Saturday, March 15, 2014

NSA Programs Real Purpose is Targeting of Dissent


These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.
 -Edward Snowden
When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia briefly let the mask slip during recent comments to University of Hawaii law students it was a rare moment of openness as to reveal the pathology of the leadership class here in The Homeland.  During an exchange over a World War II era case involving Japanese Americans who were rounded up and placed in internment camps such as the infamous Manzanar Scalia stated that  “…you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again” and "In times of war, the laws fall silent." Times of war such as the permanent war on terror that is now in its thirteenth year running and still picking up steam, especially so with the rampage towards a newly rebooted Cold War. With the ultimatums of Kerry and Obama, goaded on by a corrupt media with an insatiable thirst for blood and a resurgent neocon menace we now stand on the edge of great peril as the oppressive apparatus of the power of Leviathan that has been exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden will find refuge in the climate of paranoia and fear that will be triggered anew. Time is short and we all must do our part to now apply immense pressure to ensure that the illegal programs of the surveillance state are exposed before the hydra is allowed to reconfigure behind the looming war to end all wars.
The ongoing flow of revelations provided by the documents that Snowden appropriated as a public service to an America that has ever since the 'day when everything changed' on September 11, 2001 been bludgeoned by fear into a state of meek acceptance and submission to their own enslavement continue to emerge. What is starting to come out now is even worse than just the massive unconstitutional warrantless surveillance, data-mining and mass storage of all of the communications and financial information of millions of law-abiding citizens that has been a constant nuisance to the Obama administration. Now we get the real stuff, first there was the trolling of porn sites for incriminating data, the obvious involvement in economic trickery and industrial espionage, blackmail of political officials and now thanks to Polk Award winner Glenn Greenwald - targeting political dissent.
In a story that broke last month by Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher on First Look Media's new online magazine The Intercept entitled “Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters” it was revealed that the NSA and its foreign partners went after supporters of Wikileaks as well as other activist groups. The greatest enemy of the secret state is transparency and the relentless manner in which the US government and its Norsefire lackeys across the pond have gone after Assange, Snowden and Greenwald is an indication of just how much it fears the truth about the real intent of the surveillance programs ever getting out. The list of those who have run afoul of the secret state is long and the vengeance has often been of the most severe nature.
Some targets of note with the exception of the aforementioned three are free lance journalist Danny Casolaro who was investigating high crimes involving government officials when his body was found in a West Virginia hotel room back in 1991 in a blood filled bathtub. It could be speculated that he was on to something big involving the surveillance state, particularly the CIA and NSA as well as foreign intelligence services as his research included matters associated with the now forgotten PROMIS software, a powerful and advanced precursor to today's NSA surveillance and data-mining programs. He could have been the first casualty in the war on journalism and as it was the era before the internet it was much easier to simply 'shut down' a dangerous line of inquiry by eliminating a 'nuisance' than it is in 2014. More recently there was journalist Michael Hastings whose reporting brought down General Stanley McChrystal formerly of JSOC and whose uncompromising style had led to him having amassed a large list of enemies. His mysterious and fiery death in an automobile 'accident' has been relegated to the memory hole just months afterwards, it is of note that according to some reports that he was also onto something big and was allegedly in contact with Wikileaks lawyers shortly before his new Mercedes was engulfed in a ball of fire.
But l digress...
Greenwald's expose was a damning indictment of just how out of control that the rogue elements of the deep state have become in their relentless drive to forever lock down their power and the targeting of dissenters is the most critical component of their long term strategy. I excerpt from the piece:
The efforts – detailed in documents provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – included a broad campaign of international pressure aimed not only at WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but at what the U.S. government calls “the human network that supports WikiLeaks.” The documents also contain internal discussions about targeting the file-sharing site Pirate Bay and hacktivist collectives such as Anonymous.
 One classified document from Government Communications Headquarters, Britain’s top spy agency, shows that GCHQ used its surveillance system to secretly monitor visitors to a WikiLeaks site. By exploiting its ability to tap into the fiber-optic cables that make up the backbone of the Internet, the agency confided to allies in 2012, it was able to collect the IP addresses of visitors in real time, as well as the search terms that visitors used to reach the site from search engines like Google.
Another classified document from the U.S. intelligence community, dated August 2010, recounts how the Obama administration urged foreign allies to file criminal charges against Assange over the group’s publication of the Afghanistan war logs.
 A third document, from July 2011, contains a summary of an internal discussion in which officials from two NSA offices – including the agency’s general counsel and an arm of its Threat Operations Center – considered designating WikiLeaks as “a ‘malicious foreign actor’ for the purpose of targeting.” Such a designation would have allowed the group to be targeted with extensive electronic surveillance – without the need to exclude U.S. persons from the surveillance searches.
 In 2008, not long after WikiLeaks was formed, the U.S. Army prepared a report that identified the organization as an enemy, and plotted how it could be destroyed. The new documents provide a window into how the U.S. and British governments appear to have shared the view that WikiLeaks represented a serious threat, and reveal the controversial measures they were willing to take to combat it.
Two quick things to take away from the excerpt is that the rogue agency as well as the U.S. military is not only speaking of designating WikiLeaks as a "malicious foreign actor" which would make it subject to the anti-terror (anti-dissent) secret system of laws jammed down Americans' throats after 9/11 but that it is also going after those who are even supportive of the organization - including domestic targets. This is the key component of the entire piece in my personal opinion in that all of that data-mining that will take up residence at the massive NSA Utah facility and other locations for vague future purposes has now become a little clearer. The data will be perused for going after 'enemies of the state' and the oppression will not be limited to dissenters and sympathizers but also to all of their known acquaintances, family members, friends and other associates past and present so as to intimidate, bully, threaten and extort in order to build a case against the targets.
NSA whistleblower William Binney perfectly sums it up in a recent interview with Rob Kall of the progressive website OpEd News available here:
R.K.: Anything that we haven't covered yet?  We have got to wrap this up.  Anything that we haven't covered that's really important that you would like the listeners to know about?
W.B.: Just that my major concern isn't with NSA having access to this data or having this data, it's the use of it and once they get it and store it, being used by law enforcement and our law enforcement is spreading that around the world to other law enforcement and so it's corrupting not just our democracy, we're becoming a police state because of this but it's also corrupting the countries around the world so it's really endangering the democratic process and the court systems that we have established.  That is really destroying our society.  We may not know it yet but eventually it'll get to all of us.
R.K.: Bad news.  So you told me that you're going to spend the rest of your life on this. 
W.B.: Yes.  Until my government basically starts to do the right thing, and that means become a constitutionally based operating government.
R.K.: Do you see any ideological or party differences in the way this is being handled?
W.B.: Actually no.  I think they're all basically the same.  They've been, I mean for example you know Bush would refer to have acquired the terrorists, captured them, put them in to torture them to get information; whereas Obama would kill them with a drone.  So it's the same principle, I mean they're just doing whatever they want, there are no limits to what they want to do.  Especially the latest NDAA that talks about giving the president the power to declare anybody, any US Citizen even in this country a terrorist and have the military pick them up, take them off the street, incarcerate them indefinitely, and give them no due process. 
That to me is executing something very similar to what the Nazis did in 1933, Special Order 48, that did exactly the same thing.  And that's how they got rid of all of their opposition.  All the communists and anybody else that opposed them.  But I mean they sent them to the concentration camps.  So far we have not been sending them to the concentration camps but they'll do things like send the FBI after you or maybe attempt to put you in jail like they tried to do with a number of us. 
So they're not as radical yet but the problem is that when you give people that kind of power or they hold that kind of power, sooner or later, they're going to use it. One way or another. 
R.K.: You know it seems to me that the same applies to technology.  If the technology is available or if it can be developed they're going to develop it and they're going to use it.  
The elimination of political opponents and crushing of dissent is essential for authoritarian regimes, it is notable that it was Justice Scalia, a Ronald Reagan appointee who brought up the internment camps in American's future for it was another former Reagan official, Lt. Colonel Oliver North whose REX 84 program was similarly targeting political dissidents and using the aforementioned PROMIS software to do so. I excerpt from a 1990s WIRED magazine piece "The Inslaw Octopus" by Richard Fricker:
 Lt. Col. Oliver North also may have been using the program. According to several intelligence community sources, PROMIS was in use at a 6,100-square-foot command center built on the sixth floor of the Justice Department. According to both a contractor who helped design the center and information disclosed during the Iran-Contra hearings, Oliver North had a similar, but smaller, White House operations room that was connected by computer link to the DOJ's command center.
 Using the computers in his command center, North tracked dissidents and potential troublemakers within the United States as part of a domestic emergency preparedness program, commissioned under Reagan's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), according to sources and published reports. Using PROMIS, sources point out, North could have drawn up lists of anyone ever arrested for a political protest, for example, or anyone who had ever refused to pay their taxes. Compared to PROMIS, Richard Nixon's enemies list or Sen. Joe McCarthy's blacklist look downright crude. This operation was so sensitive that when Rep. Jack Brooks asked North about it during the Iran-Contra hearings, the hearing was immediately suspended pending an executive (secret) conference. When the hearings were reconvened, the issue of North's FEMA dealings was dropped.
The greatest yet to be asked question about the ongoing surveillance programs, given the comments by Scalia is not how much has yet to be revealed but when did it all begin in the first place? 
This is a relevant question indeed since the legal foundation for the current NSA surveillance and data-collection operations were cemented into place by Reagan's own Executive Order 12333 issued back in 1981. That particular administration served as an incubator for many of the same neocons who would later reemerge during the Bushreich and with the drug-running, arms-dealing uber-patriot Ollie North having been using a mysterious and powerful advanced  computer program to dabble in martial law it could serve as a historical point of reference for all that is being exposed now. The Reagan administration, with the Gipper's anti-Communist mania and backing of rogue armies of thugs and murders in Latin America, the deep state/shadow government that birthed Iran-Contra and the order to justify all of what was to come haunts us all to this day. Particularly with the newly invigorated neocons now having what appears to be firm control of foreign policy with the fascist, and neo-Nazi assisted coup d'etat in Kiev and the renewed hostilities with 'the bear' surely providing a gateway to upcoming wars in Iran and Syria. That will provide the perfect climate for the crackdown and crushing of dissent in The Homeland. Thanks to Barack Obama's historic failure to roll back the evisceration of the constitution under his predecessor there is now the infrastructure to permanently render obsolete any concept of freedom that ever existed in this country.
The data-mining and and storage of everything in facilities such as that one that sits in Bluffdale, Utah and the ability to selectively target political opponents of the war machine for silencing would have been Ollie North's wet dream, or Stalin's or to invoke the favorite bogeyman of the neocons- Hitler.