Coming on the jack-booted heels of Friday's rubber-stamping of the NSA's extension to vacuum up of all Verizon customer phone data a bi-partisan effort yesterday beat back an attempt by insurgent Congressman Justin Amash. Joining Amash was longtime thorn in the side of the establishment John Conyers who tried in vain to reign in the civil liberties shredding surveillance colossus. Amash, a Republican from Michigan has now offered proof that even a teabagger, like a broken clock is occasionally right. It would be nice to see more of them drop the zany cultural populist issues and back up their anti-government rhetoric by joining with progressives to stop the juggernaut while there is still a sliver of time left to do so. That sliver gets tinier by the day and the forces arrayed against the destruction of the tattered remnants of a free society only get bolder and further consolidate their already dangerous positions of power. The Obama administration has proclaimed that it is above the law when it comes to spying on Americans and that their divine right of kings shalt not be challenged in court. In the same sort of twisted legalese that the Bush administration used to justify torture the Obama mob pushed back against the recent anti-spying lawsuit by the ACLU, claiming that it is in the "public interest" and cannot be challenged in a court of law.
The aforementioned pro-civil liberties amendment to a Defense Department appropriations bill (the country may be broke but there is always money for more war) want down in defeat 217-205 with such staunch and strident opponents of big government as John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Michelle Bachmann defending the American Stasi. I suppose that there should something of merit in the amendment even being brought up, something that would have been inconceivable earlier in the post 9/11 era of fear, loathing and the extortion of taxpayers to fund their own enslavement. However, there have been some changes in attitude since Edward Snowden's leaks but the defeat of the bill only provides more evidence that the system it rigged and that greed, war and oppression are the real things that bring Republicans and Democrats together. In a rare preemptive strike, El Presidente Obama even came out and had his flacks and shills issue a press release urging the defeat of the Amash amendment. NSA Commandant Keith Alexander also called for an emergency private briefing to rally the troops on the hill against the amendment lest his grossly perverted amassing of power take a hit. The whole rank process once again proved that in this rapidly decaying system there would be no challenge brooked nor the governed to be asked for their consent. The Alexander private decree is just like those secret courts that are the antithesis to any serious concept of democracy. Alexander is the strutting epitome of a military dictator salivating over the coming crackdown.
It is by now brutally evident to pretty much anyone who has bothered to read this far that we have a huge problem right now in America. It is a problem that dwarfs all others simply because the ability to collect and store information on all citizens is the primary lynchpin of a full-blown fascist state. But such a state also needs a propaganda spewing media machine, a desperate and poorly informed public, a paramilitary police and a myth of a constant outside threat that is used to justify the need for increasingly radical measures. The mass collection of the data is absolutely crucial in that it will be used when the ubiquitous outside threat is formally changed to an internal one. That will be the time that the state will ruthlessly crush all perceived threats that may one day work to organize, inform, challenge and reverse the tide. As has been reported the NSA is now capable of conducting three hop data queries which as explained by Philip Bump at Atlantic Wire:
Think of it this way. Let's say the government suspects you are a terrorist and it has access to your Facebook account. If you're an American citizen, it can't do that currently (with certain exceptions)—but for the sake of argument. So all of your friends, that's one hop. Your friends' friends, whether you know them or not—two hops. Your friends' friends' friends, whoever they happen to be, are that third hop. That's a massive group of people that the NSA apparently considers fair game.
Theoretically anyone who is currently reading this website and about the entire country would be fair game for future pickup, interrogation, detention, torture and possibly even more extreme measures. This is not hyperbole either, as history has repeatedly proven, power always corrupts and in an end stage capitalist system such as the United States in the 21st century where the elite continue to gorge themselves at the expense of the vast majority and to do so with impunity and the full sanction and protection of the state it is inevitable that a backlash is coming. The backlash will not be tolerated under any circumstances as those who are elite will have no mercy or pause if their ill-gotten gains are ever threatened. When that does occur the pickup lists will be massive and generated instantaneously and that for profit prison system that rivals Stalin's gulags will provide wonderful temporary housing for the enemies of the state. Programs have already been rolled out encouraging citizens to watch and rat each other out for any type of vaguely "suspicious" behavior so the conditioning is already in the minds of Americans. Decades of movies and television programs have cemented into the consciousness a reverence bordering of worship of the police while the police have subsequently become armed to the teeth and transformed into paramilitary forces. This began with advent of SWAT teams late in the last century and now even Dogpatch USA likely receives war zone grade equipment from the government for their local cops. Radley Balko, author of Rise of the Warrior Cop writes in his article A Decade After 9/11, Police Departments are Increasingly Militarized that:
And according to Balko, the Obama administration is actually accelerating the militarizing of the police.Over the last several decades Congress and administrations from both parties have continued to carve holes in that law, or at least find ways around it, mostly in the name of the drug war. And while the policies noted above established new ways to involve the military in domestic policing, the much more widespread and problematic trend has been to make our domestic police departments more like the military.The main culprit was a 1994 law authorizing the Pentagon to donate surplus military equipment to local police departments. In the 17 years since, literally millions of pieces of equipment designed for use on a foreign battlefield have been handed over for use on U.S. streets, against U.S. citizens. Another law passed in 1997 further streamlined the process. As National Journal reported in 2000, in the first three years after the 1994 law alone, the Pentagon distributed 3,800 M-16s, 2,185 M-14s, 73 grenade launchers, and 112 armored personnel carriers to civilian police agencies across America. Domestic police agencies also got bayonets, tanks, helicopters and even airplanes.ANDThe September 11 attacks provided a new and seemingly urgent justification for further militarization of America's police departments: the need to protect the country from terrorism.Within months of the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, the Office of National Drug Control Policy began laying the groundwork with a series of ads (featured most prominently during the 2002 Super Bowl) tying recreational drug use to support for terrorism. Terrorism became the new reason to arm American cops as if they were soldiers, but drug offenders would still be their primary targets.In 2004, for example, law enforcement officials in the New York counties of Oswego and Cayuga defended their new SWAT teams as a necessary precaution in a post–September 11 world. “We’re in a new era, a new time," here,” one sheriff told the Syracuse Post Standard. “The bad guys are a little different than they used to be, so we’re just trying to keep up with the needs for today and hope we never have to use it.” The same sheriff said later in the same article that he'd use his new SWAT team “for a lot of other purposes, too ... just a multitude of other things." In 2002, the seven police officers who serve the town of Jasper, Florida -- which had all of 2,000 people and hadn’t had a murder in more than a decade -- were each given a military-grade M-16 machine gun from the Pentagon transfer program, leading one Florida paper to run the headline, “Three Stoplights, Seven M-16s.”
So what exactly do you think is going to happen when the interrogations begin? And another question, are you the type who wallows in denial by reassuring yourself that - I have nothing to worry about if I'm not doing anything wrong? Well you should worry and worry like hell because the probability that you are already linked to someone is pretty much a certainty. Oh, and there is an NSA fortress in Utah that will ensure that there is more than enough storage and computing power to see just what those "three hop" queries may turn up on you. The inquisitors as they always do, will be able to cut deals and people will gladly tattle on just about anyone to save their own asses because this is the way that it works in any closing society where the authoritarians are in total control. During the Nazi transformation of Germany such a system, albeit limited by the lack of high-technology existed and was used not only by the state but by enemies looking to settle scores and others to provide tips that did not exactly lead to enemies of the regime. As Richard J. Evans wrote in his book The Third Reich in Power:
So many denunciations were sent in to the Gestapo that even fanatical leading Nazis such as Reinhard Heydrich complained about them and the district Gestapo office in Saarbrücken itself registered its alarm at the ‘constant expansion of an appalling system of denunciation’. What dismayed them was in particular the fact that many denunciations appeared to be made from personal rather than ideological motives. Leading figures in the Party might have encouraged people to expose disloyalty, grumbling and dissent, but they wanted this practice to be a sign of loyalty to the regime, not a means of offloading personal resentments and gratifying personal desires. Thirty-seven percent of 213 cases subsequently studied by one historian arose out of private conflicts, while another 39 per cent had no discernible motive at all; only 24 percent were clearly made by people acting primarily out of political loyalty to the regime. Neighbors often denounced noisy or unruly people living in the same building, office workers denounced people who were blocking their promotion, small businessmen denounced inconvenient competitors, friends or colleagues who quarreled sometimes took the final step of sending in a denunciation to the Gestapo. School or university students even on occasion denounced their teachers.Whatever the motive the Gestapo investigated them all. If the denunciation was without foundation, they usually simply relegated it to the files and took no further action. But in many cases, denunciation could lead to the arrest of the person denounced, torture, imprisonment and even death.
But if you see something, say something, Homeland Security commands it and it is all for your own safety and happiness.
When former Booz Allen employee Edward Snowden blew the whistle on NSA operations just remember that he warned that all that was missing for "turnkey tyranny" to ensue would be a change of policy. That of course would be public policy, this government works under the veil of secrecy and this has been ongoing for quite awhile while Americans tuned out of working to be informed and tuned into Dancing With the Stars or some other televised crapfest. The real policies were birthed from the still smoldering ruins of WW II with the creation of the National Security State and the CIA (formerly OSS) and NSA (formerly Armed Forces Security Agency). Riding high after whipping up on the Germans and Japanese the powers that be were out to make damned sure that unlike the Third Reich the American Empire would last for a thousand years and with the right kind of luck for eternity. Largely comprised of the Wall Street elite such as Allen Dulles, Frank Wisner and others the CIA would along with the military component NSA make the planet safe for big American money no matter what the consequences were. The methods did not matter and morality was never a consideration as it was all done under the pretense of fighting communism, a reliable bogeyman until the USSR collapsed. Whether it engaged in propaganda campaigns, funding foreign right-wing groups and death squads, assassinating leaders who refused to come to terms with the capitalist mafia, overthrowing regimes to install U.S. friendly despots who reveled in murdering their own people and to wage war, a very lucrative business indeed. The metastasizing of the National Security State and it's components throughout American society would be a gradual process, and again, the ability to conduct anti-Constitutional spying on its own citizens was critical for any of it to work. Challenges had to be eliminated, be it the infiltration of domestic leftist groups, blackmailing of aspiring politicians and even termination with extreme prejudice were just tools in the box, all dependent on the situation at the time. The advent of computer technology, especially over the past quarter century has rapidly accelerated the process. Former NSA whistleblower Russell Tice recently gave an interview where he confirmed that reporters, lawyers, judges and aspiring politicians were spied on by the agency including then Senator Barack Obama. This revelation like all other inconveniences to the establishment never made it into big media (they are too busy sniffing the royal baby turd as of late) instead being relegated to internet talk shows and alternative media sites. Now the pocket media can just invoke the magical talisman of "conspiracy theorists" and it all goes away. Move along, nothing to see here.
Years before Snowden's exposure of NSA criminality, Tice came out during the Bush years and eventually revealed that journalists were being spied on. He did so most notably in an interview on the since cancelled MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann Another Bush era whistleblower named Thomas Tamm gave his account in an interview with Newsweek that exposed NSA activities, notably a program called Stellar Wind. September 11, 2001 would prove to be fortuitous in that it provided justification not only for an eternal "War On Terror" but also ensured that the growth in surveillance, policing, military and propaganda funding would be unlimited and the oversight virtually nonexistent, further more it provided the impetus for the reconfiguration of America into the ominously sounding Homeland. Now communism, the Manichean Devil that justified all evils perpetrated by the United States government finally had an official replacement in terrorism. Not that the construction of the all knowing surveillance and police state ever took a break, it has been a progressive construction project. Before PRISM there was PROMIS, ECHELON, REX 84 COG (Continuity Of Government) and TIA (Total Information Awareness) and no public debate was ever held on any of this yet it fundamentally changes our entire society. You see the policy has always there but only as a component of the secret government that functions outside of the public sphere and transcends presidential terms, it never sleeps. The real horrors along with the final descent of this country into all out fascism will be when that which has been constructed in private becomes the official public policy of the United States of America. I suspect that we will see that in our lifetime and probably sooner rather than later if it can't be slowed.
Obama is just doing his part in providing the official cover for these programs by defending the indefensible and making damned certain that his Justice Department will go after any leakers with hammer and tong in order to make examples of them as is being done with Bradley Manning who is now undergoing a show trial, Ed Snowden when captured will face much worse than Manning and sadly a good amount of the public will actually cheer on the persecutors as they destroy him physically, mentally and legally. Obama just keeps the machine running and provides a happy face until the rest of the work that really matters is done. He is a presidential placebo and anyway, the real details are way above his paygrade and he already has his golden parachute. Obama just like his loathed predecessor who have both been instrumental in building the coming tyrannical system are set for life now. He is a part of the club (the one that you are I are not in) and he recently signed off on lifetime Secret Service protection for himself and George W. Bush. Both of them will be sitting pretty when the shit finally does hit the fan which will likely be sooner rather than later and they will not have to bother with hearing the screams from inside their fortified homes, elitist vacation resorts and exclusive golf courses.
The enemy in the event there was ever any doubt is US.