Stop the US Government's Attempt to Criminalize Dissent!
By Dennis Loo (6/18/13)
See this story about the latest polls on Americans' majority opposition to the NSA-Obama spying and support for Snowden.
See this excellent analysis of the Eternal Surveillance State.
What the US government is attempting to do with its ubiquitous warrantless surveillance over all of us and the world is criminalize dissent. This cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. The importance of this fight can hardly be overstated.
In response to the NSA spying scandal that righteous hero Edward Snowden has dramatically revealed, a program that was called in quick order after this scandal broke will be happening Wed., June 19, 2013 beginning at 7:30 pm EST. It will be livestreamed from the Great Hall at the Cooper Union in NYC. For those who can come in person to the Great Hall, come! For those who can't come in person, you can watch it and participate live at ustream.tv/stopmotionsolo.
I will be a co-host of this along with Debra Sweet.
For more information, go to worldcantwait.net.
Those Who Cry Treason
By Dennis Loo (6/13/13)
When whistleblowers - such as Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden - reveal that Washington has been lying about what U.S. public officials have been doing for years, officialdom along with some pundits have declared it “treason” and demanded blood, both metaphorically and literally.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, for example, has accused Snowden of “treason.” Right-wing pundits like Jonah Goldberg have openly asked why Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange has not been assassinated by the CIA.
Apparently, telling the American people the truth can get you killed. This is the message these august leaders are proclaiming and busily realizing in concrete fact.
What these political elites are claiming is that the American people “can’t handle the truth.” Telling the American people what their leaders have been doing and revealing that the American people have been lied to systematically for years by Obama on down, that is what Snowden and Manning are being pilloried for.
What is the penalty for revealing the truth? Manning was tortured for years and faces a possible death sentence and Snowden confronts a similar fate.
What are the consequences, on the other hand, for lying to the American people and causing grave damage to the nation, its people and the world? These particular consequences are not penalties but rewards: the American presidency, Congressional seats, speaking tours, cushy privileges, and immediate access to fawning media outlets that treat your every pronouncements with high regard.
As Mark Twain put it, “It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native criminal class except Congress.” To which we would have to add to Twain’s comment about Congress: the American Presidency and prominent punditry posts.
Let’s ask the central question here: what is it that al-Qaeda did not already know or had to assume to be true about U.S. surveillance that has been revealed by Snowden and Manning?
“Modest Encroachments”? The NSA Spying Scandal, the Significance of Snowden and Manning, and the Duplicity of Barack Obama
By Dennis Loo (6/10/13)
It is hard to overestimate the significance of this moment.
As I wrote at the end of my last article on June 7,
The revelations that the NYT is reporting about come from an unidentified U.S. intelligence individual who is whistleblowing. Despite Obama’s vicious and vindictive retaliation against the heroic Bradley Manning in order to try to stem the tide of whistleblowers, Obama’s efforts based on this week’s fresh revelations have not worked in intimidating others from speaking the truth about the horrid lies and practices that this government and Obama in particular are committing.
Edward Snowden has since stepped forward to identify himself as the unidentified whistleblower. Obama’s efforts to repress whistleblowers’ dramatic revelations of crimes – despite prosecuting twice as many whistleblowers than all of the previous U.S. presidents combined – are faltering.
Snowden has come forward voluntarily in full knowledge of the probable consequences to him, including the possibility of being killed for daring to reveal the truth. Obama and the U.S. government, after all, have made no secret that they are trying to do to whistleblowers what they do to those they kill via drones: annihilate them.
The contrast between what Snowden and Manning - the most famous of the growing ranks of whistleblowers - represent and what Obama and his kind represent could not be sharper. To use a sports analogy here: when one side in a contest takes out all of its stops and does everything that is within its power to do, and still is not winning, and when the other side in the contest has yet to do anywhere nearly all that it is capable of, then what does the future hold for each side?
The NSA Spying Scandal: To Those Americans Who Say “I Have Nothing to Hide”
By Dennis Loo (6/11/13)
Many Americans think right now that they “have nothing to hide” and that if the government says that it’s necessary for them to be spying on everyone, then all right then, it must be the truth. After all, my government would not lie to me.
There are multiple dimensions to this issue but I’m going to confine myself to just one for the time being.
If you think that the Fourth Amendment against “unreasonable search and seizure” is trumped by the “War on Terror” and that there is nothing “unreasonable” about “search and seizure” and that the government’s searching and seizing everything about everyone is ok and that we may as well get rid of the Fourth Amendment, then you are also saying that you and everyone else in the entire society from now until the end of the "War on Terror" (which will last, according to Cheney, for generations) should give up entertaining, let alone acting on, a desire or need to dissent from what the government is doing for essentially ever.
Why is that?
The US is Spying on the Nation and the World
By Dennis Loo (6/7/13)
The lead paragraph of this morning’s NYT (June 7, 2013) states as follows:
The federal government has been secretly collecting information on foreigners overseas for nearly six years from the nation’s largest Internet companies like Google, Facebook and, most recently, Apple, in search of national security threats, the director of national intelligence confirmed Thursday night.
The article then proceeds to turn its attention to and spends the rest of the article discussing the simultaneous other revelation that Obama’s Administration is also spying on all domestic calls and Internet activity within the U.S.
“[T]he growth of government surveillance that began under the Bush administration after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, … has clearly been embraced and even expanded under the Obama administration.”
Many readers might follow the NYT’s lead in neglecting to follow up on the meaning of its first paragraph – that the U.S. government is scooping up data on foreigners overseas for nearly six years (putting its inception at around 2007) - but let’s stay on that one for a few moments here and digest it. The U.S. government is spying on not just all of us here in the U.S., not just all communications between those of us here in the U.S. and anyone outside of the U.S., but the Internet activities of foreigners overseas. It’s trying to and or is collecting data on the world, in other words.
If you spend sometime doing research on surveillance and their “war on terror” and if you become familiar with the history of governmental surveillance and the spooks who do it within the inner sanctums of bureaucracies, you learn that the desire to scoop up everything they can, even when they have been strictly prohibited from doing so, let alone provided justifications to do so, as has been the case since the very beginning of Bush’s years seven months before 9/11 continuing on through today, then you should not be surprised to find that these practices have been going on.
Like “torture drift” where those torturing a prisoner drift further and further into greater and greater levels of brutality, we could coin a term with respect to surveillance and name it “surveillance drift” – the taking of more and more information. Not only is this “surveillance drift” the norm among government spooks, but it also conforms to the premise of public order policies, which is the new model for governance: everyone is a suspect.
Under the new paradigm for governance present in capitols across the globe since the 1980s, you no longer have to have committed a crime or even be suspected based on some actual evidence that you have committed a crime, you only have to be alive to be suspected and tracked and have information collected about you. Further, you can be and many people are (see Bradley Manning and the prisoners at Guantanamo for example) tortured and detained and railroaded for crimes that you are suspected that you might do or might have done. This is known as preventive detention in the first case and in the second case punishment for what has not yet been proven that you have done. “First the sentence, then the verdict!” as the Alice in Wonderland’s Red Queen famously declared.