Posts Tagged ‘Bill of Rights’

judge-andrew-napolitano

Best ‘fuck you’ speech in years.

NPR Headquarters

NPR IS LAUNDERING CIA TALKING POINTS TO MAKE YOU SCARED OF NSA REPORTING

Propagandastan is doing well these days. Don’t expect much from the powers that be, and you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

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How the NSA hacks PCs, phones, routers, hard disks

 

Satellite and optic-fiber communications stored

Windows crash reports boon for spies

The website you are visiting is really not the website you want

NSA buys up security exploits to attack vulnerabilities

The cellphone network you are connected to is not the network you want

Your hard disk is not the device you thought it was

The parcels from Amazon are not the parcels you want

 

…On the subject of operating systems, Appelbaum said the documents revealed subversion techniques against Windows, Linux, and Solaris. In the case of Microsoft, the NSA is monitoring Windows software crash reports to gain insight into vulnerabilities on a target system and exploit them for its own ends.

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Once a year Americans tend to wrap themselves in the flag, in a drunken stupor to shout about their nationalistic bias. This disingenuous ritual seeks to compensate for the other 364 days of unmitigated ignorance and apathy.

I’ve been less than joyous these past 4ths, since 9/11 of 2001 anyway. Lies became normalized, Big Lies, the kind that Hitler regularly gushed. War is not peace. Violations of the Constitution are not justice. Unaccountable power is not democracy. Pull your collective heads out of your collective asses.

The 4th makes much of the Declaration of Independence. If anyone bothered to read about the “long train of abuses and usurpations” they’d find unavoidable parallels in Washington DC today. But that’s too obvious a point for me to make today.

Read this. Know it. Understand it. Fight for it:

 

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


Amendment IV

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.


Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.


Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.


Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

the rest.

 

 PS

Those few words are the only thing standing between you, your family, and a hellfire missile, a militarized drone, a SWAT raid and murder spree, torture and execution.

Oh – and guess what?

They’ve already been ignored and US citizens have been murdered by hellfire missiles and SWAT police raids on their homes. The right to peaceably assemble was erased when Obama’s FBI coordinated the nationwide assault on the Occupy movement. Journalists like James Risen are locked up in prison for publishing the truth. The 4th Amendment is secretly skirted by NSA total surveillance of digital communications. Numerous officially-sanctioned torture crimes go unpunished to this day.

Tyranny is not very far away. And fat, stupid imbeciles will be no match for an organized assault on their liberty. Wake the fuck up. Why would you need to be told to wake the fuck up? Did they not teach you any history at all? Did you think it wasn’t real? Do you not understand oppression and war at all?

My readers are probably much better informed than the average shlub, I know. Sorry. Go poke a shlub this Independence Day. Poke em in their beer gut.

 

Somalia-drones-Obama

 

Chelsea Manning acceptance statement of Sam Adams Award for Integrity inIntelligence

 

In a recent Freedom of Information Act case(2) — a seemingly Orwellian “newspeak” name for a statute that actually exempts categories of documents from release to the public — a federal district court judge ruled against the New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union. The Times and the ACLU argued that documents regarding the practice of “targeted killing” of American citizens, such as the radical Sunni cleric Anwar Nasser al-Aulaqi were in the public’s interest and were being withheld improperly.

The government first refused to acknowledge the existence of the documents, but later argued that their release could harm national security and were therefore exempt from disclosure. The court, however, felt constrained by the law and “conclud[ed] that the Government [had] not violated the FOIA by refusing to turn over the documents sought in the FOIA requests, and [could not] be compelled . . . to explain in detail the reasons why [the Government’s] actions do not violate the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

However, the judge also wrote candidly about her frustration with her sense that the request “implicate[d] serious issues about the limits on the power of the Executive Branch under the Constitution and laws of the United States,” and that the Presidential “Administration ha[d] engaged in public discussion of the legality of targeted killing, even of [American] citizens, but in cryptic and imprecise ways.” In other words, it wasn’t that she didn’t think that the public didn’t have a right to know — it was that she didn’t feel that she had the “legal” authority to compel disclosure.

This case, like too many others, presents a critical problem that can also be seen in several recent cases, including my court-martial. For instance, I was accused by the Executive branch, and particularly the Department of Defense, of aiding the enemy — a treasonable offense covered under Article III of the Constitution.

Granted, I received due process. I received charges, was arraigned before a military judge for trial, and eventually acquitted. But, the al-Aulaqi case raises a fundamental question: did the American government, and particularly the same President and Department, have the power to unilaterally determine my guilt of such an offense, and execute me at the will of the pilot of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle?

Until documents held by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel were released after significant political pressure in mid-2013, I could not tell you. And, very likely, I do not believe I could speak intelligently of the Administration’s policy on “targeted killing” today either.

There is a problem with this level of secrecy, obfuscation, and classification or protective marking, in that they supposedly protect citizens of their nation; yet, it also breeds a unilateralism that the founders feared, and deliberately tried to prevent when drafting the American Constitution. Now, we have a “disposition matrix,” classified military commissions, and foreign intelligence and surveillance courts — modern Star Chamber equivalents.

cycleofpovertydsdsdsd

enemy-of-the-state_420Enemy of the State, 1998

 

by Joe Giambrone

“I’m an upstanding citizen and I’m not doing anything wrong.  I just don’t want the government invading my privacy.”

–unnamed

I got into a heated argument, a disagreeable shouting match over that idea today – mostly being shouted at for nitpicking someone on my own side.  I find the above rationale to be a surface response without any thought behind it or any acknowledgement of how actual surveillance-societies of the past devolved into Orwellian abominations.  Worse still, the current drive for a “Total Information Awarenesssociety, where birth to death communications will be stored forever by the government, looms over us.

NSA / Booz Allen Hamilton whistleblower Edward Snowden has said:

“…they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them.”

To that end the NSA’s operating budget has increased steadily, avoiding any cutbacks from the so-called “sequester.”  The new NSA storage facility in Utah is a central piece of this total data capture society.

“An article by Forbes estimates the storage capacity as between 3 and 12 exabytes in the near term… advances in technology could be expected to increase the capacity by orders of magnitude in the coming years.” (Wikipedia)

NSA Whistleblower William Binney revealed further problems at the National Security Agency and its runaway capabilities:

“Binney alleged… controls that limited unintentional collection of data pertaining to U.S. citizens were removed, prompting concerns by him and others that the actions were illegal and unconstitutional.  Binney alleged that the Bluffdale (Utah) facility was designed to store a broad range of domestic communications for data mining without warrants.” (Wikipedia)

Edward Snowden has also said:

“I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications.  Anyone’s communications at any time.  That is the power to change people’s fates.”

Changing people’s fates is the key phrase here.  How and why can this personal data be used?  With lifelong surveillance of everyone, we are little better off than goldfish swimming from glass wall to wall, always under the complete scrutiny of the authorities.  It doesn’t take any imagination whatsoever to see the implications of total scrutiny by secretive government or quasi-governmental entities (or others!).

The STASI regime in East Germany was legendary for this type of behavior, monitoring their own people allegedly for their own good.  A hyper-paranoid society emerged where everyone was suspect.  Anyone could be an informant coerced by the authorities into betraying their neighbors or family members.  Trust of government was nonexistent, and soon all trust throughout the society crumbled.  Any stranger could be a government agent, himself blackmailed by the state into carrying out their wishes.

Guilt by Association

The problem is blackmail.  That is what Edward Snowden meant when he talked about changing people’s fates.  When all associations are known to authorities, the very act of communicating with someone becomes dangerous.  If they are found to be displeasing to the secretive masters of society, then how long before your very real, recorded linkage to them becomes problematic as well?  Guilt by association and character assassinations do not require you to be “doing anything wrong,” only to be perceived that way as a result of smears.  Sensitive data about personal habits can destroy a political campaign before it ever begins.  The manipulation of the public takes many forms, which political activists and the professional political class understand well.

While Obama and Company (on both sides of the aisle) hawk this glaringly unconstitutional assault as alleged protection, being no threat to the public whatsoever – their vanilla lives deemed uninteresting enough to not concern the state – the terrifying nature of power and coercion must be addressed.  Before we follow the propaganda line that we are “not doing anything wrong,” and so have nothing to worry about, there is plenty to worry about when privacy is erased.

The legal justifications for securing our personal effects, enshrined in the 4th Amendment, represent the cornerstone of American freedom: that F-word that politicians blather on about at length even as they secretly betray it.

This is not simply a personal preference to be private, but the necessary precondition for a free society.  Private communications are the difference between what once was America and what once was the Soviet Union, or Orwell’s dystopia if you prefer.  The value of having secure, private lives free of government malfeasance and scrutiny is beyond a price and beyond debate.  As long as the Constitution remains the “Supreme Law of the Land,” those who willingly and gleefully violate it have committed treasons against the American People.

Personal preference has got nothing to do with it.  This is about the very nature of freedom, to be free of coercion and blackmail.  While it’s true that the government apparatus likely has nothing against most people because of their unremarkable ordinariness, this government posture changes immediately as people become politically active.  What the masters of society take very seriously are their own positions of power, and they brook no challengers.  Once a citizen becomes active in attempting to change official policy, all bets are off.

The US government surveils the lives of citizens who stand up and say “No.”  This has been in evidence since forever; name your time period.  But more recently from Seattle WTO protests 1999, to the anti-war movement 2003, to Miami FTAA opponents 2003, to the protestors at national political conventions, and of course to Occupy Wall Street activists the federal government has used all means at its disposal to invade the privacy of its citizen-opponents.  Ongoing surveillance of domestic political movements is the norm, as is infiltration by FBI “informants” (criminals who have made deals with FBI to go undercover and spy for them).

What’s more, the government contracts with private, for-profit spy corporations such as Booz, Allen Hamilton and Stratfor.  It hands this power to blanket spy on the entire citizenry over to private interests for them to exploit.  All this is done in secret, and the Congress cannot even oversee the activities of private contractors, who are naturally shielded from the kind of scrutiny which we are all now subject to by them.  If someone has no problem with the government owning all their personal data (I can’t imagine why), they surely must stop and think about turning over that power to private money-making corporations who are legally shielded from public accountability.

One of the most crucial and ignored whistleblowers to come out of the National Security Agency is a satellite analyst by the name of Russell Tice.  What Mr. Tice has revealed is shocking and largely un-reportable in the corporate perception-management media.  It would shake the very system to its core, and so recently Mr. Tice has been persona non grata on corporate airwaves.  Previously he was welcomed as an expert on the spying programs as an actual former NSA analyst.  After Tice revealed more damaging information, disclosures which threaten the very legitimacy of those who fail to perform Congressional oversight on the runaway surveillance agency, his spotlight was shut down.  Russell Tice finally revealed that for at least a decade now those at the top of the intelligence chain secretly abuse the capabilities of their federal surveillance state.

“[NSA] went after lawyers and law firms… They went after judges.  One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court that I had his wiretap information in my hand… They went after State Department officials. They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House — their own people!”

–NSA Satellite Analyst Russell Tice

Now a picture emerges of something quite a bit more damaging to society than simple privacy preferences.  According to Tice, those sitting in Congress and tasked with doing oversight on the spy agencies are themselves under surveillance and compromised.

  • Their loyalties and duties are compromised.
  • Their judgments are compromised.
  • Their repeated displays of gross ignorance about NSA programs are perhaps intentional, by design.

These Senators and Intelligence Committee Congresspersons must toe the line or face expulsion at the next election cycle (or worse).  That is how the NSA and its secretive doings can “change people’s fates.”

Is it too obvious to state that such blackmail is criminal and an assault on democracy?  This attack is on the American People, who are now at the mercy of a Vichy Congress, occupied by the STASI intelligence/surveillance state.

James Clapper, America’s current “Director of National Intelligence,” blatantly lied to Congress on live TV, March 12th.  Clapper claimed that NSA doesn’t collect Americans’ communications knowing full well that they do and are expanding this capability daily.  Clapper received no penalty whatsoever for Contempt of Congress, a criminal offense!  In the Alice in Wonderland world of Washington politics, instead of being jailed for a year for lying to the Congress, Mr. Clapper was voted in UNANIMOUSLY to take over all 16 of America’s spy agencies this August.

Clapper’s current version of the NSA Big Lie is that: “I realized later Sen. Wyden was asking about… metadata collection, rather than content collection…  Thus, my response was clearly erroneous, for which I apologize.”

But it’s not just “metadata,” and the metadata is only one component of the data collection, used to more easily search through the actual content that is also stored by the National Security Agency for varying lengths of time.  When the UK Guardian released this information, provided by Edward Snowden, their offices were later raided by British security forces and computer hard drives were destroyed, as in a typical Banana Republic assault on the press.

James Clapper continues to lie, and the liars have no disincentive to stop their officially-blessed fabricating.  Congressional oversight is negated absolutely, and the Congress remains powerless in the face of the Total Surveillance State – where they are prime targets for blackmail and coercion.

The official pattern has been to lie, backtrack to the next position and to maintain it until further revelations make the current story untenable.  Then, a new story is told with the theme being that regular, inactive, unengaged Americans have nothing to worry about; they are already neutralized.  The truth is that all Americans have plenty to worry about, the complete destruction of privacy and “freedom,” that buzzword that passes by without the slightest contemplation of what it means.  Rule by a secretive military / corporate dictatorship is simply not the “America” that people think of.  Surely it bears no resemblance to the “Land of the free.”  It is an entirely different and alien place.

So what’s your personal preference on that one?

Joe Giambrone publishes Political Film Blog, and his novel of Hollywood debauchery, Hell of a Deal, is available now.