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What's at Stake?

What’s at Stake?

By Dennis Loo (6/22/13)

Our government is criminalizing truth and criminalizing dissent.

I’m not speaking in exaggerated terms to grab your attention. This is precisely what they are doing.

This is evident in the government’s persecution of the truth-telling, exceedingly brave whistleblowers Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden and others. Manning and Snowden have put their lives on the line for the sake of the people’s interest. There can be no more heroic act than that.

This is also evident in our government’s spying on the entire world, Americans and everyone else: the people and their governments, here and abroad, allies and adversaries alike. Who the hell is this Nobel Peace Prize winner/war criminal to persecute and prosecute real heroes for peace?

President O-bomb-a has arrogated to himself the power of judge, jury, and executioner, deciding who will live or die when he meets with his consigliore CIA chief John Brennan every Tuesday to secretly determine who will next be added to his “kill list” and whose names can be crossed off as successfully killed by drones.

Comes now today (June 22, 2013) a report from McClatchy’s newspapers, “Obama’s Crackdown Views Leaks as Aiding Enemies of the US” by Marisa Taylor and Jonathan S. Landay, that reveals a program of Obama’s little known to the public called “Insider Threat Program.” This program, put succinctly, calls for federal employees to keep an eye on their co-workers and snitch on anyone who appears to be acting suspiciously. Failure to do so will be punished.

President Barack Obama’s unprecedented initiative, known as the Insider Threat Program, is sweeping in its reach. It has received scant public attention even though it extends beyond the U.S. national security bureaucracies to most federal departments and agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration and the Education and Agriculture departments. It emphasizes leaks of classified material, but catchall definitions of “insider threat” give agencies latitude to pursue and penalize a range of other conduct.

Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies are using that latitude to pursue unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material. They also show how millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage.

“Hammer this fact home . . . leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States,” says a June 1, 2012, Defense Department strategy for the program that was obtained by McClatchy.

Imagine if Vladimir Putin or North Korean leader Kim Jong-un were enacting such a program in their countries. What would the outcry be at western news networks and from the U.S. State Department about how these dictators were turning workers against workers, neighbors against neighbors, friends against friends, in a snitching society? The man of hope and change, Mr. Yes We Scan, does it and it hardly manages to get any mainstream media attention, McClatchy’s notwithstanding still managing to retain some aspects of investigative/watchdog news media.

What Kafka famously wrote about in The Trial, what George Orwell wrote about in 1984, what Philip K. Dick wrote in The Minority Report about the Bureau of Pre-Crime: how true are these works about horrible dystopias in describing the reality that we see today? How much more pervasive are the sources of information gathering that the U.S. government has implemented than any of those in the fevered imaginations of novelists seeking to exaggerate in famous works of fiction analogues to reality? Their fictional exaggerations are outstripped by the reality of today. The U.S. government is scooping up absolutely everything transmitted over electronic communications hardware.

How, you might ask and should ask, can it be a crime to tell the truth? Why is truth-telling being made into a crime? Why are privacy and the Fourth Amendment being annihilated? When Obama said he was for “change” most people didn’t realize that what he meant by change was taking what Bush did and doing something even worse!

Voltaire, the 18th Century French author, once said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

In order to carry out their plans for supremacy over the entire world, the U.S. government has been telling and must tell us massive lies and absurdities. They are using these lies and absurdities to get us to go along with atrocities such as the indefinite detention and punishment of people who have committed no crimes - the hunger strikers at GTMO who Obama is torturing with force feedings, or the hospitals and other civilian infrastructure that the U.S. has been secretly cyber-attacking - the ongoing wars and occupations, and now upon Syria, or the thousands of non-combatants that Obama has killed with drones.

In order to exercise social control and continue to be able to do these horrendous and criminal things, they have built an Eternal Surveillance State.

Official Lies v. Unofficial Truths – the same people calling Snowden and Manning criminals and traitors are the very same people who Snowden and Manning have revealed to have been lying to us all about what the government’s been doing and why they’re doing it. Who are the real criminals?

All of these pieces fit together into a puzzle. They are only truly understood as a whole package. Growing numbers of people are beginning to wake up to this fact. They must in turn change the political atmosphere around them and wake others up.

The very future is at stake. This is a fight that we cannot afford to lose. Snowden, like a boxer in the ring, has staggered the government with his explosive blows/revelations, but the government has swung into full-tilt containment mode and it is out to punish him severely and silence everybody else.

Edward Snowden, after he made the momentous decision to refuse to participate any longer in the total information awareness nightmare of the NSA where he literally had at his fingertips access to any person, any judge, even the POTUS, put it this way:

“I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in…. My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”

In so doing he put out a challenge to all of us. He stuck his neck out the way Manning did and issued the people the challenge to rise to resist and stop what our government is doing.

Snowden and Manning are examples of an Achilles Heel that this system has – the very magnitude of their Eternal Surveillance State requires tens of thousands of agents such as Snowden and Manning to implement. The NSA by itself employs 20,000 people and there are tens of thousands of others working in military intelligence and related agencies and for private subcontractors. While not every one of these tens of thousands knows as much as everyone else within their ranks, many do. Snowden could, given his systems administrator status, access nearly everything. Manning had access to an extraordinary amount of information. The very premise of the ESS is that their analysts must have access to tons of information in order to determine anything.

Each and every one of these tens of thousands of individuals know that what high officials like Gen. Keith Alexander, NSA Director, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Barack Obama are saying to the public is a blatant lie and that what these tens of thousands of individuals do in their jobs daily flies in the face of the official story. How do you rely upon so many people and make sure that none of them ever breaks ranks? How do you say such outrageous lies and commit such unspeakable atrocities and not impel some people to eventually blow the whistle on you? If your threats to hound and execute people do not shut absolutely everybody up, when their conscience cries out to be heard, then what do you do?

The adversary we face is powerful and ruthless. But he has a flaw that if we understand deeply and act upon can be his undoing.

As Bertolt Brecht[i] put it:

General, your tank is a powerful vehicle
It smashes down forests and crushes a hundred men.
But it has one defect:
It needs a driver.

General, your bomber is powerful.

It flies faster than a storm and carries more than an elephant.
But it has one defect:

It needs a mechanic.

General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect:
He can think.


The people who now run things are going terrible things to most of the planet. What fools among them think that they can permanently keep the truth from the people and suppress everybody forever?

[i]"A German War Primer" [Deutsche Kriegsfibel] (1937), trans. Lee Baxendall in Poems, 1913-1956, p. 288.

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