Thursday, July 18, 2013

We Must Get the "Patriot Act" Repealed in 2015!

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” – Samuel Johnson

“No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of perpetual warfare.”- – Barack Obama, May 23rd, 2013

"The fundamental reason for the conversion of the state into a gigantic spy apparatus is the nature of deeply destructive domestic and foreign policies which the government has so forcefully pursued. The vast expansion of the police state apparatus is not a response to the terror attack of 9/11. The geometrical growth of spies, secret police budgets, and the vast intrusion into all citizen communications coincides with the wars across the globe. The decisions to militarize US global policy requires vast budgetary re-allocation , slashing social spending to fund empire-building. 

Mass spying is designed to identify the citizens who oppose both imperial wars and the destruction of domestic welfare.”       – James Petras

"People in the U.S. are indoctrinated from birth with the idea that it's the government's job to protect their freedom. That the U.S. is a special place where we have nothing to fear because democracy will keep us free. What they should be taught is that government, no matter what the form, is always (always!) the biggest threat to freedom and that it is up to public at large to throw their butts out when they violate the public trust_"– Commenter on UK Guardian forum, July 17, 2013

“If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged” –  Cardinal Richelieu

The mis-named "Patriot Act" comes up again for review in 2015. When it does, it's time for alert and aware citizens to pressure their congress critters to slay this misbegotten beast once and for all - don't let even one section arrive for "re-approval" which might feed more gov't paranoia against its citizens. If you think in the most remote sense I am "inflating"  things or exaggerating, then you need to watch Josh Fox's "Gasland II" and how ordinary citizens who protest the destruction of their air and water (via fracking)  have now even become "enemies of the state". And how former Homeland Security Head Tom Ridge has become part of a Marcellus Shale "security"  contingent that now employs "counter insurgency" measures on the disaffected citizens of Pennsylvania, and PSYSops methods developed by the U.S. Army while basically labeling them as "terrorist threats".

After one couple saw their medical bills inflated, in the wake of their water and air poisoned and their kid with bleeding nose and other sores, we had to halt the program. Janice, my wife, was in tears and near apoplectic hysteria - she simply couldn't take it any more. (We hope to resume with Part 2 of Gasland II when she "can summon the courage".) But summon the courage you must, fellow citizens, because it was obvious from even watching half this documentary the war is on the citizens and their welfare,  compliments of a depraved corporate gangster state- metastasizing perhaps since the JFK assassination. A gangster state that bails out banksters, allows war criminals like the torturing Bushites and their corporate minions off, but leaves rank and file citizens exposed to every nefarious means of under cutting their lives, including now - tracking all license plates on vehicles and their locations, then storing them (according to an ACLU report).

Anyway, I digress. The Congressional investigative hearings are now focussed on the over reach of the NSA surveillance that Ed Snowden disclosed.  Testifying yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee, John C. Inglis - the deputy director of the NSA, admitted that NSA analysts can "perform a second or third hop query" through its amassed telephone or internet records, "to find connections to terrorist organizations"

In other words, my friends, you needn't even be talking to a friend of a "terrorist" (who now may even be an activist protesting against the filthy water on offer after the gas frackers crapped on people in rural PA). It may be only an acquaintance of an acquaintance of that person! And from the NSA logs, those connections then makes YOU part of the web of suspicions!  Anyone here recall the Stasi? The Gestapo?

Meanwhile, two days earlier top spook Keith B. Alexander was asked about the extent of collection, to what degree? According to the WaShPost, Alexander took a "collect it all surveillance approach originally directed at Iraqis in the middle of a (bogus) war, and thereafter transferred it so that it is now directed at the US domestic population as well as the global one"

The Post went on:

"At the time, more than 100 teams of US analysts were scouring Iraq for snippets of electronic data that might lead to the bomb-makers and their hidden factories. But the NSA director, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, wanted more than mere snippets. He wanted everything: Every Iraqi text message, phone call and e-mail that could be vacuumed up by the agency's powerful computers.

Rather than look for a single needle in the haystack, his approach was, 'Let's collect the whole haystack,' said one former senior US intelligence official who tracked the plan's implementation. 'Collect it all, tag it, store it. . . . And whatever it is you want, you go searching for it. . . . ".

In other words, just as the entire Iraqi populace became the "enemy" so have ordinary U.S citizens who didn't do a goddamned thing!  The Post author continues:

"Aside from how obviously menacing and even creepy it is to have a state collect all forms of human communication - to have the explicit policy that literally no electronic communication can ever be free of US collection and monitoring - there's no legal authority for the NSA to do this"

Meanwhile, in the House hearings yesterday, the actual author of the Patriot Act, James Sensenbrenner, warned officials that unless they reined in the scope of their surveillance, they'd risk lacking the votes to renew the provisions. My argument is the entire act ought to be trashed, then only parts renewed and only after EVERY manjack has read its provisions carefully! (Let's recall that after Snowden broke the news on this PRISM crap, Sensenbrenner was quoted as saying when he wrote the Section (215) he never ever intended such wide, dragnet surveillance.)

Well duh! Let us now be aware that the Patriot Act itself has not only been responsible for this misbegotten spread of surveillance, but also the militarization of police forces across the nation (what many call the "Swat-ization"), as well as the paranoid reaction by the spy state to many historically ordinary citizen actions, such as conducting legal protests (as Occupy Wall Street did) and complaining to the media about the despoiling of air and water - as the residents of Pennsylvania's rural Marcellus Shale drilling regions have done.  In other words, the Act has single handedly been responsible for the expansion of the "terrorist" meme while also feeding gov't paranoia to justify any technology to spread further suveillance - even now to tracking drivers and their driving locations!

We are now the enemy, the perceived collective  "enemy of the state", and if we don't get this horrific Act repealed or fully rewritten we will pay for it years to come, as the "good Germans" did after the Reich steamrolled all their Weimar democracy liberties to smithereens. Perhaps John Conyers' comment was the most direct and on the mark of all, when he told Inglis, James Cole (deputy Atty. General)  and Robert Litt ( the senior legal counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence ) that what NSA  had done with its PRISM was clearly "a violation of the law"  in the matter of transgressing 4th amendment rights. Let us recall again what that amendment states:

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, and the persons or things to be seized.

Lastly, we need to remember we wouldn't even be having this conversation were it not for Snowden's whistle-blowing.

And newsflash to pundit Melissa Harris Perry (who said on her MSNBC show,  “the whole point of civil disobedience” is “to show that you are willing to risk your own freedom, your own body, in order to bring attention to something that needs to be known.”) Well, Snowden did just that. And no, Melissa, he doesn't have to turn into a total masochist to prove that - allow himself to be taken to a U.S. Gulag, stripped and waterboarded 24/7 and experience what others may or may not have. He basically gave up a comfortable life, earning nearly $200k year with a great pad in Hawaii and a beautiful gf. If that's not a sacrifice I don't know what the fuck is.  Besides, what have YOU sacrificed? Evidently nothing, as you won't even speak on his behalf  (in terms of revealing what the gov't has done ) like Chris Hayes has.

The spooks and their defenders and enablers like Lisle, Clapper and Alexander (and much of the media)  can talk all the codswallop they want that their intrusions are "only limited" or they can't really tell who is doing what, or that Snowden is a "traitor" - but the intelligent citizen knows better. And no, WE are not "paranoid" - it's the government that's paranoid else it wouldn't need to scoop up every bit of info under the Sun about us!

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