National Security at Any Cost

We do have Fourth Amendment Rights. Fourth Amendment Rights are for everyone: Tea Partiers, Republicans, Democrats, Independents…. The Obama administration is moving us step by step towards a totalitarian regime, where the interests of the few over-ride the democracy of the many. Read the Fourth Amendment carefully:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, or the things to be seized.

Those who plead National Security at all costs are no different and no less dangerous that Joseph McCarthy. He, too, pleaded National Security, as he destroyed countless lives and reputations. Nor are those who plead National Security at all costs any different from J. Edgar Hoover who spied on Martin Luther King in the name of National Security.

Do you really think that the kind of free hand the NSA is asking will protect us from the likes of McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover? I do not think so.

You think the term terrorist can never apply to you? Suppose you protest against the Keystone pipeline, or fracking, or join the Occupy Wall Street. Big money, big corporations have a lot at stake if you protest or sit-in. And just whose rights do you think the NSA and the FBI will protect: The property and money interests of giant Corporations or your right to protest, to form a picket line, to do a sit-in? Careful with your protests. Already the term eco-terrorist has coinage.

We are told we are at war. The enemy is anywhere and everywhere.

We have become so twisted as a democracy that declarations of war, once the purview of Congress, are now meaningless. Well, I have news for you: If you send a drone to Pakistan and it kills 48 innocent people, you now have created more enemies of America than you would like to count. Remember the world’s response to 911? Shock, horror, sympathy, even from the Palestinians. And what did we do? You fill in the rest of that story. Suffice it to say, as in 1984, we now have perpetual war, whose sole purpose is to enslave and control the populace. As long as the media provides the distracting circus, all will be well.

The NSA and FBI would have us believe that it is only harmless meta-data they are interested in…and they never peek unless a secret court tells them it is ok…or if they have reason to believe it is not an American. Or they just happened to peek. Incidental stuff. Accidents happen. Cough cough. And all their do’s and don’t sound so impressive. Have you heard of anyone being jailed or reprimanded for uhhhh peeking? Yeah, they hire saints. I forgot.

First, consider the Verizon metadata. It is a vast relational database. From it can be deduced all your friends, your habits, your travels, your interests. Suppose that a real terrorist is two removes from someone you call. Remember Joe McCarthy–guilt by association. Or suppose you have some extra-curricular sexual activities. These can easily be deduced along with names and numbers and times. Or suppose you are calling a group of people to arrange for a political gathering. We now know quite a bit about you and your friends. Perhaps we should peek a little further. Part of that relational database are phonebooks…with names.

Up to now, we have considered only Verizon. What about Microsoft, Google, Skype, FaceBook, Apple and the rest?

According to The Guardian, Microsoft has collaborated closely with U.S. Intelligence services:

Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal;

• The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;

• The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;

• Microsoft also worked with the FBI’s Data Intercept Unit to “understand” potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases;

• In July last year, nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism;

• Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a “team sport”.

An eerie and strange silence is falling over the United States. Whistleblowers are now pursued with unrivaled vehemence. Against all international agreements, the President of Boliva had his plane diverted so that it could be searched. Around the globe, every country feels the angry reach of the U.S. to bring Snowden to heel. France, Italy…even Russia. Obama got Putin to put a lid on Snowden. Wonder what it costs us? Europe now has lots of chips it can cash in. South America? Well, they already know who we are. China, I am sure, is chuckling.

Did the President and his cronies really think they could keep this secret forever? Are they that stupid?

You think the rest of the world’s population will now rest easy knowing the United States is always “listening in?” You think we will win their hearts and minds forever?

The great mass of people and those accustomed to following orders blindly will not mind. But those of us who like to think for ourselves, we will have the problem.

Obama tells us that NOW we should have a discussion about Fourth Amendment Rights and National Security. Always the con man to the end. When caught with his hand in the cookie jar, he wants to discuss if he can dip for cookies any time he wants. Now that he is caught, he is ready to discuss it. Does he and the Gang of Eight think we are morons?

A constitutional lawyer and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. I am speechless. Has it all been a con game? Like Clinton, he can feel our pain and sell us down the river without blinking an eye.

How did our first black American President become so infected with the idea that he is above the law, that he weeps for the likes of Trayvon Martin and loves us all so much that he will collect every last tidbit of information he can about us.

And I have not even mentioned the Brits! Apparently, Britain has quite the spying apparatus. And you just know the NSA trades data with the GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters). The amount of material collected by the Five Eyes–United States, Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand–is mind-boggling. Those of us who witnessed the massive police brutality at the Canadian G-20 summit have to wonder if the spying along with disruptive plants were not used. A government with power and important moneyed interests will do anything to protect those interests. And of course it will do everything to protect itself from prying eyes.

Consider the following::

British spies are running an online eavesdropping operation so vast that internal documents say it even outstrips the United States’ international Internet surveillance effort, the Guardian newspaper reported Friday.

The paper cited British intelligence memos leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden to claim that U.K. spies were tapping into the world’s network of fiber optic cables to deliver the “biggest internet access” of any member of the Five Eyes – the name given to the espionage alliance composed of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

That access could in theory expose a huge chunk of the world’s everyday communications – including the content of people’s emails, calls, and more – to scrutiny from British spies and their American allies. How much data the Brits are copying off the fiber optic network isn’t clear, but it’s likely to be enormous. The Guardian said the information flowing across more than 200 cables was being monitored by more than 500 analysts from the NSA and its U.K. counterpart, GCHQ.

“This is a massive amount of data!” the Guardian quoted a leaked slide as boasting. The paper said other leaked slides, including one labeled “Collect-it-all,” gave hints as to the program’s ambition.

“Why can’t we collect all the signals all the time?” NSA chief Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander was quoted as saying in another slide. “Sounds like a good summer project for Menwith” – a reference to GCHQ’s Menwith Hill eavesdropping site in northern England.

Ah, yes, why can’t they collect all the signals all the time? We should ask the sheep first.

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