Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Surveillance State’s Manhattan Firewall


Authoritarians rejoiced as Friday’s bold judicial activism emanating from a New York district court dealt a blow to civil liberties and privacy rights in the post September 11, 2001 Homeland. The smug certainty of a corrupt elite cadre of government officials who knew damned well that the fix was in exalted after the Manhattan miracle allowed an even more corrupt state media to spin away the events of last week, flushing them once and forever down the memory hole.  Judge Pauley’s scathing remarks, scoffing at American’s constitutional right to privacy are a revelation at the extent of the corruption of every institution in this once great country.  With the focus group friendly, bumper sticker two word phrase “Bold Jujitsu” being used to invoke the al Qaeda demon and choke off attempts to bring the NSA surveillance programs under control the judge spewed invective in his defense of the fascist state.
In his ruling, peppered with the sneering disregard for liberty that has become so prevalent wrote:
..it would be an "absurdity" to permit anyone whose records had been collected to challenge the NSA in court, since Congress had allowed only for the phone companies to argue their case in the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

"The ACLU would never have learned about the section 215 order authorizing collection of telephony metadata related to its telephone numbers but for the unauthorized disclosures by Edward Snowden," .."It cannot possibly be that lawbreaking conduct by a government contractor that reveals state secrets -- including the means and methods of intelligence gathering -- could frustrate Congress's intent."

What is truly horrifying about this ruling is evident and I excerpt from a Washington Post column by Andrea Peterson entitled “The most Kafkaesque paragraph from today’s NSA ruling” comments on that particular paragraph:

Re-read that a few times and let it sink in. Pauley is essentially saying that the targets of the order have no recourse to challenge the collection of their personal data because Congress never intended for targets to ever know that they were subject to this sort of spying. And that the fact that everyone knows about it now, thanks to Edward Snowden, doesn't change the targets' ability to challenge the legality of the order.

That suggests a troubling possibility: that even if there were clear-cut evidence that the government was sending out illegal 215 orders, the people harmed by the government's illegal conduct might not have any way to stop it. Instead, the only recourse may be for the recipient of an order (such as Verizon) to challenge it in the notoriously secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. But Verizon isn't the one whose privacy is harmed by the order, so why would it expend legal resources to fight it?

Pauley’s ruling and the promulgating of its legitimacy using their mighty Wurlitzer not only ensures that all who challenge the rogue state will be not only denied any future recourse but that those who do not heed this last warning and undertake the efforts to fight back are doomed in the most existential sense of the term. None more so than Snowden himself though.

On the morning propaganda circuit the typical array of ghouls were dragged out to defend the mass state criminality. A favorite these days seems to be former NSA director Michael Hayden who is on the cutting edge of the coming search and destroy campaign against former government contractor Booz-Allen employee Edward Snowden. Hayden, appearing on CBS’s Face the Nation pushed the envelope in labeling Snowden a “traitor” and without proof nor challenge served up this escalation in rhetoric: "I think there's an English word that describes selling American secrets to another government, and I do think it's treason". It matters not that there is no proof whatsoever that Snowden ever sold a damned thing to any other government and when it comes to traitors selling out America then Hayden need only look into a mirror as the worst stuff is yet to come about the NSA Stasi and what they are doing with all of that information. Industrial espionage is a certainty and when that is the case then the selling secret information to the highest bidder for blackmail and competitive advantage and front running markets based on insider information gleaned by surveillance is inevitably going to follow. That is just the way that things work in The Homeland and men like Hayden belong standing in the dock answering for their crimes against the republic rather than appearing on government propaganda organs to deliver their lies and unproven accusations.

With the counter-offensive shifting into overdrive following Judge Pauley’s wiping his ass with the U.S. Constitution and the bought and paid for media providing the new false narrative the focus is going to soon turn to Snowden himself. It is a perfectly reasonable question to ponder on whether President Barack Obama has taken a break from golf and luaus over his Hawaiian Christmas vacation to consult with those who manage his kill lists. Snowden’s poke in the eye mission accomplished” and “I already won” braggadocio are literally the last straw. I would expect that a hellfire missile now may be in his future if the almost inevitable negotiations with Russian leader Vladimir Putin to expel him from Russia for torture and a show trial fail. It is for delicate tasks such as this that JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command), the executive branch’s assassination arm exists, for extrajudicial killings. The precedent has already been set with the killings of radical cleric and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaqi's denial of due process when he was taken out by a drone in 2011 in Yemen. Obama and the government crossed the Rubicon with that one and while the man was calling for jihad he still was an American and therefore entitled to a trial.

The story of JSOC is one that is chilling given the potential for abuse. The elite military command was at one time referred to as Dick Cheney’s assassination squad and operates with the same degree of impunity that the NSA Stasi does in the world of secret an unaccountable government that we now live in. Just because Snowden isn’t a Muslim calling for violence doesn’t mean that JSOC will not be sent after him similarly. There is another much more ominous question on the NSA surveillance and the secret state in which it operates that has not to this point been asked and that is to what extent does the assassination program extend to?  The NSA program’s enemies list has little to do with preventing terrorism, that is all bullshit for the rubes and the government knows this but it is increasingly likely that it has everything to do with targeting enemies of the surveillance state itself. Michael Hastings anyone?

The gloves are now coming off, Hayden and his fellow miscreants on this morning’s Orwellian two minute hate disinformation broadcasts are the vanguard of what now looms as the empire strikes back.