Freedom in America: Rest in Peace
Freedom in America: Rest in Peace
by Stephen Lendman
Political philosopher Montesquieu (1989 - 1755) once said:
"There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice."
International, constitutional and US statute laws no longer matter. Obama declared them null and void. He does so by disregarding them.
He consigned them to the dustbin of history. They've been heading there for years. Post-9/11, plans accelerated.
Bush administration rogues enacted numerous police state laws. Previous articles discussed them. Constitutionality was ignored. Obama added his own. Doing so exceeded the worst of his predecessor's policies.
Unconstitutional mass surveillance is official US policy. What Bush began, Obama accelerated. He did so straightaway as president.
Free societies don't tolerate these practices. Obama authorized them secretly. He subverted constitutional law. He violated the public trust. He broke a key campaign pledge.
On January 8, 2008, he promised to end Bush/Cheney practices. Under an Obama administration, he said, they'll be no "wiretaps without warrants."
Straightaway as president he authorized them. On Friday, he tried defending the indefensible. He fell short and then some. His comments belie his policies.
"When I came into this office," he said, "I made two commitments that are more important than any commitment I made: number one to keep the American people safe, and number two to uphold the Constitution."
Americans have never been less safe. Freedom is more illusion than reality. Obama's done more to subvert constitutional law than any previous president. He made freedom a four-letter word.
"You can't have 100% security and also then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience," he claimed.
"We're going to have to make some choices as a society. I think that on balance, we have established a process and a procedure that the American people should feel comfortable about."
Obama made all the wrong choices. He violated constitutional law doing so. America's unsafe to live in. Police state priorities threaten everyone.
Obama claimed surveillance "help(s) prevent terrorist attacks." He lied saying so. No terrorist threat whatever exists. It didn't earlier. It doesn't now.
Obama called what's ongoing "modest encroachments on privacy." It's sweeping, pervasive and lawless.
He urged Americans to trust him, Congress and federal courts. Why anyone would do so, they'll have to explain.
"When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls," he said. "That's not what this program is about. As was indicated, what the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and durations of calls."
"They are not looking at people's names and they are not looking at content." Permission to do so, he claimed, requires "go(ing) back to a federal judge just like (for) a criminal investigation."
"With respect to the Internet and emails, this does not apply to US citizens and it does not apply to people living in the United States."
False on all counts. Civil libertarians expressed outraged. John Simpson heads Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project. He calls what's ongoing "a completely unwarranted violation of our constitutional rights."
Obama authorized sweeping domestic spying. He did so unconstitutionally. He institutionalized it. It's ongoing daily. It's warrantless.
The 2012 FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act renewed warrantless spying for another five years. It violated constitutional protections doing so.
Phone calls, emails, and other communications may be monitored secretly without court authorization.
Probable cause isn't needed. So-called "foreign intelligence information" sought means virtually anything. Vague language is all-embracing.
Hundreds of millions of Americans are targeted. Major telecom and Internet companies cooperate. They do so willingly.
All three branches of government are involved. They're complicit in sweeping lawlessness. Congress is regularly briefly. Bipartisan leaders are fully on board. So are US courts.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) called what's ongoing the most sweeping surveillance ever ordered. It's challenging administration practices to stop them.
CCR v. Obama is currently pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Initially it was filed against Bush, NSA director General Keith Alexander, and heads of other major US security agencies.
At issue is lawless, secretive, warrantless surveillance. CCR sought a cease and desist injunction. In January 2007, Bush administration officials claimed the program ended. They lied saying so.
In August 2007, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) became law. Included is a Protect America Act (PAA) amendment. It permits unrestricted warrantless data-mining.
It claims to restrict surveillance to foreign nationals "reasonably believed to be outside the United States."
Not so! The law targets virtually everyone domestically. It does so if the Attorney General or Director of National Intelligence claims they pose a potential terrorist or national security threat. No corroborating evidence is needed.
CCR challenged PAA in court. It did so in January 2006. It called NSA surveillance illegal. It lacks judicial approval or statutory authorization.
It violates "FISA's clear criminal prohibitions." It exceeds executive authority under the Constitution's Article II. It breaches the First and Fourth Amendments. CCR wants data and other information collected under PAA destroyed.
On January 31, 2011, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed CCR's case. In April, CCR appealed. The Ninth Circuit initially scheduled oral arguments on June 1, 2012.
On May 21, 2012, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a similar ACLU case. It challenged the 2008 FISA Amendments Act's constitutionality.
The Ninth Circuit postponed arguments until the High Court ruled. On February 26, 2013, it dismissed ACLU's case. It did so 5 - 4.
The Ninth Circuit requested supplemental CCR briefs by April 26, 2013. Previously it said it would reschedule oral arguments. On June 3, "the panel indicated that it would submit the case for resolution without oral argument."
There's more. Obama's waging war on freedom globally. On June 7, London's Guardian headlined "Obama orders US to draw up overseas target list for cyber-attacks."
He did so by secret presidential directive. It was issued last October. A copy was leaked to The Guardian.
It says Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (OCEO) "can offer unique and unconventional capabilities to advance US national objectives around the world with little or no warning to the adversary or target and with potential effects ranging from subtle to severely damaging."
Washington will "identify potential targets of national importance where OCEO can offer a favorable balance of effectiveness and risk as compared with other instruments of national power."
It suggests operating domestically the same way. Perhaps human rights organizations, anti-war activists, social justice advocates, independent journalists, alternative media web sites, and other individuals and organizations challenging lawless government practices will be targeted.
Everyone is vulnerable. Police states operate that way. America's by far the worst. Obama's waging war on freedom. It may not survive on his watch.
Unrestricted surveillance, other police state laws, and global cyber attacks constitute full-scale war to destroy it.
According to Professor Sean Lawson:
"When militarist cyber rhetoric results in use of offensive cyber attack it is likely that those attacks will escalate into physical, kinetic uses of force."
Cyberwar is official US policy. An unnamed intelligence source told The Guardian that cyber attacks are commonplace. Foreign computer systems are hacked. Doing so seeks information wanted.
"We hack everyone everywhere," the source said. "We like to make a distinction between us and the others. But we are in almost every country in the world."
Obama bears full responsibility. He signed numerous police state laws on his watch. He authorized lawless surveillance and cyberwar. He did so unconstitutionally. Claiming otherwise doesn't wash. Documents The Guardian obtained refute his claims. US policy is do what we say, not what we do.
According to The Guardian, Obama's "move to establish a potentially aggressive cyber warfare doctrine will heighten fears over the increasing militarization of the internet."
On June 7, Gizmodo.co.uk headlined "Anonymous Just Leaked a Trove of NSA Documents. Included are DOD plans for Internet control. Information on NSA's Prism program were released.
A link provided (http://thedocs.hostzi.com/) fails to gain access. Perhaps Anonymous was hacked.
Information the Guardian posted relates to nine or more major online companies cooperating with lawless NSA spying. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, YouTube and others are involved.
Prism gives NSA access to search histories, emails, file transfers and live chats. It's gotten directly from US provider servers. Doing so facilitates mass surveillance. Google denied involvement, saying:
It "cares deeply about the security of our users' data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully."
"From time to time, people allege that we have created a government 'back door' into our systems, but Google does not have a back door for the government to access private user data."
Previous articles discussed Google's involvement with Bilderberg. CEO Eric Schmidt's a regular conference attendee. He's participating now in suburban London.
Infowars reporters Paul Joseph Watson and Jon Scobie said Google and Bilderberg are "merging." Schmidt thinks "privacy is a relic of the past."
He wants Google transformed into "the ultimate Big Brother." Conspiring with Bilderberg and NSA are key ways to do it. Company deniability doesn't wash. Google operations are very suspect.
CIA funding reportedly launched them. Allying with Bilderberg shows what's at stake. Bilderberg wants Internet control through "cyber resistance."
It wants a ministry of truth established. It wants all public information controlled. Google's apparently on board to help. Obama's very much involved. He's waging full-scale war on freedom. It may not survive on his watch.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.