Mass Surveillance in America
Mass Surveillance in America
by Stephen Lendman
It shouldn't surprise. It's longstanding policy. Post-9/11, it escalated. Previous articles said Big Brother is real. It's no longer fiction.
Mass surveillance is official US policy. It's not for national security. It's not about discovering terror or other threats. None whatever exist. Claiming otherwise doesn't wash. Big Lies substitute for vital truths.
What's ongoing reflects unchecked power. It's for unchallenged global dominance. It's secret with no oversight for good reason. It's unconstitutional. Societies governed this way are lawless. People living in them aren't free.
America never was a democracy. It wasn't created to be one. It's not one now. Freedom is verboten. It's vanishing in plain sight. Wealth, power and privilege alone matter. Police state terror targets non-believers.
Money power runs America. Powerful interests alone matter. What they say goes. What they want they get. Obama's their nominal front man. Complicit congressional and judicial officials are involved. So are media scoundrels.
They serve wealth, power and privilege. They spurn populist interests. They pretend otherwise. Policies belie official rhetoric. A previous article said impeaching Obama is vital. It's a national imperative. What's ongoing now may be prelude for much worse to come.
Police states operate this way. They tolerate no opposition. People wanting to live free and saying so are considered enemies. Challenging government of, by and for privileged elites is criminalized. Expect much worse ahead.
Mass surveillance is all-embracing. There's no place to hide. Everyone is watched. Non-believers are targeted. Privacy no longer exists.
Orwell envisioned the future. "Big Brother is watching," he said. "There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment."
"How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to."
The worst of what Orwell foresaw is real. It's worse than he imagined. State-of-the-art technology is frightening. It's used repressively. It's a dagger at the heart of freedom. It's being destroyed in plain sight.
NSA is nicknamed No Such Agency. It's the crown jewel of mass surveillance. It's Big Brother writ large. It's too great a menace to ignore.
What's now public knowledge may be the tip of the iceberg. Much more needs to be known. Free societies require sunshine. It's the best disinfectant. It's the only one.
Hopefully more insiders will tell all. Preserving what too vital to lose depends on them. Freedom's too precious to lose. It's practically gone now. Reclaiming what's lost depends on mass opposition against ruthless state terror.
Governments subverting popular interests lack legitimacy. America's Declaration of Independence said so. Governments "deriv(e) their just powers from the consent of the governed."
Whenever government ill-serves, "it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Governmentâ€¦."
When longstanding "abuses and usurpations" become despotic, "it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government (and replace it) for their future security."
Colonial America rejected British tyranny. Challenging what replaced it is vital. It's same old under new management. It's old wine in new bottles. It's draconian. It's technologically threatening. It's too intolerable to permit.
Collective activism has power. What better time to use it than now. America’s waging political, social, financial, and hot wars.
It’s doing so globally. It’s happening at home and abroad. Constitutional protections are vanishing. America’s social contract is being destroyed.
Militarization, permanent wars, and unchallenged global dominance reflect policy. So does police state harshness. Dissent is endangered. Privilege is entrenched. Fundamental freedoms are disappearing in plain sight.
Electoral politics doesn’t work. Money power runs America. Vital change more than ever is needed. Authority must be challenged disruptively.
Resisting tyranny is a universal right. Jefferson said doing so "is obedience to God." Women's rights advocate Susan B. Anthony said the same thing.
In his second Treatise of Government, John Locke addressed the "Right of Revolution," saying:
"....acting for the preservation of the Community, there can be but one Supream (sic) Power, which is the Legislature, to which all the rest are and must be subordinate, yet the Legislature being only a Fiduciary Power to act for certain ends, there remains still in the People a Supream Power to remove or alter the Legislature, when they find the Legislative act contrary to the trust reposed in them."
"When government fails the people, its "trust must necessarily be forfeited, and the Power devolve into the hands of those that gave it, who may place it anew where they shall think best for their safety and security."
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote:
"If the law purports to require actions that no-one should ever do, it cannot rightly be complied with; one's moral obligation is not to obey but to disobey."
"If the lawmakers (i) are motivated not by concern for the community's common good but by greed or vanity (private motivations that make them tyrants, whatever the content of their legislation), or (ii) act outside the authority granted to them, or (iii) while acting with a view to the common good apportion the necessary burdens unfairly, their laws are unjust and in the forum of reasonable conscience are not so much laws as acts of violence."
"Such laws lack moral authority, i.e. do not bind in conscience; one is neither morally obligated to conform nor morally obligated not to conform."
"All who govern in the interests of themselves rather than of the common good are tyrants."
"Against the regime's efforts to enforce its decrees, one has the right of forcible resistance; as a private right this could extend as far as killing the tyrant as a foreseen side-effect of one's legitimate self-defence."
Martin Luther King said:
"I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law."
"I am convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good." King championed "creative protest." Passivity is no option in the face of injustice."
Henry David Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" remains a landmark essay.
"Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree resign his conscience to the legislator," he asked?
"The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right."
"All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable."
"Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?"
The state "is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion....They can only force me who obey a higher law than I."
Gandhi said throughout history, "there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always."
Ralph Waldo Emerson believed unjust laws must be resisted. His "Representative Men" essays expressed strong abolitionist sentiment.
"I think we must get rid of slavery or we must get rid of freedom....If you put a chain around the neck of a slave, the other end fastens itself around your own," he said.
Slavery today exists in new forms. Abolishing freedom best explains it. Tolerating what demands challenging assures much worse ahead. It's happening in plain sight.
Mass surveillance permits it. London's Guardian revealed more. On June 8, it headlined "Boundless Informant: the NSA's secret tool to track global surveillance data."
The Guardian obtained another leaked document. Hopefully many more will come out.
Boundless Informant (BI) is a data-mining tool. It's used to record and analyze "where its intelligence comes from." It's capability "raise(s) questions about its repeated assurances to Congress that it cannot keep track of all the surveillance it performs on American communication."
BI "count(s) and categoriz(es) the records of communications, known as metadata, rather than the content of an email or instant message."
BI documents show NSA collected almost three billion pieces of intelligence "over a 30-day period ending in March 2013."
An NSA fact sheet says BI "allows users to select a country on a map and view the metadata volume and select details about the collections against that country."
It's used internally and abroad. It's a global spy tool. It's watching everywhere all the time. It can if it wants to. In March, DNI head James Clapper testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Senator Ron Wyden asked: "Does NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of American?"
"No sir," said Clapper. He lied saying so. Virtually everyone in America is monitored all the time. NSA is Big Brother writ large. Guardian obtained documents prove it.
NSA capabilities keep improving. What's ongoing now will be technologically advanced ahead. It's used for unchallenged control. Perhaps Orwell explained best.
Power is sought "for its own sake," he said. Ruthless rulers aren't "interested in the good of others." They're "interested solely in power, pure power."
"Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship."
"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me."
Orwell also said "(u)ntil they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious."
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.