism.
He said he wants an adversary to challenge the government’s positions at the secret Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Court, a long-needed reform that would allow the court’s federal judges
to hear more than one point of view in approving targets and security policy. But if those arguments
remain closed to the public — and the president did not suggest otherwise — then it will be
impossible to evaluate whether the change has had any effect. At a minimum, he could have urged
the court to release unclassified summaries of its opinions when possible.
Finally, he announced the N.S.A. would hire a civil liberties and privacy officer and create
a Web site about its mission, and that a task force would review the nation’s surveillance technologies.
These measures, however, are unlikely to have a real effect on intelligence gathering.
Fundamentally, Mr. Obama does not seem to understand that the nation needs to hear more than
soothing words about the government’s spying enterprise. He suggested that if ordinary people
trusted the government not to abuse their privacy, they wouldn’t mind the vast collection of
phone and e-mail data.
Bizarrely, he compared the need for transparency with showing his wife that he had done the
dishes, rather than just telling her he had done so. Out-of-control surveillance is a bit more
serious than kitchen chores. It is the existence of these programs that is the problem, not
whether they are modestly transparent. As long as the N.S.A. believes it has the right to collect
records of every phone call — and the administration released a white paper Friday that explained,
unconvincingly, why it is perfectly legal — then none of the promises to stay within the law
will mean a thing.
If all Mr. Obama is inclined to do is tweak these programs, then Congress will have to step
in to curb these abuses, a path many lawmakers of both parties are already pursuing. There are
bills pending that would stop the bulk collection of communications data, restricting it to
those under suspicion of terrorism. Other measures would require the surveillance court to make
public far more of its work. If the president is truly concerned about public anxiety, he can
vocally support legislation to make meaningful changes, rather than urging people to trust him
that the dishes are clean.
kievite -> anne...
Let me play a devil advocate.
We need to understand why government should be heads above standard industry practices. Part
of NSA actions are inevitable "externalities" of universal use of Internet for communication.
I still can't understand why NSA intercepting all the traffic and metadata of your emails without
your consent is bad, but identical or worse transgressions of Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay,
Apple and other "cloud providers" for some reason fell under the radar.
Google is actually scanning all your email (and thus have infrastructure that can be abused
by employees). Facebook is designed for collecting huge pool of information about you.
I am not sure that all your Google searches reveal less about you then, say, your emails.
And please note that Facebook business model is selling information about you to the highest
If all those companies are engaged in this "data mining" why NSA can't ? It is just a natural
part of national security state operation.
So we might talk about safeguards, procedures, ability of citizens to check what information
is collected on them, but not practice per se. The horses left stable long ago. And so far I
did not see any NSA initiated prosecutions for "criminal browsing of Internet", although I would
like to see some especially in case of child pornography and sexual exploitation of women.
I also do not understand why "cloud providers" do not sponsor a free tattoo "death to privacy"
on each user forehead ;-). And IMHO each Internet browser should display in title "Those Who
Enter, Leave Any Hopes of Privacy"...
My impression is that as soon as you are engaged in using cloud providers you voluntarily
agree to waive all questions of privacy of your data. It is a part of the deal. Am I wrong ?
I would recommend you starting to enter in your emails along with "Dear ... " also "Hello
NSA", just to remind for yourselves the rules of the game.
Darryl FKA Ron -> kievite...
Besides the realistic points that you have already made, there is "Person of Interest" problem
that murderers and child molestors are not interesting enough for the NSA to waste their time
and the ordinary domestic political enemies suspects don't even seem to exist.
The Citizens United establishment of unlimited dollar democracy and the get out of jail free
TARP card for TBTF investment bankers had already proved that the plutocracy was entirely safe
from domestic political threat, so they know that they have nothing to fear from the domesticized
electorate that would make us persons of interest.
Yes, "the plutocracy was entirely safe from domestic political threat" but as Reagan
once notes "Trust but verify" ;-).
Anyway you are right and the current two-party system automatically exclude any opposition
to oligarchy rule. In this sense a two party "winner takes all" system is as bad as one which
existed in the USSR. It's just allow selection of the lesser evil between two candidates preselected
by oligarchy, although in retrospect even this is questionable.
Darryl FKA Ron -> Darryl FKA Ron...
Just to be on the safe side though, it would be better not to elect a POTUS that sends visual
signals of deeply neurotic paranoia with their body language and facial expressions. For instance,
if Mitt Romney would get even twitchier and run again in 2020, then that would worry me with
regards to NSA surveillance powers.
Julio -> kievite...
There is a big difference between companies having copies of my data, and even using some
of it for commercial purposes, and the state prying into that data.
Technology changes, and with it the boundaries of an expectation of privacy. We should not
simply assume that the "natural" development of this concept is for us to lose our privacy;
it is, rather, for us to revise and extend the prohibitions on intrusive government activities.
anne -> Julio...
There is a big difference between companies having copies of my data, and even using some
of it for commercial purposes, and the state prying into that data.
[ Simple, but importantly right. Evidently there is considerably more to come but, as we
should understand already, governmental destruction of privacy is intolerable as a latent threat.
Greenwald Testifies to Brazilian Senate about NSA Espionage Targeting Brazil and Latin America
By Mabel Duran-Sanchez
This past Tuesday, investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald testified before the Brazilian
Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations and National Defense (CRE) at a public hearing on the
clandestine surveillance activities of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) in Brazil.
Greenwald, who has published many top-secret NSA documents leaked to him by whistleblower
Edward Snowden, explained how the agency’s surveillance programs go far beyond gathering intelligence
related to terrorism and other national security threats, as the U.S. government has suggested.
According to Greenwald, NSA spying has focused on foreign business interests as a means for
the U.S. government to gain a competitive advantage in negotiations. Greenwald mentioned that
he has information regarding instances of NSA surveillance of the Organization of American States
(OAS) and secret intelligence documents on economic agreements with Latin American nations.
He explained that this type of surveillance has helped the U.S. to make the agreements appear
more appealing to Latin American countries. Brazil’s concern about this economic espionage is
particularly understandable given that it is the U.S.’s largest trading partner in South America.
During the hearing, Greenwald made reference to a 2009 letter wherein Thomas Shannon, the
former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs (from November 2005 – November
2009) and current U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, celebrated the NSA’s surveillance program in Latin
America and how it has helped advance U.S. foreign policy goals in the region. Greenwald wrote
a detailed account of his findings in an article entitled “Did Obama know what they were thinking?”
in the Brazilian print magazine, Época. In this piece, Greenwald explains that Shannon’s letter,
addressed to NSA Director Keith Alexander, discusses how the spy agency obtained hundreds of
documents belonging to Latin American delegations detailing their “plans and intentions” during
the summit. Shannon asserted that these documents were instrumental in helping the Obama administration
engage with the delegations and deal with “controversial subjects like Cuba” and “difficult
counterparts” like former President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, and Bolivian President, Evo Morales.
In the same letter Shannon encouraged Alexander to continue providing similar intelligence as
“the information from the NSA will continue to give us the advantage that our diplomacy needs,”
especially ahead of an upcoming OAS General Assembly meeting in which he knew discussions on
Cuba’s suspension from the OAS would ensue.
Greenwald went on to explain the functioning of the NSA’s XKeyscore program to the Brazilian
senators, which he referred to as the most frightening of all the programs revealed thus far.
He also discussed the first U.S. secret surveillance program revealed to the world, PRISM. In
the next 10 days, Greenwald said, he will have further reports on U.S. surveillance and “there
will certainly be many more revelations on spying by the U.S. government and how they are invading
the communications of Brazil and Latin America.” ...
When he enters the gates of hell, Dante sees the famous line "Abandon all hope, ye who enter
here". ... no hope of release, no hope of any improvement or escape from their punishments. Virgil
guides Dante through the nine circles of Hell.
“Partners do not spy on each other,” said EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. “We cannot
negotiate over a big trans-Atlantic market if there is the slightest doubt that our partners are
carrying out spying activities on the offices of our negotiators. The American authorities should
eliminate any such doubt swiftly.”
European Parliament President Martin Schulz, said he was “deeply worried and shocked about the
allegations of U.S. authorities spying on EU offices.” And Luxembourg Foreign Minister and Deputy
Prime Minister Jean Asselborn said he had no reason to doubt the Der Spiegel report, and rejected
the notion that security concerns trump the broad U.S. surveillance authorities.
“We have to re-establish immediately confidence on the highest level of the European Union and
the United States,” Asselborn told The Associated Press.
According to Der Spiegel, the NSA planted bugs in the EU’s diplomatic offices in Washington and
infiltrated the building’s computer network. Similar measures were taken at the EU’s mission to
the United Nations in New York, the magazine said. It also reported that the NSA used secure facilities
at NATO headquarters in Brussels to dial into telephone maintenance systems that would have allowed
it to intercept senior officials’ calls and Internet traffic at a key EU office nearby.
Above all, surveillance technology has been coming home from our distant war zones. The National
Security Agency (NSA), for instance, pioneered the use of cell phones to track potential enemy movements
in Iraq and Afghanistan. The NSA did this in one of several ways. With the aim of remotely turning
on cell phones as audio monitoring or GPS devices, rogue signals could be sent out through an existing
network, or NSA software could be implanted on phones disguised as downloads of porn or games.
Using fake cell phone towers that actually intercept phone signals en route to real towers, the
U.S. could harvest hardware information in Iraq and Afghanistan that would forever label a phone
and allow the NSA to always uniquely identify it, even if the SIM card was changed. The fake cell
towers also allowed the NSA to gather precise location data for the phone, vacuum up metadata, and
monitor what was being said.
At one point, more than 100 NSA teams had been scouring Iraq for snippets of electronic data
that might be useful to military planners. The agency’s director, General Keith Alexander, changed
that: he devised a strategy called Real Time Regional Gateway to grab every Iraqi text, phone
call, email, and social media interaction. “Rather than look for a single needle in the haystack,
his approach was, ‘Let’s collect the whole haystack,’â€Š” said one former senior U.S. intelligence
official. “Collect it all, tag it, store it, and whatever it is you want, you go searching for it.”
Sound familiar, Mr. Snowden?
Welcome Home, Soldier (Part I)
Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now know that the “collect it all” technique employed by the NSA
in Iraq would soon enough be used to collect American metadata and other electronically available
information, including credit card transactions, air ticket purchases, and financial records. At
the vast new $2 billion data center it is building in Bluffdale, Utah, and at other locations, the
NSA is following its Iraq script of saving everything, so that once an American became a target,
his or her whole history can be combed through. Such searches do not require approval by a court,
or even an NSA supervisor. As it happened, however, the job was easier to accomplish in the U.S.
than in Iraq, as internet companies and telephone service providers are required by secret law to
hand over the required data, neatly formatted, with no messy spying required.
When the U.S. wanted something in Iraq or Afghanistan, they sent guys to kick down doors and
take it. This, too, may be beginning to happen here at home.
Recently, despite other valuable and easily portable objects lying nearby, computers,
and only computers, were stolen from the law offices representing State Department whistleblower
Similarly, a Washington law firm representing NSA whistleblower Tom Drake had computers,
and only computers, stolen from its office.
In these years, the FBI has brought two other NSA wartime tools home. The Bureau now uses
a device called Stingray to recreate those battlefield fake cell phone towers and track people in
the U.S. without their knowledge. Stingray offers some unique advantages: it bypasses the phone
company entirely, which is, of course, handy in a war zone in which a phone company may be controlled
by less than cooperative types, or if phone companies no longer cooperate with the government, or
simply if you don’t want the phone company or anyone else to know you’re snooping. American phone
companies seem to have been quite cooperative. Verizon, for instance, admits hacking its own cellular
modems (“air cards”) to facilitate FBI intrusion.
The FBI is also following NSA’s lead implanting spyware and other hacker software developed for
our war zones secretly and remotely in American computers and cell phones. The Bureau can then remotely
turn on phone and laptop microphones, even webcams, to monitor citizens, while files can be pulled
from a computer or implanted onto a computer.
... ... ...
So welcome to post-Constitutional America. Its shape is, ominously enough, beginning to come
Orwell’s famed dystopian novel 1984 was not intended as an instruction manual, but just days
before the Manning verdict, the Obama administration essentially buried its now-ironic-campaign
promise to protect whistleblowers, sending it down Washington’s version of the memory hole. Post-9/11,
torture famously stopped being torture if an American did it, and its users were not prosecutable
by the Justice Department.
Similarly, full-spectrum spying is not considered to violate the Fourth Amendment and does not
even require probable cause. Low-level NSA analysts have desktop access to the private emails and
phone calls of Americans. The Post Office photographs the envelopes of every one of the 160 billion
pieces of mail it handles, collecting the metadata of “to:” and “from:” addresses. An Obama administration
Insider Threat Program requires federal employees (including the Peace Corps) to report on the suspicious
behavior of coworkers.
... ... ...
In the UK we have RIPA (2000) – the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. If one ever discovered
oneself under surveillance, one has to go to Judicial Review at great expense (no legal aid
available – so this is a law discriminating between rich and poor) to try and find out why and
stop the process. Even then you can simply be told you may or may not have been under surveillance
and may or may not be told what it was all about – totally at State discretion.
All the points in this excellent review apply throughout Europe. The real killer is that
jobs are now very scarce and police checks are being made that are irrelevant in 99% of cases.
We had an outfit called the ‘Economic League’ here – neo-con scum with a blacklist. Such must
be much easier to put together now. This is an area where the big data approach would catch
us all – neo-con scum being enough to black list me – and they might also list everyone else
on a blog with a black-lister.
It’s dire and I found that even I had ‘conspiracy’ feelings as I read – this is an indication
of the extent to which they have got ‘retaliation in first’ even amongst those of us who already
believe they have gone too far.
There was a time when George Orwell could boast that “it was not possible” for the members
of the British ruling class
“to turn themselves into mere bandidts, like the American millionaires, consciously
clinging to unjust privileges and beating down opposition by bribery and tear-gas bombs.”
(Orwell, “England Your England”)
He could furthermore boast that the British ruling class, if it were completely corrupt,
would have come to an agreement with Hitler.
“But — and here the peculiar feature of English life that I have spoken of, the deep
sense of national solidarity, comes in — they could only do so by breaking up the Empire
and selling their own people into semi-slavery. A truly corrupt class would have done this
without hesitaiton, as in France. But things had not gone that distance in England.”
I’m not as sanguine as Orwell, and have a much more cynical view of what impeded the British
ruling class. It wasn’t so much an abiding sense of noblesse oblige, but imperial overreach
and national decline that stopped them in their tracks. “The Weary Titan staggers under the
too vast orb of its fate,” as Joseph Chamberlain told the Colonial Conference in 1902.
But regardless of whether the British ruling class could or could not legitimately claim
moral one-upmanship on Europe and the US in 1941, such claims these days completely lack legitimacy.
This is where Morris Berman and I part ways. Earlier this year Berman gave an interview to
the radio station at the University of Monterrey. The subtext of his discussion was this — blame
America for everything. However, I believe many of the things Berman blames on America are better
laid at the feet of the Enlightenment, Modernism, the Western tradition, or human nature itself.
Friends; On a close to home front here in America, we have local cops cruising the parking
lots of retail vendors scanning license plates. These were private property rights issues once.
Now they are Police State issues. If the cop finds an outstanding warrant, he or she gets an
easy bust, another object of tribute to the Imperial Treasury. The rest of the information goes
somewhere, to flesh out some Aparatchiks State Security Algorithm. There’s the rub; the numbers
don’t lie, but the uses to which you put them to most certainly can. The only consolation in
all this that I can find is that nothing lasts forever.
From abroad: absolutely in agreement. It even feels a bit mild and incomplete (but understandable
because it’s just so overwhelmning).
Since 9-11 the USA, Europe and almost the whole World have been suffering that slide
to totalitarianism which has not almost been challenged at all (certainly not from mainstream
politicians nor journalists, with the rare and shy exception). On September 2013, Obama
will sign again the emergency state decree that has kept, along with other measures, the USA
under exceptional legislation for more than a decade already.
In many aspects it reminds of the rapid evolution of the Roman Republic to the Imperial rule:
neither “imperator” nor “princeps” were originally monarchic or even any kind of official titles,
just institutional flattery to the de-facto strongman who arose after decades of “unconstitutional”
rule by the triumvires; the Republic was never abolished, it just became irrelevant and
new militaristic institutions arose to take its role.
Exactly as it’s happening right now before our eyes. The difference may be that this seems
to be a more conscious effort to replicate the Roman transition to the imperial dictatorship.
It is ironical that, in the name of patriotism and defense against a ghostly and surely fake
enemy, the whole USA is being dismantled in favor of something relatively new and in any
case totally anti-democratic.
I still hope that the whole conspiracy (not “conspiranoia”) will not succeed because of the
extreme challenge that such an imperial rule poses, especially in the midst of a major economic
crisis and the most complex ecological catastrophe that Humankind has ever met, and also because
of the new social and political networking ways arisen with the Internet… but it is very
scary in any case.
Since 9-11 the USA, Europe and almost the whole World have been suffering that slide
to totalitarianism which has not almost been challenged at all (certainly not from mainstream
politicians nor journalists, with the rare and shy exception).
A few days ago a Mexican writer, Pierre Charasse, published a couple of articles in one of
the Mexico City dailies in which he grappled with the conundrum of why Europe would so blithely
concede to such an outcome:
He attributes Europe’s obeisance to what he calls “the new Stockholdm Syndrome.”
That the European ruling class is marching in lockstep with the US ruling class is undeniable,
and was fleshed out by a post from links a few days ago:
In this second phase, the German political elite has shifted its feet; rather than trying
to deny any involvement whatsoever, they have instead tried to interpret the possibility of
something really outrageous as being necessary for your security, and part of fundamental alliance
commitments which cannot be questioned within the limits of respectable discourse. The ur-text
here is Die Zeit‘s interview with Angela Merkel, in which Merkel argues that she knew nothing,
further that there was a balance to strike between freedom and security, that although some
kinds of spying were unacceptable, the alliance came first. The effectiveness of this, at least
in the context of the interview, can be measured by astonishingly uncritical questions like
the one in which she was asked “what additional efforts were necessary from the Germans to maintain
I see things a little bit differently than Charasse, however, because I view the neoliberal
project as being a supranational endeavor. From my point of view the complicity of the European
ruling class is explained by the fact that it is working for the same paymaster as the US ruling
class: the transnational corporate class.
My sense as a young Britisher was that the US was the beacon of democratic hope – but I was
brought up on half-stories sometimes as wrong as that Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 53 BC.
WW1 & 2 were both fought by a democratic Britain against fascist, authoritarian Germany. In
the same trance, I imagined the Opium Wars about the Royal Navy chasing down drug pushers! I
wasn’t really disabused of this until I found myself in Northern Ireland “protecting” against
the Marxist-Leninist IRA. This bunk is still around to swallow, and is best summed-up in the
‘nuke Rio’ attitude during the Falklands. By then I had hands on experience of doing ‘British
protection’ – a matter of deep shame for me and colleagues from them I still know. This despite
a deeply socialist father. Now I’d probably go further than Mexico.
Our anti-Nazi group before WW2 was led by Churchill, a ghastly creature who ordered troops
to fire on striking miners (1890s) and may have been a US agent. Whatever the truth, the Boys
Own history won’t do, but is continued in our media. Further back, the ability to take the lash
amongst European peasantry is legendary and what revolutions we have had generally produced
tyranny, hardly much encouragement to try again.
My working hypothesis is that today’s information gathering has been going on since the
Byzantine Empire and the electronic form changes much less than we think. With the exception
of Scandinavia we have all failed to bring about democratic foreign policy and prevent engagement
in imperialist wars. It has remained utterly obvious that the rich get much more favourable
treatment under our laws, often because representation is non-existent.
My guess is we cannot face up to real history in an almost Freudian sense of pushing
it away. We are also getting old in population proportion. We should remember Canadian
soldiers were kept in appalling conditions in Wales after WW1 – some died – because the establishment
considered them a rebellion risk – and broke Britain just happened to have an 80,000 man army
in Egypt in 1956 and we killed 28,000 Indonesians in a secret war, mostly under genuine Labour
government in the 70s.
My guess is we have been under the cosh for a very long time and preferred to look away.
That the big data is not being used against the banksters, but we bring harmless jokers to court
and convict them should tell us all. Apathy is the main European emotion, maybe even in our
Agree regarding the supranational character.
Their stealth template (Link from CNN)?
“Germany’s Weimar Constitution was changed into the Nazi Constitution before anyone knew.
It was changed before anyone else noticed. Why don’t we learn from that method?” —Japanese Deputy
Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso; August 1, 2013
In 1933, Adolf Hitler’s National Socialists turned the democratic Weimar Republic into a
dictatorship using “a combination of legal procedure, persuasion, and terror,” according to
the U.S. Library of Congress.
The strategy and tactics being applied appear to be similar.
Nothing has really changed since the 1870 to 1945 era. The imperialist project, previously
known as liberal internationalism or liberal imperialism, has a new name – neoliberalism – but
other than that everything else is the same. Europe and the non-US Anglosphere are now
junior partners, but they are still very much on board with the imperialist project. And imperialism
and its racist ideology still come cloaked as patriotism, lurking behind the more beguiling
disguise of nationalism — of national unity and national interest — as Hannah Arendt explains:
The curious weakness of popular opposition to imperialism, the numerous inconsistencies
and outright broken promises of liberal statesmen, frequently ascribed to opportunism or
bribery, have other and deeper causes. Neither opportunism nor bribery could have persuaded
a man like Gladstone to break his promise, as the leader of the Liberal Party, to evacuate
Egypt when he became Prime Minister. Half consciously and hardly articulately, these men
shared with the people the conviction that the national body itself was so deeply split
into classes, that class struggle was so universal a characteristic of modern political
life, that the very cohesion of the nation was jeopardized. Expansion again appeared as
a lifesaver, if and insofar as it could provide a common interest for the nation as a whole,
and it is mainly for this reason that imperialists were allowed to become “parasites upon
Partly, of course, such hopes still belonged with the old vicious practice of “healing”
domestic conflicts with foreign adventures. The difference, however, is marked. Adventures
are by their very nature limited in time and space; they may succeed temporarily in overcoming
conflicts, although as a rule they fail and tend rather to sharpen them. From the very beginning
the imperialist adventure of expansion appeared to be an eternal solution, because expansion
was conceived as unlimited. Furthermore, imperialism was not an adventure in the usual sense,
because it depended less on nationalist slogans than on the seemingly solid basis of economic
interests. In a society of clashing interests, where the common good was identified with
the sum total of individual interests, expansion as such appeared to be a possible common
interest of the nation as a whole. Since the owning and dominant classes had convinced everybody
that economic interest and the passion for ownership are a sound basis for the body politic,
even the non-imperialist statesmen were easily persuaded to yield when a common economic
interest appeared on the horizon.
These then are the reasons why nationalism developed so clear a tendency toward imperialism,
the inner contradiction of the two principles notwithstanding. The more ill-fitted nations
were for the incorporation of foreign peoples (which contradicted the constitution of their
own body politic), the more they were tempted to oppress them. In theory, there is an abyss
between nationalism and imperialism; in practice, it can and has been bridged by tribal
nationalism and outright racism. From the beginning, imperialists in all countries preached
and boasted of their being “beyond the parties,” and the only ones to speak for the nation
as a whole…
The cry for unity resembled exactly the battle cries which had always led peoples to
war; and yet, nobody detected in the universal and permanent instrument of unity the germ
of universal and permanent war.
–HANNAH ARENDT, The Origins of Totalitarianism
I of course disagree with Arendt when she asserts that “Neither opportunism nor bribery could
have persuaded a man like Gladstone to break his promise.” Here I side with John Adams:
Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the
weak; and that it is doing God’s service when it is violating all His laws. Our passions,
ambitions, avarice, love and resentment, etc., possess so much metaphysical subtlety and
so much overpowering eloquence that they insinuate themselves into the understanding and
the conscience and convert both to their party.
Or to put it much more bluntly:
It is a common phenomenon for a ponerogenic association or group to contain a particular
ideology which always justifies its activities and furnishes motivational propaganda. Even
a small-time gang of hoodlums has its own melodramatic ideology and pathological romanticism.
Human nature demands that vile matters be haloed by an over-compensatory mystique in order
to silence one’s conscience and to deceive consciousness and critical faculties, whether
one’s own or those of others.
If such a ponerogenic union could be stripped of its ideology, nothing would remain except
psychological and moral pathology, naked and unattractive.
–ANDREW M. LOBACZEWSKI, Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted
for Political Purposes
What’s even more creepy to me is when you’re working for a big corporation how you’re expected
to show Moonie-like devotion to the cause (that cause being far, far from wholesome) and the
enterprise surveillance system and other measures such as performance monitoring are extremely
adept at spotting the potential miscreants. It’s not that many steps away from being the Thought
Never having lived in a country with a documented constitution, I’ve always been a little
sceptical that it brings an awful lot of protection to the average citizen (US residents
seem to take it very seriously though so maybe I’m wrong and it does represent a significant
limit to the power — and potential abuses — of the state).
But a fat lot of good that is if the only work you can get is with one of a succession of
enterprises that a) want to own your whole life and b) will expel you if you’re not a True Believer.
The counterargument is, you can quit and get another job. But the more the world of employment
turns into cookie-cutter replicas of the same model, the harder this turns out to do in practice.
As for me, I’m faking it as hard as I can. But it’s more and more difficult to keep one step
ahead, I’ll get found out eventually !
So sorry Bradley, you were doomed from the start.
Opting In or Out of your Default Life
A technique now in use by the Stasi and Corporations is the Optout or Optin Option. The most
famous use is at the airport by the Inyerpantsers. It is your right, of course, to optout of
the scanner abuse. But if you do so, holy hell breaks out and you are pointed out to all present
as a pariah, anti-American, possibly a terrorist or someone who sympathisizes with them. So,
exercising a right in America has become a wrong. You will be punished. This is classic Schoolyard
A variation of this which we seem to see and hear of more and more is by the police. “Can
we search your car, house, computer……” If you exercise your right to say no, particularly at
2AM, you may be dealt with harshly and, again, a pariah, anti-American, possibly a terrorist
or someone who sympathizes with them.
The latest American Poodle in England, David Cameron, successor to the last lap dog, Tony
Bliar, is running an Optin variation in England. One of the big reasons for the English decline
is pornography according to Cameron. Therefore, the default for Internet providers will be NO
PORN. If you want porn, you, you despicable, degenerate, etc. non-human must OPTIN to get it.
So, there, have your porn, you……..
This leads also to the fact that apparently most users of a service accept the defaults and
never change them. Thus we have more and more corporations using optin optout. So, next time,
you may just get that Apple Pie because that’s the default.
Governing all the above, there now seems to be a prevalent belief in America today that the
only rights you have are the ones a majority of the population thinks you should have. I would
suspect that the Stasi are working overtime on these coercive techniques probably with the assistance
of expert Game Theorists, Psychologists and Sociologists.
So, NSA, here’s a good name for your program OPTERATION BAFFLE.
This passage from Solzhenitsyn came to mind during the GW Bush years, but it’s probably more
“If … we count the numbers imprisoned … and then add three times that number for the
members of their families – banished, suspected, humiliated and persecuted – then we shall
be forced to admit to our astonishment that for the first time in history the people had
become its own enemy, though in return it acquired the best of friends – the secret police.”
The Gulag Archipelago Two, Chapter 10: In Place of Politicals
Manning was held in prison for (10?) months without being formally charged with a crime.
That alone would have commanded a full front page of all major news papers only 20 years ago.
It seems you can get away with anything as long as you burry it in enough outrageous other stuff
you are getting away with.
American manufacturing invented world scale volume but since “materialism” is so, ahem, vulgar,
we turned our ingenuity to manufacturing something more abstract, corruption, rather than material
things, but on the same overwhelming scale.
If your computer isn’t protected against things like key-stroke capture, then all The Onion
Routers in the world won’t hide a thing.
I wonder if anything is safe (or private) short of pre 2001 hardware and software.
The NSA's Overreach And Lack Of Transparency Is Hurting American Businesses
from the the-economy-has-been-drafted-into-the-War-of-Terror dept
One major negative side effect of the NSA leaks is the problem it's causing for US-based
tech companies. Not only have they been forbidden to discuss the details and scope of their
interactions with American intelligence agencies, they've also been put in the worst possible
light by some of the revelations.
Very simply put, the actions of the NSA harm American businesses. The NSA's control of
the narrative only makes it worse as existing and potential customers have no way of knowing
the full extent of the protection (or lack thereof) surrounding their data. Under the current
law, companies can't even acknowledge they've received FISA court orders, much less provide
statistics on frequency and compliance. With these restrictions in place, the government
becomes the mouthpiece for American tech companies, and that mouth isn't saying much.
Pointing to the potential fallout from the disclosures about the scale of NSA operations
in Europe, [Nellie] Kroes, the European commissioner for digital matters, predicted that
US internet providers of cloud services could suffer major business losses.
"If businesses or governments think they might be spied on, they will have less reason
to trust cloud, and it will be cloud providers who ultimately miss out. Why would you pay
someone else to hold your commercial or other secrets if you suspect or know they are being
shared against your wishes?" she said.
"It is often American providers that will miss out, because they are often the leaders
in cloud services. If European cloud customers cannot trust the United States government,
then maybe they won't trust US cloud providers either. If I am right, there are multibillion-euro
consequences for American companies. If I were an American cloud provider, I would be quite
frustrated with my government right now."
As it stands right now, hardly anyone trusts the American government. Those who are loudest
in their defense of these programs also stand to gain the most by their continued existence.
And while a lot of the discussion centers around the constitutional issues of harvesting
of data on American citizens, the rest of the world isn't exactly thrilled either, especially
considering these rights (even if ignored domestically) aren't extended to foreigners.
NSA is the only part of the US government that actually listens to the people.
The article indicates that it stores data per session, so you'd have to be careful about
pattern matching and regular haunts as well.
How bizarre is it that literally the only thing limiting the surveillence technologies
governments build are the limits of the technologies themselves. If we don't get the privacy
concerns correct now we're completely stuffed when its possible to, say, detect our presence
from skin particles in the air.
Nothing changes if we give up. attitude becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The controllers
are hoping like hell we give in to hopelessness, that our interest wanes and we go back to our
tv shows, sports, lattes, etc. . . and let them continue to have their way. I don't think it
matters what party someone votes for. that's all about giving us the illusion of choice, when
really the Ds and Rs are doing the same thing. I think Einstein once said that problems cannot
be solved from the mindset from which they were created. It's in our best interest to continue
to be informed, create opportunity for dialogue, encourage family and friends to do the same:
eyes wide open. We've been sleeping far too long.
Another illuminating article on the dataholic mass surveillance state. The Guardian is fast
becoming one of my most visited news sites.
It is outrageous but in the absence of any real meaningful resistance some people signed us
all up when they started commodifying the private data they generate, either through
the systemic peer pressure companies like Apple and Facebook so expertly exploit or because
they didn't really understand what had happened and as such didn't care. There is no real shutting
down of programmes like these (they will probably only expand) because on the one hand we live
in a world where people are supposedly outraged by mass surveillance and on the other hand happily
pouring their most private thoughts and desires onto Facebook, to be sold to advertisers and
forever stored for advertising algorithms to analyze and extract our deepest desires so that
ads are better at selling us products we wouldn't buy otherwise. Facebook is not bound by (relevant)
laws, has no independent oversight and is not obligated to delete anything, ever.
Until we try to resolve this staggering hypocrisy, any attempt to even just bring oversight
to mass surveillance will ring hollow because what they won't collect directly they will then
just buy on the open data marketplace (so that, in the end, people and their thoughts aren't
just commodities but also pay for the data they themselves generate several times over). Think
about it, the Electronic Police State will exist one way or another, until we get to grips with
the fact that these oceans of data (which, like "the Cloud" serves as a nice euphemism
for the private thoughts of billions of people) we're talking about are one and the same. And
we stop pretending mass surveillance is a necessary or even effective way of stopping terrorism,
when at best it's been an illusion of control that enabled us to ignore the underlying causes
and revert to an infantile state of unquestioning overconsumption, all over again, giving no
thought to what we've come to represent.
Please let's not act surprised, it's not like they don't know we're faking it and knew all
along, but mostly were too afraid to speak out, if not out of fear then for fear of speaking
about matters which, as George Orwell once pointed out, are "not done" to talk about because
they expose the prevailing orthodoxy.
Hermosillo wrote this in 1994:
"it is fashionable to suggest that cyberspace is some kind of _island of the blessed_ where
people are free to indulge and express their Individuality. some people write about cyberspace
as though it were a 60′s utopia. in reality, this is not true. major online services, like compuserv
and america online, regular guide and censor discourse. even some allegedly free-wheeling (albeit
politically correct) boards like the WELL censor discourse. the difference is only a matter
of the method and degree. what interests me about this, however, is that to the mass, the debate
about freedom of expression exists only in terms of whether or not you can say fuck or look
at sexually explicit pictures. i have a quaint view that makes me think that discussing the
ability to write 'fuck' or worrying about the ability to look at pictures of sexual acts constitutes
The Least Of Our Problems surrounding freedom of expression."
"i have seen many people spill their guts on-line, and i did so myself until, at last,
i began to see that i had commodified myself. commodification means that you turn something
into a product which has a money-value. in the nineteenth century, commodities were made
in factories, which karl marx called 'the means of production.' capitalists were people who
owned the means of production, and the commodities were made by workers who were mostly exploited.
i created my interior thoughts as a means of production for the corporation that owned the
board i was posting to, and that commodity was being sold to other commodity/consumer entities
as entertainment. that means that i sold my soul like a tennis shoe and i derived no profit
from the sale of my soul. people who post frequently on boards appear to know that they are
factory equipment and tennis shoes, and sometimes trade sends and email about how their contributions
are not appreciated by management."
Michele Catalano was looking for information online about pressure cookers. Her husband, in the
same time frame, was Googling backpacks. Wednesday morning, six men from a joint terrorism task
force showed up at their house to see if they were terrorists. Which begs the question: How'd the
government know what they were Googling?
Catalano (who is a professional writer)
the tension of that visit.
[T]hey were peppering my husband with questions. Where is he from? Where are his parents from?
They asked about me, where was I, where do I work, where do my parents live. Do you have
any bombs, they asked. Do you own a pressure cooker? My husband said no, but we have a
rice cooker. Can you make a bomb with that? My husband said no, my wife uses it to make quinoa.
What the hell is quinoa, they asked. ...
Have you ever looked up how to make a pressure
cooker bomb? My husband, ever the oppositional kind, asked them if they themselves weren’t
curious as to how a pressure cooker bomb works, if they ever looked it up. Two of them admitted
The men identified themselves as members of the "joint terrorism task force." The composition
of such task forces
on the region of the country, but, as
we outlined after the Boston bombings, include a variety of federal agencies. Among them: the
FBI and Homeland Security.
Ever since details of the NSA's surveillance infrastructure were leaked by Edward Snowden, the
agency has been insistent on the boundaries of the information it collects. It is not, by law, allowed
to spy on Americans — although there are exceptions of which it takes advantage. Its PRISM program,
under which it collects internet content, does not include information from Americans unless those
Americans are connected to terror suspects by no more than
two other people. It collects metadata on phone calls made by Americans, but
reportedly stopped collecting metadata on Americans' internet use in 2011. So how, then, would
the government know what Catalano and her husband were searching for?
I’m not sure why people are so cynical about Obama’s proclivity for playing 11-dimensional
chess. Isn’t the fact that he’s playing the game against his own party, against his own
ethnicity, against his own class, and against his own country evidence enough that he’s playing
a far more complicated game than most?
Though it does boil down to selling out, which isn’t as hard to follow as rationalizing it.
How ironic that an average person like Snowden (certainly not average in the character category)
could be such a remarkable thorn in Obama’s side. Snowden has taught us all a valuable lesson
in the value of truth.
Interesting to watch how the credibility trap continues to grow for Obama. As you mention,
it may not be the abuses themselves that result in the big O’s undoing, but the ensuing cover-up
“People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender
any material part of their advantage.” -- John Kenneth Galbraith
The people advising Obama aren’t interested in America. They are only interested in Israel.
And Israel has a national, strategic, and economic interest in keeping the security state functioning
with the public-private relationships that its defense contractors, security contractors, and
telephonic partners provide them. For example, it is inconceivable that the utility AT&T,
in its pre-breakup days, would have routed all call record data through an Israeli (foreign)
government-backed company for billing of US customers. Now, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint,
et cetera, do.
Further, General Keith Alexander has outsourced US strategic interests to private contractors
outside US jurisdiction that cannot be curtailed or controlled directly by US law, or the quaint
notion of the express wishes of the American people. They can only be curtailed or controlled
by Alexander himself, and as James Bamford pointed out this past month, Alexander as the head
of Cyber Command has his own army, navy, and air force that is not under the direct control
of the US President.
Cornell West was talking with Larry Lessig in an interview and went into detail about “simple
virtue” and how threatening it is to the state. Very good interview, I highly recommend it.
Fifty percent of congress-persons leave congress to go to work on “K” Street as lobbyists,
with an average increase in pay of 1,452%.
And yet juxtaposed to this we still find folks with “simple integrity,” as West goes on to
And yet in the end we do have a significant number of fellow citizens who just want to
be decent. I think it’s just fundamentally a moral and spiritual issue. When you look at
the words of Bradley Manning and Snowden and others, they really talk about conscience;
they really talk about trying to do what’s right regardless of the consequences. And that
really is in the end an issue of integrity… It’s a matter of them being willing to sacrifice
and being willing to disclose truths that they know could lead toward their destruction
of their lives.
What West said reminded me of something Susan Neiman wrote:
Moral Clarity – Facing Gallows
Are there moral laws that bind everyone—wherever they come from, whatever they believe?
The greatest philosopher of modern times walked up to this question and turned sideways,
refusing to answer directly. Instead, Immanuel Kant reached for a parable.
Imagine, he says, a man who claims temptation overwhelms him whenever he passes what
the 18th century discretely referred to as “a certain house”. No matter what he tells himself
beforehand, when he reaches the whorehouse he has to go in. He’d like to be prudent, he’d
like to be faithful; perhaps he thinks sex is one thing that doesn’t belong on the market.
But no tie of love, no fear of disease or shame is stronger than the claims of the flesh.
Can we understand him? Easily, says Kant. But what if a gallows were installed before the
whorehouse on which he will be hung immediately after emerging from its sin-sating depths?
Suddenly he discovers he can withstand temptation very nicely, thank you. For however bright
ordinary desires may be—for sex or wealth or any other form of mortal pleasure—all of them
pale before the desire for life itself. No life, no consumption: all the sweets of the world
put together cannot weigh against that.
Let the same man be summoned before an unjust ruler, and given a choice. The ruler intends
to execute an innocent subject fallen afoul of his regime, but the semblance of law demands
the appearance of just procedures. Someone will write a letter denouncing the innocent,
bearing false witness to a capital crime. Our roue is asked to do it. Should he refuse,
the ruler will make sure he is executed himself.
As in the first case, Kant thinks it’s easy to imagine being in this fellow’s shoes.
But unlike the first case, we suddenly waver: we do not know what we would do. Kant always
emphasized the limits of knowledge, and one of the things we never know for certain is the
inside of our souls. None of us is so righteous as to be sure not to crumble in the face
of death or torture. Most of us probably would. But all of us know what we should do: refuse
to write the letter though it cost our own lives. And all of us know that we could do just
that—whether or not we would totter in the end. In this moment, says Kant, we know our own
freedom, in a breath of awe and wonder. Not pleasure but justice can move human beings to
deeds that overcome the strongest of animal desires, the love of life itself. And contemplating
this is as dizzying as contemplating the heavens above us: with this kind of power, we are
as infinite as they are.
[We should never] be urged to live rightly because it’s in our self-interest to do so.
Such arguments leave us helpless whenever morality and self-interest part company; in the
times when they don’t, we don’t need morality to move us.
So how do you answer the skeptic who asks why he should be moral? Kant says you do it
by talking about heroes: those who risk their lives rather than resign themselves to injustice.
“Here virtue is worth so much because it costs so much.”
“What’s absolute, ” says Cornel West, “is what I’m willing to die for.”
Good insight from Kant and many thanks for sharing.
I am reminded though that in the movie “V for Vendetta” the heroine is held
captive by the man of the Guido Fawkes mask – our hero, during weeks of torture, Evie refuses
to give up her friends, knowing full well they, and most likely herself, would be killed regardless
of the outcome.
The end of that particular scene, when Evie believes its better to die, than betray, is the
moment she’s overcome by all human emotion, love of life, love of freedom and a love of all
that’s good in humanity.
Its a very powerful movie despite being based on a comic, and one regular posters should
view or review again – particularly given the fascist trends so evident in the USA and UK presently
– its a good dystopian warning that offers hope.
…Snowden is bushbama version of bushcheney’s WikiLeaks…
we, the American people, must be thankful for both…and contrast within, to LIES…
a. Thanks for quoting me.
b. “If the NSA knows what Snowden downloaded (as they assert they do) they should be well
aware of what he can publish. ”
I believe they do NOT know what he downloaded. Unless the NSA has a very diligent access
and logging system (which for efficiency reasons does not make sense) a sysadmin like Snowden
can delete the traces of access he had to a machine or file. The NSA does not know what Snowden
In yesterdays hearing the NSA robot said they did not know yet how Snowden did what he did.
If that is true they can not know what he has.
(The NSA does not even know if he left a bug in the system or some kind of time bomb like
virus. It will take month for them to be sure that their systems are not corrupted. Quite mess
in that data shop.)
Thanks for paying a visit!
Well, even if they feel compelled to lie, their actions still are remarkably nonsensical
(or as you said re Obama, arrogant). If they don’t know what he has, they should assume the
worst. And they aren’t acting that way (well they are in their desperation to get him, but with
the info having gone to Greenwald, that horse has left the barn and is in the next county) as
least in terms of what they’ve been saying to Congress.
My thoughts would be that that is the exact reason they are so extremely obsessed with getting
him. They want him so they can put the screws to him to find out what Greenwald has so they
can know what needs to covered up. Right now they don’t know how much of their a** is hanging
It’s important to note that Snowden was hired in the role of “infrastructure analyst” at
Booz Allen. They advertised for someone to fill that role and Snowden was an absolute catch
for them. He could do awesome things on the keyboard, according to those who knew him.
What does an infrastructure analyst do? Test the system. Put on a black hat for the good
of the company and see where the weaknesses in the network and security protocols are. To do
that, he or she has to be able to get in and out AND cover their tracks, just as an expert outside
hacker would do.
Edward had the run of the place, and a thumb drive, for three months, and only left when
he was completely satisfied. He had his way with them.
So no, there is no real way short of peeling Edward’s skin off to discover exactly where
he went and what he took from Booz Allen and the NSA. The blowhards in Congress and the bureaucrats
atop the NSA have no idea.
If Snowden is taken or disappeared, the NSA will then treat anyone who publishes the rest
of his material similarly, no matter where they live or what nation they are a citizen of. The
gloves are off to save their secrets, and their own asses.
That’s escalation. If discretion in releases doesn’t buy any indulgence, their next disgruntled
infrastructure analyst might not be bothered to exercise it. Training documents and presentations
are one thing to have exposed, but there are crown jewels, such as sources and methods, cipher
details, keying material, source code, and email server contents, that once disclosed could
irreparably damage billions of dollars in black ops investments throughout DoD and might even
be fatal to the agency (and, though we may hope to find the teachable moment, probably to the
discloser as well).
What Antifa said, but some what differently, and then more. Snowden is a two-level problem
for the NSA.
The first and highest level problem is _how_ Snowden knows what he knows. That is, what he
knows about how the NSA’s data gathering operates systemically, and how it’s internal structures
work; just as Antifa remarks. Snowden BEAT that system, in that he got in, got data, got out,
and they didn’t know until he told the world. Now, Ed Snowden has publicly promised not to reveal
this kind of ‘structural knowledge,’ because in principal that could harm ‘real national security’
as opposed to the obscene simulacra of that concept which is the workaday perception in the
minds of the Securacrats and the ultimate insiders of Permanent Washington. But who knows how
Ed will feel months or years from now? Or if the Russkis will worm it out of him; “We have ways
. . . .” goes the thinking. Ed Snowden walking free and unafraid is more dangerous to the NSA
as of today than an armed nuclear missle in flight given what he knows of their big iron and
little bugs. Getting him back before he squawks anything of that ‘structural knowledge’ is Mission
One for them, and hence for the President. Greenwald & Co. may very well _not_ have much if
any damaging components of such ‘structural knowledge’ since Ed said he was keeping mum on that.
So there may still be time, from the securecrats’ standpoint. Obama is stalling for time therefore,
hoping to figure some way of getting Snowden out of circulation before the ‘iron’ gets shopped,
deliberately or inadvertently. Or at least until the NSA can reconfigure internally on the hurry-up
to keep themselves from getting hoovered via Ed’s keys should they come out. That has to be
a worry against simply assassianting Snowden too: he could have a ‘dead man drop’ of those keys.
Don’t be surprised if he hasn’t left them a message to that effect which neither he nor the
securecrats have chose to make public.
Snowden also presents a second-level problem for the President even more than the NSA in
_what_ he knows. I can think of at least two potential reveals, or two-and-a-half, which would
get Barack Obama and his main crew in an all night stew to defense, delay, and deny. Just guessing,
but when Greenwald says ‘bigger to come,’ this is where I go.
1) We me find out that the NSA has systematically snooped on every member of Congress since
long since, and in particular monitors all communications of those thought to be ‘politically
unsound’ such as Grayson, McDermott, Rand Paul, or, yes, Amash. Folks who might actually take
a call from *cough* _Julian Assange_, or ‘an agent of a foreign power,’ or ‘an Islamofascist
sympathizer’ who might try to funnel data to said Congressperson which proved embarassing or
worse to the Prez and the securecrats. I mean, what is the _highest_ value domestic intel out
there for those who RUN the security state? Com-taps on dissenters; as always, ever. So that
at least the securecrats know what’s coming before it’s out. Or better (from their viewpoint)
can catch someone from the other team showing a little too much of their hand. Or, maybe as
sweet, can get something incriminating, or at least indiscreet, on said member of Congress to
break their arm on a critical vote. If Congress thought Greenwald was about to spill _that_
kind of snopping program via telelink to the whole Democratic Caucaus of the House, I can definitely
see Barack Obama getting his skinny ass plunked in front of the screen between two flags on
2) It is very telling that despite the international shennanigens of the NSA already revealed
we have heard nothing from the Near East, and absolutely not a whisper of Israel. Now, this
is an area of perceived ‘national security [sic],’ and so Snowden may just not be going there.
But that strikes me as ridiculous, since we know that Israel and the US are interlocked at the
basal ganglia level on intell and black op wire-work in the Near East. Much of that is dirty
work, and not a little of it might have nothing to do with mad bombers and much to do with heads
of state. I suspect one reveal to come would be that the US systematically snoops all internal
communications at the head of state and Defense Ministry level of every country bordering Israel—and
runs this by Israeli filters. Not ‘direct sharing’ but simply allowing Israel to glean most
everything obtained while the US ‘looks the other way.’ Consider that: the US effectively bugs
all military and state communications in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and all else, and lets
Israel have a look in passing. Can you imagine Obama and the NSA being in an epileptic froth
to try to get out in front of something like THAT? They may not know if Ed Snowden can prove
it, but it seems highly likely that the US-NSA is doing this, so they have to believe that Snowden
_could_ reveal it. And them are Big Potatos. Even if Ed got Dead, they could still upset quite
a few pretty apple carts if they got rolling.
2.5) A further reveal which might be available to Snowden would be if he had evidence that
the NSA wasn’t just scanning transmission data in other countries, specifically in the Near
East, but was actively _falsifying transmission data WHICH DID NOT EXIST_. It seems highly likey
that they US is doing this, both on its own and in collusion with Israel. This, for instance,
is specifically the counter-charge that Hezbollah made when suspicious phone data records in
Lebanon were produced to impute that Hezbolla could or did orchestrate the assassination of
Rafik Hariri. The issue of falsfied transmission records has come up in other instances as well.
This, again, treads closer to ‘national security [sic]‘ but at the same time is completely bogus
info that at least is used to mislead international justice bodies and the American Congress,
but which, far worse, could easily be used as a pretext for military action. “We caught them
plotting ON THE PHONE (*hahahahaha* who’ll ever know?).” The concept that the NSA could fake
records of discussions in other countries and that military action could be launched in consequence
of such black-op fakes should send a chill down every spine. I could see Snowden revealing something
like that. And THAT kind of reveal would hit like a .40 Magnum round taking out the right testical
of the NSA. Again, the NSA very likely does this kind of thing, so they have to assume that
Snowden could know and might chose to reveal it. Hence the frenzy.
This is a GREAAAAAAAAAAT show, I’ve gotta say . . . Information wants to be free, and freedom
wants to be informed. It’s only the unfreedom salesmen who have a problem with that . . . .
Code Name D:
If you forgive the pop-sociology, what they are doing is actually quite predictable. To Obama
– this is a publicity problem, nothing more. It’s Wikileaks all over again, laving it to the
grunts and cubical-drones from the press core to clean up the mess while Obama focuses on more
But I suspect there may be some very different thinking going on here over at the NSA. This
is NOT a security operation, but something else entirely. I have argued on my own blog that
NSA is more like a deep-data broker. GE has gone on a media blitz promoting deep-data as the
next big thing, and GE apparently has significant connections to NSA. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
In other words, this is more a market agenda, rather than a security agenda. And the data
being collected by NSA is not really intended for security, which is likely why they believe
NSA is not violating the law. But rather they are collecting information with the intent of
giving corporations the privilege of data-mining the data-stores for what ever agenda they wish
to bring. It has accord to me that this may be just another approach to selling role-on deodorant.
Privacy rights in this regard are already non-existent. But corporations have been under
pressure by consumers to tighten up privacy policies. One possible true function for NSA is
to be a means of bypassing these restrictions, allowing corporations to claim they have tight
privacy policies while secretly mining the data behind the NSA security curtain. This may also
be about industrial espionage as well, with NSA pulling for US corporations against competition
from Europe, China, and India.
All speculation of course. So perhaps I should go and take my anti-conspiracy theorist medications
before I find connection to 911.
You have company in your tin-foil conspiracy theory beliefs. I have the same suspicions as
you. I wouldn’t discount that the NSA continues to operate as a security organization but no
reason it can’t be a dual function entity. If it’s not doing the commercial work itself, it’s
working in cooperation with companies that are. The public/private partnerships that Obama touts
We have reports of private organizations doing similar work already, such as Endgame, allegedly
working in cooperation with Uncle Sam. As revealed by Anonymous a couple years ago, for a mere
cool $2.5 million, a company can purchase 25 exploits from Endgame, exploits which are no longer
limited to crashing networks and stealing data but now can do actual physical damage.
I wonder if Snowden might test Putin by standing innocently by while Greenwald or the Guardian
keeps releasing more damaging info, saying, “Hey, I’m not the one releasing this stuff. They
Thus keeping his promise to Putin to stop releasing damaging info about the USA as the price
for refugee status in Russia. Technically.
Poking the Russian bear is risky.
That assumes, of course, that Putin’s public statements about not “inflicting damage to our
American partners” were anything but pro-forma/diplomatic ass-covering. Under the current circumstances,
he can point to the same excuse as Snowden: “Dude, horse is already out of the barn, I’m not
riding it anymore.”
Kurt Sperry :
This is a real possibility. One can safely assume that Snowden mentioning that he could access
even the President’s private email communications was a very deliberate and very blunt signal,
a shot across the bow. If he could have done so and made a point of mentioning it, surely he
was canny enough to actually do so. Even if he didn’t do so, it seems likely the head spooks
believe that he might have. The desperation hangs thick in the air here doesn’t it? The Morales
fiasco, the incredibly clumsy handling of the whole thing, the unforced errors, it all points
to panicky, sweaty fear being the driver of the administration’s response.
They (or Obama) evidently think he may have some real dirt, the kind that could pose a real
or even existential threat to them.
Let us all fervently wish that is in fact the case. I want to see Obama and the US security
state twisting in the wind, exposed, helpless and just waiting for the next bombshell to hit.
“Looking back” can be cathartic.
Jeff W :
some real dirt
As I said in this comment a little over two weeks ago, Edward Snowden himself said, in his
first interview, in answer to a question about what he “didn’t end up doing,” said,
Anyone in the positions of access with the technical capabilities that I had could suck out
secrets, pass them on the open market to Russia; they always have an open door as we do. I had
access to the full rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community,
and undercover assets all over the world. The locations of every station, we have what their
missions are and so forth.
That’s a pretty clear statement of what he actually had access to. That to me is even more
of “a shot across the bow.”
Of course, what’s not clear to us (or, judging from the fascinating comments above, even
to the NSA, which, in itself, would account for the air of desperation on the part of the administration)
is whether or not he actually took that information regarding rosters, missions, station locations—his
denial seems to be more aimed at how he did not seek to profit from what he had access to—although
I would say, as I suspect you would, that he is definitely canny enough to have done so.
I took his statement
I sitting at my desk certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant
to a Federal judge to even the President if I had a personal e-mail.
more as an indication of just how pervasive and completely without controls the surveillance
actually is; his phrase “if had a personal e-mail” indicated (to me) that his ability to wiretap
the President was purely for purposes of illustration. But, if, in fact, no one knows what Snowden
took, even that comment might be, as you say, “a very deliberate and very blunt signal.”
I’ve ehard they can’t even find their OWN emails. So the package may already have opened.
In any event, their “surveillance” certainly didn’t stop the Tsarnov brothers…..or whoever…..
Jim Haygood :
XKeyscore’s ultimate justification is summarized in the concluding sentence of the NSA’s
“These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our
missions successfully – to defend the nation and to protect US and allied troops abroad.“
Got that? If you don’t blindly support the NSA, then you don’t support the troops.
Or to state the case in the opposite sense, until the m*****f****** troops are brought home
— every bleeding one of them — permanent war means permanent surveillance under de facto martial
To stop the NSA, stop the war(s).
Find me a single person in a powerful position in Washington DC that endorses peace.
I haven’t found too many.
To echo that idea, a marriage between privacy and security will be doomed to failure because
of irreconcilable differences.
As long as we have permanent war, Defense will want the kind of security NSA tries to provide.
The best way, or the only way, to reduce the desire for security is to work for peace.
The USA is responsible for a big part of the permanent state of war.
To protect our privacy we must persuade the USA to stand down from our permanent state of
Until we achieve peace, our right to privacy will be like the ideal expressed in our founding
documents, that all people are created equal. It turns out that equality is a goal, not a fact.
The fact of our privacy in the past was a function of the lack of technology. It appears it
will be necessary to work to establish actual privacy the way we have worked to establish actual
In peace or war, all this meta-data must have some value on the black market, with so many
unscrupulous private contractors potentially having access to much of it.
Start following the money, and we might find out how much this NSA program is costing the
taxpayer, and who has ownership and political connections to the private companies operating
It then becomes obvious why the biggest blowhards like Feinstein and Rogers are its biggest
kimsarah, Booz Allen Hamilton for one has insidious threads connecting it to America’s power-elites
from several presidential administrations beginning with GHW Bush’s. The Carlyle Group hedge
fund owns 2/3 of BAH. Check out the board members and try to fathom the depth of foreign policy
intrigue emanating from that toxic mix alone. The AIPAC nexus with the Beltway is another profound
horror to the autonomy of this nation. We are not only lost, we are owned by the power mongers
of the world.
The documentary film The Power Principle does a great job of giving a short 15-minute or
so history of what happened to Russia after 1989, beginning here at minute 44:28, which goes
a long way to explain why relationships between the US and Russia are so strained:
No one so stunningly unqualified to be an executive could be an inept politician, but until
he started flailing around in his Snowden hissy, it’s hard to think of any issue or principle
that made a difference to him. The king of empty rhetoric is as pathetic as he is pompous. But
he is probably better than Romney or McCranky (by 2008) would have been in his office.
The Ruling Party has “binders of sociopaths” just waiting to fill POTUS, SCOTUS, etc…
If you think it was only Roberts, Kagen, & Obama they have been grooming, suggest you check
out this version of Swiftboat Kerry:
Obama can’t understand that full spectrum dominance doesn’t apply when his nightmare whistleblower
is safely tucked away in Moscow. Even Bush would have got his head around that fact. Just imagine
the uproar if Bush had forced down Morales’ plane.
(I think this contributes to the internal debate about what Obama is like as a man within
out own NC sphere. Rather than the evil Manchurian candidate who knew what he was doing all
along, which is what I might call the “Lambert View”, this shows that he’s actually just a fairly
inept politician and negotiator.)
Anyway, I’d like to point out another marginal influence here, and that’s the situation in
Syria. Putin knows that Obama’s and the securicrat’s “arm Al qaeda’s bitches in the clearly
non-moderate FSA” policy is wildly unpopular, and that strengthens his hand somewhat. He can
shove Obama around a bit more than he would otherwise be able to do without arousing the bi-partisan
ire that a Russian president normally would.
I suspect that you are right in attributing some of this to Obama’s frustration over his
loss of personal power and prestige. He is also showing pique over the Democrats’ unwillingness
to rubber stamp his preference for old crony Larry Summers.
The Morales affair was totally unhinged, risking the resurrection of 100 years of bitterness
over gringo political domination, all to to catch one programmer.
So in the end I think this is about more than Obama’s personal feelings. The spooks and thugs
manning the 12-year regime of GWOT abuse and overstepping are now seeing the possibility of
the end of the road, with the blown-up careers and prison sentences the unraveling will bring.
They know what Snowden knows, and Obama must be under intense pressure to keep the lid on it
I’m worried that Obama might lash out militarily at something to reassert presidential and
Dan, The very fact that Obama is pushing for a spectacular failure (Barry Ritholz expression)
like Larry Summers is proof positive that he totally lost it.
Exactly. The Summers push defies all political logic short of one becoming completely unhinged.
I don’t think that in itself would show he had lost it. Politicians routinely opt for the
usual established party hacks and insiders to fill big positions. Lots of people in the old
guard are friends of Summers, and that’s just government as usual. But Obama’s willingness to
start shredding US foreign policy priorities and relationships in a mad pursuit of one lone
whistle-blower seems different.
Right. And I think he’ll go with Yellen at the end of the day. This trial balloon isn’t going
over with anyone, including his own party. Not the time for a lightning rod trail balloon, much
less one that he needlessly appoints, who could very well be rejected.
Don’t underestimate Obama’s capacity to cut off his nose to spit his face. Egomaniacs will
do that from time to time.
Over the last 3-4 years, the people at the top have become increasingly careless of image,
making less and less effort to bring consistent messaging/cover. I think Obama has been assuming,
after long dirty work built on top of Shrub’s admin on top of Bush Sr on top of…., that the
whole oligarchy thing is sewed up tight. Gift-wrapped global empire with an NSA bow.
I’m sure Obama knew there would be pushback but I suspect he planned that it would appear
after he left office. Instead, his filth is being globally exposed while he is yet in office,
against his wishes, and he’s indulging narcissistic rage, which only further exposes him, ripping
off his suave sophisticated image. There have been hints of his malice before, but not like
this. He might not yet recognize what he’s doing, or he is so angry that he doesn’t care, but
surely the people around him are aware and know it matters, at least a little bit.
It must not be easy to be Obama, with his combination of empty-suitism, narcissism, pressure
to perform for the oligarchs, (likely) vague threats of blackmail via NSA, etc.
I am delighted.
But the oligarchy is well-established, with/without Obama or Summers. Obama’s work is nearly
finished, right? If he goes off the deep end and doesn’t collect all his reward, who will care?
There is a pre-selected cadre of people “qualified” to run the country, and they’ll pull from
from Mexico :
But the oligarchy is well-established, with/without Obama or Summers. Obama’s work is
nearly finished, right? If he goes off the deep end and doesn’t collect all his reward,
who will care? There is a pre-selected cadre of people “qualified” to run the country, and
they’ll pull from it. Voila.
The dream of global domination runs like a thread through Western civilization, starting
with the Spanish Habsburgs in the 16th century and continuing with Napoleon and Hitler. Many
people, such as Jonathan Schell writing in The Unconquerable World, believe the current neocon
project for world domination will end just like the others did.
I’ve always admired the following passage from Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace:
All historians are agreed that the external activity of states and nations in their conflicts
with one another finds expression in wars, and that the political power of states and nations
increases or diminishes in direct proportion to success or defeat in war….
An army suffers a defeat, and at once a people loses its rights in proportion to the
magnitude of the defeat, and if its army suffers complete defeat, the nation is completely
So it has been (according to history) from earliest times to the present day. All Napoleon’s
wars serve to confirm that rule. In proportion to the defeat of the Austrian armies, Austria
loses its rights and the rights and powers of France increase. The victories of the French
at Jena and Auerstadt destroy the independent existence of Prussia.
But suddenly in 1812, the French win a victory near Moscow, Moscow is taken, and after
that, with no further battles, it is not Russia that ceases to exist, but the French army
of six hundred thousand, and then Napoleonic France itself…
The victory did not bring the usual results because the peasants Karp and Vlas (who after
the French had evacuated Moscow came in their carts to plunder the town and in generally
personally failed to manifest any heroic feelings) and the whole vast multitudes of others
like them, did not bring their hay to Moscow for the high prices offered them, but burnt
[T]he cudgel of the people’s war was raised with all its menacing and majestic might,
without regard for anyone’s taste, or for the rules, or for anything else, but with obtuse
simplicity and utter efficacy it rose and fell, belaboring the French till the whole invasion
Why do you think that the push for Summers is the least bit sincere? The very fact that Summers’
personality can generate such pique in almost any forum demonstrates just how credible his candidacy
is. He strikes me as uniquely positioned- an upper level economist so thoroughly offensive to
both the left and right that almost any credible alternative will sail through the wake…of his
bilge, to abuse the metaphor.
Of course Yellen is better qualified. Of course she’ll be elected. But having Summers as
the putative alternate serves to discredit any of her potential detractors, leaving them looking
like misogynists and economic cranks. And this, I suspect is the point. The most material difference
in Yellen’s and Summers’ perspectives is the broader economic benefit of QE. In this regard,
I’m in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with Summers that QE hasn’t been demonstrated
an unalloyed good. If he is the face of policy skeptics, particularly while markets serially
hit all time highs (today, included) then no deeper public consideration of the policy is necessary,
America’s ГУОТ installed Obama and they will uninstall him if he doesn’t restore the blissful
ignorance of the subject population. It’s Snowden or Obama, it’s that simple. If Snowden is
returned, his former employers will torture him to death. They have a sinking feeling that Snowden
is not a lone wolf.
If Obama doesn’t stop the drip-drip-drip it’s going to loosen the massive foundation of unacknowledged
crime that props up this regime. The family jewels are not secure. The regime has had 50 years.
Now their time is running out.
Cache Is King:
I just read the news that Russia granted conditional asylum to Snowden and so I popped off
a message of thanks to the nearest Russian consulate by way of fax.
The fact that I don’t give a rat’s ass anymore whether the CIA, NSA, DIA or DICK monitored
that is of blindingly significant import.
When the people you are oppressing begin to lose the fear of telling you to shove it, the
beginning of the end is in sight. I just don’t care anymore. Just an average guy who has had
That should be something to shake the foundations if anyone at HQ is REALLY paying attention.
This image reflects your comment: “Never Push a Loyal Person To the Point Where They Don’t
Give a Damn”
I don’t think people are giving Snowden enough respect.
I think he knows he has chosen an interesting way to commit suicide, and like Aaron Swartz,
he hopes his life makes a difference in our world.
Of course Yves, he would have been safer in the transit zone but the play had to change acts
to keep the consciousness level up. On top of some well planned and executed bit diddling, he
is playing the data release for all its worth.
Are there any who believe that eventually all that Snowden has will be released? I would
argue that that genie will not go back into the bottle and it has yet to be seen if the movement
this truth showing is creating will take on enough momentum to bring down our current “government”…..it
would not burnish Obama’s image if that were to occur.
However this plays out, I am all over nominating Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize like Manning.
Might as well try and get it to those who really deserve it.
I hope we have a chance to build a better world than the wreck we are being handed by the
plutocracy intent on destroying everyone’s home for their control and enjoyment.
Gerard Pierce :
It’s oly a metaphor, but the operative idea comes from the prisons and the streets – with
9-11, the US got punked. That’s an idea that has a lot more meaning and emotional charge than
most people acknowledge.
The result is that the neo-cons and war-makers were able to take charge of large parts of
US policy and large parts of the US government. (Can you spell Homeland Security?) These same
people are neurotically sensitive to any new challenges to US power.
Fifteen years worth of failed or f#cked up military adventures have left these people in
a state of emotional fragility. And a collapsing economy has not done much to improve their
The ones who are not foaming at the mouth are allied with outfits like the Chertoff group
and working hard to make as much money as they can while supporting their shared ideology in
And Obama is their whipping boy.
Seems to me that this is where the “Occupy Wall Street” movement should be intersecting with
“The Tea Party” movement. Can we get together and fight the Government-Corporate monster, or
are we too busy hating each other as directed by our lying snooping puppet masters and their
Agreed. To me, that’s what was so valuable about the occupy protests. They showed beyond
any shadow of a doubt that it was Democrats at the heart of enabling the police state and all
the oppression and racism and unconstitutionality it entails.
It’s also what I enjoyed so much about the Dem pundit temper tantrums around people like
Jane Hamsher and Glenn Greenwald.
That reminds me, this is another delicious angle of what is making the Obots so pissed. Greenwald
is still beating them. The Dem pundits even now making this personal about Greenwald and Snowden
rather than about the story are helping to drag out the story while revealing their own irrelevance
when it comes to discussing substantive matters.
What people seem to be missing is that Snowden spent a month at Moscow airport because the
USA voided his passport while he was en-route to South America. Once he landed, he could go
no further. As it happens, Russia is a big enough player to stand up to the American government’s
bullying — and of course, it is ironic that one country (with a history of internal oppression)
is now cast into the role of hero by sheltering a refugee from another country whose long-time
motto has been “the land of the free”.
As for the secrets Snowden revealed: they are not plans for bombs or military orders of battle.
Rather, they demonstrate that Americans are now deeply ensnared in the folds of a military/espionage/corporate
complex, where new technology makes it that much easier to sidestep and negate Constitutional
rights. He did not sell these “secrets” for personal gain; he placed himself in personal peril
because of them. That is the classic definition of “hero”.
Hugo Stiglitz :
To quote the group Anonymous, “When exposing crimes becomes a criminal act, you are ruled
John Poindexter and Robert Gates… Iran-Contra… Total Information Awareness… Mujahideen… the
Lying to Congress?
John Poindexter: “Found guilty of 2 counts of false statements, 2 of obstructing Congress,
and conspiracy. Given 6 months in prison for each count, to be served concurrently.”
Robert Gates: “Testified falsely about when he first learned about the Diversion (received
a report on it during the summer of 1986 from CIA official Richard Kerr ["Gates claimed that
he did not recall the meeting."]). Also helped prepare Casey’s false testimony.”
Poindexter appointed head of the “Information Awareness Office” in February 2002. Gates was
appointed Secretary of Defense by George W. Bush in 2006 and retained in that position by President
I raised the issue of kabuki re the Amash Amendment. Clearly the vote was an enormous setback
for the Surveillance State, an “unwelcome surprise” as we diplomats like to say.
My congressman’s vote is still a mystery. He’s an impressive guy in many ways — worked his
way through college and medical school, successful family practice, chain of fast food restaurants,
popular with constituents in a safe Republican district. The only part of the Bill of Rights
he’s enthusiastic about is the 2nd Amendment.. But he voted for the Amash Amendment. There’s
no reason for him to go against the leadership, so I wonder if he got a dispensation. The only
reasons I can see for him to vote that way are (1) worry that beyond some point surveillance
would be electoral cyanide, (2) recognition that as a member of the Outer Party he and others
in his position are easy targets of blackmail.
There are some other mysteries in the Snowden revelations. With the massive surveillance,
it should have been easy to unravel the drug trade. This suggests a large involvement by the
government. The other obvious target is the financial system. Transactions may be encrypted,
but any M&A activity will leave a huge footprint of phone calls, travels to company headquarters,
involvement of law and accounting firms. All it would take is one junior analyst to run some
social network analysis. I’m cynical enough to believe that all those thousands of underlings
were as pure as the driven Snowden.
Your assessments regarding blackmail, the drug trade, and financial activity would appear
to be dead on.
Guess I’ll be seeing you soon in the Gulag.
Obama is more perturbed about losing the semblance of running a “tight ship” than any national
security concerns. Or probably any imperial concerns, for that matter. I think he’s a thoroughly
superficial person in all aspects. Say what you will about imperialism, it requires an affirmative
There’s Obama, and there’s McCain, Graham, Schumer and so on. These people are addicts. They
disturb me more than Obama, who for his basic lack of character I don’t think has the appetite
for the long haul of imperial service. They scare me, because they are terrified at the faintest
whiff of decline in status, America’s or their own. They and Obama WILL do something really,
really big and stupid, I just hope it’s to their own ruin and not everyone else’s.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Iran-Contra affair involved illegal activity and
cover-up of that illegal activity engaged in by intelligence agency officials to circumvent
“safeguards” against infringements on “the rights of Americans to engage in political activity
free from government surveillance” that were enacted by Congress in response to the findings
of the Church Committee of extensive illegal activities by the CIA, including COINTELPRO. And
here we go again… and again… and again.
The report is concerned primarily with the FBI’s COINTELPRO counter-intelligence campaign,
but also discusses the CIA’s Operation CHAOS, whereby the CIA engaged in domestic intelligence
work in violation of the CIA charter. Other agencies including the NSA and Army Intelligence
are also discussed. Illegal electronic surveillance, mail opening, infiltration of dissident
groups, “black bag” break-in jobs, media manipulation, IRS targeting, and the intense campaign
waged against Martin Luther King, Jr. are all subjects of this report. The overriding theme
is the violation of the rights of Americans as identified in the U.S. Constitution.
It should be noted that the activities that eventually morphed into Iran/Contra commenced
with covert arms supplies to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan PRIOR TO (and in the view of some,
helping to precipitate) the Soviet invasion.
In addition to convicted felon John Poindexter’s role in establishing the Total Information
Awareness program that was supposedly defunded by Congress but actually continued with “classified”
funding to renamed components, the retention as Secretary of Defense by Obama of Bush appointee
Robert Gates needs to be viewed in the context of Gates’s “disquieting” activity and testimony
during the Iran/Contra affair and subsequent investigation.
From Chapter 16, “Robert Gates,” of the Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Conta
Matters, Lawrence E. Walsh:
Kerr told Independent Counsel that he did not recall Gates referring to other rumors of a
diversion at this meeting. The Select Committees’ report of the interview did not contain the
statement that Gates was aware of “rumors” of a diversion, but it did state that Gates told
Kerr to “keep him informed.” Accordingly, the evidence was clear that Gates’s statements concerning
his initial awareness of the diversion were wrong: Kerr brought him the information from Allen
over a month earlier than Gates admitted. This would have been material because it suggested
that the CIA continued to support North’s activities without informing North’s superiors or
investigating. By October, when Gates claimed he first remembered hearing of the diversion,
Casey ordered an inquiry and later made a report to Poindexter; but, by then, the Hasenfus aircraft
had been shot down and Casey and Gates were beginning to cover.
Gates’s defense was that he did not recall the Kerr meeting. To say the least, this was disquieting.
He had been told by a very senior officer that two of President Reagan’s personal priorities
were in danger — not something an ambitious deputy director of central intelligence would likely
forget. Allen was acting as a whistle-blower in a difficult situation. His concern was for the
safety of the hostages and the success of the efforts of the President. His information suggested
serious malfeasance by Government officials involved in a clandestine and highly sensitive operation.
Even though Gates may have believed Allen to be excessively concerned, could such an expression
of concern be forgotten, particularly after it had been corroborated within a few weeks? Logically,
Gates could ignore or forget the Allen report only if he already knew of the diversion and he
knew that Casey and Poindexter knew of the diversion. Gates also was on the distribution list
for highly reliable intelligence that should have informed him of the pricing dispute among
Kangarlu, Ghorbanifar, and the U.S. Government, although it did not refer specifically to any
diversion of funds. Gates claimed that he rarely reviewed the intelligence. North testified
that he did not discuss the diversion with Gates or in Gates’s presence. Gates also never met
with Richard Secord, whom Gates was aware of only as a “private benefactor” (the CIA’s term
for non-Government donors to the contras) by July 1986.
Notwithstanding Independent Counsel’s disbelief of Gates, Independent Counsel was not confident
that Kerr’s testimony, without the support of another witness to his conversation with Gates,
would be enough to charge Gates with perjury or false statements for his testimony concerning
the timing of his knowledge of the diversion. …
The evidence established that Gates was exposed to information about North’s connections
to the private resupply operation that would have raised concern in the minds of most reasonable
persons about the propriety of a Government officer having such an operational role. Fiers and
Cannistraro believed that Gates was aware of North’s operational role. The question was whether
there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Gates deliberately lied in denying knowledge
of North’s operational activities. A case would have depended on the testimony of Poindexter.
Fiers would not testify that he supplied Gates with the details of North’s activities. In the
end, Independent Counsel concluded that the question was too close to justify the commitment
There was conclusive evidence that in October 1986, following the Hasenfus shootdown, Clair
George and Alan Fiers obstructed two congressional inquiries. Gates attended meetings where
the CIA’s response to these inquiries was discussed. None of the evidence, however, links Gates
to any specific act of obstruction.
With all the signs of frayed temper and no patience from the WH, I keep wondering if they
could be that open about being pissed off? The whole reaction to Snowden has seemed very unmanaged,
like barely restrained panic, especially after the Moralles jet incident. I can see where some
of the foil-wearing types get ideas for their double-tripple secret agent hallucinations now.
The Russian badgering has been the most laughable part so far, but perhaps that is for domestic
consumtion. If there is really no more back channel effort going on than that, we are in a very
bad way. The emperor seems to be getting some very bad advice, or the good advice is going out
the window. We will know in a few years when the books come out.
That’s a good synopsis of what is bothering me. Obama and the US are looking frazzled. One
incident might be a replay of the Kissenger cultivating the image that Nixon was nuts (as in
might do reckless, crazy things, as in drop the Big One) but this is clearly not strategic and
if it’s posturing, it’s awfully lame.
And yes, the Obama call to Putin looked like either super misplaced ego or back channels
had broken down, neither of which is good.
Obama is notorious for his lack of poise in private meetings. He is famously hostile to anyone
who disagrees with him. He is a classic little tin god of academia, encouraged in a small, insular
environment to think he’s god’s gift to everything. I’ve heard more than one academic call this
president “a brilliant Constitutional scholar” — this president who has done more to undermine
the First Amendment than all other presidents in the past 100 years combined. Obama hasn’t lost
it, he never had it.
Obama is merely re-branded status quo. It took Obama’s historic presidency to kill any momentum
for political change, probably for generations. To be honest, I regard his supporters with outright
disgust and even hatred. It’s hard to imagine finding any common ground with anyone so easily
As PCR suggests, all the NSA has to do now is create some sort of false flag terror, and
all will fall in line to maintain the Stasi state
Right on cue!
“US Warns Al-Qaida Could Strike Embassies, Other Targets”
DNI Office Asks Why People Trust Facebook More Than the Government
General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Robert S. Litt
explained that our expectation of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once
we've offered it to a third party.
'Why is it that people are willing to expose large quantities of information to private
parties but don't want the Government to have the same information?,' he asked."
... ... ...
While Snowden's leaks have provoked Jimmy Carter into labeling this government a sham,
and void of a functioning democracy, Litt presented how these wide data collection programs are
in fact valued by our government, have legal justification, and all the necessary parameters.
Litt, echoing the president and his boss James Clapper, explained thusly:
"We do not use our foreign intelligence collection capabilities to steal the trade secrets
of foreign companies in order to give American companies a competitive advantage. We do not
indiscriminately sweep up and store the contents of the communications of Americans, or of the
citizenry of any country. We do not use our intelligence collection for the purpose of repressing
the citizens of any country because of their political, religious or other beliefs. We collect
metadata—information about communications—more broadly than we collect the actual content of
communications, because it is less intrusive than collecting content and in fact can provide
us information that helps us more narrowly focus our collection of content on appropriate targets.
But it simply is not true that the United States Government is listening to everything said
by every citizen of any country."
It's great that the U.S. government behaves better than corporations on privacy—too bad it trusts/subcontracts
corporations to deal with that privacy—but it's an uncomfortable thing to even be in a position
of having to compare the two. This is the point Litt misses, and it's not a fine one.
Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone To Facebook: Start a Premium Subscription Service 149
Posted by samzenpus on Sunday July 21, 2013 @10:37AM
from the bad-ideas dept.
An anonymous reader writes
"Twitter co-founder Biz Stone today decided to offer some business advice for Facebook: launch a
premium subscription service. For $10 a month, Stone figures the company could get rid of ads on
its site for those willing to pay to go 'premium.' He says in part: ' Anywhoo, now that I’m using
it and thinking about it, I’ve got an idea for Facebook. They could offer Facebook Premium. For
$10 a month, people who really love Facebook (and can afford it), could see no ads. Maybe some special
features too. If 10% percent of Facebook signed up, that’s $1B a month in revenue. Not too shabby.
It’s a different type of company, but by way of validation, have a look at Pandora’s 1Q14 financial
results. Of all Pandora’s revenue generators, the highest growth year-over-year by far (114% growth
rate) is in subscriptions—people paying a monthly fee for an ad-free experience....."
Yeah Right (Score:1)
by Anonymous Coward writes: on Sunday July 21, 2013 @10:41AM (#44342083) 10% ???? It would probably
be more like 0.001%.
Reply to This Share twitter facebook linkedin Flag as Inappropriate
Re:Yeah Right (Score:5, Funny)
by HornWumpus (783565) writes: Alter Relationship on Sunday July 21, 2013 @10:44AM (#44342109) Think
how valuable that list would be. The world's uberchumps.
You are the vulgarian, you fuck.
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Re:Yeah Right (Score:2)
by binarylarry (1338699) writes: Alter Relationship on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:55AM (#44342625)
Mod me down, my New Earth Global Warmingist friends!
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Re:Yeah Right (Score:5, Interesting)
by Art Challenor (2621733) writes: Alter Relationship on Sunday July 21, 2013 @02:01PM (#44343645)
I'd pay for a subscription if it gave me access to, and the ability to delete, any information they
have that references me.
Re:Yeah Right (Score:2)
by oPless (63249) writes: Alter Relationship on Sunday July 21, 2013 @03:57PM (#44344581) Journal
Even that figure would be a revenue stream worth having.
Personally I only see adverts when I'm on a machine that doesn't run chrome and I stray off onto
"consume this" type of sites. It's quite a shock seeing all the crap regular joe has to put up with.
Reply to This Parent Share twitter facebook linkedin Flag as Inappropriate
Re:Yeah Right (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward writes: on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:24PM (#44347053) That'd still be $100,000
a month in revenues, assuming .001% of 1 billion users (they had this number somewhere back end-2012)
pays $10 a month.
I'd consider it, depending on the price. Why? Because:
1) I do value my privacy, and control of my data (which is why i'm very selective about what I upload
to Facebook today);
2) I do still get some value out of the service Facebook provides;
3) I understand that Facebook does not exist to provide me with free services, and that running
an ad blocker as I do currently is kind of underhanded;
Taking those 3 data points together, if they offered ad-free, plus better control over how my
data is shared with other people (i.e., "we won't share your data at all"), and a covenant to truly
and permanently delete any data I upload or enter into their systems whenever I wish, plus access
to, say apis that allow other integrations they've worked hard to make difficult (google, twitter,
etc.), I'd consider paying a subscription. I don't know that I'd value it at $10 a month, but offer
me a $60 a year discount plan or something? I might go for it.
Re:Yeah Right (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward writes: on Monday July 22, 2013 @05:47AM (#44348471) don't underestimate the
gullibility of the average facebook user. malware writers, crooks, hackers and scammers don't.
by Anonymous Coward writes: on Sunday July 21, 2013 @10:41AM (#44342087) ... they'd still track
and sell your data anyway, so what exactly is the point?
Re: But... (Score:3)
by Xicor (2738029) writes: Alter Relationship on Sunday July 21, 2013 @01:26PM (#44343355) facebook
is already ad-free. just download the free app called adblocker and put it to good use
by Anonymous Coward writes: on Sunday July 21, 2013 @10:42AM (#44342091) So his grand advice of
making $1B/month (LOL!) is to disable ads?
Adblock + (Score:3)
by MightyYar (622222) writes: Alter Relationship on Sunday July 21, 2013 @10:43AM (#44342101) If
you were so addicted to Facebook that the ads really annoyed you, wouldn't you have Facebook enhancing
crap installed, like Adblock+? Social Fixer is pretty great, but I'm not quite addicted enough to
W..w..W - Willy Waterloo washes Warren Wiggins who is washing Waldo Woo.
Ads aren't the problem Re:Adblock + (Score:0)
by mozumder (178398) writes: Alter Relationship on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:27AM (#44342413) The
ads aren't the problem. No one minds the ads. In fact, if they had any skills, they would make the
ads a FEATURE of the site. People actually BUY magazines like Vogue FOR the ads.
The problem is that the content is crap - photos of your friends throwing up, political rants
no one cares about, etc..
Subscription services generally offer professional content worth buying. No one wants to buy
photos of your friends throwing up.
Facebook tries to filter the content automatically to limit low-value content, but that only
gets rid of the bottom-of-the-barrel. They still aren't going to offer professional articles, movies,
music, etc.. that people generally pay for.
Their layout sucks too. The web has moved far beyond their old-school layout into magazine-quality
layout. Amateur's aren't going to be able to produce magazine quality layout as well.
Facebook has 1 billion users, and ONLY makes $4billion/year. Conde-Nast makes $4billion just
from 10 million readers - 1/100th less. Their amateur content is the reason they can only charge
$0.10 CPM, whereas a professional media company can charge $50 CPM.
Re:Adblock + (Score:4, Interesting)
by Andy_R (114137) writes: Alter Relationship on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:49AM (#44342567) Homepage
Journal Adblock + gets rid of the overt adverts, and FBPurity (http://www.fbpurity.com/) gets rid
of the spammy content (game requests, 'questions', 'trending articles', 'promoted posts') and cleans
up the UI cruft (news ticker, half the left column).
With those two, and manually turning on the see all posts option for every page, FB doesn't have
much left to charge for that you can't get for free.
Re:Facebook isn't that good and people know it (Score:2)
by dingen (958134) writes: Alter Relationship on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:04AM (#44342261) It used
to be the case that Facebook was sort of OK. Nothing special, but not too bad too. But in the last
couple of months (years maybe even), it really has declined in quality a lot.
I fully agree that some edge cases are always going to be a problem, but Facebook's utter randomness
really goes way beyond acceptable behavior from a software product.
It seems to me that the more you use Facebook, the more you grow upset with it. Which is kind
of hard to combine with the "lets let people who love Facebook pay for it" idea, as it really are
the people who should love the platform the most who are the ones having the most issues with it.
Pretty good is actually pretty bad.
Re:Facebook isn't that good and people know it (Score:3)
by siride (974284) writes: Alter Relationship on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:05AM (#44342269) People
get pissed about FB changes, and then they keep on using it, because the problem is that people
don't like change. Can you provide some specific examples of the downhill direction?
Re:Facebook isn't that good and people know it (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward writes: on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:10AM (#44342289)
because the problem is that people don't like change.
You cannot decide that for them. What change? All change? No; some changes are good, and others
are bad. This 'You just don't like change' nonsense is just that: nonsense.
Re:Facebook isn't that good and people know it (Score:2)
by siride (974284) writes: Alter Relationship on Sunday July 21, 2013 @11:16AM (#44342351) I can
decide that when the same people stop complaining and keep using the service and use the new features
without a peep. Remember when they first started having the feed? That caused a huge uproar. Now
I'm trying to imagine anyone making good use of Facebook without the feed. That's how I even see
stuff to common on or follow up on. So yes, people complain when it changes and it's clear that
they're only complaining because of change.
When people say the feds are monitoring what people are doing online, what does that mean?
How does that work? When, and where, does it start?
Pete Ashdown, CEO of XMission, an internet service provider in Utah, knows. He received a Foreign
Intelligence Service Act (FISA) warrant in 2010 mandating he let the feds monitor one of his customers,
through his facility. He also received a broad gag order. In his own words:
The first thing I do when I get a law enforcement request is look for a court signature on it.
Then I pass it to my attorneys and say, “Is this legitimate? Does this qualify as a warrant?” If
it does, then we will respond to it. We are very up front that we respond to warrants.
If it isn’t, then the attorneys write back: “We don’t believe it is in jurisdiction or is constitutional.
We are happy to respond if you do get an FBI request in jurisdiction or you get a court order to
The FISA request was a tricky one, because it was a warrant through the FISA court — whether
you believe that is legitimate or not. I have a hard time with secret courts. I ran it past my attorney
and asked, “Is there anyway we can fight this?” and he said “No. It is legitimate.”
It was also different [from other warrants] because it was for monitoring. They wanted to come
in and put in equipment on my network to monitor a single customer. The customer they were monitoring
was a particular website that was very benign. It seems ridiculous to me. It was beyond absurd.
It wasn’t like a guns and ammo website.
They came in and showed me papers. It was a court order from the FISC (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Court) for the intercept, with the agent’s name… and the court’s information. I think it was three
or four pages of text. They wouldn’t let met me copy them. They let me take notes in regards to
technical aspects of what they wanted to do.
We had to facilitate them to set up a duplicate port to tap in to monitor that customer’s traffic.
It was a 2U (two-unit) PC that we ran a mirrored ethernet port to.
[What we ended up with was] a little box in our systems room that was capturing all the traffic
to this customer. Everything they were sending and receiving. (Ed note: it would have looked a lot
like the picture below — a typical, black, two-unit server, unremarkable among many others.)
There was discussion [amongst employees] asking, “What is that box?”
I said, “It is something I am dealing with,” and usually that was where it ended.
I didn’t facilitate the install at the time; another engineer, who no longer works for me, did.
I’m not sure it had any access to the internet, so they could manage it remotely, but if they requested
that, we would have facilitated them. I’m sure it was just capturing the entire stream to hard disk
for later analysis. After the initial install, they didn’t come in again until it was removed.
It was open ended. I called six months into it and said, “How long is this going to go on?” and
they said, “I don’t know.” I went on for nine months. If it were still there, I would have probably
smashed it by now. There have been no [related] arrests that I have heard of.
I can’t tell you all the details about it. I would love to tell you all the details, but I did
get the gag order. I have probably told people too much. That was two years ago. If they want to
come back and haunt me, fine.
These programs that violate the Bill of Rights can continue because people can’t go out and say,
“This is my experience, this is what happened to me, and I don’t think it is right.”
There is absolutely [a] need for secrecy when you are dealing with a criminal investigation.
You don’t want to tip off criminals being monitored. But you can’t say, “You can never talk about
this ever, for the rest of your life.”
The FISA court should be a public court, and documents should be sealed for a set period of time,
[to] let people audit the actions later.
We have received lots of federal requests. I don’t think a lot of people realize just how much
information is transmitted in the clear on the Internet.
We run a
Tor node, in some ways as an
affirmation of our belief that there are legitimate reasons for being anonymous on the internet.
That is where the majority of requests come in from these days. Some illegal traffic comes in through
Tor node and we get a federal request through the FBI or DOJ (Department of Justice). I respond
to them and say that this is a Tor node [and therefore inaccessible, even to the ISP]; that is usually
the end of it. They realize what that is, and it is a dead end.
I am in a little bit of a different situation than large companies. I don’t have a board of directors
to answer to. A number of [larger] companies are getting paid for the information. If you go establish
a tap on Google’s network, they will charge X amount per month. Usually the government pays it.
It isn’t worth it to me to do that kind of wholesale monitoring at any price, and lot of companies
disagree with that, because it is a financial issue for them. [They say] if it is worth this much
profit, let’s go for it. The return for standing up for people’s constitutional rights and privacy
is much greater and more satisfying.
Re: Tiny Utah-based ISP makes a name for itself. July 21, 2013 @06:08PM
Something to consider:
I once worked for a company that used XMission's downtown SLC location as its colo location;
excellent guys, and kick-ass service. That said, there's one other bit: a large number of their
30k customers are some rather large(-ish) corporations and companies - a few of whom have the
ear of Sen. Orrin Hatch, among others in both state and federal government... not to mention
(guessing this part, but given their location and name) they likely have a very strong hook
into the LDS hierarchy.
(By the by, XMission is one of the few (and IMO lucky) ISP's who provide for/with the UTOPIA
fiber-to-home networks, and IIRC the only local/SLC-based one. )
IOW, they're not just some tiny naive dial-up provider. If they didn't have a line to some
heavy-hitters, I'd wager that they'd likely buckle to the demands out of sheer survival instinct,
if for no other reason.
-- "GIR, quickly! Ride the pig!"
Re: Tiny Utah-based ISP makes a name for itself. July 21, 2013 @06:27PM
I once worked for a company that used XMission's downtown SLC location as its colo location;
excellent guys, and kick-ass service.
I second this. My boss was a good friend of Pete's, and our site was hosted there. I got
to hang out with Pete quite a bit, and he's a superb example of a human being. Moral, upstanding,
and fair. XMission isn't just a 'tiny ISP', it's a long-proven company with a history of smashing
success; rather than expand to a national then multinational power, it has kept sight of its
core, takes care of its people, and focuses on offering the best product for its customers.
This is the ISP after which all others should be modeled. Pete Ashdown for president!
Re:No Surprises Here (Score:3)
Having worked for an ISP and at one point having to deal with these myself, you don't really.
You send it up to the lawyers. They can do some basic checks. The request comes in, there's
an agents name and where he/she works. The lawyers call there, talk to someone that's NOT him
about it... that's about as far as you can check it. The main thing you're trying to prevent
is someones ex-husband requesting his ex-wives call logs and such... that actually happens more
than you'd think. Once it was even a cop and the case number and everything were bullshit. But
if the entire law enforcement agency in question is up to no good, there's no way to prevent
that. It's not like you can call up the judge and ask them about it.
I've mentioned this in the past but it bears mentioning again, we RARELY got requests. There
were very very few. It always suggested to me that had better/easier ways to get the same info
and it was only in rare cases that they needed to come to us.
Re:Ethics versus Legality (Score:5, Insightful)
The problem with that law is it is meant for people, it depend on people to be honest, not
wanting extra money, not being able to be blackmailed or social engineered, not falling into
common human bias like the ones shown in the Stanford prison experiment [wikipedia.org]. You
maybe could manage to find a few people that could cope with that.
But if you have up to up to 5 millon people to access that information [salon.com] (including
500k with top secret access that work at for profit contractors), then you are doing the equivalent
of giving guns to all prison inmates and setting them free in all the big cities.
You know that people will get killed, abused, robbed and so on with that action. So in the
actual context, that law is legalized robbery with impunity.
Re:Ethics versus Legality
The problem with that law is it is meant for people, it depend on people to be honest,
not wanting extra money, not being able to be blackmailed or social engineered, not falling
into common human bias like the ones shown in the Stanford prison experiment [wikipedia.org].
So, assuming humans aren't humans is how laws are meant? I don't agree with that assessment.
The "wanting extra money" jab makes you sound like a misanthrope conservative/libertarian complaining
about who people on welfare vote for.
Current laws are bad because they assume complete knowledge of the law (ignorance of the
law is no excuse, and all that) but the law is unknowable (it changes faster than people can
read, and is based on "case law" that is semi-closed and highly complex. When you commit 3 felonies
a day, then why bother trying to follow the law? But if you make the law 10 rules, and enforce
it with punishment of death, you have no prisons, no jails, and anything less than that is a
civil matter. Assault could be a civil-matter only, and leave attempted murder for the lowest
criminal side. If the damage is temporary, broken bones, bruises, then sue for damages and punitive
I think that the "fix" to our current problem is to remove prison punishment for nearly all
This is a rough translation of an article that appears in
NSA affair: Ex-President Carter Condemns U.S. Snooping
By Gregor Peter Schmitz, from Atlanta
17.07.2013 – 13:59 Uhr
Ex-President Carter: "The invasion of privacy has gone too far"
The Obama administration has tried to placate Europe's anger over their spying programs.
Not so ex-President Jimmy Carter: The Democrat Carter sharply criticized U.S. intelligence policy.
The disclosure by the whistleblower Snowden was "useful."
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was in the wake of the NSA spying scandal criticized the
American political system. "America has no functioning democracy," Carter said Tuesday at a
meeting of the "Atlantic Bridge" in Atlanta.
Previously, the Democrat had been very critical of the practices of U.S. intelligence. "I
think the invasion of privacy has gone too far," Carter told CNN. "And I think that is why the
secrecy was excessive."
With regard to the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Carter said his revelations were "likely
to be useful because they have informed the public."
Carter has repeatedly warned that the moral authority of the United States has declined sharply
due to excessive curtailment of civil rights. Last year he wrote in an article in the "New York
Times" that new U.S. laws have allowed "never before seen breaches of our privacy by the government."
Posted by Soulskill
from the why-couldn't-they-have-gotten-holodecks-right-instead dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Just to address one thing straight away: one of your favorite science
fiction stories dealing, whether directly or indirectly, with surveillance is bound to be left off
this list. And 1984's a given, so it's not here. At any rate,
the following books deal in their own unique way with surveillance. Some address the surveillance
head-on, while others speculate on inter-personal intelligence gathering, or consider the subject
in more oblique ways. Still others distill surveillance down to its essence: as just one face of
a much larger, all-encompassing system of control, that proceeds from the top of the pyramid down
to its base."
Re:Nothing to predict (Score:5, Insightful)
The government still changes by means of election,
So far as I can see, the election changes very little. Giving people a choice of two figureheads
is not democracy. Real democracy needs transparency, accountability and rule of law. Whether
there is one party, or two slightly different parties, running things is a relatively minor
Re:Nothing to predict
That accounts for much of President Obama's actions in the war against al Qaida.
What war against al Qaida? You mean that big recruitment drive for them in Iraq, where Al
Qaida did not even exist before the US invasion?
You mean the lost war against the Taliban, US allies against Russia, who were no threat against
the US, and held no grudge until being invaded?
8000 American troops dead, >600,000 Iraqi excess deaths, and worldwide loss of respect. Beats
"negligence or inaction" eh?
Re:Nothing to predict
They don't seem to be terribly afraid of your pea-shooters, either... letting people
have guns is apparently less of a threat to power than losing votes due to further restricting
Why would they be afraid of guns, when their side has drones, tanks, ICBMs, sonic weapons
(these have already been deployed against peaceful protests), smart bombs, a state-of-the-art
spying network, sophisticated propaganda systems, etc?
Besides, if you really wanted to hurt the people that control this country, you'd:
A. Organize massive labor strikes. I'm talking "Nobody is working in California this week"
kind of massive.
B. Stop shopping as much as possible.
The reason is that the money they use to control everything has to come from somewhere, and
that somewhere is from the pockets of the rest of us.
Re:Nothing to predict
The Road Ahead by Bill Gates.
Though that wasn't so much a prediction of a surveillance state as a plan for his cronies
to use his company to spy their "users" and to distribute astroturf and propaganda for business
Re:Nothing to predict
I don't think we can use rules, laws and regulations to keep them in line. They need to be
Then you've failed. This Machiavelli quote summarizes my opinion of that:
Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all
men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion
Re:Nothing to predict
I'd say the situation is the exact opposite.
They will have this power, and they will use it; toward what end?
To the same end as everyone else in power--every government, every religion, every political
party. Power is the end unto itself. The goal of power is to gain more power. The question is
That surveillance is one of those powers isn't particularly new. People had networks
of spies in ancient times.
Surveillance and spies certainly aren't new, but changes in technology drastically change
the implications of surveillance. You think the NSA tracking every call and every email is the
same as the king planting a spy in the local tavern to eavesdrop?
The book you want is Huxley's Brave New World. Instead of overlords controlling people through
power and domination, people allow themselves to be controlled in exchange for the pleasantries
of modern life - sex, entertainment, and other trivialities.
As long as they get as much of those as they want, they don't give a damn what else is going
on in society or who is controlling it. As the saying goes, you attract more flies with honey...
Re:Not 1984 (Score:2)
This was a pretty good one, and pre-dated 1984 by a good few decades.
The book you want is Huxley's
Brave New World. Instead of overlords controlling people through power and domination, people allow
themselves to be controlled in exchange for the pleasantries of modern life - sex, entertainment,
and other trivialities. As long as they get as much of those as they want, they don't give a damn
what else is going on in society or who is controlling it. As the saying goes, you attract more
flies with honey...
Another good take is the role-playing game Paranoia - which made the surveillance state amusing
(and insane) . In addition to big brother, brave new world-ish mandatory uppers and downers combined
with a Kafka-like maze of rules that can never all be respected - you are forced to betray, backstab,
lie and cheat faster/better than the other players.
This, along with games like Diplomacy , should be mandatory for all 10y+ kids so they can
become accustomed to shit that others will pull on them with more real-world painful consequences.
Re:Not 1984 (Score:5, Insightful)
by jimbrooking (1909170) writes: Alter Relationship on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @08:21PM (#44304333)
Bread and circuses, the Romans knew, were necessary for a well-ordered society.
The book you want is Huxley's Brave New World. Instead of overlords controlling people
through power and domination, people allow themselves to be controlled in exchange for
the pleasantries of modern life - sex, entertainment, and other trivialities. As long
as they get as much of those as they want, they don't give a damn what else is going
on in society or who is controlling it. As the saying goes, you attract more flies with
There was much more to it than that. The Savage (whose name escapes me) rejected
all those supposedly pleasant things while the citizens, having been conditioned since
before they were born, accepted them. Take the epsilons, for example: they weren't afforded
much at all in the way of luxury, yet still served the state and might have fought to
preserve the status quo if their development hadn't been retarded to the point where
they couldn't even grasp the concept.
When people talk about Ninteen Eighty-Four, they often focus on the telescreen, to
the exclusion of the mass surveillance of citizens by their peers. Similarly, with Brave
New World the state essentially breeding people to be satisfied with what little they
have takes second place to soma and free love that is (perversely) mandatory.
There was a pause; then the voice began again.
"Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully
clever. I'm really awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we
are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green,
and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And
Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able "
The Director pushed back the switch. The voice was silent. Only its thin ghost
continued to mutter from beneath the eighty pillows. "They'll have that repeated forty
or fifty times more before they wake; then again on Thursday, and again on Saturday.
A hundred and twenty times three times a week for thirty months. After which they go
on to a more advanced lesson."... "Till at last the child's mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the
suggestions is the child's mind. And not the child's mind only. The adult's mind too—all
his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides—made up of these suggestions.
But all these suggestions are our suggestions!
As for 1984, literary analysis was never my strong suit, but if asked I'd say that
Orwell was afraid that an oppressive state would turn men against their fellows; I can
only imagine what he would say about a world where people surrender their privacy
If God forks the Universe every time you roll a die, he'd better have a damned good
by Anonymous Coward writes: on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @07:26AM (#44306833)
... the citizens, having been conditioned...
While this is the driving event of the story, there is a far simpler meme: Don't
fight the system. Remember, the Savage commits suicide.
Aside: In 'Fahrenheit 451' the driving event is the burning of books but the
meme being examined is censorship, and to a lesser extent, self-reflection.
... an oppressive state would turn men against their fellows...
Mr Winston ('1984') was afraid of being killed by his own government,
which spent so much time watching the middle class. But on the last page we discover
that his death was metaphoric. Real death came from loving the very people that
enslaved and tortured him.
By torturing the conscience, the oppressor removes all concepts of self-determination
or individuality. Given that so many people are genetically driven to ignore the
mob mentality, I wonder how effective such brain-washing will be.
The ship's computer seemed to do more of a passive listening - as you
note, it only responded to commands but didn't record all conversations
taking place on the ship. There are a number of episodes where crew have
to filter through official ship or communication logs. If the computer was
performing complete surveillance, there'd be no need to search through the
official logs for suspicious activity. Additionally, conversations of mutiny
or sabotage would no doubt have been immediately escalated to the proper
chain if it had been monitoring everything.
Essentially Star Trek seems to feature the passive listening Microsoft
would like to have you believe is in the XBox One.
Ben Elton is perhaps better known in Commonwealth countries as a TV comedian, but he
writes a fine line of satire which frequently swerves into the SciFi realm and is almost
always a form of social commentary.
Blind Faith is an interesting posit on where the current obsession with social media,
coupled with government surveillance and the slide away from science to religion could do
to a slightly futuristic society.
Well worth a read, and if you enjoy that, you may enjoy some of his older works, such
as Stark, This Other Eden, or some of his more recent stuff (there's dozens).
Blind Faith is an interesting posit on where the current obsession with social
media, coupled with government surveillance and the slide away from science to religion
could do to a slightly futuristic society.
What makes the fictional dystopias featuring surveillance states interesting isn't simply
the fact that they conduct surveillance, but rather what they do with the information. In
the fictional dystopias is it to engage in various sorts of general repression against the
population, sometimes subtly, sometimes in a heavy handed and cruel fashion. How many of
them involve actions by the state to genuinely protect the citizenry except in an Orwellian
fashion? Moving from fiction to history and current events reveals that the difference between
free societies using surveillance to protect themselves is in marked contrast to unfree
societies. Nobody went to prison for 10 years at hard labor for simply calling George Bush,
"Chimpy McHitler," while he was President, but plenty of people went to the Gulag for 10
years for telling a joke about Stalin, and far from all of the people sent to the Gulag
survived. There may need to be refinement and more oversight over the activities of the
intelligence services of Western governments, but getting it wrong will ultimately lead
to harsh feedback of another sort.
If you punish ordinary opposing views in debate you aren't committed to free speech. Prove
How many of them involve actions by the state to genuinely protect the citizenry
except in an Orwellian fashion?
In reality, how many actions of the state genuinely
protect the citizenry? Protecting the citizenry is nothing more than an excuse to get
away with profiteering, cronyism, and ever expanding bureaucracy. e.g. Micheal Chertoff
and his back scatter machines.
Moving from fiction to history and current events reveals that the difference
between free societies using surveillance to protect themselves is in marked contrast
to unfree societies
Free societies don't use surveillance at all.
Nobody went to prison for 10 years at hard labor for simply calling George Bush,
"Chimpy McHitler," while he was President
When you rule as a strong man, your power is genuinely threatened by people making
light of you. But when power is as systematicaly entrenched as it is in the US, it's
no threat at all. What are we going to do, vote for the other guy whose policies are
99% identical? Those who control the political process in the US don't care which figurehead
is president, as long as the rich keep getting richer.
The reason satire is tolerated in the US is because it can't change anything.
Censorship is obscene.
Patriotism is bigotry.
Slashdot is unusable without noscript.
I'm disappointed that Harry Harrison's "Stainless Steel Rat" is not at the top of this
list. Written in 1961, it's entire premise is about a thief that operates in a society with
computer surveillance tracking everyones every move. Facial recognition, camera and car
tracking, etc, etc. I've re-read this many times and it's almost frightening how close it
is to reality. Even to the point of most of the populace being comfortable with the intrusion.
What's up with this box everyone has to think inside of or outside of? Why does there have
to be a box?
The novel is set in a dystopian future United States following a Second Civil
War which led to the collapse of the nation's democratic institutions. The National
Guard ("nats") and US police force ("pols") reestablished social order through instituting
a dictatorship, with a "Director" at the apex, and police marshals and generals
as operational commanders in the field. Resistance to the regime is largely confined
to university campuses, where radicalized former university students eke out a desperate
existence in subterranean kibbutzim. Recreational drug use is widespread, and the
age of consent has been lowered to twelve. Most commuting is undertaken by personal
aircraft, allowing great distances to be covered in little time.
John Brunner's -'The sheep look up' is another excellent dystopian (though not
all that surveillance-oriented) novel
by Anonymous Coward writes: on Tuesday July 16, 2013 @08:53PM (#44304511)
I think often of the original Running Man story by Stephen King(as Richard Bachman)and
wish someone would have the balls/resources to do a 100% accurate(if slightly updated for
the times)interpretation, right down to the punch-in-the-face ending.
From a more economics-based standpoint(specifically, what happens when there are no real
"jobs" left), I would have to say "Player Piano" by Kurt Vonnegut. Now of course there is
the obviously dated references to computers with so many vacuum tubes that they fill a cave,
and alas engineers ARENT the richest people on the planet but there is some great social
commentary in there re: what to do when technology and society has rendered most people
In the book, 99% of young men are basically given 2 options: join the army or join a
meaningless public works organization....this is eerily similar to today's economy.
Having spent time on a military base as a contractor, I can say that most of these guys
would have been working at a factory if they had been born 50 years ago, but as most of
those jobs have dried up they ended up in the Army.
I know people in the US like to go all hero worship on these people, but lets face facts:
For most of them, it's their only ticket to anything that even closely resembles a middle
class lifestyle. They either aren't cut out for post-secondary education or cannot afford
it, and since we don't have any other place for them(much like in the story), we stick them
in the army...... The "reeks and wrecks" are the public works people, not quite as big in
the US as they are elsewhere(for instance, Japan), but they are still there.
If you have time, definitely check it out, I've just scratched the surface of how correct
Vonnegut was in predicting what happens when people stop being "useful" to society.
/. should just come clean and rename "Overrated" to "I disagree"
" I know people in the US like to go all hero worship on these people, but lets face
facts: For most of them, it's their only ticket to anything that even closely resembles
a middle class lifestyle."
As a former active duty military and on-base contractor, I know what you mean. I
wouldn't even be that nice about it. There are heroes in the military, but there are
also idiots. Some soldiers are dedicated, others are lazy wastes of space. Even one
of the 'hard chargers' I served with was useless in our actual field; he just didn't
do any work, yet got promoted by the system.
I save me hero worship for the ones that actually deserve it.
Harry Harrison's "To
The Stars" trilogy [wikipedia.org] ("Homeworld", "Wheelworld" and "Starworld")
also predicted a society under constant surveillance, although it's not a major part
of the story. It's sort of like the future of 1984, except one where the society seems
to have been founded less on "for the evilz" (which seems to be the primary motivator
of the party in Orwell's "1984") and more based on greed and power-hunger.
While the story itself is not particularly engrossing, some of the predictions on
the society and surveillance methods are frighteningly close. Of course, Harrison missed
the date by approximately 500 years but that date seems to be more an artifice to explain
how mankind has reached other planets rather than a necessity for the technology to
evolve; if anything, the world seems somewhat backwards technologically and societally
given it is set 5 centuries hence. Of course, it was written back in 1981...
By banning unreasonable "seizures" of a person's "papers," the Fourth Amendment clearly protects
what we today call "informational privacy." Rather than seizing the private papers of individual
citizens, the NSA and CFPB programs instead seize the records of the private communications companies
with which citizens do business under contractual "terms of service." These contracts do not authorize
data-sharing with the government.
Indeed, these private companies have insisted that they be compelled by statute and warrant to
produce their records so as not to be accused of breaching their contracts and willingly betraying
their customers' trust.
Mr. Barnett is a professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University and the author of
"Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty" (Princeton University, 2005).
I wish he'd addressed the argument regarding pen registers. There is an old Supreme
Court case (Smith v. Maryland) which holds that a pen register which recorded all phone numbers
being called by a given phone did not require a warrant as there was no reasonable expectation
of privacy. So, the fact a phone call is coming from A to B is not private information - among
other things, the phone company needs to know those facts in order to connect the call. It is
an easy leap from that to the metadata of an email - size, originator, destination, etc. Bottom
line - it is unclear what the NSA is doing is unconstitutional. I expect better from a constitutional
That is not what they are doing.
I'm not sure we 100% know what they are/were doing. We have bits and pieces from leaks, not
an entire picture.
As an attorney, if I was making the argument before a court that the program was unconstitutional,
I would clearly have to deal with Smith v. Maryland. When I see another attorney simply calling
the program unconstitutional without dealing with that case (or even mentioning it), I feel
cheated. I actually agree that there may be substantive differences between what they're doing
and what they are arguably authorized to do without a warrant under Smith v. Maryland ... but
to ignore the topic altogether is a failure of analysis in my view.
"There is an old Supreme Court case (Smith v. Maryland) which holds that a pen register
which recorded all phone numbers being called by a given phone did not require a warrant as
there was no reasonable expectation of privacy."
The phone numbers that a person calls are their business, not the gov't's and the only interest
the phone co has in the matter is understood between the parties to be for legitimate business
purposes. Gov't suveillance and involvement in such matters is unwarranated per the 4th Amendment,
unless a warrant is obtained based on specific evidence of some ongoing conspiracy and immanent
crime--a SCOTUS decision to the contrary notwithstanding.
They simply have no justification whatsoever in siezing business records, general or limited,
w/o without appropriate cause being presented. Smith v Maryland is no more absolute than Plessy
>>the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform,
is compiling a massive database of citizens' personal information—including monthly credit-card,
mortgage, car and other payments—ostensibly to protect consumers from abuses by financial institutions.
This, combined with the FEC, the NSA, the IRS and abuses at the Justice Department add up
to a serious challenge to our democratic form of government.
We are creating the tools for a future dictator.
Charles J Jernigan:
"Does Professor Barnett feel the this 4th amendment encroachment is more dangerous than
not acquiring information to defend the nation? "
Yes, and so do I. There are many ways to defend the nation short of violating the Constitution.
Frankly, preventing something like another 911 isn't worth giving up our individual liberty.
Another point, it doesn't actually matter what the "majority" thinks ether, the rights guaranteed
to us by the bill-of-rights accrue to each citizen individually and aren't subject to the popular
democratic will of the majority.
The correct solution is to be as vigilant as possible within the constraints of the constitution
and if you fail to uncover and prevent an attack before the fact, use a devastating punitive
military response to punish those who precipitated it. Screw the "Powell" doctrine of you break
it you buy it. Use the Genghis Khan approach of scorched earth, leave and tell those who are
left standing that we'll be back if you mess with us again.
The FISA Court (Foreign Intelligence Surveilence Court) was "Supposed" to oversee "Foreign"
intelligence gathering. You know "Foreign", like out side the United States. At least that was
the story. Now we find out the FISA Court, in a Star Chamber proceeding, gave it self authority
to oversee intelligence gather Inside the United States. It also, in a Star Chamber proceeding,
secretly gave itself authority to write it's own secret laws governing lt self and the power
to decide for it self the Constitutionality of it's own actions. Looks like the "Foreign" in
the title means foreign to the laws of The United States.
Dennis has a point.....there being similarities between the FISC and the Star Chamber. I
do believe the 'bell of silence' which has descended on this Obama's 'most transparent of all
administrations' is objectionable. Such as Obama's secret wars, and obstruction of Congressional
For FISC, the general nature of the data mining profile can be revealed, and the statistical
reporting of activity should be made public. The reduction of several billions if not of trillions
of metadata strings into recognition patterns requiring less than 3000 specific FISC search
warrant requests each year is quite impressive.
For the less than 3000 specific search warrants issued by FISC, the subject and general justification
could be revealed atter180 days. Uncensored transcripts of decisions should be available by
request a year or two after the decision is entered. Those requesting such information would
have to agree to wave their rights to privacy, holding FISC harmless, as part of their application
to obtain the data.
" I have not seen an alternative manner of reducing a huge amount of data into the few communications
of suspicion .....nor a less intrusive means of screening."
That's because you operate under the premise that "screening" of private communications is
a harmless technique, justified in order to prevent crime before it happens.
"Does Professor Barnett feel the this 4th amendment encroachment is more dangerous than not
acquiring information to defend the nation?"
Yes, and so do I. No level of terrorism threatens the United States Constitution like these
NSA programs do.
"Had it not been for recent leaks, the American public would have no idea of the existence
of these programs"
Then how did I know? Because president George W. Bush told us they were analyzing phone call
patterns as a means of locating jihad warriors in our midst. And then if suspicious patterns
were found, then courts decide if it warrants further investigation, including revealing the
identity of the callers.
Anyway, I accept that all of the dangers the author cited are true, and they are indeed dangerous,
particularly in the hands of the Left, which knows no bounds of legality or decency when pursuing
their political goals. And government work seems to disproportionately attract those on the
liberal-left, at least in the current era.
That having been said, I can think of no better weapon against jihad Muslims than this program.
They are spread out all around the world, and they propagandize and communicate by website,
e-mail, and telephone, all of which leaves a trail to find them. If they conclude it's too risky
to use e-mail, websites, and telephone, then that cuts off their primary means of "radicalizing"
more people into jihad.
Given that, I'm willing to accept it. But what I will suggest is that the people handling
and using the data become a LOT smarter about it. E.g., Edward Snowden -- someone who just became
an employee of an NSA contractor just months before, apparently had access to the whole enchilada
of data. And was able to download several laptop-fulls of data, and walk off with those laptops,
without anyone becoming suspicious. The heads of NSA need to be at least as smart as America's
Founders, who didn't trust ultimate power in anyone's hands. NSA needs to realize that NSA workers
can be tempted to abuse what is at their fingertips, just like anyone else. And likewise, the
top people at NSA can be tempted. No one can be given 100% trust, with so much at stake. To
presume only purity from every single worker, is to be foolish.
Snowden previously worked for the NSA. If you want to rely on govt. to be "smart," not much
Cloaked in their 'national security' reasoning, our government doesn't care about 'constitutionality',
your opinion or mine. Not to mention many Americans believe what they are told about the NSA
and support it's existence. Time will move the NSA back underground where the snakes live.
I don't buy the argument that "they're not listening to specific conversations without
a warrant, just collecting data on everyone and analyzing it in aggregate." That's no different
than the local police taking a stroll through the homes of every citizen in their jurisdiction,
not looking for anything in particular, just collecting data.
Supposedly the type of data being collected would be more analogous to a partolman
patrolling the neighborhood from the street collecting locations, addresses, number of cars
etc. When they notice an address with a high volume of nonresident vehicle arriving and leaving
at odd times, they become suspicious that a crime is occurring in that location and then proceed
to get the warrants etc. to search that residence.
I, however, also remain extremely suspicious of what data is collected, how its collected,
and the legality of collecting it. From what I've read, the PRISM program is more like spy satellites
recording each individuals every public movement and then analyzing our behavior patterns to
determine if a potential crime exists. Visit a lot of garden centers? You might be a terrorist.
We're supposed to trust that this domestic spying and data collecting simply "doesn't touch"
or "doesn't look at" all the data that doesn't demonstrate a criminal pattern. To me that's
pure malarky - especially with the Obamination's track record for harassing his political opposition.
With the extreme prejudice he and his supporters have against the Tea Party - what proves the
"pattern" they're looking for isn't that of Tea Party affiliation. Since they're so confident
Tea Partiers are terrorists in waiting, what proves they're not listening to, reading, or analyzing
THIS communication because it has the keyword Tea Party in it. They've already done it once.
My feelings on the NSA's activities have been mixed at best, but this other collecting
a person's personal financial data really stretches any credibility to any such inquiries.
I wonder if the NSA pays a roylaty to Sting when they play their theme song in the
mornings... "Every breath you take Every move you make Every bond you break Every step you take
I'll be watching you"
Finally, the WSJ editorial board at least allows an outside writer to criticize the NSA programs,
which they valiantly defend. I'm glad this author includes the Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau along with the NSA, since it highlights that the same concerns apply to personal data
that is economic in nature. Maybe the brains at the WSJ can understand that loss of privacy
and growth of government's abusive power at little more easily. They are the same, but for the
CFPB the wild (and probably false) claims about protection from terrorists can't be applied.
The trouble is, we know absolutely nothing is going to be done to stop these programs. The
author says Congress and the courts SHOULD stop them. We know they won't. What we need is a
plan for how to stop them.
Terrorist. Hijackers. Al Qaeda. Najibullah Zazi. What do these words have in common?
The IRA? The Shining Path? The KKK? Mohammedans? From whom are we trying to protect ourselves
by sacrificing real liberty for pseudo-security?
Lawfully or unlawfully, rightly or wrongly, it was Mr. Snowden who exposed the secret, deceitful
activities of the federal government (in this case, NSA) for what they are ... not lawyers such
as Mr. Barnett. Mr. Snowden’s apparently well-intentioned but ill-planned actions followed by
his ill-conceived and ill-executed escape have allowed lawyers such as Mr. Barnett to pontificate,
albeit correctly, from the lavish comfort of their offices in the District of Corruption while
their sole benefactor sits alone and desperate in a Russian airport; his passport invalidated
without trial, let alone conviction.
Is breaking the law to expose law-breakers (lying governmental law-breakers, at that) a crime,
Mr. Barnett? Your lawyer’s defense of our Constitution is admirable; your willful neglect of
even a word about the plight of Mr. Snowden, however, is something else.
Mr. Barnett, does not Obama’s denying Mr. Snowden his internationally-recognized right to
seek asylum testify to the indifference of the federal government to the law and custom that
it claims to honor? Does not Obama’s denying freedom of travel to an elected president, Mr.
Morales, of a sovereign nation, Bolivia, add insult to injury?
Mr. Snowden has shown all us Americans ... not only you, Mr. Barnett ... our government naked.
At the very least, we all owe him a debt of acknowledgment, a debt to look long and hard at
the ugly beast that he alone exposed, and a debt to face American reality as it is ... not as
we wish it were (www.nationonfire.com).
Continuing to address Mark's mention of "concepts of privacy"; hope this is placed somewhere
near part one.]
Systematic collection and analysis of "Big Data" is effective, and oddly enough minimizes
unneeded intensive action against innocent individuals because it allows separating the clearly
innocent from those deserving special suspicion and scrutiny at an early stage of the process.
The biggest problem today in police and foreign intelligence is too much data, not too little,
and (again oddly) the best way to filter it to only that likely to be useful is to collect as
much as possible and use computers to sort it.
A "privacy benefit" of computers is that they do not give a fig for your privacy, but care
about only what they are programmed to care about. If looking for indicators indicative of terrorism,
they will be blind as bats to pedophilia, illegal gambling, public drunkenness, and driving
too fast on the Interstates, things that human investigators checking out a suspect likely would
notice and respond to. And the computer programs can be inspected to verify what they are looking
for, long after the fact, where a human investigator asked why he did xxx while investigating
Joe Smuck 2 years ago may not remember and if he does remember may not tell you the full and
I suggest you accept as a given that Government must, and will, employ means to collect the
information it needs. Otherwise, it will fail, and be replaced by Government that will do things
much differently from the fail Government, and likely not different in a way you would favor.
Then consider what information it needs, and how it can be collected, analyzed and assessed.
Then look at how much can be computerized and automated to maximize effectiveness, minimize
cost, and automatically screen out the tons of dross that are accumulated by records systems
public and private today. I submit that some people within Government are doing that (based
on NSA's recent defense of its conduct, reported by the WSJ) in a manner intended to maximize
benefits and minimize costs to the people of the United States.
This is not a simple problem, not subject to easy examination and analysis, but what I see
in the papers (to use an old line from Will Rogers, that still seems good 80 years later) leads
me to favor the NSA and its arguments.
James, if you were a technical person in the field, you would have a completely different
opinion, as I do. I worked in "Electronic Reconnaissance" with the Brown Boxes of the NSA for
the government years ago, and I saw the schematic diagrams of the equipment they used in 2006,
.. . and we are toast.
Democracy is GONE if they continue to do what they are doing.
You mention one factor that does need to be addressed, "concepts of privacy."
The historians say that privacy basically was a creation of the Dutch in the 17th Century,
and they have what appear to be sound arguments supporting that thesis. "Privacy" it would seem
is not the normal human condition. There is a reason.
While I am quite happy that privacy did come about, I also recognize that it brings with
it forces disfunctional for society, and that the changing nature of our society has intensified
the effect of those forces. In particular, anonymity, made possible by privacy, appears to be
a major and effective enabler for crime of all sorts and types.
In 1790, U.S. population was just under 4 million, and located somewhere near the East Coast
from Maine to Georgia. People were few, population centers were small, people traveled on foot
or by slow means of conveyance when they traveled at all, and pretty much everyone was known
to and kept track of by a significant fraction of others he might associate t with. In short,
people were generally well-known to those they came in contact with.
Today, we have 330 million in 50 states plus minor territories. People travel by car from
coast to coast in days, by aircraft in hours. With length of residence in many suburbs averaging
3 to 5 years (changes in job and transfers do move people around) the opportunity for people
to be "well-known" to those they live near is severely limited. Cars and public transportation
allow people to by-pass local residents and socialize with others of the same interests across
a wide area, and this contributes to people being less known to others who live near them. Add
to this all the factors sociologists cite as causes for anomie, and you get an idea of the factors
making all of us less "well-known" to others we may encounter.
Yet, trust is fundamental to functioning of society, in all arenas, economic, political,
social, military, and other -- and this has bearing on opportunities to engage in crime, terrorism,
and other "anti-social" activities and to get away with it.
There was a time when one could talk to people who lived near a person, supplement that with
talking to people who worked near him if he worked at a distance from his residence, and get
a pretty good idea of who/what he was and what his activities were (political, economic, military,
etc). Not so today.
Today, to assess a person for basically any qualification important to society, you need
information from a variety of places and times that will not often be obvious and may not be
readily available even if you know where to go for what time periods. Society must collect the
information it needs (and does, or it would fall apart), in the form of records in the police
files, in the schools, in the businesses and financial institutions, and in other entities public
and private. But discovering information for an individual, tracking out where it may be found,
and recognizing it for what it is when crime, terrorism, or other anti-social activities are
involved is ineffective when done on the basis of a bit here, a piece there, an odd note over
there, and blind luck to see them as all inter-related. [To be continued]
george kamburoff \
Nice lecture, James. But they are not reading it for advice in the government,
and instead are taking EVERYTHING they want, starting with the CONTENT of your stuff, and to
whom you talk, write, post, or debate online.
It is already too late for discussion.
I agree. This activity is plainly and undeniably unconstitutional. The only basis that the
NSA advances for its constitutionality is that they aren't going to read the information without
first getting a warrant. But that is basically an admission that a warrant is required, and
the violation does not occur when they "read" the information. It occurs when they conduct a
"search and seizure," i.e. when they compile the information.
If the Courts do not put a stop to this, then they are basically writing the Fourth Amendment
out of the Constitution. Frankly, if they do not stop it, then what use do we have for courts
I might add that the judges who have passed on it so far have basically demonstrated their
own uselessness. Why have them if they are simply going to rubber stamp what the Obama Administration
We really must consider that NSA has enough dirt on everyone, including judges, that it can
extort or blackmail [them] into doing whatever the admin wants.
Yes, but the real reason they rubber stamp these applications is more interesting than that.
If you remember, during the Bush Admin the Dems were outraged that Bush was tapping calls from
terrorists overseas without a warrant. They demanded that a judge be involved and that a warrant
be obtained. The Bush Admin said it wasn't necessary--these calls were overseas calls involving
non-Americans, and if an American was involved, then they would get a warrant. The Democrats
and the Judges would not accept that though, claiming it was simple enough to get a warrant,
and it would be no burden on the war on terror. As a result, the system was changed so that
they now go in front of a judge and get a warrant, but the judge practically rubber stamps the
warrant. Why? Because the whole unstated reason they wanted the warrant in the first place was
to give jobs to NSA judges. The last thing the NSA judges want is to interfere in the war on
terror. They just want the jobs. Having gotten them, they made the assumption that the best
way to keep them was to do what the Administration says and rubber stamp the warrants.
Ironically, their actions in doing so have made their involvement in the process meaningless,
except that it's a waste of money. We don't need them. They don't do anything useful. We pay
their salaries, but they just rubber stamp what the government wants anyway--possibly even giving
it a false presumption of correctness. One of the claims made in this NSA scandal is that the
judges have ruled that these blanket warrants allowing the NSA to collect info on hundreds of
millions of Americans without probable cause are somehow constitutional. I don't see how.
James G. Dickinson
Congressional collaboration in the excesses of the NSA and the FISA court, not to mention
other collaborators large and small across the country, is substantiation of the imminent dangers
described in John Whitehead's new book, Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State,
which I commend to all.
Be afraid; be very much afraid.
Dangerous precedents have been set by the likes of Roosevelt, Nixon Bush, etc. for a future
dictator to work within the laws of the U.S.
President Obama famously joked in a college commencement address in 2009 at at Arizona State
University that he could use the IRS to target political enemies but of course he never would.
It appears that people at the Internal Revenue Service didn't think he was joking.
He also said that Latinos should vote and not just say (in Obama’s words), "We're going to
punish our enemies and we're going to reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are
important to us."
These “enemies” he spoke of are other American citizens.
Jörg Muth explains in Foreign Policy Magazine: “Interestingly, the literally hundreds of
American observers who were regularly send to the old continent during the course of the 19th
century never noticed Auftragstaktik, a command concept in which even the most junior officers
[and NCOs] were required to make far reaching decisions,”
On February 21, 1934, Werner Willikens, German State Secretary in the Ministry of Food said,
“Everyone who has the opportunity to observe it knows that the Führer can hardly dictate from
above everything he intends to realize sooner or later. On the contrary, up till now everyone
with a post in the new Germany has worked best when he has, so to speak, worked towards the
Ian Kershaw in “Working towards the Führer” suggests a strange kind of political structure.
Not one in which those in power issue orders but one in which those at the lower end of the
hierarchy initiate policies themselves within what they take to be the spirit of the regime
and carry on implementing them until corrected.
Not a single written document signed by Hitler has ever been found authorizing the SS murderers
to wipe out Untermenschen or to killing foreign slave workers or Jews in concentration death
camps or by starving them or working them to death.
In England too, Henry II said, ‘Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?’ and the barons
rushed to Canterbury to murder Thomas Becket. No direct order was given, but the courtiers sensed
what would please their king.
To get a frightening idea of an ordinary citizen caught in the web of corrupt officials and
men in the NSA watch the film (also on the web) “Enemy of The State” with Gene Hackman and Will
The question is “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” (Who will guard the guards?”).
The price of freedom is constant vigil and independent oversight on every government department
as well as those who run our government.
Check out The Guardian's article today, about Microsoft's collaboration, before any kind
of NSA or FBI application or order was sought/offered. Microsoft assisted NSA in getting access
to emails, chats, cloud storage, and in making Skype video and audio more clear, after MS bought
Skype (previously, the audio was ok but video was subpar; MS made sure NSA could capture crystal
clear video, too).
There are numerous memos showing how much NSA appreciated Microsoft's proactive assistance
in spying on Microsoft's customers, and how it would have been impossible without Microsoft's
generous proactive assistance.
In particular, it details how Microsoft went out of its way to help NSA "work around" issues
that might allow Outlook.com subscribers to use aliases. MS consolidated all its email products
into Outlook.com a few months ago---maybe the sole purpose was to make surveillance easier.
A while ago one of our Community comment boards talked about the new push by MS and Google
to try to force people to attach a phone number to their email account (in case you lose your
password). MS now requires--requires--2 ways to "reach you" in the event you "lose your password."
Think about why [MS] would want to contact you.
The company obviously spent significant sums of money on this spy effort. That would have
depressed profits, as that money had nothing to do with the business of the company as shareholders
understand it. If this collaboration story causes the stock to tank, is there liability for
failure to disclose? Is there liability for undisclosed spending that depressed profits/stock
price? Does anybody believe they were smart enough to get the govt. to sign an indemnity/hold
The article seems to say MS was a more zealous collaborator than, e.g., Google et. al. If
I ran MS, I'd make sure I wasn't left hanging all by my lonesome.
**This is all my understanding of the article, so it's my opinion, only.
Who do you think makes all that spy equipment for the government? They do not make it themselves.
Corporations are the real owners of Big Brother.
“The paramount lesson of the Roman experience is actually not peculiar to Rome. It
may be, in fact, the most universal lesson of all history: No people who have lost their character
have kept their liberties.”
Are We Rome? By Lawrence W. Reed www.fee.org/library/detail/are-we-rome-by-lawrence-w-reed
The critical government problem not being addressed today is aggregation - secret courts,
IRS and FEC attacks on conservatives and conservative donors, DoJ attacks on the press and failure
to investigate obvious cases of voter fraud, EPA and OSHA attacks on conservative donors, NSA
and FBI surveillance of everybody, USPS surveillance of all mail, IRS and Consumer Protection
capture and surveillance of all credit and debit card transactions, Obamacare acquisition of
all medical records, Democratic party demands for an end to fraud preventing voter identification
laws, the ongoing militarization of police forces, etc. etc. etc. are all aimed at amassing
power and attacking and suppressing all opposition.
To understand this behavior keep in mind that bureaucrats are punished for solving problems
and being efficient – they lose budget and therefore power and status. They are rewarded for
loyalty to superiors, growing the bureaucracy and centralizing power - and the State is always
and everywhere all about power. Every page, every sentence, every word of legislation and regulation
is fertilizer that enables bureaucrats to grow the bureaucracy and the power of the state. The
multi-thousand page unread legislation promoted by this administration massively feeds and enables
all of this.
To assume these actions are unconnected, uncoordinated and undirected is lunacy. By far the
greatest danger and damage is in the aggregate. Clearly America is certainly no longer the "sweet
land of liberty".
Q: From Snowden shared documents with you, there is much more information related to Latin
A:Yes. For each country that has an advanced communications system, such as from Mexico to Argentina,
there are documents that detail how the United States collects the traffic information, the programs
that are used to capture the transmissions, the number of interceptions are performed per day, and
more. One way to intercept communications is through a telephone corporation in the United States
that has contracts with telecommunications companies in most Latin American countries. The important
thing will be to see what the reaction of the various governments. I do not think that the governments
of Mexico and Colombia do much about it. But maybe those of Argentina and Venezuela itself willing
to take action.
It is surprising how things change diametrically in 30 short years...
From the Ronald Reagan address to the National Association of Evangelicals, March 8, 1983.
It was C.S. Lewis who, in his unforgettable “Screwtape Letters,” wrote: “The greatest evil
is not done now…in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is…not even
done in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see its final result, but it is conceived
and ordered; moved, seconded, carried and minuted in clear, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted
offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do
not need to raise their voice.
Well, because these “quiet men” do not “raise their voices,” because they sometimes speak
in soothing tones of brotherhood and peace, because, like other dictators before them, they’re
always making “their final territorial demand,” some would have us accept them at their word
and accommodate ourselves to their aggressive impulses. But if history teaches anything, it
teaches that simpleminded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It
means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.
So, I urge you to speak out against those who would place the United States in a position
of military and moral inferiority... I urge you to beware the temptation of pride–the temptation
of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault,
to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply
call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle
between right and wrong and good and evil.
I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last–last
pages even now are being written. I believe this because the source of our strength in the quest
for human freedom is not material, but spiritual. And because it knows no limitation,
it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow man.
Yes, change your world. One of our founding fathers, Thomas Paine, said, “We have it within
our power to begin the world over again.” We can do it, doing together what no one church could
do by itself.
Isn't it ironic that 30 years later, those who refuse to "remove themselves from the struggle
between right and wrong, between good and evil" and those "who speak out against those
who would place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority" are forced
to seek asylum in...the Evil Empire?
Imagine the aircraft of the president of France being forced down in Latin America on "suspicion"
that it was carrying a political refugee to safety – and not just any refugee but someone who has
provided the people of the world with proof of criminal activity on an epic scale.
Imagine the response from Paris, let alone the "international community", as the governments
of the west call themselves. To a chorus of baying indignation from Whitehall to Washington, Brussels
to Madrid, heroic special forces would be dispatched to rescue their leader and, as sport, smash
up the source of such flagrant international gangsterism. Editorials would cheer them on, perhaps
reminding readers that this kind of piracy was exhibited by the German Reich in the 1930s.
The forcing down of Bolivian President Evo Morales's plane – denied airspace by France, Spain
and Portugal, followed by his 14-hour confinement while Austrian officials demanded to "inspect"
his aircraft for the "fugitive" Edward Snowden – was an act of air piracy and state terrorism. It
was a metaphor for the gangsterism that now rules the world and the cowardice and hypocrisy of bystanders
who dare not speak its name.
In Moscow, Morales had been asked about Snowden – who remains trapped in the city's airport.
"If there were a request [for political asylum]," he said, "of course, we would be willing to debate
and consider the idea." That was clearly enough provocation for the Godfather. "We have been in
touch with a range of countries that had a chance of having Snowden land or travel through their
country," said a US state department official.
The French – having squealed about Washington spying on their every move, as revealed by Snowden
– were first off the mark, followed by the Portuguese. The Spanish then did their bit by enforcing
a flight ban of their airspace, giving the Godfather's Viennese hirelings enough time to find out
if Snowden was indeed invoking article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:
"Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution."
Those paid to keep the record straight have played their part with a cat-and-mouse media game
that reinforces the Godfather's lie that this heroic young man is running from a system of justice,
rather than preordained, vindictive incarceration that amounts to torture – ask Bradley Manning
and the living ghosts in Guantánamo.
Historians seem to agree that the rise of fascism in Europe might have been averted had the liberal
or left political class understood the true nature of its enemy. The parallels today are very different,
but the Damocles sword over Snowden, like the casual abduction of Bolivia's president, ought to
stir us into recognising the true nature of the enemy.
Snowden's revelations are not merely about privacy, or civil liberty, or even mass spying. They
are about the unmentionable: that the democratic facades of the US now barely conceal a systematic
gangsterism historically identified with, if not necessarily the same as, fascism. On Tuesday, a
US drone killed 16 people in North Waziristan, "where many of the world's most dangerous militants
live", said the few paragraphs I read. That by far the world's most dangerous militants had hurled
the drones was not a consideration. President Obama personally sends them every Tuesday.
In his acceptance of the 2005 Nobel prize in literature, Harold Pinter referred to "a vast tapestry
of lies, upon which we feed". He asked why "the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities"
of the Soviet Union were well known in the west while America's crimes were "superficially recorded,
let alone documented, let alone acknowledged". The most enduring silence of the modern era covered
the extinction and dispossession of countless human beings by a rampant US and its agents. "But
you wouldn't know it," said Pinter. "It never happened. Even while it was happening it never happened."
This hidden history – not really hidden, of course, but excluded from the consciousness of societies
drilled in American myths and priorities – has never been more vulnerable to exposure. Snowden's
whistleblowing, like that of Manning and Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, threatens to break the silence
Pinter described. In revealing a vast Orwellian police state apparatus servicing history's greatest
war-making machine, they illuminate the true extremism of the 21st century. Unprecedented, Germany's
Der Spiegel has described the Obama administration as "soft totalitarianism". If the penny is falling,
we might all look closer to home.
i have no love for leftist demagogues but yes, this was pretty outrageous. id be pissed if
i were morales.
im not a cheerleader but i think what snowden did was important.
privacy is rapidly becoming a quaint notion.
we have to fight for it...or it will be gone.
anyone who thinks the world is a shit place now, wait until you can't take a dump without
the govt. knowing what it smelled like
The irony is that by changing the rules on diplomatic immunity the US is making the F-16's
less valuable. Countries who had no chance against the US military can do what the US and its
allies just did. Give Air Force One safe passage then revoke it and force the plan down. The
President is a hostage and the F-16's are too late.
Swanmaster -> snix
Actually the pirate party does represent a better option than any of the mainstream political
However, what I want to say here is how panicked the corporate-state machine must be to scramble
so many apparatchiks (AKA trolls) in an attempt to undermine John Pilger's superb article. I've
never seen such a sorry list of corporate-government apologists lining up to comment upon publication
of a CiF article before.
They're all peddling the same line: Snowden isn't a hero, he's a criminal. The irony of this
cannot be lost on any intelligent person; a simple analysis of what Ed Snowden exposed - the
gross abuse of power and illegal activities of a US government agency against its own citizens
and those around the world - clearly shows who is the criminal and who is the man upholding
From Ban Ki-Moon's obsequious guff to these apparatchik shills, we can see that the corporate
machine IS rocked, it's ruffled, the cracks in the illusion are becoming harder and harder to
paper over, and the Emperor is naked.
God bless you Ed Snowden, wherever you are.
Oh, and just to add that George Orwell's oft-quoted (these days) maxim is entirely appropriate
In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act
What Snowden did was illegal, what America is doing is Tyranny.
John Locke said it..."Tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have
a right to; and this is making use of the power any one has in his hands, not for the good of
those who are under it, but for his own private, separate advantage".
Seems to fit the bill.
As was pointed out by Craig Murray : 'The forcing down of the Bolivian President’s jet
was a clear breach of the Vienna Convention by Spain and Portugal, which closed their airspace
to this Head of State while on a diplomatic mission.'
Manfridayconsulting -> MerkinOnParis
Vienna Convention is so .... 20th century. This is global fascism.
Gerbetticus -> MerkinOnParis
Will there be international law in the 21st century?
It's turning out to a fucking nightmare.
We can rage John, but we are impotent. The sick beast that is the United Police States of
America will only be healed from within. And that day is coming.
The 13 colonies did not unite to fight a republican war of liberation against British tyranny
in order to swap it for a darker, deeper, home-grown variety.
Amerika is teetering on a knife edge. Watch this space.. . it's gonna be awesome! Come on
down Virginia... your country needs you.
cudbird -> shinotora
I'd like you to be right but in fact the 13 colonies did not unite to fight a republican
war of liberation against British tyranny. The revolt was initially funded by American businesses
trying to avoid tax. The average American rebel fell for the freedom ruse hook line and sinker.
After the collapse of the USSR the rule of international law has disappeared in a unipolar
world. We are in the wild west with the survival of the most vicious.
bill4me -> thankgodimanatheist
Perhaps the millions of people in Eastern Europe are rather grateful for this collapse.
michalakis -> bill4me
I'm not so sure about that. I'd say the majority are vastly ambivalent about the collapse
of the Eastern Bloc.
bill4me -> michalakis
You must be joking!
Oh, they loved to have the tanks on the streets of Budapest, of Berlin, of Warsaw.
Have you ever visited eastern Europe?
michalakis -> bill4me
Of course. But, more importantly, Eastern Europe has visited me. I'm sure the Rumanian labourers
who now have to travel abroad while they work all day for a pittance in southern Europe, where
they are also discriminated against, are delighted at the change in the nominal political system
that rules them.
I'm sure the intelligent, beautiful women of Russia and Hungary who would now be professionals
or some sort, but whom capitalism has condemned to a life of sex-for-sale because of their particular
USP, are over the moon. Central Europe came out well; Eastern Europe didn't.
finnkn -> michalakis
You might say that. This recent survey suggests something entirely different, particularly
in the former Soviet dominated countries of Eastern Europe.
Actually, the study would seem to back me up. Also, there isn't enough information on who
was polled to allow any conclusions to be drawn--for example, the millions of Rumanian day-workers
in Southern Europe certainly won't have been, as they have left Rumania, just as the pretty
girls have been forced out of Hungary and Russia.
The most enduring silence of the modern era covered the extinction and dispossession
of countless human beings by a rampant US and its agents.
This is a silly argument. What does it mean? All conflicts end up with countless human beings
being killed on both sides. The fact that one side is ahead does not mean anything.
This will not be forgotten in Latin America, it will be added to the long history of intervention
and mafia like policies of the Western world towards our nations.
AJQDuggan -> Coribantes
This will not be forgotten in Latin America, it will be added to the long history of
intervention and mafia like policies of the Western world towards our nations.
Nah, they're more concerned with the mismanagement and corruption at home. Has Caracas had
a toilet paper delivery recently?
Uh... Caracas is in Venezuela. And, having only one paper mill and one paper products company
in Venezuela, a temporary shortage of paper products is something that should be expected when
incomes have risen to the point that people are using more of them. What does that have to do
with Evo Morales and the French anyway?
metropolis10 -> haveblue
This equals to putting Evo's life in danger. In fact the US thought seriously that the plane
was carrying Snowden and they could make it crash by denying landing!?
Also who had the right from Austria to search the plane? Any warrants from police based on
This was a deliberate act of piracy. To seize an elected a legitimate government representative
may be construed by some as an act of war. Report Share this comment on Twitter Share this comment
So would you like that? You want Bolivia to declare war on the US?
I thought presidential aircrafts would be protected by diplomatic immunity, but evidently
edwardrice -> ID721024
Frank McCarry -> edwardrice
On paper and America can do anything and get away with it. It doesn't answer to any international
law! America sucks big time! Time the people took it back.
qwerd -> Frank McCarry
Let's not forget that the Europeans have been willing lap-dogs in all this...
Fully agree with john. The bloody usa managing the world as prostitutes. It is very sad to
see how these countries are mere puppets of the america. One order, one country, one president
who is in turn a puppet of the military-financial establishment. Democracy...what a joke ! Poor
Evo morales ! What a humilliation !
angelamarica -> tiquitaca
I don't think Evo Morales was humiliated. In fact, his pleasant demeanor throughout the whole
ordeal was very refreshing. The West and USA were definitely humiliated though, exposed, and
looking as if they are blaming a double game, with the EU pretending to be shocked by the spying
but in reality, complying with the Americans.
People still think of the US as FDR middle-class country full of freedom. It was, for a time.Still
there was Mccarthyism, even in that time. In the 19th century, US dispossessed the Indian from
Dakota so cronies of the then president, Grant, could explore the biggest gold mine of that
time, contrary to the beliefs of sacredness of the site by the Indians. The 20s were the time
where the president that voted and campaigned for Prohibition was a passed-out drunk, many times
met sleeping his drink in the floor of the White House. He still gave away The Teapot Dome,
the US oil reserve to some cronies. The 19th century US stock exchange was a merry go round
manipulated by few people known as the Robber Barons. that is what the country is returning
or already returned. A few uber-rich who will dispute who has the most luxurious abode/yacht/plane
and the rest...there will always be MacDonald's.
"peace will come at the barrel of a gun" to quote a popular song. American foreign policy
since the Monroe Doctrine in 1823 hasn't changed much and Pilger has his finger on the button
once again. The arrogance overreaching and decadence that has brought down all past Empires
will bring this one down too and given the damage they have done in their short period of dominance
it will probably be soon. I once lived there for a long time and loved it but it's a shame to
see what has become of it over the past 40 years or so.
This weekend's epic indignation by Francois Hollande at the NSA,
coupled with his laughable ultimatum for Barack Obama
to stop spying, was almost good enough to mask the fact that none other than France has its own
version of the NSA happily intercepting and recording every form of electronic communication. Almost.
Le Monde reported that "France, like the United States with the Prism system, has a
large-scale espionage telecommunications device. Le Monde is able to reveal that the
General Directorate for External Security (DGSE, special services) has systematically collected
and spied on the electromagnetic signals emitted by computers or phones in France, as well as flows
between French and abroad all our communications. Politicians are aware of this, but secrecy about
the Big Brother operation is the rule."
France's external intelligence agency spies on the French public's phone calls, emails and
social media activity in France and abroad, the daily Le Monde said on Thursday.
It said the DGSE intercepted signals from computers and telephones in France, and between
France and other countries, although not the content of phone calls, to create a map of "who
is talking to whom". It said the activity was illegal.
"All of our communications are spied on," wrote Le Monde, which based its report on unnamed
intelligence sources as well as remarks made publicly by intelligence officials.
"Emails, text messages, telephone records, access to Facebook and Twitter are then stored
for years," it said.
The activities described are similar to those carried out by the U.S. National Security Agency,
as described in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The documents revealed that the NSA has access to vast amounts of Internet data such as emails,
chat rooms and video from large companies such as Facebook and Google, under a program known
They also showed that the U.S. government had gathered so-called metadata - such as the time,
duration and numbers called - on all telephone calls carried by service providers such as Verizon.
France's DGSE was not immediately available for comment.
France's seven other intelligence services, including domestic secret services and
customs and money-laundering watchdogs, have access to the data and can tap into it freely as
a means to spot people whose communications seem suspicious, whom they can then track with more
intrusive techniques such as phone-tapping, Le Monde wrote.
What is amusing is that some are still surprised by such ongoing revelations. The sad truth is
that every "democratic", "developed" government has been violating the privacy of its citizens for
years and in this electronic day and age, no such thing as privacy exists.
Which is to be expected: Egypt just showed what happens to "democracy" when it is not properly
cultivated by the 1% which has a vested interest in giving the peasantry the impression
that people still have rights, and liberties and their vote "counts" just so the public attention
is diverted from what truly matters: the endless transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich under
the guise of "wealth effect", "democracy", "representation" and other lies.
According to Der Spiegel, the N.S.A. installed listening devices in European Union diplomatic
offices in downtown Washington and tapped into its computer network. The Guardian reported that
the eavesdropping involved three different operations focused on the office’s 90 staff members.
Two were electronic implants, and one involved the use of antennas to collect transmissions.
“In this way, the Americans were able to access discussions in E.U. rooms, as well as e-mails
and internal documents on computers,” Der Spiegel reported.
The American code name for a similar eavesdropping operation aimed at the union’s mission to
the United Nations is “Perdido,” The Guardian reported. That operation involved the collection of
data transmitted by bugs placed inside electronic devices, and another covert operation appeared
to yield copies of everything on computer hard drives at the mission, the newspaper reported. Among
the documents the newspaper said it had obtained from Mr. Snowden was a floor plan of the mission,
in midtown Manhattan.
Leslie James Pickering noticed something odd in his mail last September: a handwritten card,
apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to
the letters and packages sent to his home.
“Show all mail to supv” — supervisor — “for copying prior to going out on the street,” read the
card. It included Mr. Pickering’s name, address and the type of mail that needed to be monitored.
The word “confidential” was highlighted in green.
“It was a bit of a shock to see it,” said Mr. Pickering, who with his wife owns a small bookstore
in Buffalo. More than a decade ago, he was a spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front, a radical
environmental group labeled eco-terrorists by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Postal officials
subsequently confirmed they were indeed tracking Mr. Pickering’s mail but told him nothing else.
As the world focuses on the high-tech spying of the National Security Agency, the misplaced card
offers a rare glimpse inside the seemingly low-tech but prevalent snooping of the United States
Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, a forerunner
of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal
Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the
United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves
Together, the two programs show that postal mail is subject to the same kind of scrutiny
that the National Security Agency has given to telephone calls and e-mail.
The mail covers program, used to monitor Mr. Pickering, is more than a century old but is still
considered a powerful tool. At the request of law enforcement officials, postal workers record information
from the outside of letters and parcels before they are delivered. (Opening the mail would require
a warrant.) The information is sent to the law enforcement agency that asked for it. Tens of thousands
of pieces of mail each year undergo this scrutiny.
The Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program was created after the anthrax attacks in late
2001 that killed five people, including two postal workers. Highly secret, it seeped into public
view last month when the F.B.I. cited it in its investigation of ricin-laced letters sent to President
Obama and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. It enables the Postal Service to retrace the path of mail
at the request of law enforcement. No one disputes that it is sweeping.
“In the past, mail covers were used when you had a reason to suspect someone of a crime,” said
Mark D. Rasch, who started a computer crimes unit in the fraud section of the criminal division
of the Justice Department and worked on several fraud cases using mail covers. “Now it seems to
be, ‘Let’s record everyone’s mail so in the future we might go back and see who you were communicating
with.’ Essentially you’ve added mail covers on millions of Americans.”
Bruce Schneier, a computer security expert and an author, said whether it was a postal worker
taking down information or a computer taking images, the program was still an invasion of privacy.
What is it that makes young men, reasonably well educated, in good health and nice looking, with
long lives ahead of them, use powerful explosives to murder complete strangers because of political
I’m speaking about American military personnel of course, on the ground, in the air, or directing
drones from an office in Nevada.
Do not the survivors of US attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya and
elsewhere, and their loved ones, ask such a question?
The survivors and loved ones in Boston have their answer – America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That’s what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston bomber has said in custody, and there’s no
reason to doubt that he means it, nor the dozens of others in the past two decades who have carried
out terrorist attacks against American targets and expressed anger toward US foreign policy.
1 Both Tsarnaev brothers had expressed such opinions before the attack as well.
2 The Marathon bombing took place just days after a deadly US attack in Afghanistan killed 17
civilians, including 12 children, as but one example of countless similar horrors from recent years.
“Oh”, an American says, “but those are accidents. What terrorists do is on purpose. It’s cold-blooded
But if the American military sends out a bombing mission on Monday which kills multiple innocent
civilians, and then the military announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” And then on Tuesday the
American military sends out a bombing mission which kills multiple innocent civilians, and then
the military announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” And then on Wednesday the American military
sends out a bombing mission which kills multiple innocent civilians, and the military then announces:
“Sorry, that was an accident.” … Thursday … Friday … How long before the American military loses
the right to say it was an accident?
Terrorism is essentially an act of propaganda, to draw attention to a cause. The 9-11 perpetrators
attacked famous symbols of American military and economic power. Traditionally, perpetrators would
phone in their message to a local media outlet beforehand, but today, in this highly-surveilled
society, with cameras and electronic monitoring at a science-fiction level, that’s much more difficult
to do without being detected; even finding a public payphone can be near impossible.
From what has been reported, the older brother, Tamerlan, regarded US foreign policy also as
being anti-Islam, as do many other Muslims. I think this misreads Washington’s intentions. The American
Empire is not anti-Islam. It’s anti-only those who present serious barriers to the Empire’s plan
for world domination.
The United States has had close relations with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar, amongst other
Islamic states. And in recent years the US has gone to great lengths to overthrow the leading secular
states of the Mideast – Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Moreover, it’s questionable that Washington is even against terrorism per se, but rather only
those terrorists who are not allies of the empire. There has been, for example, a lengthy and infamous
history of tolerance, and often outright support, for numerous anti-Castro terrorists, even when
their terrorist acts were committed in the United States. Hundreds of anti-Castro and other Latin
American terrorists have been given haven in the US over the years. The United States has also provided
support to terrorists in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Kosovo, Bosnia, Iran, Libya, and Syria, including
those with known connections to al Qaeda, to further foreign policy goals more important than fighting
Under one or more of the harsh anti-terrorist laws enacted in the United States in recent years,
President Obama could be charged with serious crimes for allowing the United States to fight on
the same side as al Qaeda-linked terrorists in Libya and Syria and for funding and supplying these
groups. Others in the United States have been imprisoned for a lot less.
As a striking example of how Washington has put its imperialist agenda before anything else,
we can consider the case of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan warlord whose followers first gained
attention in the 1980s by throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. This
is how these horrible men spent their time when they were not screaming “Death to America”. CIA
and State Department officials called Hekmatyar “scary,” “vicious,” “a fascist,” “definite dictatorship
3 This did not prevent the United States government from showering the man with large amounts
of aid to fight against the Soviet-supported government of Afghanistan.4
Hekmatyar is still a prominent warlord in Afghanistan.
A similar example is that of Luis Posada who masterminded the bombing of a Cuban airline in 1976,
killing 73 civilians. He has lived a free man in Florida for many years.
USA Today reported a few months ago about a rebel fighter in Syria who told the newspaper in
an interview: “The afterlife is the only thing that matters to me, and I can only reach it by waging
5 Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have chosen to have a shootout with the Boston police as an act of suicide;
to die waging jihad, although questions remain about exactly how he died. In any event, I think
it’s safe to say that the authorities wanted to capture the brothers alive to be able to question
It would be most interesting to be present the moment after a jihadist dies and discovers, with
great shock, that there’s no afterlife. Of course, by definition, there would have to be an afterlife
for him to discover that there’s no afterlife. On the other hand, a non-believer would likely be
thrilled to find out that he was wrong.
Let us hope that the distinguished statesmen, military officers, and corporate leaders who own
and rule America find out in this life that to put an end to anti-American terrorism they’re going
to have to learn to live without unending war against the world. There’s no other defense against
a couple of fanatic young men with backpacks. Just calling them insane or evil doesn’t tell you
enough; it may tell you nothing.
But this change in consciousness in the elite is going to be extremely difficult, as difficult
as it appears to be for the parents of the two boys to accept their sons’ guilt. Richard Falk, UN
special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, stated after the Boston attack:
“The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial
world. In some respects, the United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks
… We should be asking ourselves at this moment, ‘How many canaries will have to die before we awaken
from our geopolitical fantasy of global domination?’”
Officials in Canada and Britain as well as US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice have
called for Falk to be fired.
President Kennedy’s speech, half a century ago
I don’t know how many times in the 50 years since President John F. Kennedy made his much celebrated
1963 speech at American University in Washington, DC
8 I’ve heard or read that if only he had lived he would have put a quick end to the war in Vietnam
instead of it continuing for ten more terrible years, and that the Cold War might have ended 25
years sooner than it did. With the 50th anniversary coming up June 13 we can expect to hear a lot
more of the same, so I’d like to jump the gun and offer a counter-view.
Let us re-examine our attitude toward the Soviet Union. It is discouraging to think that
their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write. It is discouraging to
read a recent authoritative Soviet text on Military Strategy and find, on page after page, wholly
baseless and incredible claims such as the allegation that “American imperialist circles are
preparing to unleash different types of war … that there is a very real threat of a preventative
war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union” … [and that] the political
aims – and I quote – “of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically
the European and other capitalist countries … [and] to achieve world domination … by means of
It is indeed refreshing that an American president would utter a thought such as: “It is discouraging
to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write.” This is what radicals
in every country wonder about their leaders, not least in the United States. For example, “incredible
claims such as the allegation that ‘American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different
types of war’.”
In Kennedy’s short time in office the United States had unleashed many different types of war,
from attempts to overthrow governments and suppress political movements to assassination attempts
against leaders and actual military combat – one or more of these in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, British
Guiana, Iraq, Congo, Haiti, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Brazil. This is all in addition
to the normal and routine CIA subversion of countries all over the world map. Did Kennedy really
believe that the Soviet claims were “incredible”?
And did he really doubt that that the driving force behind US foreign policy was “world domination”?
How else did he explain all the above interventions (which have continued non-stop into the 21st
century)? If the president thought that the Russians were talking nonsense when they accused the
US of seeking world domination, why didn’t he then disavow the incessant US government and media
warnings about the “International Communist Conspiracy”? Or at least provide a rigorous definition
of the term and present good evidence of its veracity.
Quoting further: “Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self-restraint.”
“We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people.” Unless of course the people
foolishly insist on some form of socialist alternative. Ask the people of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia,
British Guiana and Cuba, just to name some of those in Kennedy’s time.
“At the same time we seek to keep peace inside the non-Communist world, where many nations, all
of them our friends …” American presidents have been speaking of “our friends” for many years. What
they all mean, but never say, is that “our friends” are government and corporate leaders whom we
keep in power through any means necessary – the dictators, the kings, the oligarchs, the torturers
– not the masses of the population, particularly those with a measure of education.
“Our efforts in West New Guinea, in the Congo, in the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent,
have been persistent and patient despite criticism from both sides.”
Persistent, yes. Patient, often. But moral, fostering human rights, democracy, civil liberties,
self-determination, not fawning over Israel … ? As but one glaring example, the assassination of
Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, perhaps the last chance for a decent life for the people of that painfully
downtrodden land; planned by the CIA under Eisenhower, but executed under Kennedy.
“The Communist drive to impose their political and economic system on others is the primary cause
of world tension today. For there can be no doubt that, if all nations could refrain from interfering
in the self-determination of others, the peace would be much more assured.”
See all of the above for this piece of hypocrisy. And so, if no nation interfered in the affairs
of any other nation, there would be no wars. Brilliant. If everybody became rich there would be
no poverty. If everybody learned to read there would be no illiteracy.
“The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war.”
So … Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, and literally dozens of other countries then, later, and
now, all the way up to Libya in 2012 … they all invaded the United States first? Remarkable.
And this was the man who was going to end the war in Vietnam very soon after being re-elected
the following year? Lord help us.
This is not to put George W. Bush down. That’s too easy, and I’ve done it many times. No, this
is to counter the current trend to rehabilitate the man and his Iraqi horror show, which partly
coincides with the opening of his presidential library in Texas. At the dedication ceremony, President
Obama spoke of Bush’s “compassion and generosity” and declared that: “He is a good man.” The word
“Iraq” did not pass his lips. The closest he came at all was saying “So even as we Americans may
at times disagree on matters of foreign policy, we share a profound respect and reverence for the
men and women of our military and their families.”
9 Should morality be that flexible? Even for a politician? Obama could have just called in sick.
At the January 31 congressional hearing on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense,
Senator John McCain ripped into him for his critique of the Iraq war:
“The question is, were you right or were you wrong?” McCain demanded, pressing Hagel on why he
opposed Bush’s decision to send 20,000 additional troops to Iraq in the so-called ‘surge’.
“I’m not going to give you a yes-or-no answer. I think it’s far more complicated than that,”
Hagel responded. He said he would await the “judgment of history.”
Glaring at Hagel, McCain ended the exchange with a bitter rejoinder: “I think history has already
made a judgment about the surge, sir, and you are on the wrong side of it.”
Before the revisionist history of the surge gets chiseled into marble, let me repeat part of
what I wrote in this report at the time, December 2007:
The American progress is measured by a decrease in violence, the White House has decided
– a daily holocaust has been cut back to a daily multiple catastrophe. And who’s keeping the
count? Why, the same good people who have been regularly feeding us a lie for the past five
years about the number of Iraqi deaths, completely ignoring the epidemiological studies. A recent
analysis by the Washington Post left the administration’s claim pretty much in tatters. The
article opened with: “The U.S. military’s claim that violence has decreased sharply in Iraq
in recent months has come under scrutiny from many experts within and outside the government,
who contend that some of the underlying statistics are questionable and selectively ignore negative
To the extent that there may have been a reduction in violence, we must also keep in mind
that, thanks to this lovely little war, there are several million Iraqis either dead, wounded,
in exile abroad, or in bursting American and Iraqi prisons. So the number of potential victims
and killers has been greatly reduced. Moreover, extensive ethnic cleansing has taken place in
Iraq (another good indication of progress, n’est-ce pas? nicht wahr?) – Sunnis and Shiites are
now living more in their own special enclaves than before, none of those stinking mixed communities
with their unholy mixed marriages, so violence of the sectarian type has also gone down. On
top of all this, US soldiers have been venturing out a lot less (for fear of things like … well,
dying), so the violence against our noble lads is also down.
One of the signs of the reduction in violence in Iraq, the administration would like us to
believe, is that many Iraqi families are returning from Syria, where they had fled because of
the violence. The New York Times, however, reported that “Under intense pressure to show results
after months of political stalemate, the [Iraqi] government has continued to publicize figures
that exaggerate the movement back to Iraq”; as well as exaggerating “Iraqis’ confidence that
the current lull in violence can be sustained.” The count, it turns out, included all Iraqis
crossing the border, for whatever reason. A United Nations survey found that 46 percent were
leaving Syria because they could not afford to stay; 25 percent said they fell victim to a stricter
Syrian visa policy; and only 14 percent said they were returning because they had heard about
How long can it be before vacation trips to “Exotic Iraq” are flashed across our TVs? “Baghdad’s
Beautiful Beaches Beckon”. Just step over the bodies. Indeed, the State Department has recently
advertised for a “business development/tourism” expert to work in Baghdad, “with a particular
focus on tourism and related services.”
Another argument raised again recently to preserve George W.’s legacy is that “He kept us safe”.
Hmm … I could swear that he was in the White House around the time of September 11 … What his supporters
mean is that Bush’s War on Terrorism was a success because there wasn’t another terrorist attack
in the United States after September 11, 2001 while he was in office; as if terrorists killing Americans
is acceptable if it’s done abroad. Following the American/Bush strike on Afghanistan in October
2001 there were literally scores of terrorist attacks – including some major ones – against American
institutions in the Middle East, South Asia and the Pacific: military, civilian, Christian, and
other targets associated with the United States.
Even the claim that the War on Terrorism kept Americans safe at home is questionable. There was
no terrorist attack in the United States during the 6 1/2 years prior to the one in September 2001;
not since the April 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. It would thus appear
that the absence of terrorist attacks in the United States is the norm.
William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, chapters 1 and 2, for
cases up to about 2003; later similar cases are numerous; e.g., Glenn Greenwald, “They
Hate US for our Occupations”, Salon, October 12, 2010
Huffington Post, April 20, 2013; Washington Post, April 21
Tim Weiner, Blank Check: The Pentagon’s Black Budget (1990), p.149-50.
William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II
Other critics suggested the lockdown represented a massive overreaction that was symptomatic of
a larger social crisis. Steven Rosenfeld argued that "beyond lingering questions of whether the
government went too far by shutting down an entire city and whether that might encourage future
terrorism, a deeper and darker question remains: why is America's obsession with evil so selective?"
This was an important point and was largely ignored by most commentators on the tragedy. Implicit
in Rosenfeld's question is why the notion of security and safety are limited to personal security
and the fear of attacks by terrorists rather than the rise of a gun culture, the shredding of the
safety net for millions of Americans, the imprisonment of one out of every 100 Americans, or the
transformation of public schools into adjuncts of the punishing and surveillance state.
as a policy and mode of control misrepresents the notion of security by reducing it to personal
safety and thereby mobilizing fears that demand trading civil liberties for increased militarized
security. The lockdown that took place in Boston serves as a reminder of how narrow the notion of
security has become in that it is almost entirely associated with personal safety but never with
the insecurities that derive from poverty, a lack of social provisions, and the incarceration binge.
Most importantly, it now serves as a metaphor for how we address problems facing a range of institutions
including immigration detention centers, schools, hospitals, public housing and prisons. Lockdown
is the new common sense of militarized society, the zone of unchecked surveillance, policing, and
Security in this instance is reduced to issues of law and order and mirrors a Hobbesian free-for-all,
a world that "reveres competitiveness and celebrates unrestrained individual responsibility, with
an antipathy to anything collective that might impede market forces" - a world in which the Darwinian
survival of the fittest ethos rules and the only values that matter are exchange values.
In this panopticon-like social order, there is little understanding of society as a public good,
of the importance of providing public necessities such as decent housing, job programs for the unemployed,
housing for the poor and homeless, health care for everyone, and universal education for young people.
In a society where critical analysis and explanation of violent attacks of this nature are dismissed
as terrorist sympathizing, there is a stultifying logic that assumes that contextualizing an event
is tantamount to justifying it. This crippling impediment to public dialogue may be why the militarized
response to the Boston Marathon bombings, infused with the fantasy of the Homeland as a battlefield
and the necessity of the paramilitarized surveillance state, was for the most part given
a pass in mainstream media. Of course, there is more at stake here than misplaced priorities and
the dark cloud of historical amnesia and anti-intellectualism, there is also the drift of American
society into a form of soft authoritarianism in which boots on the ground and the securitization
of everyday life now serve either as a source of pride, entertainment, or for many disposable groups,
a source of fear.
Yet, in the immediate aftermath of the marathon bombing, shock and collective dislocation left
little room to think about the context in which the bombing took place or the implications of a
lockdown strategy that hints at the broader danger of exchanging security for freedom. Any attempt
to suggest that the overly militarized response to the bombings was less about protecting people
than legitimating the ever expanding reach of military operations to solve domestic problems was
either met with disdain or silence in the dominant media. Even more telling was the politically
offensive reaction to such critics and the intensity of a right-wing diatribe that used the Boston
Marathon bombing as an excuse to further the expansion of the punishing state with its apparatuses
of militarization, surveillance, secrecy, and its embrace of lawless states of exception. Equally
repulsive was how the Boston bombing produced an ample amount of nativist paranoia about immigrants
and the quest for an "enemy combatant" behind every door.
In the midst of the emotional fervor that followed the bloody Boston Marathon bombings, a number
of pundits decried any talk about a possible militarized overreaction to the event and the hint
that such tactics pointed to the dangers of a police state. One critic in a moment of emotive local
hysteria referred to such critics as "outrage junkies," claimed they were "masturbating in public,"
and insisted he was washing his hands of what he termed "bad rubbish."
This particular line of thought with its discursive infantilism and echoes of nationalistic jingoism
ominously hinted that what happened in Boston could only register legitimately as a deeply felt
emotional event, one that was desecrated by trying to understand it within a broader historical
and political context.
Another register of bad faith was evident in the comments of right-wing pundits, broadcasting
elites, and squeamish liberals who amped up the frenzied media spectacle surrounding the marathon
bombing. Many of them suggested, without apology, that the country should be grateful for an increase
in invasive searches, the suspension of constitutional rights, the embrace of total surveillance,
and the ongoing normalization of the security state and Islamophobia.
One frightening offshoot of the Boston Marathon bombing was the authoritarian tirade unleashed among
a range of government officials that indicated how close dissent is to being treated as a crime
and how under siege public space is by the forces of manufactured terrorism. For example, Senator
Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) used the attacks in an effort to undo immigration reform, no longer concealing
his disdain for immigrants, especially Muslims and Mexicans.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) argued that President Obama should not only deny Tsarnaev his constitutional
rights by refusing to read him his Miranda Rights, but also hold him as "an enemy combatant for
intelligence gathering purposes."
As one commentator pointed out, "This is pretty breathtaking. Graham is suggesting that an American
citizen, captured on American soil, should be deprived of basic constitutional rights."
Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.) reasserted his long standing racism by repeatedly arguing
that the greatest threat of terrorism faced by the U.S. "is coming from the Muslim community" and
that it might be time for state and federal authorities to spy on all Muslims.
According to King, "Police have to be in the community, they have to build up as many sources as
they can, and they have to realize that the threat is coming from the Muslim community and increase
surveillance there," adding "we can't be bound by political correctness."
King seems to think that dismissing the rhetoric of political correctness provides a rationale for
translating into policy his Islamophobia and the national hallucination it feeds. Of course, King
and others are simply channeling the racism of the cartoonish Ann Coulter, who actually suggested
that all "unauthorized immigrants in the United States might be terrorists."
This nativist paranoia is not new and has a long and disgraceful legacy in American history.
What is new in the current historical moment is how easily nativist paranoia and a culture of
cruelty have become normalized and generated an acceptable public lexicon more characteristic of
state terrorism and a military state than a "free and open" democracy. For instance, New York State
Sen. Greg Ball (R), channeling Dick Cheney, took this logic of state terrorism to its inevitable
end point, reminding Americans of the degree to which the United States has lost its moral compass,
when he sent a message from his Twitter account, suggesting that the authorities torture Dzhokhar
Tsarnaev. As Ball put it, "So, scum bag #2 in custody. Who wouldn't use torture on this punk to
save more lives?"
There is more at work here than an evasion of principle, to say nothing of international law. There
is an erasure of the very notion of a substantive and democratic polity, and a frightening collective
embrace of an authoritarianism that points to the final rasp of democracy in the United States.
Such unconsidered remarks should compel us to examine the state's use of lockdown procedures within
a savage market-driven society that sanctions the return of the 19th century debtor's prisons in
which people are jailed - and their lives ruined - for not being able to pay what amounts to trivial
The culture of punishment and cruelty is also evident in the attempt on the part of some West Virginia
Republican Party legislators who are pushing for a policy that would force low-income school children
to work in exchange for free lunches.
The flight from ethical responsibility associated with the rise of the punishing state and the politics
of the lockdown is also evident in the willingness of police forces around the country to push young
children into the criminal justice system.
More specifically, there is a frightening, even normalized willingness in American life to align
politics and everyday life with the forces of militarization, law enforcement officials, and the
dictates of the national security state.
The lockdown and ongoing search for those responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings was an
eminently political event because it amplified the dreadful potential and real consequences of the
never-ending war on terror and the anti-democratic processes it has produced at all levels of government
along with an increasing diminishment of civil liberties. The script has become familiar and includes
the authorized use of state-sponsored torture, the unchecked power of the President to conduct targeted
assassinations, the use of warrantless searches, extraordinary renditions, secret courts, and the
continuing monitoring of targeted citizens.
Since 9/11 we have witnessed the rise of a national-security-surveillance state and the expansion
of a lockdown mode of existence in a range of institutions that extend from schools and airports
to the space of the city itself. The meaning of lockdown in this context has to be understood
in broader terms as the use of military solutions to problems for which such approaches are not
only unnecessary but further produce authoritarian and anti-democratic policies and practices. Under
such circumstances, not only have civil liberties been violated in the name of national security,
but the promise of national security has given rise to policies which are punitive, steeped in the
logic of revenge, and support the rise of a punishing state whose echoes of authoritarianism are
often lost in the moral comas that accompany the country's infatuation with war and the militarization
of everyday life.
Glenn Greenwald, a columnist for The Guardian, succinctly insists that the Boston Marathon bombing
is a political event because it "connects to larger questions about our culture and because it was
infused with all kinds of political messages about Muslims, about radicalism, about what the proper
role of the police and the military are in the United States."
While there has been some criticism over what was perceived as the unnecessary imposition of a lockdown
in Boston, and especially Watertown, what has been missed in many of these arguments is that the
US is already in lockdown mode, which has been intensifying since 9/11. A number of critics have
raised questions about the abridgement of civil rights and the specter of excessive policing after
the marathon bombing as one-off events, but few have discussed the continuity and expansion of the
logic of lockdown predating September 11 which can be traced back to the massive incarceration of
disproportionate numbers of people of color beginning in the early 1970s.
This history has been addressed by Christian Parenti, Tom Englehardt, Angela Davis, Michelle
Alexander, and others and need not be repeated here, but what does need to be addressed is how the
concept and tactic of the lockdown has moved far beyond the walls of the prison and now shapes a
whole range of institutions, making clear how the United States has moved into a lockdown mode that
is consistent with the precepts of an authoritarian state. While the Boston lockdown was more of
a request for the public to stay inside, it displayed all of the attributes of martial law, especially
in Watertown where house-to-house searches took on the appearance of treating the residents as feared
Lockdown cannot be understood outside of the manufactured war on terrorism and the view, aptly
expressed by Lindsey Graham, that the Boston Marathon bombing "is Exhibit A of why the homeland
is the battlefield."
Graham's comments embrace the dangerous correlate that everyone is a possible enemy combatant and
that domestic militarization and its embrace of perpetual war is a perfectly legitimate practice,
however messy it might be when measured against democratic principles, human rights, and the most
basic precepts of constitutional law. Lockdown as a concept and strategy gains its meaning and legitimacy
under specific historical conditions informed by particular modes of ideology, governance, and policies.
At a time when the United States has embraced a number of anti-democratic practices extending
from state torture to the ruthless militarized logic of a Darwinian politics of cruelty and disposability,
the symbolic nature of the lockdown is difficult to both ignore and remove from the authoritarian
state that increasingly relies on it as a form of policing and disciplinary control. This becomes
all the more obvious by the fact that the lockdown in Boston appears to be a major overreach compared
to the response of other countries to terrorist acts. As Michael Cohen, a correspondent for The
Guardian, points out:
The actions allegedly committed by the Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his
brother, Tamerlan, were heinous. Four people dead and more than 100 wounded, some with shredded
and amputated limbs. But Londoners, who endured IRA terror for years, might be forgiven for
thinking that America over-reacted just a tad to the goings-on in Boston. They're right - and
then some. What we saw was a collective freak-out like few that we've seen previously in the
United States. It was yet another depressing reminder that more than 11 years after 9/11 Americans
still allow themselves to be easily and willingly cowed by the "threat" of terrorism.
Some would argue that locking down an entire city because a homicidal killer was on the loose
can be attributed to how little experience Americans have with daily acts of terrorism, unlike Israel,
Baghdad, and other cities which are constantly subject to such attacks. While there is an element
of truth to such arguments, what is missing from this position is a different and more frightening
logic. Americans have become so indifferent to the militarization of everyday life that they barely
blink when an entire city, school, prison, or campus is locked down. In a society in which everyone
is treated as a potential enemy combatant, misfit, villain, or criminal "to be penalized, locked
up or locked out," it is not surprising that institutions and policies are constructed that normalize
a range of anti-democratic practices.
These would include everything from invasive body searches by the police and the mass incarceration
of people of color to the ongoing surveillance and securitization of schools, workplaces, the social
media, Internet, businesses, neighborhoods, and individuals, all of which mimic the tactics of a
At a time when prison, poverty, and a culture of cruelty and punishment inform each other and encompass
more and more Americans, the "governing-through-crime" complex moves across America like a fast-spreading
In its wake, Mississippi schoolchildren are handcuffed for not wearing a belt or the wrong color
young mothers who cannot pay a traffic ticket are sent to jail,
and according to Michelle Alexander "More African-American men are in prison or jail, on probation
or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began."
These examples are not merely anecdotal. They point to the frightening degree to which a society
marked by a particularly savage violence in which lockdown becomes a central tool and organizing
logic in controlling those growing populations now considered disposable and subject to the machinery
of social and civil death. The racist grammars of state violence that emerged during and in the
aftermath of the lockdown of Boston speak to a connection between the violence of disposability
that haunts American life and the increasing reliance on the state's use of force to implement and
maintain its structures of inequality, misplaced power, and domination. Within this system of control
and domination, matters of moral, social, and political responsibility are silenced in the name
of securitization, even as efforts to pass legislation on gun control are routinely displaced by
the assertion of individual rights. For instance, Americans rightly mourn the victims of the Boston
bombings but say nothing about the ongoing killing of hundreds of children in the streets of Chicago
largely due to the abundance of high-powered weaponry and the gratuitous celebration of the spectacle
of violence in American culture. Nor is there a public outcry and mourning for the tragic deaths
of over 200 children killed as a result of drone attacks launched by the Obama administration in
Afghanistan and other countries said to harbor terrorists. Evil in this equation when employed by
the American media and its complicit politicians becomes too narrow and self-serving.
Accordingly, the rush to the lockdown mode must be understood within a wider military metaphysics,
largely informed by the dictates of an authoritarian society, the ongoing war on terror, and the
establishment of the permanent warfare state, which now moves across and shapes a wide range of
sites and institutions. As a metaphysic, lockdown is an essential mode of governance, ideology,
and practice that defines everyone as either a soldier, enemy combatant, or a willing client of
the security state. One implication here is that the war on terror actively wages a war on the very
possibility of judgment, informed argument, and critical agency itself. More specifically, the lockdown
mode is hostile to dissent, the questioning of authority, and its disciplinary practices are steeped
in a long history of abuse extending from harassing prison inmates, turning schools into prisons,
transforming factories into slave labor camps, bullying student protesters, transforming black and
brown communities into armed camps, and treating public housing as a war zone. It is a practice
that emerges out of the glorification of war and the appeal to a state of emergency and exception.
Moreover, the values and practices it legitimates blur the lines between the wars at home and abroad
and the ongoing investment in the culture of war and machineries of death.
Tom Englehardt has eloquently argued that the National Security Complex, with its "$75 billion
or more budget," continues to accelerate and that "the Pentagon is, by now, a world unto itself,
with a staggering budget at a moment when no other power or combination of powers comes near to
challenging this country's might."
Moreover, under the guise of the war on terror, the Bush and Obama administrations have "lifted
the executive branch right out of the universe of American legality. They liberated it to do more
or less what it wished, as long as 'war,' 'terrorism,' or 'security' could be invoked. Meanwhile,
with their Global War on Terror well launched and promoted as a multigenerational struggle, they
made wartime their property for the long run."
The lockdown mode exalts military authority and thrives in a society that "can no longer even
expect our public institutions to do anything meaningful to address meaningful problems."
One indication of the militarization of American society is the high social status now accorded
to the military itself and the transformation of soldiers into objects of national reverence. As
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri point out,
What is most remarkable is not the growth in the number of soldiers in the United States
but rather their social stature... Military personnel in uniform are given priority boarding
on commercial airlines, and it is not uncommon for strangers to stop and thank them for their
service. In the United States, rising esteem for the military in uniform corresponds to the
growing militarization of the society as a whole. All of this despite repeated revelations of
the illegality and immorality of the military's own incarceration systems, from Guantanamo to
Abu Ghraib, whose systematic practices border on if not actually constitute torture.
At the same time, military values no longer operate within the exclusive realm and marginalized
space of the armed forces or those governing structures dedicated to defense. On the contrary, the
ideas, values and profits emerging from the war sector flood civilian society to create what Charles
Derber and Yale Magrass call a militarized society, which, as they put it,
develops a culture and institutions which program civilians for violence at home as well
as abroad. War celebrates the heroism of soldiers who use the same style weapons and ammunition
used by the mass shooters at Newtown, Los Angeles or Columbine. A warrior society values its
armed forces as heroic protectors of freedom, sending a message that the use of guns [and the
organized production of violence are] morally essential.
Military values in America have become one of the few sources of civic pride. In part, this explains
the public's silence in the face of not only the eradication and suppression of civil liberties,
public values and democratic institutions by the expanding financial elite and military-industrial-complex
but also the transformations of a number of institutions into militarized spheres more concerned
about imposing a punitive authority rather than creating the conditions for the production of an
engaged and critical citizenry. Lockdown politics signals the rise of an anti-politics, the rise
of a new authoritarianism - an era of liminal drift in which democracy does not merely get thinned
out but begins to collapse into dangerous forms of militarization that are increasingly normalized.
Since when are SWAT teams viewed as the highest expression of national honor?
Militarism thrives on the mass-produced culture of fear and the spectacle of violence. It abhors
dissent and flourishes in an ever-expanding web of secrecy. Both Bush and Obama have used the cult
of secrecy to silence whistleblowers, allow those who have committed torture under the government
direction to go free, and refused those who have been interrogated illegally to take their case
to the courts. In the age of illegal legalities, the rule of law disappears into a vast abyss of
secret memos, personal preferences, classified documents, targeted killings, and secret missions
conducted by special operations forces. Tom Englehardt rightly argues that America has become a
country locked into the ethical-stripping fantasy that the rule of law not only still prevails but
applies to everyone. He writes:
What it means to be in such a post-legal world - to know that, no matter what acts a government
official commits, he or she will never be brought to court or have a chance of being put in
jail - has yet to fully sink in. In reality, in the Bush and Obama years, the United States
has become a nation not of laws but of legal memos, not of legality but of legalisms - and you
don't have to be a lawyer to know it. The result? Secret armies, secret wars, secret surveillance,
and spreading state secrecy, which meant a government of the bureaucrats about which the American
people could know next to nothing. And it's all 'legal.'
The cult of secrecy in the age of the lockdown suggests that the United States has more in common
with authoritarian regimes than with flourishing democracies. Yet, the American people still believe
they live in what is touted in the mainstream media and right-wing cultural apparatuses as a country
that represents the apogee of freedom and democracy. Why aren't people pouring into the streets
of American cities protesting the rise of the prison and military as America's dominant institutions,
especially when, as Brian Terrell argues, "prisons and the military, America's dominant institutions,
exist not to bring healing to domestic ills or relief from foreign threats but to exacerbate and
manipulate them for the profit of the wealthiest few, at great cost and peril for the rest of us?"
What will it take for the American public to connect the increasing militarization of everyday
life to the ways in which the prison-industrial complex destroys lives
and for-profit corporations have the power to put poor people in jails for being in debt.
Or for that matter when school authorities punish young children by putting them in seclusion rooms
while on a larger scale the US government increasingly relies on solitary confinement in detaining
When will the American people link images of the "shattered bodies, dismembered limbs, severed arteries
... and terrified survivors" to the reports of over 200 young children killed in Pakistan, Afghanistan,
Yemen, and Somalia as a result of drone attacks launched by faux video gamers sitting in dark rooms
in cities thousands of miles away from their targets?
In the face of the Boston Marathon bombings, the question that haunts the American public is not
about our capacity for compassion and solidarity for the victims of this tragedy but how indifferent
we are to the conditions that too readily have turned this terrible tragedy into just another exemplary
register of the war on terror and a further legitimization for the military-industrial-national
Violence and its handmaidens, militarism and military culture, have become essential parts of
the fabric of American life. We live in a culture in which a lack of imagination is matched by diminishing
intellectual visions and a collective refusal to rebel against injustices, however blatant and corrosive
they may be. For instance, a political system completely corrupted by big money is barely the subject
of sustained analysis and public outrage.
The mortgaging of the future of many young people to the incessant greed of casino capitalism and
the growing disparities in income and wealth does little to diminish the public's faith in the fraud
of the free market.
The embarrassing judgments of a judicial system that punishes the poor and allows the rich to go
free in the face of unimaginable financial crimes boggles the mind. The challenge facing Americans
is not the risk of illusory hopes but those undemocratic economic, political, and cultural forces
that hold sway over American life, intent on destroying civic society and any vestige of agency
willing to challenge them.
Young people, especially those in the Occupy movement, the Quebec protesters, and the student
resisters in France, Chile and Greece seem currently to represent the only hope we have left in
the United States and abroad for a display of political and moral courage in which they are willing
individually and collectively to oppose the authority of the market and a growing lockdown state
while still raising fundamental questions about the project of democracy and why they have been
left out of it.
Salman Rushdie has argued that political courage has become ambiguous and that the American public,
among others, has "become suspicious of those who take a stand against the abuses of power or dogma"
or even worse, are blamed increasingly for upsetting people, given their willingness to stand against
and challenge orthodoxy or bigotry.
Gone, he argues, are the writers and intellectuals who opposed Stalinism, capitalist tyranny, and
the various religious and ideological orthodoxies that reduce thinking and critically engaged subjects
to anti-intellectual fundamentalists and political cowards, or even worse, willing accomplices to
Of course, there are brave intellectuals all over the world such as Ai Weiwei, Angela Davis,
Noam Chomsky, Stuart Hall, Olivia Ward, and others who do not tie their intellectual capital to
the possibility of a summer cruise, the rewards provided to those who either shut up or sell their
souls to the intelligence agencies who offer research funds, or the likes of Fox News that offers
anti-public intellectuals instant celebrity status and substantial reward for parading the virtues
of being uninformed and thoughtless, demonstrating the pedagogical virtues of keeping the public
politically illiterate while making it easier to push risk-takers to the margins of society. An
Noam Chomsky has pointed out, these are pseudo public intellectuals whose most distinguishing feature
is not only "acceptance within the system of power and a ready path to privilege, but also the inestimable
advantage of freedom from the onerous demands of thought, inquiry, and argument."
American culture powers a massive disimagination machine in which historical memory is hijacked
as struggles by the oppressed disappear, the "state as the guardian of the public interest is erased,"
and the memory of institutions serving the public good vanishes. The memories of diverse struggles
for democracy need to be resurrected in order to reimagine a politics capable of reclaiming democratic
institutions of governance, culture, and education; moreover, the educative nature of politics has
to be addressed in order to develop both new forms of individual and collective agency and vast
social movements that can challenge the global concentration of economic and political power held
by a dangerous class of financial and wealthy elites.
Gayatri Spivak has argued that "without a strong imagination, there can be no democratic judgment,
which can imagine something other than one's own well-being."
 The current historical conjuncture dominated by the discourse and institutions of neoliberalism
and militarization present a threat not just to the economy but to the very possibility of imagining
an alternative to a machinery of death that now reaches into every aspect of daily life. A generalized
fear now shapes American society, one that thrives on insecurity, precarity, dread of punishment,
and a concern with external threats. Any struggle that matters will have to imagine and fight for
a society in which it becomes possible once again to imagine the project of a substantive democracy.
Central to such a struggle is the educational task of inquiring not only how democracy has been
lost under the current regime of neoliberal capitalism with its gangster rulers and utter disregard
for its production of organized irresponsibility but also how the project of democracy can be retrieved
through the joint power and efforts of workers, young people, educators, minorities, immigrants,
and others. At the present historical moment, lockdown culture is being challenged in many societies.
A fight for democracy is emerging across the globe led by young people, workers, and others unwilling
to live in societies in which lockdown becomes an organizing tool for social control and repression.
The future of democracy rests precisely with such groups both in the United States and abroad who
are willing to create new social movements built on a powerful vision of the promise of democracy
and the durable organizations that make it possible.
 Eduardo Galeano, "The Theatre of Good and Evil, La Jornada (September 21, 2001), translated
by Justin Podur.
 Guy Standing, The Precariat: A Dangerous Class (New York: Bloomsury, 2011), p. 132.
 A number of excellent sources take up this issue, see, for example, James Bamford, The
Shadow Factory: The NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America (New York: Anchor Books, 2009);
Zygmunt Baum and David Lyons, Liquid Surveillance: A Conversation (London: Polity, 2013);
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Declaration (New York: Argo Navis Author Services, 2012).
Relatedly, see Stephen Graham, Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism (New York: Verso,
 Jonathan Simon, Governing Through Crime: How the War on Crime Transformed American Democracy
and Created a Culture of Fear (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).
 See: Mark Karlin, "How
the Prison-Industrial Complex Destroys Lives: An Interview with Marc Mauer," Truthout
(April 26, 2013). There are many excellent resources on the subject, see, for instance, Angela Y.
Davis, Abolition Democracy: Beyond Prisons, Torture, and Empire Interviews with Angela Y. Davis
(New York: Seven Stories, 2005); Marc Bauer, Race to Incarcerate (New York: New Press,
2006); Anne-marie-Cusac, Cruel and Unusual: The Culture of Punishment in America (New Haven:
Yale University Press, 2009) and Michelle Alexander, New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the
Age of Colorblindness (New York: New Press, 2012).
 Ethan Bronner, "Poor Land in Jail as Companies Add Huge Fees for Probation," New York
Times (July 2, 2012), p. A1.
 Joshua Kurlantzick, Democracy in Retreat (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013)
and Hardt and Negri, Declaration.
 Peter Edelman, So Rich, So Poor: Why It's So Hard to End Poverty in America (New
York: The New Press, 2012); Joseph Stiglitz, The Price of Inequality (New York: W.W. Norton,
2012); see also the brilliant article on iequality by Michael Yates, "The
Great Inequality," Monthly Review, (March 1, 2012).
 See, Henry A. Giroux, Youth in Revolt (Boulder: Paradigm, 2013).
 Salman Rushdie, "Wither Moral Courage," New York Times (April 27, 2013). P. SR5.
 Noam Chomsky, The Culture of Terrorism (Boston: South End Press, 1988), p. 21.
 Pierre Bourdieu, Acts of Resistance (New York: Free Press, 1998), p. 1.
 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, "Changing Reflexes: Interview with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak,"
Works and Days, 55/56: Vol. 28, 2010, pp. 1-2. Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted
without permission of the author.
CNN Clemente Former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente, on CNN, discussing government's
The real capabilities and behavior of the US surveillance state are almost entirely unknown to
the American public because, like most things of significance done by the US government, it operates
behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy. But a seemingly spontaneous admission this week by a former
FBI counterterrorism agent provides a rather startling acknowledgment of just how vast and invasive
these surveillance activities are.
Over the past couple days, cable news tabloid shows such as CNN's Out Front with Erin Burnett
have been excitingly focused on the possible involvement in the Boston Marathon attack of Katherine
Russell, the 24-year-old American widow of the deceased suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. As part of their
relentless stream of leaks uncritically disseminated by our Adversarial Press Corps, anonymous government
officials are claiming that they are now focused on telephone calls between Russell and Tsarnaev
that took place both before and after the attack to determine if she had prior knowledge of the
plot or participated in any way.
On Wednesday night, Burnett interviewed Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, about
whether the FBI would be able to discover the contents of past telephone conversations between the
two. He quite clearly insisted that they could:
BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone
companies to give that up at this point. It's not a voice mail. It's just a conversation. There's
no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?
CLEMENTE: "No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to
find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It's not necessarily something that the FBI
is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning
of her. We certainly can find that out.
BURNETT: "So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.
CLEMENTE: "No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we
know it or like it or not."
"All of that stuff" - meaning every telephone conversation Americans have with one another on
US soil, with or without a search warrant - "is being captured as we speak".
On Thursday night, Clemente again appeared on CNN, this time with host Carol Costello, and she
asked him about those remarks. He reiterated what he said the night before but added expressly that
"all digital communications in the past" are recorded and stored:
Let's repeat that last part: "no digital communication is secure", by which he means not that
any communication is susceptible to government interception as it happens (although that is true),
but far beyond that: all digital communications - meaning telephone calls, emails, online chats
and the like - are automatically recorded and stored and accessible to the government after the
fact. To describe that is to define what a ubiquitous, limitless Surveillance State is.
There have been some previous indications that this is true. Former AT&T engineer Mark Klein
revealed that AT&T and other telecoms had built a special network that allowed the National Security
Agency full and unfettered access to data about the telephone calls and the content of email communications
for all of their customers. Specifically, Klein explained "that the NSA set up a system that vacuumed
up Internet and phone-call data from ordinary Americans with the cooperation of AT&T" and that "contrary
to the government's depiction of its surveillance program as aimed at overseas terrorists . . .
much of the data sent through AT&T to the NSA was purely domestic." But his amazing revelations
were mostly ignored and, when Congress retroactively immunized the nation's telecom giants for their
participation in the illegal Bush spying programs, Klein's claims (by design) were prevented from
being adjudicated in court.
That every single telephone call is recorded and stored would also explain this extraordinary
revelation by the Washington Post in 2010:
Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion
e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications.
It would also help explain the revelations of former NSA official William Binney, who resigned
from the agency in protest over its systemic spying on the domestic communications of US citizens,
that the US government has "assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about US citizens
with other US citizens" (which counts only communications transactions and not financial and other
transactions), and that "the data that's being assembled is about everybody. And from that data,
then they can target anyone they want."
Despite the extreme secrecy behind which these surveillance programs operate, there have been
periodic reports of serious abuse. Two Democratic Senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, have been
warning for years that Americans would be "stunned" to learn what the US government is doing in
terms of secret surveillance. tia logo Strangely, back in 2002 - when hysteria over the 9/11 attacks
(and thus acquiescence to government power) was at its peak - the Pentagon's attempt to implement
what it called the "Total Information Awareness" program (TIA) sparked so much public controversy
that it had to be official scrapped. But it has been incrementally re-instituted - without the creepy
(though honest) name and all-seeing-eye logo - with little controversy or even notice.
Back in 2010, worldwide controversy erupted when the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United
Arab Emirates banned the use of Blackberries because some communications were inaccessible to government
intelligence agencies, and that could not be tolerated. The Obama administration condemned this
move on the ground that it threatened core freedoms, only to turn around six weeks later and demand
that all forms of digital communications allow the US government backdoor access to intercept them.
Put another way, the US government embraced exactly the same rationale invoked by the UAE and Saudi
agencies: that no communications can be off limits. Indeed, the UAE, when responding to condemnations
from the Obama administration, noted that it was simply doing exactly that which the US government
"'In fact, the UAE is exercising its sovereign right and is asking for exactly the same regulatory
compliance - and with the same principles of judicial and regulatory oversight - that Blackberry
grants the US and other governments and nothing more,' [UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al] Otaiba
said. 'Importantly, the UAE requires the same compliance as the US for the very same reasons: to
protect national security and to assist in law enforcement.'"
That no human communications can be allowed to take place without the scrutinizing eye of the
US government is indeed the animating principle of the US Surveillance State. Still, this revelation,
made in passing on CNN, that every single telephone call made by and among Americans is recorded
and stored is something which most people undoubtedly do not know, even if the small group of people
who focus on surveillance issues believed it to be true (clearly, both Burnett and Costello were
shocked to hear this).
Some new polling suggests that Americans, even after the Boston attack, are growing increasingly
concerned about erosions of civil liberties in the name of Terrorism. Even those people who claim
it does not matter instinctively understand the value of personal privacy: they put locks on their
bedroom doors and vigilantly safeguard their email passwords. That's why the US government so desperately
maintains a wall of secrecy around their surveillance capabilities: because they fear that people
will find their behavior unacceptably intrusive and threatening, as they did even back in 2002 when
John Poindexter's TIA was unveiled.
Mass surveillance is the hallmark of a tyrannical political culture. But whatever one's views
on that, the more that is known about what the US government and its surveillance agencies are doing,
the better. This admission by this former FBI agent on CNN gives a very good sense for just how
limitless these activities are.
I hope they indict themselves good and proper. That's evidence of their wrongdoing, when
they are in the dock.
Rather than specific prosecutions, my reading of this article is that it is concerned that
the US government has overseen the widespread interception of private communications beyond
that expected, or likely approved by ordinary citizens, under a veil of secrecy.
This is a shocking situation. It is hypocritical of the state to do this while condemning
others. And, it is unlikely that the state has acquired a fair mandate to engage in such extensive
Privacy has value....which must be set against any supposed benefits of surveillance, it
is the chilling "like it or not" attitude that is the problem. And what matters here is that
the state starts to respect whether people like it or not.
04 May 2013
@Montecarlo2 - yes, it makes everyone potentially subject to blackmail. It's what made J.E.
Hoover so powerful.
Records from the former soviet republics are still being used in this manner. You just need
a contact in the records dept. In Romania and Bulgaria they can't tell the government, the intelligence
agents from the Mafia. There is too much overlap and this is part of the problem. Even when
you get rid of the securitate, the corruption is too deep to excise. Don't expect USA State
Dept to help. They like these corrupt officials because they are controllable.
All governments, especially those who claim to be "of the people, by the people and for the
people", want to control their masses.
What is so concerning, is the organizations normally there to protect the people from their
government; such as, the legislature, the judicial system and the ACLU, have all left the building.
The people are doomed and are left with no recourse against the tyranical takeover by Big Brother.
04 May 2013
@TheGreatRonRafferty 04 May 2013 2:12pm. Get cifFix for Chrome.
I have only seen evidence that this is happening in the US. Where is the evidence that ALL
communications are being recorded and stored in UAE and Saudi?
Recording every communication for archival in massive facilities with Petabytes of storage
is a big undertaking, if it were happening now in the UK I think there'd be some evidence of
it. There may be plans for it, but I don't see any evidence it is in progress.
04 May 2013 3:20pm
Back in 2010, worldwide controversy erupted when the governments of Saudi Arabia and
the United Arab Emirates banned the use of Blackberries because some communications were
inaccessible to government intelligence agencies, and that could not be tolerated. The Obama
administration condemned this move on the ground that it threatened core freedoms, only
to turn around six weeks later and demand that all forms of digital communications allow
the US government backdoor access to intercept them. Put another way, the US government
embraced exactly the same rationale invoked by the UAE and Saudi agencies: that no communications
can be off limits.
See Obama was just being Obama. He wasn't condemning the UAE and Saudi governments because
banning Blackberry communications interfered with the core freedoms of the people to communicate
freely. Banning Blackberry communications interfered with the government's core freedom to spy
on the people. No communication between Saudi and UAE citizens and/or others = no interceptions
by US government. Obama wanted the Saudi and UAE governments to let the Blackberrys power up
because being banned interfered with interception and full spectrum awareness at all times.
Presumably, if the Saudis and UAE governments can intercept calls, the US government can intercept
It's full spectrum global surveillance man. The governments of the world cannot allow the
proles to communicate freely with one another because that is a threat to "the controls" in
place to make sure the proles never get uppity and organize effectively using technology to
challenge their governments. Unless and until of course one government or group decide another
government is getting too uppity to the elites of a relatively more powerful government(s) in
which case it's time for regime change and "the controls" come off to the degree necessary.
Okay maybe I watched too much of the "UFO trials" and have had too much caffeine. Maybe I'm
a little paranoid given it's a known fact all domestic US communications are being collected.
Or maybe not.
Anyway off to do a little paramutual wagering on the ponies. Big day. Kentucky Derby. Wooooo
hoooooo. Come on #3, come on #3,
@mickstephenson 04 May 2013 2:30pm. Get cifFix for Chrome.
i'm not going to say too much as I can't give any sources available on-line..however - Compression
algorithms have significantly become more adept.
Where once only a couple of years ago this volume of data storage would have been incomprehensible
that is not the case now.
Of course the use use of these compression algorithms is not only limited to data storage
but also comprises revolutionary advancements in digital image making and collation.
These advancements are not public, these are military only.
The UK has computer scientists and Artificial Intelligence engineers that are on the forefront
internationally. (Some banks and other dubious funds use these types of algorithms in algorithmic
I agree with TheGreatRonRafferty, if you think it's not happening in the UK your deluded.
In fact, a lot of the technology comes from the UK.
I'm not going to believe that military scientists are so far ahead of civilian ones just
because you say so, if you have documents off line proving so scan them and make them available
to those who want them (such as me).
In a thread on here a few weeks ago some people clearly believed that geo-stationary satellites
could resolve humans walking around cities in real time like on 24. Which is clearly fantasy.
The NSA throwing tons of money into creating petabytes of storage using off the shelf components
so it can keep a copy of every conversation, is viable enough. Why bring secret futuristic compression
algorithms into it. I have no doubt there is algorithms and codecs with better compression ratios,
that are secret, but lightyears ahead? I doubt it.
Recording every communication for archival in massive facilities with Petabytes of storage
is a big undertaking, if it were happening now in the UK I think there'd be some evidence of
Echelon is about the sharing and transference of such resources and data load among the Anglo
Recording every communication for archival in massive facilities with Petabytes of storage
is a big undertaking, if it were happening now in the UK I think there'd be some evidence
of it. There may be plans for it, but I don't see any evidence it is in progress.
I don't think you understand how this game works. The US government, being the nominated
"victim" of a worldwide terror war, spends half the global total on "defense and security/intelligence"
every year. That means it has the most capacity for things like spying on everybody.
As others have noted, phone calls have long been a target, and ECHELON was the first widespread
international iteration of this capability.
Today, the UK relies on the US to spy on Britons, and this is why the UK government is very
careful to maintain good relations between its own security/intelligence agencies and those
of the USA. That is what all those threats about 'withdrawing cooperation' were about when the
UK considered refusing an extradition and making public some details of US agencies behaviour
in a UK court case.
Average citizens were horrified by the idea that anti-terror sleuthing might be endangered
by this lack of cooperation, but the UK government itself has no fear of that: what it fears
is the loss of its ability to monitor its own citizens.
Effectively, it has outsourced domestic tyranny to the US.
As have many other self-styled liberal democracies in the West: Australia, Canada, New Zealand,
Similarly countries like Yemen and the Pakistani military have effectively outsourced domestic
suppression operations to the US military.
When that Iranian lady published her letter about how we have more in common with her than
she has with her government, and her government has more in common with our government than
we do, she wasnt kidding.
These kinds of "revelations" are only more evidence that what she said was correct, and it
is long past time we realised it. What we've glimpsed here is the tip of a very large submerged
structure that, as Glenn noted, operates behind a dense wall of secrecy.
RAF Menwith Hill is a Royal Air Force station near Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England which
provides communications and intelligence support services to the United Kingdom and the United
States of America. The site contains an extensive satellite ground station and is a communications
intercept and missile warning site and has been described as the largest electronic monitoring
station in the world.
@goto100 04 May 2013 9:46pm. Get cifFix for Firefox.
The NSA and IBM knew about differential cryptanalysis well before the open cryptographic
How do you stop them from telling? Are you saying that the threat of several years in Federal
PMITA prison wouldn't discourage you from any talking shop with outsiders? The NDA is common
enough practice in the private sector anyway; classification is just a bigger, badder NDA so
what's the diff?
you live in the United States of America, you live in a giant prison where liberty and freedom are
slowly being strangled to death. In this country, the control freaks that run things are obsessed
with watching, tracking, monitoring and recording virtually everything that we do. Nothing
is private anymore. Everything that you do on the Internet is being monitored. All of
your phone calls are being monitored. In fact, if law enforcement authorities suspect that
you have done something wrong, they will use your cell phone microphone to listen to you even when
you think your cell phone is turned off. In many areas of the country, when you get into your
car automated license plate readers track you wherever you go, and in many major cities when you
are walking on the streets a vast network of security cameras and "smart street lights" are constantly
watching you and listening to whatever you say. The TSA is setting up "internal checkpoints"
all over the nation, Homeland Security is encouraging all of us to report any "suspicious activity"
that our neighbors are involved in and the federal government is rapidly developing "pre-crime"
technology that will flag us as "potential terrorists" if we display any signs of nervousness.
If you are flagged as a "potential terrorist", the U.S. military can arrest you and detain you for
the rest of your life without ever having to charge you with anything. Yes, the United States
of America is rapidly being turned into a "Big Brother" prison grid, and most Americans are happily
going along with it.
The sad thing is that this used to be "the land of the free and the home
of the brave".
So what in the world happened?
A fundamental shift in our culture has taken place. The American people have eagerly given
up huge chunks of liberty and freedom in exchange for vague promises of increased security.
Our country is now run by total control freaks and paranoia has become standard operating procedure.
We were told that the terrorists hate our liberties and our freedoms, and that we needed to fight
the terrorists so that we could keep our liberties and our freedoms.
But instead, the government keeps taking away all of our liberties and our freedoms.
How in the world does that make any sense?
Have the terrorists won?
As a country, we have moved so far in the direction of communist China, the USSR and Nazi Germany
that it is almost impossible to believe.
Yes, turning the United States of America into a giant prison may make us all slightly safer,
but what kind of life is this?
Do we want to be dead while we are still alive?
Is this the price that we want to pay in order to feel slightly safer?
Where are the millions of Americans that still yearn to breathe free air?
America is supposed to be a land teeming with people thirsting for independence. For example,
"Live Free or Die" is supposedly the official motto of the state of New Hampshire.
But instead, the motto of most Americans seems to be "live scared and die cowering".
We don't have to live like this.
Yes, bad things are always going to happen. No amount of security is ever going to be able
to keep us 100% safe.
We need to remember that a very high price was paid for our liberty and we should not give it
up so easily.
As one very famous American once said, when we give up liberty for security we deserve neither.
The following are 30 signs that the United States of America is being turned into a giant prison....
#1 A new bill that is going through the U.S. Senate would allow the U.S. military
to arrest American citizens and hold them indefinitely without trial. This new law was recently
discussed in an article posted on the website of
the New American....
In what may be a tale too bizarre to be believed by millions of Americans, the U.S. Senate
appears ready to pass a bill that will designate the entire earth, including the United States
and its territories, one all-encompassing “battlefield” in the global “war on terror” and authorize
the detention of Americans suspected of terrorist ties indefinitely and without trial or even
charges being filed that would necessitate a trial.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham is a big supporter of the bill, and he says that it would "basically
say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield".
Gazette, the following are three things that this new law would do....
1) Explicitly authorize the federal government to indefinitely imprison without
charge or trial American citizens and others picked up inside
and outside the United States;
(2) Mandate military detention of some civilians who would otherwise be outside
of military control, including civilians picked up within the United States itself;
(3) Transfer to the Department of Defense core prosecutorial, investigative, law
enforcement, penal, and custodial authority and responsibility now held by the Department of
#2 U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman is asking Google to install a "terrorist
button" on all Blogger.com blogs so that readers can easily flag "terrorist content" for authorities.
#3 Most Americans have no idea how sophisticated the "Big Brother" prison grid
has become. For example, in Washington D.C. the movements of every single car are tracked
using automated license plate readers (ALPRs). The following comes from
a recent Washington Post article....
More than 250 cameras in the District and its suburbs scan license plates in real time,
helping police pinpoint stolen cars and fleeing killers. But the program quietly has expanded
beyond what anyone had imagined even a few years ago.
With virtually no public debate, police agencies have begun storing the information from
the cameras, building databases that document the travels of millions of vehicles.
Nowhere is that more prevalent than in the District, which has more than one plate-reader
per square mile, the highest concentration in the nation. Police in the Washington suburbs have
dozens of them as well, and local agencies plan to add many more in coming months, creating
a comprehensive dragnet that will include all the approaches into the District.
#4 In some American schools, RFID chips are now being used to monitor the attendance
and movements of children while they are at school. The following is how
one article recently described a program that has just been instituted at a preschool in California....
Upon arriving in the morning, according to the Associated Press, each student at the
CCC-George Miller preschool will don a jersey with a stitched in RFID chip. As the kids go about
the business of learning, sensors in the school will record their movements, collecting attendance
for both classes and meals. Officials from the school have claimed they're only recording information
they're required to provide while receiving federal funds for their Headstart program.
#5 Increasingly, incidents of misbehavior at many U.S. schools are being treated
as very serious crimes. For example, when a little girl kissed a little boy at one Florida
elementary school recently, it was considered to be a "possible
sex crime" and the police were called out.
#6 But what happened to one very young student in Stockton, California earlier
this year was even worse....
Earlier this year, a Stockton student was handcuffed with zip ties on his hands and feet,
forced to go to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and was charged with battery on a
police officer. That student was 5 years old.
#7 In the United States today, police are trained to respond to even the smallest
crimes with extreme physical force. For example, one grandfather in Arizona was recently filmed
in a pool of his own blood after police rammed his head into the flood inside a Wal-Mart on
Black Friday night. It was thought that he was shoplifting, but it turns out that he says
that he was just trying to tuck a video game away so other crazed shoppers would not grab it out
of his hands.
#8 Did you know that the government actually sets up fake cell phone towers
that can intercept your cell phone calls? The following is how
a recent Wired article described these "stingrays"....
You make a call on your cellphone thinking the only thing standing between you and the
recipient of your call is your carrier’s cellphone tower. In fact, that tower your phone is
connecting to just might be a boobytrap set up by law enforcement to ensnare your phone signals
and maybe even the content of your calls.
So-called stingrays are one of the new high-tech tools that authorities are using to
track and identify you. The devices, about the size of a suitcase, spoof a legitimate cellphone
tower in order to trick nearby cellphones and other wireless communication devices into connecting
to the tower, as they would to a real cellphone tower.
The government maintains that the stingrays don’t violate Fourth Amendment rights, since
Americans don’t have a legitimate expectation of privacy for data sent from their mobile phones
and other wireless devices to a cell tower.
#9 U.S. border agents are allowed by law
to search any laptop being brought into the United States without even needing any reason to
#10 In the United States of America, everyone is a "potential terrorist".
According to FBI Director Robert Mueller,
"homegrown terrorists" represent as big a threat to American national security as al-Qaeda does.
#11 Most Americans are not that concerned about the Patriot Act, but that might
change if they understood that the federal government has a "secret interpretation" of what the
Patriot Act really means. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden says that the U.S. government interprets
the Patriot Act
much more "broadly" than the general public does....
"We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American
government secretly thinks the law says."
#12 The FBI is now admittedly recording Internet talk radio programs all over
the United States. The following comes from a recent article
by Mark Weaver of WMAL.com....
If you call a radio talk show and get on the air, you might be recorded by the FBI.
The FBI has awarded a $524,927 contract to a Virginia company to record as much radio
news and talk programming as it can find on the Internet.
The FBI says it is not playing big brother by policing the airwaves, but rather seeking
access to what airs as potential evidence.
#13 The federal government has decided that what you and I share with one another
on Facebook and on Twitter could be a threat to national security. According to
a recent Associated Press article, the Department of Homeland Security will soon be "gleaning
information from sites such as Twitter and Facebook for law enforcement purposes".
The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal
investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on
The technique is called a "roving bug," and was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice
officials for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional
surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.
#15 In some areas of the country, law enforcement authorities are pulling data
out of cell phones for no reason whatsoever.
According to the ACLU, state police in Michigan are now using "extraction devices" to download
data from the cell phones of motorists that they pull over. This is taking place even if the
motorists that are pulled over are not accused of doing anything wrong.
The following is how a recent article
on CNET News described
the capabilities of these "extraction devices"....
The devices, sold by a company called Cellebrite, can download text messages, photos,
video, and even GPS data from most brands of cell phones. The handheld machines have various
interfaces to work with different models and can even bypass security passwords and access some
#16 The federal government has become so paranoid that they have been putting
GPS tracking devices on the vehicles of thousands of people that have not even been charged with
committing any crimes. The following is a short excerpt from
Wired magazine article about this issue....
The 25-year-old resident of San Jose, California, says he found the first one about three
weeks ago on his Volvo SUV while visiting his mother in Modesto, about 80 miles northeast of
San Jose. After contacting Wired and allowing a photographer to snap pictures of the device,
it was swapped out and replaced with a second tracking device. A witness also reported seeing
a strange man looking beneath the vehicle of the young man’s girlfriend while her car was parked
at work, suggesting that a tracking device may have been retrieved from her car.
Then things got really weird when police showed up during a Wired interview with the
The young man, who asked to be identified only as Greg, is one among an increasing number
of U.S. citizens who are finding themselves tracked with the high-tech devices.
#17 New high-tech street lights that are being funded by the federal government
and that are being installed all over the nation can also be used as surveillance cameras, can be
used by the DHS to make "security announcements" and can even be used to record personal conversations.
The following is from a recent article by Paul Joseph Watson
Federally-funded high-tech street lights now being installed in American cities are not
only set to aid the DHS in making “security announcements” and acting as talking surveillance
cameras, they are also capable of “recording conversations,” bringing the potential privacy
threat posed by ‘Intellistreets’ to a whole new level.
#18 If you choose to protest in the streets of America today, there is a good
chance that you will be brutalized. All over the United States law enforcement authorities
have been spraying pepper spray
directly into the faces of unarmed protesters in recent weeks.
#19 In many areas of the United States today, you will be arrested if you do
not produce proper identification for the police. In the old days, "your papers please" was
a phrase that was used to use to mock the tyranny of Nazi Germany. But now all of us are being
required to be able to produce "our papers" for law enforcement authorities at any time. For
example, a 21-year-old college student named Samantha Zucker was recently arrested and put in a
New York City jail for 36 hours just because
she could not produce any identification for police.
#20 According to blogger Alexander Higgins, students in kindergarten and the
1st grade in the state of New Jersey are now required by law to participate "in monthly anti-terrorism
drills". The following is an excerpt
from a letter that he recently received from the school where his child attends....
Each month a school must conduct one fire drill and one security drill which may be a
lockdown, bomb threat, evacuation, active shooter, or shelter-in place drill. All schools are
now required by law to implement this procedure.
So who in the world ever decided that it would be a good idea for 1st grade students to endure
"lockdown" and "active shooter" drills?
To get an idea of what these kinds of drills are like, just check out
#21 With all of the other problems that we are having all over the nation, you
would think that authorities would not be too concerned about little kids that are trying to sell
cups of lemonade. But sadly, over the past year police have been sent in to shut down lemonade
stands run by children
all over the United States.
#22 The federal government has decided to invest a significant amount of time,
money and energy raiding organic farms. The following example
It is the latest case of extreme government food tyranny, and one that is sure to have
you reeling in anger and disgust. Health department officials recently conducted a raid of Quail
Hollow Farm, an organic community supported agriculture (CSA) farm in southern Nevada, during
its special "farm to fork" picnic dinner put on for guests -- and the agent who arrived on the
scene ordered that all the fresh, local produce and pasture-based meat that was intended for
the meal be destroyed with bleach.
#23 It is an absolute disgrace that all of us (including
grandmothers and young children) must either go through body scanners that reveal the intimate
details of our naked bodies or endure "enhanced pat-downs" during which our genitals
will be touched before we are allowed to get on an airplane.
It is also an absolute disgrace that the American people are putting up with this.
#24 Invasive TSA security techniques are not just for airports anymore.
Now, TSA "VIPR teams" are actively conducting random inspections at bus stations and on interstate
highways all over the United States. For example, the following comes from a local news report
down in Tennessee....
You're probably used to seeing TSA's signature blue uniforms at the airport, but now
agents are hitting the interstates to fight terrorism with Visible Intermodal Prevention and
"Where is a terrorist more apt to be found? Not these days on an airplane more likely
on the interstate," said Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security Commissioner Bill
Tuesday Tennessee was first to deploy VIPR simultaneously at five weigh stations and
two bus stations across the state.
#25 More than a million hotel television sets all over America are now broadcasting
propaganda messages from the Department of Homeland Security promoting the "See Something, Say Something"
campaign. In essence, the federal government wants all of us to become "informants" and to
start spying on one another constantly. The following comes from an article posted
by USA Today....
Starting today, the welcome screens on 1.2 million hotel television sets in Marriott,
Hilton, Sheraton, Holiday Inn and other hotels in the USA will show a short public service announcement
from DHS. The 15-second spot encourages viewers to be vigilant and call law enforcement if they
witness something suspicious during their travels.
*those that consider "the New World Order" to be a threat
*those that have a negative view of the United Nations
#28 As I have written about
previously, a very disturbing document that Oath Keepers has obtained shows that the FBI is
now instructing store owners to report many new forms of "suspicious activity" to them.
According to the document, "suspicious activity" now includes the following....
*paying with cash
*missing a hand or fingers
*making "extreme religious statements"
*purchasing weatherproofed ammunition or match containers
*purchasing meals ready to eat
*purchasing night vision devices, night flashlights or gas masks
Do any of those "signs of suspicious activity" apply to you?
#29 Soon you may get labeled as a "potential terrorist" if you are just feeling
a little nervous. A new "pre-crime" technology system that is currently being tested by the
U.S. Department of Homeland Security will soon be in use all over the nation. It is called
"Future Attribute Screening Technology" (FAST), and it is very frightening. The following
description of this new program comes from an article
in the London Telegraph....
Using cameras and sensors the "pre-crime" system measures and tracks changes in a person's
body movements, the pitch of their voice and the rhythm of their speech.
It also monitors breathing patterns, eye movements, blink rate and alterations in body
heat, which are used to assess an individual's likelihood to commit a crime.
The Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) programme is already being tested on
a group of government employees who volunteered to act as guinea pigs.
Once again, despite all of this outrageous "security", it is inevitable that a lot of really
bad things are going to happen in the United States in the years ahead.
When there are incidents of violence, it is also inevitable that there will be calls for even
more "Big Brother"
We are going to be caught in a never ending spiral of tyranny where the "solution" is always
even tighter security.
Eventually, we will have lost all of our liberties and freedoms, and we will probably be even
less safe than we are today.
Do not be deceived. We could put a soldier on every corner, a video camera in every room
of every home and an RFID chip in every citizen but that would not make us "safe".
Every single lawmaker that is backing these laws which strip our liberties and freedoms away
deserves to be voted out of office.
If you love the United States of America, please stand up and say something while you still can.
Please use this article and other articles like it as tools. Share them with your friends
and your family. If we can get enough people to wake up, perhaps there is still enough time
to turn the direction of this country around.
Will the final chapters of the history of the United States of America be mentioned in the same
breath as communist China, the USSR and Nazi Germany, or will the final chapters of the history
of the United States of America be the greatest chapters of all?
The choice, America, is up to you.
SURVEILLANCE, IMPLANTS, AND TELEVISIONS THAT WATCH YOU
So the next step would be the single card and then the next step would be to replace the single
card with a skin implant. The single card could be lost or stolen, give rise to problems; could
be exchanged with somebody else to confuse identify. The skin implant on the other hand would be
not losable or counterfeitable or transferrable to another person so you and your accounts would
be identified without any possibility of error. And the skin implants would have to be put some
place that would be convenient to the skin; for example your right hand or your forehead.
There was some mention, also, of implants that would lend themselves to surveillance by providing
radio signals. This could be under the skin or a dental implant … put in like a filling so that
either fugitives or possibly other citizens could be identified by a certain frequency from his
personal transmitter and could be located at any time or any place by any authority who wanted to
find him. This would be particularly useful for somebody who broke out of prison.
There was more discussion of personal surveillance. One more thing was said, “You’ll be watching
television and somebody will be watching you at the same time at a central monitoring station.”
Television sets would have a device to enable this. The T.V. set would not have to be on in order
for this to be operative. Also, the television set can be used to monitor what you are watching.
People can tell what you’re watching on TV and how you’re reacting to what you’re watching. And
you would not know that you were being watched while you were watching your television. How would
we get people to accept these things into their homes? Well, people would buy them when they buy
their own television. They won’t know that they’re on there at first. This was described by being
what we now know as Cable TV to replace the antenna TV. When you buy a TV set this monitor would
just be part of the set and most people would not have enough knowledge to know it was there in
the beginning. And then the cable would be the means of carrying the surveillance message to the
monitor. By the time people found out that this monitoring was going on, they would also be very
dependent upon television for a number of things. Just the way people are dependent upon the telephone
today. One thing the television would be used for would be purchases. You wouldn’t have to leave
your home to purchase. You just turn on your TV and there would be a way of interacting with your
television channel to the store that you wanted to purchase. And you could flip the switch from
place to place to choose a refrigerator or clothing. This would be both convenient, but it would
also make you dependent on your television so the built-in monitor would be something you could
not do without.
There was some discussion of audio monitors, too, just in case the authorities wanted to hear
what was going on in rooms other than where the television monitor was, and in regard to this the
statement was made, “Any wire that went into your house, for example your telephone wire, could
be used this way. I remember this in particular because it was fairly near the end of the presentation
and as we were leaving the meeting place I said something to one of my colleagues about going home
and pulling all of the wires out of my house.. except I knew I couldn’t get by without the telephone.
And the colleague I spoke to just seemed numb. To this day I don’t think he even remembers what
we talked about or what we hear that time, cause I’ve asked him. But at that time he seemed stunned.
Before all these changes would take place with electronic monitoring, it was mentioned that there
would be service trucks all over the place, working on the wires and putting in new cables. This
is how people who were on the inside would know how things were progressing.
“A fundamental shift in our culture has taken place. The American people have eagerly
given up huge chunks of liberty and freedom in exchange for vague promises of increased security.”
The shift has taken place in Washington DC and has been forced upon the American people against
“Every single lawmaker that is backing these laws which strip our liberties and freedoms
away deserves to be voted out of office.”
Send in the Marines and escort all of these lawmakers to Gitmo.
Too bad they own the military and use them as their pawn.
All this surveillance will apply only to the 99%. The 1% will be given cloaking devices.
This is going to raise the prostitution industry to a whole new level.
This also raises the question of how many Americans will be willing to enforce this kind
of surveillance. Our taxes might need to be raised so that we can hire foreigners to spy on
us and throw us into the for-profit prisons.
I just had an alarming thought: will I still be able to vote on which celebrity wore that
ugly dress better?
This system was prophecized in the bible, in terms of the mark of the beast in Revelation.
How can the mark be enforced unless there is an economic surveillance system in place? It is
being implemented under the pretense of security but really it’s a way to get everyone used
to the idea of compliance with the beast system. No matter what, do not accept the mark of the
beast. Those who take the mark or worship the image of the beast or his name will spend eternity
in the lake of fire. This life is temporary. In the new heaven and earth Jesus will rule and
there will not be any checkpoints!
What exactly is the Mark of the Beast you’re referring to? The RFID chips? Also I thought
the Lake of Fire was to end all the evils of the world, not let them live to suffer for eternity…
At this point, I think it has come to where the only thing that can stop the juggernaught
from running over the citizenry, is a total economic collapse – taking the paychecks and pensions
of all the federal, state, county and city employees with it – along with the rest of our 401k’s,
Sometimes what might be perceived as a total disaster, ends up to be the thing which saves
the day in the end.
But more important than all of that, is that if we are Christians, we should not worry. Not
worry?! Correct, not worry.
Those of us who have been touched by the Holy Spirit and delivered into the hands of Jesus
Christ, need not fear and should not fear.
Instead, warn others not just of things such as seen in this excellent article but also remind
them that the peace that passes all understanding is only available to people of faith; that
God cannot stand having imperfection in His sight; and that the death, resurrection and ascension
of Christ has taken away the sin of the world for those who believe in Him, repent (change direction),
begin to and continue to get closer to Christ, including that word rarely seen in American churches
– obeying Him. Showing evidence in your life of the change which has transpired. Walking the
walk and talking the talk. Being a redeemed, saved and enlightened Christian, adopted as a son
or daughter of the creator of the universe.
Then these things don’t vex and perplex, or cause concern in the same way. “I’ve read ahead
to the end of The Book, and the good (God) guy wins; also, I’m on His side!”
While I agree that the capacity to change exists, I firmly believe that the last chapter
of the bible was written because human nature will never change, and here in America, while
I love this country, I believe it’s borderline self delusion to believe that we will return
to what we once were.
There are far too many indicators that our society has passed the point of no return in regard
to returning to the founders vision of what America could be, and for that matter even what
it once was in the not to distant past, say the 1950′s. As I have said on your other blog ”
The Economic Collapse ” change will only occur when it begins within the four walls of every
American household, with a return to morality and lives based upon blical principles. You know,
it’s no small coincidence that you can really begin to see the breakdown of the American society
explode in the 1960′s, which, if you remember, was the decade that the ten commandments were
removed from public schools ( 1963 ). And really, you need to go back to go back to the late
1800′s to the very beginning of America’s departure from biblical priciples when scholars of
the time were making it an acceptable practice to question the relevance of the bible which
eventually led to it’s credibility being called into question, and whether an individual believes
in God or not, I think it’s safe to say that we’ll all agree on the fact that society today
lacks a moral compass, which leaves one to ask the question, why?. I mentioned many indicators
of societial breakdown pointing to America being beyond saving, I think that one has only to
go back a few days to Black Friday to see one of them. Americans have lost all love for one
another, they have become like animals. I often wonder what people in other countries must think
of Americans when they see the footage from Black Friday. America, and the world will not recover
from this coming collapse unless they return to the God of the bible, which means they will
not recover… Again, it’s why the last book of the bible was written in the first place.
Urban Survival Guide:
People can try to war against the machine all they want, but they don’t have the right weapons.
For at its core, the plan of the elite to move us towards their New World Order is a spiritual
battle of good vs. evil.
The elite are empowered by Lucifer and they seek to kill, steal and destroy, and they are
intolerant of other religions and people, such as Muslims and especially Christians.
Ephesians 6:12-17 says “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness
in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil
day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of
15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery
darts of the wicked one.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”
I agree with 90% of your article Michael. I also highly support the Oath Keepers and their
efforts to keep LEOs and the military complying with the Constitution. I initially supported
the Patriot Act, but now believe that it has gone way toooooo far.
I have worked with numerous Federal agencies in my career. To me, the biggest threat to freedom
in the country is the Federal Gov’t and I am very alarmed by point #1…..
To think that this is a bi-partisan bill supported by the likes of Graham, McVain, and others
is frightening….We need to telephone, fax, email, and endlessly cajole our reps in Congress
to veto this monstrosity. We have little time left….Seriously America, you are more in danger
from your Federal Gov’t than you are from any terrorist or foreign state. If this bill passes
as is, any Constitutional freedoms you once had will be gone forever….
THIS IS AMERIKA, DAGNABIT. AND GOVERNMENT IS MERELY GIVING THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT:
Although I share your disgust in many ways, in the spirit of Bushism, I say about the fascist
police state: Bring it on! Amerikans deserve to have their freedoms and liberties taken away
from them seeing as how eager they are to give them up in the first place.
Bottom line is this: Amerika is now an asylum state that is government welfare, warmonger
infested, fast food grease and sugar fattening, celebrity gossip worrying, drug and alcohol
sex party induced, power mad tyranny, addicted in the worse ways imaginable.
Hey, anybody knows what last night’s winning lotto numbers were?
As long as the general population continues its daily trot through its drunken, drugged state
of life, there will be no consciousness to change. This situation is going to hit some people
like a ton of bricks and they won’t see it coming. Wake up America, blacks, browns and whites
alike before it is too late!
The brunt of this tyranny has come upon US with a vengence. Within the past 3 years our society
has been so deeply ensconed and so painfully forced into socialism that we have had no reaction
time. It’s reached a point of Nothing -Can -Be -Done Now, hence the in-your-face attitude.
I recall while only a youngster, of being very consciously aware of the USSR/China and their
counter parts with their communistic philosophy spreading around the world that I feard that
someday we might be taken over too. Paradoxically, I still felt safe however. I expected that
communism would manifest itself with the same charactistic proof as usual, and give us a huge
FIGHTING chance as it approached. But how naieve was that? It morphed. And into a new breed
of oppression, something that went ultimately unrecognized for too long. Our poor minds couldn’t
conceive of Communism working in an entirely differnt format with new garb. It came as global
trade and false reform. The fact is, they buried us, like they said they would using our system
of freedom. They came in and bought us out, bought us up, and we eventually and finally borrowed
ourselves into slavery to them. And now, “they’re here!”
And the mere HATE that underlies all of their works is very stressful to say the least. This
HATE maifests itself in every sector of our soiety today because they are involved in every
sector. Opression is the main goal to acheiveme in a communistic society. And this a more brutal
type with more psychologaical intensity than anything that has ever preceded it due to the technology
involved. Soon the planet will be a representation of HELL on earth. However, as long as money
continues to flow in massive quanaties into the hands of the evil doers, they will never suffer
the deprivations that make living on the planet unbearable for the masses to come, unless a
power greater than they are takes over. I think that could come by way of a massive nuclear
war or the Second Coming. I hope for the latter. And I say to like the first one who did, ”
I would rather be dead than Red!!!”
The Fed fears home-grown terrorists because they are seeding and cultivating the crop. They
know we aren’t happy having everything we worked all our lives for stolen from us. They know
we aren’t happy watching our children go hungry.
Bystander Obama and the rest of the gang are happy to do the dirty work because they think
when the hammer comes down, they will be exempted. A bunch of liars and thieves trusting each
“Once when he happened in some connection to mention the war against Eurasia, She startled
him by saying casually that in her opinion the rocket bombs which fell daily on London were
probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself, just to keep people frightened.”
I wish I could comment on all of the items, but lets start with #4:
I think in the next few years, it will be Federal Law to install an RFID chip into the neck
or armpit or whatever of every newborn baby. Parents who refuse will be fined, jailed, audited
by the IRS, etc. Then, it will be done without knowledge and/or permission. Any doctor that
refuses will be fined, jailed, audited by the IRS, lose their license to practice, etc. Fellow
Americans, boycott schools that require these chips. Pull your kids out and homeschool them.
Michael, I just got an email from moveon.org warning that there is a law going through now
regarding censorship of the internet. This is devastating to me because this is where I get
my news. The law is being backed by lobbiests and basically states that any site can be blocked
if someone complains about it. Is this possible?!!?? What is happening to this country?
Hey CIA, FBI, NSA, TSA, DHS, FEMA, etc.: Come and arrest me right now! You can track my ip.
I bet you already know my real name. I committed great crimes against the U.S. by being a home-grown
terrorists. I do, have, believe, etc. in all of these:
*against illegal immigration
*against New World Order
*against United Nation
*pay with cash
*make extreme religious statements
*purchase guns and ammunition
*purchase meals ready to eat
*purchase night vision night binoculars
You can call me a redneck, home-grown terrorist, OWS member, whatever, but let it be known,
that I am a Constitution loving, 1776 America loving, Founding Fathers friend, and true American
Patriot. There are many more like me that will not stand it any more of your lies, deceit, abuse,
control, sexual harassment, etc.
I feel a little embarrassed to say this, but coming back to Israel from JFK about two weeks
ago, I got sexually molested by the TSA goons. Even though it was only an agent sticking his
hand into my pants (Thank G-d no groin touching), I felt weird. I am a single guy, but if I
were a parent and he did that to my son or daughter, I would have difficulty restraining myself
from punching out the child molester.
I not only hate them, I kind of fear them, because they can do almost anything and having
the full protection of the Federal backing them. If one needs to do trans-ocean traveling, how
in the world is one supposed to do that without flying???
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the
poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and
recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
We will never return to the nation that once sang, “My country, Tis of Thee!”
It actually makes me cry to think of all the immigrants that fled to this country for Freedom,
escaping Communism, Fascism, Nazism, Maoism, any other atrocity that no human being should experience
or see, just to become Americans and get a new chance at life, most of the time arriving with
nothing but the clothes on their back.
There is no more love of America, the America that once was. There is no more love for your
neighbor or social responsibility. There is no more duty to protect the Constitution.
What have we become is disgusting! Most Americans are now fat, lazy, greedy, angry, brain-dead,
drug-addicted, G-dless, sheeple. And that is being nice. We are being punished for abandoning
G-d and the nation He gave us.
This is the End Game! Let’s be honest with ourselves. To be an G-d fearing, honest, law-abiding,
America loving, Constitution following citizen will not save you from the wrath of the NWO.
But, one must still strive to follows G-d’s laws and be the best that you can and pray for the
destruction of the NWO.
I wish the government would lock up republicans and conservatives. Their single minded pursuit
of cutting taxes on the rich is tantamount to genocide on the poor and they should be locked
up for war crimes as they are at war against the poor.
umm… no, it’s not. You’re more part of the problem than a part of the solution. No doubt,
you’ll get your wish. Either way, once the doers and thinkers are gone, you may miss them.
Read Kipling’s Mother Hive.
Closest thing to a vote we have is the money we spend. Every dollar is a vote. Don’t
be confused, this is not a democracy, you may get to vote but who knows how legitimate the count
is, and you get to choose between people that have ave already been chosen. The corporations
run this country but they do need our money to do so. Take your money out of banks and put them
in credit unions, it is such an easy step and you will most likely get better rates.
If you still believe *********** Zelikow’s whitewash and coverup of the events of 911, you
are part of the problem.
But, most in America are so dumbed-down they actually believe that a large commerical airliner
disappeared into a 16 ft wide hole in the wall of the Pentagon, leaving NO debris field. no
seats, no bodies, no parts of bodies, no luggage, no airframe parts, no 757 engines, …nothing
from a Boeing 757.
So, Americans, sit there in your stunned stupidity and watch this great experiment in Jeffersonian
democracy become a new version of the USSR, where the Cheka slaughtered millions, and where
millions in the Ukraine were starved to death in the early 1930s. If you do not know the names
of Uritsky, Sverdlov, Zioniev, Kamanev, Kerensky, Trotsky, Beria, Yagoda or Kaganovich, you
are just part of the mind numb and niave sheep on the way to the meat packing plant.
ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL!!!!
The insidious Patriot Act followed by
The Security Enhancement Act of 2003,
the infamous Military Commissions Act 2006,
followed by the John Warner Defense Authorization Act 2007 and,
which called for the suspension of habeas corpus (4th Amendment due process)
all of which gave the president the power to arbitrarily determine on his own, that any one
of us was a “domestic terrorist” and going even further to
allow the president to strip us of our citizenship at his discretion with no oversight.
What’s amazing is that although people are specifically warned about Facebook being surveilled,
and facebook’s record of selling and distributing private information, that people are still
using it! And that websites like this use Facebook for people to add comments!
I’m pretty sure this is all due to laws that came out of conservative, post-911 hysteria,
perpetuated by the right. Remember, it’s the right who want the govt out of our lives as far
as guns and money go, but want a larger presence when it comes to sexuality, marriage, possible
terrorism. But conservatives spend so much time with their eyes closed, they’d rather quickly
blame it on Obama (the foundation for all of these things predates his presidency) and encourage
things to go back to the way it was, no not the 1950′s, but the 1600′s, when there was the same
class division and lack of religious freedom that made our forefather come to America in the
Riiight, blame this all on the evil Right Wing. Just above you is a post by a Communist
who wants the government to lock up all conservatives. And the Left has never minded sicking
the government on peaceful law-abiding Americans, especially when they can grow it bigger
for their welfare or Green Policing or anti-family agenda.
There are more prisoners in jails, prisons, & institutions in the USA than all the prisoners
in prisons and jails in every country of the globe added together. There are 4 bags of fortune
in the USA 1. Medicare 2. Military 3. SS 4.Taxes where do the giant corporations run as big
business called prisons get funding from? Your right it’s bag #4TAXES.
None of this is gonna matter anyhow. By the time the 2012 election rolls around, all of you
serfs will be locked up in GITMO or some other X-Files styled CIA underground prison where no
one will hear any of you scream…………….
As The Banana Republic of America (the Third World hellhole formerly known as Les Etas Unis)
slides deeper and deeper into the abyss economically, the police state will become increasingly
abusive. And sadly, much of Boobus America (to borrow a term from the late, great Libertarian
talk show host Irv Homer) will welcome the abuses of the neocon police state if they think it
will keep them safe from Islamo-terrorists and tattooed gangbangers in baggy pants. But as Gerald
Celente, Ron Paul, Alex Jones, Katherine Albrecht, Justin Raimondo and others have pointed out,
history proves that police states are the most murderous thugs of all. The atrocities of Pol
Pot, Stalin, Hitler and others demonstrate that the death toll is much higher with abusive regimes
than it is with terrorist attacks. If you think al-Qaeda are a gang of sick, murderous bastards
(which they most certainly are), just wait until BRA neocons get the gulags and concentration
camps they long for. And the offensive language of the neocons says it all: “homeland security,”
“protecting the homeland,” “if you’re innocent, you have nothing to worry about”………their rhetoric
is right out of Stalinist Russia, Hitler’s Germany, Mao’s Cultural Revolution and Pol Pot’s
About Samantha Zucker: the comments from neocons (or rather, neoKKKons) tell us everything
we need to know. Libertarian/paleoconservatives and liberal/progressives are horrified by what
happened to her; neocons, on the other hand, are saying that it serves her right for not having
her ID with her. Honestly, Osama bin Laden must be laughing and giggling in hell when he thinks
about the utter contempt that neocons have for the civil liberties of fellow Americans.
Alex Jones is absolutely right: neocons are the very essence of un-American, anti-Constitution,
pseudo-capitalist, pro-fascist, anti-free enterprise, big government authoritarians. And they’re
getting ready to tighten the noose even more. God help La République Banane d’Amérique.
“We were told that the terrorists hate our liberties and our freedoms, and that we needed
to fight the terrorists so that we could keep our liberties and our freedoms.”
That was all nonsense, of course. If people were told the truth – that the attacks were in
response to US foreign policy – then they’d demand changes in it, and we can’t have the peasantry
getting so uppidity.
“Yes, turning the United States of America into a giant prison may make us all slightly
safer, but what kind of life is this?”
Over the course of human history, individual freedom has been
an anomaly. Don’t worry, it’ll be gone soon and humanity will be back to “normal.”
On the other hand, if it really is as bad as you’re all saying, perhaps you should change
your career goals to get into federal, state, and local law enforcement while the getting’s
I have to laugh at all this stuff, if it’s true, since we’re totally broke at this point.
If they keep putting up million dollar lights and cameras and whatnot, I’m sure our friends
in the recreational scrap removal business will quickly have them removed and sold before they’re
even activated. Look at Detroit-if there was ever a place to put up crime lights, it’s that
place, but they’re removing the lights instead of putting them up-the power co. says the city
can’t afford to pay for them. Go figure.
I’m no Pollyanna, but as much as this stuff bugs me, I think it’s sort of self-applied. Bear
with me on this one. While it sucks to see freedom diminish in the name of security-it really
only applies to people with money.
For instance, if you travel by plane, you’re going through the Meat Gazer. If you don’t fly,
you won’t be scanned. If you can afford a cell phone and you carry it with you everywhere, you’re
liable to be monitored, scanned by the cops, and they might decide to collect room audio from
your location. If you don’t use a cell or you remove the Sim and battery when you don’t need
them, you won’t be tracked or scanned. If you don’t want to be spied on by some newfangled light,
live in the country-no scanners there. If you don’t want to be implanted with some kind of chip-get
off the grid-no chips there. Do you want to avoid having your email read, your IP tracked, and
your browsing habits reviewed? Don’t use a computer and/or don’t pay for your own internet access-they
can’t spy on you if you don’t use it. But who on this site wants to live that way? There are
tons of people in this country who don’t own, use, or do these things and we tend to look down
on them as either poor, ignorant, boring, or other choice descriptive terms. And those kinds
of people fall below the radar. They’re not a threat, they’re of no interest, and they’re Winston
Smith’s Proles. I could even see these luxuries, and the intrusive security that goes with enjoying
them, coming to define a new class of successful people, while the poverty-stricken off-the-grid-and-don’t-count-for-anything
class is mostly left alone, aside from occasional high-profile crime busts for drugs, violence,
rape, and other evils of “the Vulgarians.”
If you want all the fruits of the hi-tech life, you’ll have to accept the worms that come
with them. I’m not defending this, but I recognize the inevitability of much of it.
Here’s my idea, though. Go find a copy of the CIA Factbook and look up the comparative stats
on which nations are the best in the world at things like education, wealth, mortality, life
enjoyment, etc. You’ll find we are not at the top of any category. The nations that ARE at the
top might surprise you. You might consider one of them as an alternative. I know the one I like
the best. Oh, and for those who are interested, I have a friend who picked the nation he wants
to live in based off the list of nations who refuse extradition with the US.
LOL, WOW, finaly Americans seem to waking from their slumber, BUT it pains me to say, sorry
folks, the horse has well and truly left the stable and bolted.
Going by the posts here, I get the impression folks think they can put the Genie back in the
bottle by changing their Govt. DUH !
Pray tell people, how do you intend to do that, when over the last 60 years, ever Congress person
(with the exception of a few you can count on one hand, and the ones who died mysterious deaths
so far still unexplained) has committed high treason against you all and set in place laws to
contain and curtail any actions you may initiate to reclaim control of your country.
For example, your Xray machine you have to go thru before boarding an aeroplane, how many Americans
have REFUSED to be Xrayed or refused to fly as long as this was being done ? Again, countem
on the fingers of your hand.
To the folks who are under the mistaken impression, this has all come about due to 9/11, LOL,
sorry folks, it was in train well and truly long before that, 9/11 was nothing but the public
coming out of their intentions.
And lastly, how could any genuine Democratic country give their Govt representatives carte blanch
for insider trading while sitting in Congress ??? And this is OK with the folks of the U.S.
None of this stuff is true. I go to the States at least 5 or 6 times a year, and I never
get questioned, i never get body scanned, almost no scrutiny whatsoever. I’ve driven across
the border, I’ve flown, no questions asked. I don’t buy any of this nonsense. I’ve got better
things to do with my life than live in paranoid fear.
Furthermore…what’s all this God fearing or God loving rubbish all about? The US isn’t a Theocracy
is it? You have a clear separation of church and state? you’re a democratic republic governed
by the people you elect to represent you, right? What has god got to do with anything?
Thank-you Atwas911. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world
he didn’t exist. The New World Order is right on schedule down to the smallest detail. We
have nothing but power in numbers. It is our only means of preserving what is left of this
country. Did you think the powers that be were going to perpetuate their plan is a light
that you could plainly see? No. But make no mistake, it is happening and the more of the
baby boomers or “old” people who fall off of the contributing conveyer belt, the easier
it will be to control the rest of the population. Keep watching American Idol and concerning
yourself with what the Kardashians are wearing and one day you will find yourself sitting
in a FEMA camp wondering how this could happen to you.
For the love of ****************, I’m sick of all this fear-mongering ************* being
fed to me. The people in the Government aren’t animals, I’m sure they are totally capable of
listening to reason.
Perhaps our own military should take part in the revloution? They all swore an oath to defend
the Constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. They did NOT, however swear an
oath to defend the Government.
The problem is our responsibility to vote is just an illusion of control over the govt. Read
up on gerrymander, the electoral college and maybe research a little bit the power and money
it takes to run even a state election campaign.
Honest, just people will never run our country because to get to the top here, you kind of
have to be evil…
Once again, don’t trust the gov, manipulated by lobbies.
There is another way to avoid all that shit. Why owning a cel, a car?
Be wise at home too, with your Internet connection.
Everything can be logged.
Have you heard about echelon?
And no, this is not a paranoia crisis.
Do you really think those guyz, elected, are working for us!
The writer thinks maybe it is because of the threat of terrorist where i see it because of
ignorance and denial on the part of millions of Americans. America bought the governments story
of 9/11. Bush said don’t question 9/11? When bush said you are either with us or the terrorist
millions of good little sheepe went right along and when bush called for war with Iraq there
was the sheep again knowing all the while it was based on lies.Bombing of Kuwait same story.
the Kuwaiti Ambassador’s daughter comes on T V and start crying. Lying by saying that the Revolutionary
Guard was taking babies out of incubators and leaving them on the ground to die. The attack
on the people of Libya and killing of some of Gaddifi’s family members.’ It is fortunate for
the governments that the masses don’t think.” Adolf Hitler! Over two million innocent men, women
and children are dead because of the ignorance and denial of millions of Americans, Another
500,000 dead from disease and starvation due to sanctions imposed on Iraq by the US before the
Gulf war.500,000 babies born deformed, as reported by the WHO, because of the use of depleted
uranium by the US military.How many more will either die or be born deformed because of all
the depleted uranium dust covering Iraq? the US did the same to South and North Vietnam with
agent orange although agent orange effects were mild in comparison to depleted uranium which
has a half life of 4.5 billion years.
A scientific dictatorship cannot occur without control of all information … those avenues
for control are namely Google, Facebook and Twitter. If 30% of people stopped using these sites
… information control is lost and the scientific dictatorship cannot survive.
The issue is not so much that the Government is doing it, but more that it is being pushed
to happen by those people who are so frightended to live thier lives that they want it to happen.
If you see “suspicious activity”, instead of getting freaked out, think for a minute about what
you actually saw. Is the guy sweating because he is going to blow himself up on an airplane?…or
is he wearing too warm of a jacket or worried about who is going to grope him in the search?
Is the guy speeding to get to a terrorist meeting, or is he rushing to the hospital because
his wife is having a baby? Everybody just needs to CALM THE ************* DOWN!
I agree that under normal circumstances people shouldn’t be monitored, but we cannot ignore
the fact that these are not normal circumstances.
America has for a long period of time created a mindset of entitlement, wherein many people
feel that they should have many things provided for them. The problem is that many people never
give anything at all back to the system that they take and expect so much from. Then there are
some that do contribute a little here and there in one form or another but take much more of
an amount than what they ever contributed. Then there are some that contribute a very large
amount that end up getting very little or nothing from the system.
I mention these things because the government and the people have equally created the problems
that we find in our world today. Fixing the government will not work unless we also fix the
attitudes of the people as well.
How could this be done:
(1) Hold people accountable for their actions, stop shifting blame to someone or something else.
(2) Change the educational system to teach ethics, morals, self reliance, teamwork, how to balance
a checkbook and especially work ethic. Teach them that our country is only as strong as the
people who make up the population of that country. Teach them about voting and how their vote
actually effects every aspect of their lives, get it right. Dont vote for higher taxes, vote
for more efficiency before ever voting for higher taxes.
(3) Change and enforce entitlement programs so that they are temporary, and encourage personal
accountability and responsibility, and punish anything less. Manditory suprise drug, alcohol
and cigarette testing failure should warrant immediate and perminant termination as well as
other penalties. No more using the food stamps to feed the dogs or to create a bunch of unhealthy
(4) Start the military draft for everyone after graduation from high school, requiring at least
an 8 week military training course.
(5) Encourage business creation and sucess by abolishing the current tax codes and enacting
a flat sales tax, no income tax, dont punish people for working hard.
(6) Everyone should pay local taxes that fund their local school system, not just the property
owners and farmers. And the teachers shouldn’t be protected by powerful unions, and the local
school board should not be allowed to practice nepatism.
(7) Prosecute and jail any political leader who puts their own political career over the long
term survival and enhancement of America and the people that CONTRIBUTE to this countrys success.
(8) Allow controlled government monitoring to expose those that wish to undermine America and
our free way of life.
And how scary and terrorist: officers and soldiers swearing to uphold and keep their oath
to the Constitution? Scary indeed. Pure psychos in need of reconditioning. Where do they get
off keeping their solemn sworn oath to the Constitution? Nobody in Congress does (except a couple
crackpot Pauls). No one in the Pentagon does. No one in the White House does. No one in the
Supreme Court does. It’s these wacko “Oath Keepers” that are the real danger. Let us hope our
Homeland Security keeps the Fatherland safe from such violent and dangerous individuals. “Give
me television and give me text!”
No – you don’t vote these freaks out – you KICK them out. This is the type of thing that
impeachment and recall was made possible for. You need to reject their actions, or the actions
go through and stand for the next dweeb to use. The continued idea of “vote them out” is stupidity
that is allowing these draconian actions to continue and thrive.
As far as losing rights — they are gone. Suck it up and act accordingly.
I have been trying to find a site like this during the month of October there were several
occupy rallies in the USA does anyone find it disturbing that we as a nation watch other countries
have “organized rallies” on the news and there police shoot drag beat and mace them and in some
cases kill there people and we criticise that country yet we organize for peacefull purposes
and our government blacked out almost all of the footage of the use of “less than lethal” and
beatings of our own people. It just goes to show how much power the people have in the USA if
we organize the press gets a gag order and is not alowed to air footage or the sponsors will
pull there adds we dident see half of what happend to the very curagious people that spent days
rallying to protect the constitutional right of free speech in public areas throughout the USA.
If you would like to see some of the footage go to cop blocker.org this is a very eye opening
Thanks for the chuckle. Nice to know there are still some loony toons out there that keep
thses conspiracy theories alive. If the government were as all powerful as you would have us
think then things would run a heck of a lot smoother than they do. But, I’m sure you already
figured that one out and have decided that the government is deliberatly acting like a bunch
of 2-year olds to throw us off the track. Keep the silliness coming, we could all use a good
I blame technology for all of this. Technology has become a toy that is irresistable to play
with and use to moniter and track. It’s not really a liberal or conservative thing as it is
a technology thing. Maybe Ted K. is right
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating
contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down
and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget
that ye were our countrymen.”
Samuel Adams, speech at the Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776:
I see and hear all these problems and they seem to be getting worse. And everybody commenting
on them but what is anyone doing about them. You see rallys in the streets over a kid being
shot but why dont you see more people standing up agasinst the government in this country. You
see people in other countries standing up against the government. So when are we going to do
something about it? When its to late? We let them take over little by little yet we do nothing
but post on these forums and complain.
People think its a democrate or rebublic think when both parties are just puppets to the
the great puppet master. We need to do something and we need to do something now before its
to late. When they start coming to your house and take away your weapons and food and haul you
off to some camp its kinda late to stop it. The signs are out there and you think nothing is
going to happen because it never has here, well wake up its all falling into place for their
big plan. Or lets just talk about it on here and wait to see if it really does happen and live
with the results or die with them. The government is here to work for us not the other way around.
We already have no real rights. We are over controlled already. Its just been happening so slow
that We get used to it slowly. But if all the changes that have happened over the last twenty
years happened all at once We would say “whatthe hell is going on” and do something about it,
at least I’d hope we would. Wake up before its to late!!!
Free Inquiry readers may pause to read the “Affirmations of Humanism: A Statement of Principles”
on the inside cover of the magazine. To a secular humanist, these principles seem so logical, so
right, so crucial. Yet, there is one archetypal political philosophy that is anathema to almost
all of these principles. It is fascism. And fascism’s principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously
masquerading as something else, challenging everything we stand for. The cliché that people and
nations learn from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn
from history, or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.
We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant
reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define
this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics
of these models have been imitated by protofascist1 regimes at various
times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist
regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection
among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities.
Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of these fascist and protofascist regimes reveals the
absolutely striking convergence of their modus operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation
to the informed political observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective to
restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current circumstances.
For the purpose of this perspective, I will consider the following regimes: Nazi Germany, Fascist
Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s
Indonesia. To be sure, they constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental
levels, and history. But they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding,
and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete
picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible.
Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable
patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent
and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of
flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on
the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy
slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism.
It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights
as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever
use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing,
even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy,
denial, and disinformation.
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common
thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention
from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions.
The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the
regimes would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists,
liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions,
secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled
as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.
4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely
with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share
of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military
was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals,
intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.
5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture
were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly
anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that
enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for
6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict
direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised
more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access
to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats.
The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with
the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware
of the regimes’ excesses.
7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under
direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret
and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national
security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and
protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes
attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as
militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible
with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion
that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the “godless.” A perception
was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.
9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was
under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised.
The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in
developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite
were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially
in the repression of “have-not” citizens.
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one
power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies,
it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion
or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent
freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual
and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities
were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas
or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and
literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.
12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems
of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost
unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. “Normal” and political crime were often merged into trumped-up
criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred,
of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power
elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power
elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain
the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast
wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national
security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained
and not well understood by the general population.
14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls
were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted
by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the
election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing
legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.
Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy
with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public
constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises
in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.
1. Defined as a “political movement or regime tending toward or imitating Fascism”—Webster’s
Andrews, Kevin. Greece in the Dark. Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1980.
Chabod, Frederico. A History of Italian Fascism. London: Weidenfeld, 1963.
Cooper, Marc. Pinochet and Me. New York: Verso, 2001.
Cornwell, John. Hitler as Pope. New York: Viking, 1999.
de Figuerio, Antonio. Portugal—Fifty Years of Dictatorship. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1976.
Eatwell, Roger. Fascism, A History. New York: Penguin, 1995.
Fest, Joachim C. The Face of the Third Reich. New York: Pantheon, 1970.
Gallo, Max. Mussolini’s Italy. New York: MacMillan, 1973.
Kershaw, Ian. Hitler (two volumes). New York: Norton, 1999.
Laqueur, Walter. Fascism, Past, Present, and Future. New York: Oxford, 1996.
Papandreau, Andreas. Democracy at Gunpoint. New York: Penguin Books, 1971.
Phillips, Peter. Censored 2001: 25 Years of Censored News. New York: Seven Stories. 2001.
Sharp, M.E. Indonesia Beyond Suharto. Armonk, 1999.
Verdugo, Patricia. Chile, Pinochet, and the Caravan of Death. Coral Gables, Florida: North-South
Center Press, 2001.
Yglesias, Jose. The Franco Years. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1977.
George Bush's apparent desire to create a state of perpetual war spells disaster
January 23, 2005
Last week, courtesy of Seymour Hersh and The New Yorker, we learned that a long-held prediction
of mine had come true. American forces have been operating inside Iran, thus extending yet further
the President's "war on terror".
There is no war, other than the one the President unilaterally is waging against a weak Congress
and weak countries with oil. It's true that Congress has given the President certain unusual powers,
but as only Congress has the constitutional power to declare war, he is not, as he keeps yapping,
a wartime president. Hence his conviction that he can lock anyone up, foreigner or native, and send
them off to Guantanamo without due process of law.
This is simply a Bush war. It has nothing to do with the American people. And we were not in
danger from weapons of mass destruction. The danger is an Administration that has fallen in love
with war because of the special powers war gives the Administration to rid itself of the Bill of
Rights and lock up dissenters. We've had some scary times in the past but nothing to compare with
this. So what do we have to look forward to?
A disaster, in short. Iran/Persia represents a brilliant culture, one of the greatest the planet
has ever known. They do have atomic weapons, and that is why our rulers are pretending that they
are longing to blow us up - because we have liberty and freedom and democracy and are so prosperous.
(None of these things do we actually have, but this is the official line that we are asked to believe.)
The Iranians have a lot of oil, of course, and a lot of enemies among the neocons, who have pretty
much taken over the Pentagon. The President doesn't seem to understand what is happening, but if
he does he's seriously culpable. So here we are, in the middle of the unfinished Iraq tragedy, and
the President, in his inaugural address, is serenely declaring war on the rest of the world. Instead
of talking about how the hell we get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, we are talking about going into
Here we are headed for absolute disaster, yet the American public has no weapons left, legally.
If an American citizen were really in trouble - I ask in all seriousness - to whom would he turn?
He can't go to his Congressman, because he's helping out GM or whoever paid for his election. He
can't turn to the executive branch, because they now run concentration camps and don't like dissent.
The courts are pretty expensive and the higher courts are, shall we say, not on our side.
No one has explained why, if Saddam Hussein had all these weapons - which he did not have - why
he would have wanted to blow us up. We know why Osama bin Laden hit us. He sent us a lot of unpleasant
letters and wrote a long list of things saying why, for religious reasons. He is a religious zealot.
And he was doing a religious job. We're doing a job for the oil and gas business. They're the people
who are making a lot of money out of all this. Heaven knows how it will end, but we, the American
people, are going to be the losers.
Symbolically, it's interesting that regions of the US are rejecting Darwin and evolution. I can
see why. We have a substantial minority in the US that hasn't advanced much beyond the baboon. These
ignorant folk are full of hatred, which is why they are currently rejecting evolution and going
back to the stone age with torture, killing innocent people, attacking countries that have done
us no harm. This is insupportable.
In a recent TV programme that we lucky Americans were shown of previous inaugural addresses,
our former President Franklin D Roosevelt spoke of Social Security, something he invented for us.
Yet his successor, Harry Truman, starts talking about a terrible enemy. In effect, he is starting
the Cold War. Roosevelt had made certain arrangements with Stalin and the USSR, which could have
kept the world quite peaceful and avoided the Cold War, but Truman was having none of it. He had
been convinced by certain people who had made a lot of money out of the war that we should be forever
armed, in order to wage perpetual war for perpetual peace.
So there we are, on top of the world, militarily and economically. We have the atomic bomb, and
here is Harry Truman saying in 1948 that we've got to watch out there - there's this godless nation
intent on world conquest.
But the Russians didn't want anything very much then, except to recover the 20 million people
they had lost in the Second World War. They weren't going anywhere at that time, but we saw to it
that over time they became frightened and heavily armed. We made them active enemies, and we've
been creating enemies ever since. Now we are going to take on one billion Muslims. Brilliant. One
billion people who will really deeply and truly hate us. And it will take several generations for
us to bring them around, if possible.
George Bush doesn't compare with previous presidents. He doesn't come from any established system
that we've ever tried before. He wasn't elected the first time and perhaps not truly the second
time. Certainly, he was not elected on any issues, like the morality of the war or the wisdom of
the war, or the techniques that we used in waging that war.
I would have thought that, at the moment since about 56 per cent of the people think we should
never have gone to war with Iraq and those numbers were indeed rising as we approached the election,
we would have voted against this President. Instead of talking about the war, we were talking about
abortion and homosexual marriage. What great topics to be discussing for a great people on the march
with atomic weapons! There was so much else to talk about, but neither Bush nor John Kerry were
going to do so because they both approved of the war, and their advisers - or certainly Kerry's
- had told them to do so. No wonder people don't care to vote. They seldom have much to vote for.
But often a lot to vote against.
There was a huge, unrepresented anti-war party at the last election. We, as a people, have generally
believed in minding our own business, not in attacking other countries - "enough to do at home"
and all that. But we now have a government that is not remotely a democracy but we're trying to
export it elsewhere. I suppose that on the ground democracy is a nice word. We treat it like ketchup.
Put it on everything. We're bringing it to Iraq, we say.
The result, once more, is perpetual war for perpetual peace. The spirit of Harry Truman marches
on. After war with Iran, who's next? Russia? Or someone else? God help us if we make China angry.
There are a great many more of them than of us.
This war will end in our defeat, and that is why I want us to get out of it as soon as possible.
I want us to try and bring the troops home and try and invent a more realistic education system
because I am convinced that democracy, too, may one day come to the US, and I want us to be alive
to celebrate it.
With the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, the most controversial question in
world politics fast became whether the United States stands within the order of international law
or outside it. Does America still play by the rules it helped create? American Exceptionalism
and Human Rights addresses this question as it applies to U.S. behavior in relation to international
human rights. With essays by eleven leading experts in such fields as international relations and
international law, it seeks to show and explain how America's approach to human rights differs from
that of most other Western nations.
In his introduction, Michael Ignatieff identifies three main types of exceptionalism: exemptionalism
(supporting treaties as long as Americans are exempt from them); double standards (criticizing "others
for not heeding the findings of international human rights bodies, but ignoring what these bodies
say of the United States); and legal isolationism (the tendency of American judges to ignore other
jurisdictions). The contributors use Ignatieff's essay as a jumping-off point to discuss specific
types of exceptionalism--America's approach to capital punishment and to free speech, for example--or
to explore the social, cultural, and institutional roots of exceptionalism.
These essays--most of which appear in print here for the first time, and all of which have been
revised or updated since being presented in a year-long lecture series on American exceptionalism
at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government--are by Stanley Hoffmann, Paul Kahn,
Harold Koh, Frank Michelman, Andrew Moravcsik, John Ruggie, Frederick Schauer, Anne-Marie Slaughter,
Carol Steiker, and Cass Sunstein.
"An excellent new collection of essays on American exceptionalism. . . . Michael Ignatieff .
. . seeks to distinguish between US 'exemptionalism,' double standards and legal isolationism."--Quentin
Peel, Financial Times
"This collection on American exceptionalism seeks to explain the seeming paradox of US governmental
support for, and aversion to, global human rights. . . . This study is an important contribution
to the scholarship of international humanitarian law and US foreign policy."--Choice
"[An] important collection of essays by leading scholars. . . . Together the authors wonderfully
capture the complex interplay between values, law, and American power."--G. John Ikenberry, Foreign
"Beyond providing a highly valuable and innovative study of American exceptionalism, this book
makes an original contribution to scholarship and may start a long overdue conversation with conservatives
about the origins of their grievances with international human rights standards."--Michael J. Boyle,
"This is an extremely interesting and well-written collection of essays on a very timely topic.
Moreover, the contributors are some of the leading figures in the fields of international relations
and international law. The book will certainly be read by scholars and practitioners and used as
a supplemental text in courses, and it will appeal more broadly to people in America and abroad
who are curious about the U.S. resistance to international treaties, international institutions,
and foreign law."--Sean D. Murphy, George Washington University, author of United States Practice
in International Law, Volume 1: 1999-2001 and Humanitarian Intervention: The United Nations
in an Evolving World Order
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