Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Biggest Foreign Enemy of the USA

This enemy dwarfs all other threats to our beloved country, and for that matter, the world.  Our Neoliberal Elites, both Democrats and Republicans, for the most part coddle this particular enemy.  [I'll illustrate below.]  In terms of a threat, this enemy makes Al Qaida look more akin to the Mafia than anything else.  [You have a better chance of being killed by lightning than by a terrorist; that's according to a statistical study done by someone...the source escapes me at the moment.]  In 2001, this enemy was allowed to join the Elitist, worldwide economic structure known as the WTO.  In the ten years following that event, 57,000 manufacturing facilities disappeared from the USA.  Literally millions of jobs were lost, along with tax revenues supporting a decent level of government services in cities and counties all over our country.

Yes, that's correct...the foreign enemy of which I speak is the totalitarian Gov't of Mainland China.  It's important to note that we're not talking about the Chinese people; they are victims of this most brutal regime.  With the possible exception of North Korea, Mainland China's Gov't is probably the most brutal on Earth.  In addition, because of the policies and actions of that regime, China is the most environmentally degraded country in existence.  Grossly polluted air, water, and soil are common throughout that land.

When Bill Clinton and the Republicans in Congress sold the idea of China being in the WTO to the American people, they claimed that not only would it create jobs in the USA, but that it also would democratize Mainland China.  We have had, and still have, a Trade policy regarding China that isn't only foolish...it's just plain stupid.  If not, then it's nefarious.  It benefits transnational, mega corporations...and no one else.  It fits right in with the dominant political and economic philosophy of Neoliberalism.  [See other posts on this Blog.]  China's fourth largest Trading partner is not a country...it's WalMart.

Mainland China uses weapons of mass job destruction against the USA... in particular, forced labor in many of their factories, child labor, State-subsidized exports, little to no expenditures for the protection of workers, no concern at all for economic "externalities" (such as environmental degradation, the prevention of which costs money), and manipulation of the value of their currency (the Yuan) to their distinct Trade advantage.  The result of all this is a huge China-USA Trade imbalance in favor of a brutal, totalitarian Gov't.  This is so-called "Free Trade" in action.  This is what is being promoted by the Elites in DC.

A number of experts in the documentary, Death by China (narrated by Martin Sheen), state that the best Jobs Program in the USA would be a total revision of our China Trade Policy.  It's common sense.  Our society is being destroyed by the current policy, by "Free Trade" in general, by Neoliberalism, and by both branches (Republican and Democrat) of the Mega Corporation Party...arguably the only major political party in the USA.  Other knowledgeable people in Death by China (which also is in book form) state that a society without a strong manufacturing base cannot sustain a viable Middle Class.  Without that, we're left with only the super-rich and the poor.

Small manufacturers cannot compete with the Big Boys anymore...because the Big Boys have moved out of the country to places where costs have been slashed to the bone.  Elites have made that possible, both Democrat and Republican Elites.  Our China Trade Policy is a perfect example.  We need Fair Trade with China, not "Free Trade".  By the way, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (should it be approved here) will make this whole scenario even worse.  Obama is pushing for the TPP with great enthusiasm...and is putting forth pretty much the same propaganda that Clinton and the Republicans did relative to China entering the WTO.

I know full well that sometimes it's extremely difficult to find a particular consumer good that is not made in China.  Nevertheless, the next time we're thinking about such a purchase, let's consider these facts---
1.  Many children in China work 12-hour days in factories.
2.  Prisoners (political and otherwise) make Chinese goods in various forced labor camps and prison manufacturing facilities.  No labor, no food.
3.  Mainland China now has "cancer villages", in which the soil is heavily contaminated with carcinogenic heavy metals...a result of no concern for "externalities".
4.  The organs of some political prisoners in China (as well as those of criminals) are harvested by Gov't doctors for sale on the Black Market in Shanghai.  There are confirmed reports that in some cases all the prisoner's organs are harvested...and then the body is cremated.
5.  Contaminated pet food from China has killed household pets here in the USA.
6.  Children's toys from China have been found to contain lead and other toxins.
7.  Various baby appliances/furniture from China have been found to be unsafe.
8.  If you attempt to organize workers at your workplace in China, you can be sent to prison.
9.  There are almost zero worker protections in Mainland China.
10.  China has been rapidly building up its military, with high-tech weapons.
11.  The Gov't of Mainland China definitely is not our friend, nor is it the friend of its own people.
12.  Not only are factories and jobs being shifted to China, so too is Research and Development, as well as intellectual property.
13.  Our China Trade Policy is responsible for the loss of millions of US jobs... thank you, DC Propagandists.
14.  The Gov't of Mainland China is a most brutal, totalitarian institution...and its Trade and manufacturing practices are illegal, immoral, and completely unfair.

Despite all the above, we Americans continue to buy goods Made in China.  Perhaps it's time to seriously re-think the matter.  Perhaps it's past time to hold Republican and Democrat policy-makers to account.  Perhaps it's time to boycott certain mega corporations.  [Most of them are headquartered in the USA, and have maybe 25,000 or more management-type employees (e.g., Apple Computer); unfortunately for our economy, though, they have hundreds of thousands of employees overseas.]

Sixty or so years ago, there was a much different Business Culture in this country.  The Elites in Business had concern for not only the present, but the future as well... the future of both the corporation and our society.  In recent times, the only concern appears to be for short-term profits...quarterly, not even yearly.  Many CEOs don't seem to plan to be around in the company for long...they're looking for that Golden Parachute in the short-term.  There appears to be very little concern for the future of either the corporation, its employees, or the American society.  This shabby attitude is masked by almost continuous propaganda of the Neoliberal variety... and we Americans have been, oh, so gullible.  I'm slightly encouraged by the observation that people seem to be awakening a bit from their slumber.

There is a better way, but first we have to stop drinking the Propaganda Kool Aid.

Partly just my opinion.  Be Well

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Addendum to: Signs That the Elites in Our Gov't Have Lost It

As reported on Democracy Now! ---

1.  The FBI has deemed Ryan Shapiro's PhD Dissertation on Animal Rights to be a threat to national security.  Ryan, an Animal Rights activist, is a PhD candidate at M.I.T.  He also has submitted more Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Feds than any other American.  Perhaps the tagging of his Dissertation was Gov't payback for all those FOIA requests...who knows.

2.  In 2006, Dubya Bush signed into law the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA).  As a result, animal rights activists who go undercover into Big Ag factory farms and film deplorable conditions and gross mistreatment of livestock may be charged with terrorism.  Nonviolent, peaceful activists who stage sit-ins or lie-downs at such factory farms are not just practicing civil disobedience protests anymore; they may be charged with terrorism as well.

3.   The Feds have tagged the underground Animal Rights activists (not the out-in-the-open protesters) and the underground environmental protesters as the number one domestic terrorist threat.  So, if you break into, say, a fur farm at night and release all the critters, you're part of the number one terrorist threat in America.  Really?  Imagine if you stole an apple in the process.  Admittedly, a few of these eco-activists and animal rights activists who are clandestine have burned structures to the ground or otherwise damaged the property of Big Business in the past...but, the number one domestic terrorist threat?  I don't think so.  As far as I know, not one person has been injured as a result of their illegal actions.

4.  In the course of monitoring the peaceful "Occupy Houston" protest not too long ago, the FBI discovered a sniper plot against the leaders of that rally.  The FBI kept that fact from everyone.

5.  In a memo and a scenario similar to a portion of the old COINTELPRO, the FBI describes how peaceful Animal Rights activists can be neutralized by spreading false rumors that certain ones of them are FBI undercover agents.  More lies from the Fed Gov't.

6.  Ryan Shapiro (see number 1. above) is suing the NSA, FBI, and DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) for their refusal to disclose the USA role in the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela.  Shapiro also wants to know why the Gov't kept Mandela on the Terrorist Watch List until 2008... which is another indication of how the management of all this unwieldly "terrorism" info is really beyond the capability of the sprawling Fed Gov't.  The right hand often doesn't know what the left hand is doing.  I think there's a misconception amongst the public that the central government is one big monolith.  In reality, it's thousands of semi-autonomous institutions which often are competing for turf and funding.  The result is what you see today...some of it good, much of it miserably bad.

Partly just my opinion.    Be Well

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Signs That the Elites in Our Gov't Have Lost It (Edited 3-25-14)

1. It appears that the Executive Branch is spying on the Legislative Branch because the latter is investigating the former for alleged acts of torture.

2. James Clapper, the Head of Intelligence, lied before Congress...which is a felony in this country.  There are no consequences suffered by Mr. Clapper.

3. President Obama marks terrorist suspects in various countries for death by assassination.  "Collateral damage" (the death and maiming of innocent civilians) continues---about 1400 in Pakistan so far--- despite White House claims of "precision" and "minimal loss of innocent civilians".

4. Various sections of the Constitution (e.g., the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, Article II Section 2, in fact---all of Article II, which is the portion dealing with the Executive Branch, and others) now mean pretty much whatever the Gov't desires them to mean.  [This is not unique to the Obama Gang...other White House Gangs have been just as guilty; so too have various Legislative and Judicial Gangs.]

5. Russia is being criticized and punished for violating International Law.  You see, when they do it, it's a crime.  When the US Gov't does it, it's "spreading democracy" or "a humanitarian mission"... or "in the interests of the security of the USA".  The US Elites never commit crimes; everyone knows that.  That's because US Elites are, you know, "exceptional", "special", and beyond question as to morality.  Besides, they have the biggest guns.  Apparently, might makes Right.

6.  It would seem, according to the actions of the US Gov't, that the Pakistani People have no sovereignty.  Their Gov't has asked the US Gov't to stop launching Hellfire missiles onto their territory.  The US essentially has said:  Frack You.  It would seem that the Big Bully US Gov't gets to decide who has sovereignty and who doesn't.  This whole scenario, of course, is not a crime...because US Elites are ordering it.

7. For decades, the US Gov't has done what it can to oppose the peace process in the Middle East.  That continues today.  I say that because the only acceptable proposals (in the Elites' eyes) are those made by the US and Israel.  Even though the overwhelming majority of people in the world believe that Israel is in the Occupied Territories illegally, that doesn't count.  Leaving is not an option.  Israel should be able to continue evicting Palestinians and bulldozing their houses...because, you know, that's how we get peace.
[NOTE:  Some people seem to have forgotten that just before Israel became a nation, when that land still was British Palestine, men like Menachem Begin were bombing hotels there...they were terrorists.  Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones at others.]

8. According to the Elites in our Gov't, inflation is low in this country.  That's because when figuring the rate of inflation, they don't count the rises in the cost of food, energy, and housing.  No wonder inflation is "low".

9. The NSA has plans to infect (using automated systems) millions of computers...and has impersonated the Facebook server...in order to gather more bulk data...on everyone.  It has done so with no probable cause, and no proper warrants.  Obama claims it's all legal, and there's "oversight".  Yes, we've seen some of that oversight---Clapper lied to Congress.  Here's how "oversight" works:  a representative of the appropriate Executive Department appears before the Congressional Oversight Committee...and tells the truth when answering questions, or lies, or both.  No one knows for sure...unless a whistleblower such as Snowden releases documents to the public.

10. Whistleblowers are being smeared and criminalized.

11. Independent journalists are being smeared, and in some cases, criminalized.

12. You now can become a "terrorist suspect" by reading the "wrong" thing on the internet.  Even if you're later cleared of suspicion, you're already in the information system in probably a thousand places.  That system is too unwieldy too manage properly.  There's a definite chance that you're screwed.  Ask Cat Stevens.

13. The Heads of mega corporations can buy their way out of Fed criminal prosecutions by paying a fine amounting to billions of dollars.  A top executive in a mega bank involved in a case recently sent an email to a colleague stating, "Just throw some money at it, it'll go away."  The Feds don't prosecute the top cronies in Big Business...the geese that lay the golden eggs...for campaign financing.

14. A Fed Gov't official recently stated, "I would gladly walk up to Edward Snowden and shoot him in the head."  As far as I know, that official is still on the job.

15. Presumption of innocence apparently no longer exists in the minds of some in our Gov'tSuspects are being assassinated overseas in the name of We the People.  At least two American citizen suspects have been so assassinated. 

16. Though we're not constitutionally at war, the Elites have propagandized us into believing that we legally are in an actual war.  They've convinced us that the War Powers Act somehow trumps the Constitution, which is impossible.  No Legislative Act trumps the Supreme Law of the Land.  They've also convinced us that the President can do pretty much as he pleases with the American military...because he's Commander-in-Chief.  To the Elites, that means he's not constrained by the constitutionally permitted uses of the military.  Hello...that's false.

17. Thanks to the misnamed PATRIOT Act, FBI Agents can write their own search warrants...a blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment.

18. Thanks to the Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. the City of New London, governments now can seize private property under Eminent Domain and sell or give that property to private developers.  Supposedly, the "public use" in that scenario are the taxes generated by the development.  Essentially that means anyone's property can be seized at any time and sold to private entities.  Incredible.

There is a better way, but first we have to stop drinking the Propaganda Kool Aid.

Be Well

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Gall of Fed Policy Makers is Truly Astounding

Snowden-documents reveal that the NSA has been collecting every phone call from an undisclosed country.  100%.  Apparently they do it in 30-day batches.  They then can "rewind" whatever device the info is on, and pick and choose.  The "authority" for this blatantly illegal action, I'm assuming, probably comes from the secret FISA "Court".  Never thought I'd live to see the day when there would be a Fed, secret, political court in the Republic of the United States of America.  [This is totally unlike a Grand Jury.]
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There's a good deal of evidence to indicate that the NSA has been spying on Congress, including hacking into staffers' computers.  If true, and it's certainly looking that way, it's a violation of the Separation of Powers concept, never mind the Fourth Amendment protection afforded every American (including staffers).  Plus, it makes a joke out of Congressional "oversight".  I can't guess where the "authority" for that spying is found.
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The Feds are boycotting international talks in Geneva regarding the USA's use of weaponized drones.  Because they don't have a leg to stand on, I really don't blame them for the boycott. :)  Pakistan spurred the calling of the talks; it seems they're fed up with violations of their sovereignty and the murdering of innocent civilians.  Go figure.
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Right-Wing Death Squads in Colombia are murdering people again.  These squads, what they do, and their victims ("suspects") essentially are ignored by the oligarchical government of Colombia...you know, the gov't that our Fed Gov't supports.  The last I heard, Colombia is the only South American government that still allows us to have US military bases on its soil; we have seven there.  Every other S.A. country has kicked us out or never let us in to begin with.  Their shabby experiences with US "intervention" in their affairs has been the reason.
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Obama's supposed "authority" for imposing sanctions on Russia is the concept of the "Executive Order".  This one isn't as bad as Clinton's Exec. Order that declared that Serbia was a threat to the security of the USA (Congress disagreed), but it's bad enough.  We the People have been sold a fraudulent bill of goods regarding Exec. Orders.  The Congressional Research Office claims such orders are implied by the Constitution, especially Article II, Section 2.  Here are the two orders that the President can issue under that Section:  he may require the opinion, in writing, of each of his Department Heads on any subject relating to their duties; and, he may order Pardons related to offenses against the United States.  Those are a far, far cry from imposing sanctions on, or invading, a foreign country.  Nowhere else in the Constitution is power delegated to the Executive Branch to issue so-called Executive Orders.  It's not the office of a King, but it has morphed into something that's too close to that for comfort.
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Partly just my opinion.  Happy Trails

Sunday, March 16, 2014

This and That

I certainly don't know the full story on the Crimea Crisis, and I have no affinity for the Oligarch, Putin...but I do know this much.  Any group of people, anywhere in the world, has the Natural Right to secede from the governmental institution ruling over them.  Government is not the Master...at least, that's the way it should be.  Unfortunately, most all governments in today's developed countries are Fascist in nature.  Again, I'm using FDR's and Mussolini's definition of Fascism:  the power of the State married to the power of BIG Business.  That situation is always totalitarian to one degree or another.  Whether or not the presence of Russian troops influenced the referendum in Crimea is beside the point...people have the Right to choose a different government.  My understanding is that Ukraine essentially has been two separate countries for decades anyway.  Plus, what happened there in 1954?  History matters.

Perhaps some Americans are unaware that in the late 1780s both New York and Virginia refused to ratify the Constitution until they were given assurances that withdrawal from the Union was permitted.  Such assurances were given... and believed... another Fed Gov't lie and broken promise.
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The highest levels of the USA Fed Gov't criticizing Russia's actions, and worse, proposing economic sanctions, is the absolute height of hypocrisy.  Remember Panama...and Poppy Bush?  Have you seen the acclaimed documentary, The Panama Deception?  Remember Iraq...not only the invasion, but previous to that, the economic sanctions that were responsible for the deaths of an estimated 500,000 children?  Let's go way back--- the "annexation" of Hawaii, which amounted to the theft of the islands from the indigenous Hawaiians by the US Gov't.  How about the invasion of the Philippines in the late 1890s, and the slaughter of thousands of indigenous people?  How about the theft of half of Mexico in the 1840s?  More recently--- after Osama escaped from Afghanistan, and Dubya Bush shifted the military effort to the invasion of Iraq, various "trial balloons" were sent up by the Feds and the Corporate Media to test the public mind relative to the proposed bombing and invasion of Afghanistan.  At that time, an international poll was conducted around the world asking if that was a good idea.  The results of that poll largely were suppressed... because the world in general overwhelmingly was against the idea.  Or, how about Pakistan, where the US Fed Gov't is killing hundreds of civilians (see previous post on this Blog) with drone strikes?

In addition, to hear Kerry talking about "International Law" violations by Russia is both tragic and comic.  The highest levels of the US Fed Gov't, throughout History (right up to present day), have violated International Law probably more than any other country on Earth.  In fact, the World Court has deemed some of the US actions as "acts of terrorism".  Naturally, the Corporate Media report almost nothing of that.  Fed Gov't hypocrisy abounds.

In no way should this essay be taken as some sort of support for Russia's actions in Crimea.  Putin is just as much an Oligarch as the puppets in DC.  The point here is that US criticism of his actions is nothing more than the pot calling the kettle black.  Plus, the Russian-speaking people in Crimea do have the Natural Right to choose their own government.  Governments are supposed to be the servants of the People.
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In general, Oligarchies care about institutions, not people.  For the most part, Oligarchs view us as livestock.  To them, our purpose is to provide cheap labor and money to public and private institutions...which are controlled by the Oligarchs.

Consider "job creation" and the economy.  The Edward Bernays propaganda from the Oligarchy is that rich people create jobs; therefore, corporate welfare from the government is necessary.  In fact, the exact opposite is true:  consumers create jobs.  A corporate institution can manufacture all the widgits it wants to... for a time... but if no one buys those widgits, the corporation goes bust.  Numerous studies have shown that consumers drive about 70% of the economy.  When listening to the Corporate Media, one would think that the stock market is the main factor in the health of our economy.  Not true; actually, it's consumers (of both goods and services) who are the main factor in the health of the stock market and the economy.

Consider the Iraq War (which was completely unconstitutional).  Not too long ago, Alan Greenspan spoke publicly about the fact that it was politically incorrect to say so, but that war was "all about the oil".  That's a fairly amazing admission from an Oligarch.  Most of the world, including me, knew that already... but it was nice to hear.  One thing's for sure--- we didn't bring democracy, peace, freedom, and prosperity to Iraq; instead, we facilitated death, despair, corruption, and civil war.

Meanwhile, Obama, Kerry, McCain, et. al., criticize Russia in relation to Crimea... where, so far at least, not a shot has been fired by Russian soldiers.

Be Well

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Obama---King of the Drone Strikes

As reported by Karim Kahn's attorney on Democracy Now, about 1400 innocent people have been killed in Pakistan by U. S. Fed Gov't drone strikes.  A few years ago, Kahn's brother and son were killed in just that way.  He became an activist (wouldn't you?) and launched a couple of lawsuits against both the U.S. and Pakistani Gov'ts.  Just recently, he was abducted, hooded, taken to a basement cell somewhere, beaten, and tortured by masked men.  They "interrogated" him about terrorism.  After nine days of that, he was released.

Other victims (on the broadcast) told of watching their grandmothers, sons, daughters, and other family/friends literally blown to pieces by Hellfire missles from drones... basically right in front of their eyes.  Some of the witnesses were injured as well.  You won't see those stories on the Corporate Media news; they're too busy reporting on the weather...for anywhere from one-third to up to two-thirds of their whopping 15-17 minute broadcasts.  [Yes, the weather can be important; but, it can be covered in two minutes.]  Democracy Now reports significant news...for an hour.

According to the rules laid out in the Constitution of the United States of America, which NO LAW over-rides, we are not currently at war---not in Pakistan, Waziristan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Colombia, or anywhere else.  So presently, in terms of killing people without a trial, the only Constitutional justification for that is Letters of Marque and Reprisal.  Those are permitted by the Constitution.  Legally though, those cannot originate from Obama (or any President); they can be issued only by CONGRESS.  Whether anyone likes it or not, that means we have (at the highest levels) an Outlaw Fed Gov't.  Obama is ordering drone strikes and JSOC incursions (assassinating suspects) at a level higher than any President in our history...and it's all unconstitutional.  That makes it beyond ironic that he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.

The Drone Strikers and JSOC Assassins don't even know for certain if they're getting the right people.  The victims are suspects.  That's not taking into account the ones who are later found to be totally innocent victims (not even suspects)---wrong place, wrong time---hundreds of them, perhaps thousands.  Obama recently lied in a speech in which he claimed that the drone strikes were so targeted, so precise that there was very little chance of innocent bystanders being injured or killed...shades of Rumsfeld pontificating on the strikes in Iraq, another falsehood.  There are too many witnesses in Pakistan and Waziristan who contradict him.  The illegal manner in which suspects are killed by drones is somewhat akin to a person shooting an RPG round into a house filled with people...in order to kill an ant.  The whole business is shameful.  Not too long ago, a long-time Drone Operator quit because he believed the Constitution was being violated relative to permitted uses of the military...he was absolutely correct.  He also had great concerns over how suspects were being identified...largely by NSA metadata and cell phone tracking.  I guess the CIA and the military have never heard of cell phones being stolen, or lost, or borrowed, or loaned out, or left "on" when discarded.

We have been propagandized and bamboozled.  The "War on Terrorism" is not a legal war; fighting terrorism is a Law Enforcement issue, not a military action issue.  Our Constitution is being ignored every single day...never mind common sense, morality, ethics, and justice.  Relative to "war", this dismissing of the Supreme Law of the Land has been going on for decades.  Because of that, many (perhaps most) Americans think that we legally are at "war" with someone.  It's a lie, and a blatant one.  It's pure, unadulterated propaganda...and it has a long history.

Every Obama-ordered drone strike or JSOC incursion is unconstitutional.  We are not legally at war, and as far as I know, Congress has issued no assassination orders.  The War Powers Act does not trump the Supreme Law of the Land, nor does the PATRIOT Act, or any other law.  As Commander-in-Chief, any President is constrained by Constitutional use of the military.  Read that document---find out specifically what the military can be used for---there are only THREE legal uses permitted.  That can be changed by Constitutional Amendment...but there has been no such Amendment.  Furthermore, at the risk of beating a dead horse--- NO LAW TRUMPS THE CONSTITUTION.  [Only a Treaty can do that, so beware of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade Agreement, both of which are being promoted by Corporatist Obama...and many, many other Democrats and Republicans.  All at the behest of the Oligarchy...and as I've said over & over, it's not any kind of "conspiracy".  It's almost completely out in the open; that includes the promotion of "war".]

With these unconstitutional drone strikes and JSOC incursions, we're making more and more enemies around the world.  Never mind the illegal gathering of bulk data by the NSA.  Never mind the fact that FBI Agents now can write their own warrants...no due process needed.  Never mind the fact that we're holding suspects for years & years with no charges, no trial, and little hope.  Never mind the insanity of having hundreds and hundreds (900 was the last report I saw) of American military bases around the world.  All of the above are making us less safe, less free. and more despised.  It breaks my heart to see my once-respected country go down this Corporatist, Fascist path.

Partly just my opinion...and that of many, many others.
Be Well

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Governments Run Amok: the USA's NSA & the UK's GCHQ

Glenn Greenwald & Laura Poitras (award-winning journalists), Jeremy Scahill (producer of Dirty Wars, an Oscar-nominated documentary), and other top-notch journalists recently launched First Look Media.  Their initial digital News Magazine, The Intercept, today ran a story of bombshell proportions.  It will be interesting to see if any of the Corporate Media---ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, & Fox News---cover this revelation...and if so, how.

Here's the link:  https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/02/18/snowden-docs-reveal-covert-surveillance-and-pressure-tactics-aimed-at-wikileaks-and-its-supporters/ ...or, just go to  https://firstlook.org/theintercept/ and click on the lead story.  [FAIR WARNING:  I'm guessing there's about a 99% probability that if you go to the First Look website, you automatically will be surveilled  (without a warrant) by at least the NSA and possibly by the UK's GCHQ as well.  You'll see why I say that in a few moments.  GCHQ is the Government Communications Headquarters, Britain's top spy agency.]

The authors of the article are Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher.  [Greenwald is living in self-imposed exile in Brazil because he's being investigated by the UK as a terrorist suspect...simply for being a journalist.  He provided Snowden-documents which were published by The Guardian in the UK.  He's a U.S. citizen, but is wary of returning here because of our Fed Govt's close ties to the UK's GCHQ.]  Without trying to steal any of Greenwald's or Gallagher's thunder, I'll list just a few of the article's key points below.

1.  The NSA and GCHQ have targeted  both Assange and the WikiLeaks website (as well as other activist groups) with high priority surveillance (without a proper warrant) for quite some time.  Not only that, but WikiLeaks supporters have been targeted with "tactics ranging from covert surveillance to prosecution".

2.  The GCHQ monitored VISITORS to Wikileaks.org in 2011; it's unclear if that surveillance program, codenamed "ANTICRISIS GIRL", is still in operation.  The visitors' IP addresses were recorded & stored.  That means there's a very high probability that if you visited the site in 2011 (& possibly beyond that date), you're on a list of "suspects".  [Of course, you should take some pride in being a suspect in the files of any Outlaw Government.  Constitutions are violated on an almost daily basis by those governments, hence my designation of "outlaw".]

3.  From 2008 to 2012 (at least), the U.S. intelligence community maintained a file called the "Manhunting Timeline" which detailed efforts of our Gov't & its allies to locate and prosecute or kill individuals who were suspected of being terrorists, drug traffickers, etc.  In 2010, Julian Assange was added to the Timeline and our allies in the Afghan War were encouraged to file charges against him for publishing documents related to that war.  [Gov't wrongdoings were exposed, and despite earlier claims, the Gov't later admitted that they could cite no death that resulted from the release of those documents.]

There's much more; read the entire article at firstlook.org/theintercept.  This whole business is very similar to our Govt's COINTELPRO program launched against the Black Power Movement back when.  COINTELPRO, it was later revealed, was rife with wrongdoing and unconstitutional activity by the FBI.

Perhaps some in my country don't realize that sites such as WikiLeaks and The Intercept are non-corporate, digital news magazines.  People like Greenwald and Assange are journalists.  One should ask:  why are they denigrated, persecuted, & possibly prosecuted in the future for publishing exactly the same type of material that sometimes is published by The Guardian, the New York Times, and the Washington Post?  The answer is clear to me:  those corporate entities are part of the oligarchical Establishment...they get a pass, a "get out of jail free" card.  The Oligarchy considers them Institutions, not Insurrectionists (see recent previous posts on this Blog).  They can be used and manipulated.

Perhaps some people everywhere don't see the danger in governments gathering & storing the phone numbers you call, or the websites you visit, or the things you buy with a credit card, or the destinations of your emails, or who knows what else.  Perhaps it isn't clear how one becomes a "terrorist suspect", or a "part of a human network of a rogue organization" (another NSA term), or a "malicious foreign actor" (another NSA term), or what the result of all that may be.  I believe it's abundantly clear...and we all should be very concerned.  I know one person who is:  Michael Ratner, President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a legal adviser to Julian Assange.

It's obvious from the documents revealed by Assange, Greenwald, Poitras, Gallagher, Scahill, Snowden, Manning, and others that segments of our Gov't (and the UK's Gov't) are running amok.  They are violating our Natural Rights.  The excuse of the National Security State, that it's for "our own good", does not suffice.  Of course measures must be taken by governments to protect their citizens...but monitoring everyone without probable cause and then lying about it should never be tolerated in a free society.

When Hitler came to power in 1933, he didn't immediately start hauling Jews off to concentration camps and killing them.  They lost their freedoms little by little, over years.  Jefferson once said that dissent was the highest form of patriotism.  I fear that in this country (and others) dissidents, especially independent journalists, are the new Jews.  They won't be hauled off to concentration camps, but they will be (and are being) smeared, denigrated, criminalized, and (in some, or perhaps many cases) imprisoned.  It already has started...all in the name of "security".  Meanwhile, USA hegemony continues throughout the world...not making us safer, but rather making us more and more enemies...while transnational corporations, who abhor competition, get richer and richer at the expense of the rest of us.

Partly just my opinion.