Long before anyone ever heard of Edward Snowden…
…Bill Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe, both being whistleblowers and former senior NSA employees, told us the U.S. government was capturing the content of 320 million phone calls per day, as early as 2002. Not too many people paid attention.
…Mark Klein, an AT&T Senior Technician, publicly noted on ABC’s “Nightline,” in June 2008, that massive phone lines were being split at switching stations around the country so the NSA would be enabled to capture extreme amounts of call content. Not too many people paid attention.
...Russell Tice, another NSA whistleblower, echoed Binney’s and Klein’s sentiments on-air with Keith Olbermann in January 2009. Not too many people paid attention.
…James Bamford authored an article in Wired, in Spring 2012, reporting upon how the National Security Agency’s Stellar Wind project was being centralized and relocated at a new $2 billion facility in Bluffdale, Utah. It is on schedule for its grand opening in September (roughly two months from now). Not too many people paid attention.
…Attorney General Eric Holder, less than a week after Bamford’s article appeared in Wired, signed off on “Total Information Awareness” on all U.S. citizens, enabling our government to maintain comprehensive communications and datafiles on any and all Americans, without respect as to whether or not they had any links to terrorism, for up to five years (after those communications occurred), according to the New York Times. Not too many people paid attention.
…Eric Lichtblau, over at the New York Times, just a week after Holder announced his Total Information Awareness initiative, informed us that--thanks to an investigation by scores of American Civil Liberties Union affiliates across the country--police and related law enforcement organizations throughout the land were engaged in warrantless phone tracking of virtually countless numbers of U.S. citizens. Not too many people paid attention.
…The ACLU, just over three months after Lichtblau’s story (noted in the paragraph above) appeared in the NY Times, in early July 2012, publicized the results of its Freedom of Information Act requests of local law enforcement organizations in the U.S., and we learned that, in 2011, alone, they made 1.3 million+ domestic surveillance requests—including wiretaps, pen registers, and “track and trace” requests through the various cellular/telecommunications carriers. Coincidentally, according to recent reports in the media over the past few weeks, 2011 was the year in which we’re now being told the Obama administration had already curtailed much of the Bush administration’s domestic surveillance activities. Not too many people paid attention.
…Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism expert noted on CNN — not just once, but in two separate interviews, roughly 10 weeks ago--that virtually all digital phone call content, which most reading this may not realize also includes landlines, in the United States is captured and held by our government, Not too many people paid attention.
… Declan McCullagh, a CNET correspondent noted the same thing, just a few weeks later, as a byproduct of his coverage of a conversation held during a congressional hearing between Congressman Jerrold Nadler and then-FBI Director Robert Mueller. A significant attempt was made to discredit his report—not just throughout the MSM, but in the blogosphere, including here at Daily Kos. In a revision to his story, McCullagh largely stuck to his guns. While many, even here at Daily Kos, focused upon the status quo’s efforts to discredit McCullagh, not too many people paid attention.
So, it may be said that when Glenn Greenwald started reporting upon the contents of former NSA/CIA/Booz Allen Hamilton contract employee Edward Snowden’s NSA data dump, which commenced just about six weeks ago, people started paying attention.
Earlier on Wednesday, Johm Iadarola, of the Young Turks, certainly was paying attention…and he wanted to make sure his viewers were, as well, when he highlighted this snippet from Greenwald…
Right now, as Greenwald tells us, the NSA can store the contents of one billion phone calls every day. I’m sure that within a few months, once the NSA’s Bluffdale, Utah site is up and running, the NSA’s storage capability will increase exponentially.
Contrary to the spin, it really is all about “Obama’s Expanding Surveillance Universe,” by Alfred W. McCoy.
Are you paying attention? Aside from everything mentioned above, IMHO, there are many brutally important reasons why, just maybe, you should.
Our surveillance state is now light years beyond “the war on terror.”
From The Atlantic, a couple of weeks ago: If PRISM Is Good Policy, Why Stop With Terrorism?
A recent Atlantic essay asks, somewhat facetiously, "If PRISM is so good, why stop with terrorism?" The author's point was to discuss the value of the Fourth Amendment, even if it makes the police less efficient. But it's actually a very good question. Once the NSA's ubiquitous surveillance of all Americans is complete -- once it has the ability to collect and process all of our emails, phone calls, text messages, Facebook posts, location data, physical mail, financial transactions, and who knows what else -- why limit its use to cases of terrorism? I can easily imagine a public groundswell of support to use to help solve some other heinous crime, like a kidnapping. Or maybe a child-pornography case. From there, it's an easy step to enlist NSA surveillance in the continuing war on drugs; that's certainly important enough to warrant regular access to the NSA's databases. Or maybe to identify illegal immigrants. After all, we've already invested in this system, we might as well get as much out of it as we possibly can. Then it's a short jump to the trivial examples suggested in the Atlantic essay: speeding and illegal downloading. This "slippery slope" argument is largely speculative, but we've already started down that incline…The corporations have taken over the U.S. We really do live in a corporatocracy now.
…Technology changes slowly, but political intentions can change very quickly. In 2000, I wrote in my book Secrets and Lies about police surveillance technologies: "Once the technology is in place, there will always be the temptation to use it. And it is poor civic hygiene to install technologies that could someday facilitate a police state." Today we're installing technologies of ubiquitous surveillance, and the temptation to use them will be overwhelming.
The Quiet Coup: No, Not Egypt. Here.But, the 50 states are not enough for our country’s—and the world’s--largest corporations.
Executive Director, MIT Center for International Studies
07/09/2013 6:09 pm
…The revelations about spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) on American citizens, foreign governments, and just about everyone in between have been aptly treated as a scandal, although the objects of scorn vary. Edward Snowden, the whistleblower or traitor, depending on your predilections, and Glenn Greenwald, the columnist for The Guardian to whom Snowden revealed most of his information, have shaken the complacent status quo in Washington by revealing the massive, years-long programs to gather data in the name of national security. It's very doubtful that such spying is necessary to protect U.S. security, but that's a topic for another day. So is the media attention to the actions of Snowden and Greenwald (which I believe are brave and necessary).
What is vastly more important is how the spying has been conducted and justified. It comprises nothing less than a coup d'etat…
…Snowden's and the others' revelations should not be completely surprising, given the work of Dana Priest and William Arkin in their 2011 book, Top Secret America. Many of the most shocking bits were excerpted in the Washington Post, where Priest is a reporter. They uncovered a vast, opaque security bureaucracy, extremely inefficient but aggressively intrusive. "The federal-state-corporate partnership has produced a vast domestic intelligence apparatus that collects, stores, and analyzes information about tens of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing," they wrote. It involved, they calculated, nearly 4,000 organizations in the United States, "each with its own counterterrorism responsibilities and jurisdictions."
So we have had now for at least a dozen years the growth of a parallel state that operates by its own rules, in secret, and in ways that would be considered unconstitutional. (I know we needn't remind our readers of what the Fourth Amendment guarantees, but just to refresh your memories: "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.") Again, what's important here is not the mere incidence of the government violating the Constitution, but the creation, nurturing, shielding, and rapid growth of structures that institutionalize an alternative authority, set of rules, and permissible action…
…Now we know: the United States of America is partially governed by a deep state, undemocratic, secret, aligned with intelligence agencies, spying on friend and foe, lawless in almost every respect…
…We have known for many years that corporate money in politics had essentially bought Congress at the expense of the middle class, the environment, and other popular causes. The Israel Lobby owns U.S. policy in the Middle East. Other lobbies -- Big Pharma, military contractors, agribusiness -- have corrupted policy for profiteering through campaign spending and other old tricks of the Washington trade. But the deep state is a different phenomenon -- less about money or corporate privilege, far more about a security pathology that has become embedded, empowered, and rogue, constitutional governance be damned. The seduction of policymakers by corporate money is sad. The psychotic, parallel state is terrifying.
That means the corporatocracy will continue with their (already) successful efforts when it comes to “Locking Out The Voices Of Dissent.” (Here at Daily Kos, we know all too well about that strategy, firsthand!)
And, those that are paying attention have either realized, or they’re beginning to realize, that the corporatocracy is using “Weapons of Mass Distraction” (WMD’s) to achieve their endgame victory.
They want it all.
And, within a year, or so, if we don’t pay attention and fight the good fight, they just might get it all, too.
I just hope it isn’t too late.
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