Friday, November 15, 2013
Dianne Feinstein - A Certified Creep and Mass Surveillance Enabler
I don’t understand this being bamboozled into thinking that you have to do this to find bad guys. That’s false. There’s very simple principles you can use to find out who is the bad guy and who isn’t and you can do this without violating anybody’s privacy”. - Bill Binney, former NSA code breaker on CBS Early Show, June 19
Is Dem Neoliberal Dianne Feinstein a defender of the Constitution? Hardly! She appears to be hell bent to disembowel all fourth amendment protections for Americans by pushing on congress a "FISA Improvements Act" which will, in fact, gut all remaining protections of privacy and basic rights for Americans - by legalizing a loophole known as the "backdoor search provision". I already went into some of this in previous blogs and the reasons why it's a terrible idea. Let's start out with the statement of the 4th amendment itself - which evidently Feinstein has no clue about:
“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.”
Note, “secure in one’s person, house, papers, effects” implies PRIVACY! These are after all MY private papers, my private effects, my house, etc. If an inherent right to privacy was a myth then by all accounts being secure in one’s person, papers, effects wouldn’t matter. Hell, let the whole freakin’ world see ‘em! This is why in a fascist dictatorship “personal effects” don’t exist. “Personal papers” has no meaning. The state has full monopoly, de facto ownership on whatever the person has, even his own body. Hence, in fascist dictatorships, such as existed in Nazi Germany, all personal effects, papers could be seized by the Nazis on a whim or remote suspicion - under the Reich Laws. A fundamental right to privacy, meanwhile, insists there exist bona fide entities that one can uniquely own, e.g. papers, effects – including photos or what not- that are private. Without this fundamental right, then, “personal papers, effects” has no meaning hence the 4th amendment is meaningless.
What we conclude then is the NSA, government mass surveillance, mass warrants recently revealed, discloses a rejection not only of citizens’ fundamental right to privacy but any right to be secure in one’s person, papers, effects. So, screw the citizen, the gov’t has arrogated to itself the right to seize anything deemed personal or private once it’s within its purview – whether a phone record, an internet communication, email or whatever. The powers -that- be may really argue they’re doing this for our own good, but in reality they are acting the part of a fascist dictatorship in denying any right of privacy or recognition of individuality at all. Note the reasons or their declared motivations for doing so are irrelevant. The wise citizen who's kept up with events knows that "terrorism" is an exploited gimmick and shtick merely used to justify uncontrolled, unregulated surveillance.
As I wrote about earlier (Nov. 1) reasonable alternative legislation is available to steer the NSA in the proper direction. It is cosponsored by Democrat Patrick Leahy and Jim Sensenbrenner, a co-author of the Patriot Act. Their bill is called the "USA Freedom Act", and to see more go to: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-10-31/usa-freedom-act-would-leash-the-national-security-agency
Recall Sensenbrenner agreed with Snowden's take on the damage done by this indiscriminate mass spy shtick - ditching individual warrants through the ruse of a bogus Fisa court (set up as legal only after the Bush warrantless searches) . As he was quoted in a UK Guardian piece three weeks ago:
"Oversight only works when the agency that oversight is directed at tells the truth, and having Mr Clapper say he gave the least untruthful answer should, in my opinion, have resulted in a firing and a prosecution,"
So, realizing the 4th amendment-protecting Leahy-Sensenbrenner bill posed a threat to her security bonanza, Feinstein set about neutralizing it with her own bill. This would codify the ability of the National Security Agency to search its troves of foreign phone and email communications for Americans’ information, and permit law enforcement agencies to search the vast databases as well. In effect, it would both make permanent a loophole permitting the NSA to search for Americans’ identifying information without a warrant – and, formalize an ambiguity that might allow the FBI, the DEA and other law enforcement agencies to do the same thing.
In other words, it's surveillance on PCP plus crack. Multiplied "warrants" issued, all without proper cause, since such cause (under the 4th) must be attached to individual warrants. You simply cannot extract individual cause or guilt from mass, warrantless search. Once you cross that boundary you go over the precipice and become - if not already - a fascist surveillance state. According to Michelle Richardson, the surveillance lobbyist for the ACLU:
"For the first time, the statute would explicitly allow the government to proactively search through the NSA data troves of information without a warrant. It may also expand current practices by allowing law enforcement to directly access US person information that was nominally collected for foreign intelligence purposes. This fourth amendment back door needs to be closed, not written into stone.”
Section 6 of Feinstein’s bill blesses what her committee colleague Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat and civil libertarian, has called the “backdoor search provision, which the Guardian revealed thanks to a leak by Edward Snowden.
This is serious shit. Are Americans paying attention, or are they too tied up in their twitters, 'Survivor", Facebook or whatever? Especially given that Feinstein’s bill passed the committee on an 11 to 4 vote on 31 October. An expanded report on its provisions released by the committee this week added details about the ability of both intelligence and law enforcement to sift through foreign communications databases that it accumulates under section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act of 2008. (This is the specious law that legalized ex post facto Bush's warrantless wiretaps. Rather than hauling the Bushies over the coals, our traitors in congress found it easier to legalize the misdeeds).
But maybe there is no way to halt it because all the congress critters - Senators voting for it are already co-opted and compromised. Think I'm jesting? Look, if LBJ had enough on Chief Justice Earl Warren to blackmail him back in '64 - by invoking J. Edgar Hoover's files about a little adventure in Mexico City (Michael R. Beschloss, Taking Charge:The Johnson White House Tapes 1963-64, 1997, p. 72) what do you think a fully-loaded NSA -CIA has on ALL congress folk today? Hesitate to vote on Feinstein's bogus law? Well, they might be in the same predicament as Chief Justice Warren after he initially balked at serving on any Warren Commission, and LBJ cited Hoover's files to terrify him into compliance.
See more of this at: http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/dave-lindorff/52437/what-s-done-abroad-can-be-done-at-home-too-is-nsa-spying-really-about-blackmail
What we may be looking at, then, is a nation whose reps are no longer accountable to the people because all (or most) of them are compromised in some way by the national security state. If the latter has enough goods on any of them, then how in hell can they vote their conscience? And if they can't exercise their conscience in a critical vote affecting all citizens, how can they be any more than controlled Zombots- whether by the NSA, Feinstein or whoever?
People also ought to be disturbed by the ambiguity surrounding whether the FBI can currently search through the NSA’s foreign communications databases, or is reliant on the NSA to pass on information from the databases relevant to the bureau. A declassified Fisa court document from 2011 refers to “FBI minimization procedures,” but it is unclear what those procedures are. A copy of the FBI minimization procedures from 2009, acquired by the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act is almost completely redacted. So is the section in the government’s most recent report on its Section 702 collection dealing with the FBI’s role, though it contains references to how the FBI “receive[s] … unminimized Section 70 acquired communications” from the NSA.
Sadly, our votes may no longer count if - once our chosen reps gain office- their sundry pasts are revived by the NSA in assorted collected files and brought into sharp focus. With one or more peccadilloes (or crimes) exposed, it's then a small matter to extract concessions on key legislation or total submission. In this case, we may be little different from Germany after the Enabling Act was passed.