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Does Uncle Sam Have a God Complex?

By Norman Solomon

As a matter of faith, some people believe that God can see and hear everything. But as a matter of fact, the U.S. government now has the kind of surveillance powers formerly attributed only to a supreme being.

Top “national security” officials in Washington now have the determination and tech prowess to keep tabs on billions of people. No one elected Uncle Sam to play God. But a dire shortage of democratic constraints has enabled the U.S. surveillance state to keep expanding with steely resolve.

By the time Edward Snowden used NSA documents to expose -- beyond any doubt -- a global surveillance dragnet, the situation had deteriorated so badly because the Bush and Obama administrations were able to dismiss earlier warnings to the public as little more than heresy.

What’s a little espionage among friends?: Station Chief Ousted as CIA Spies Found in German Parliament and Spy Agency

By Dave Lindorff 


Munich -- You have to wonder how much more the German public will take of the country’s ongoing humiliation by the United States and its extensive program of secretly spying on what nominally is one of America’s most reliable allies.


Vast Surveillance of Whole Populations: The NSA Revelations One Year Out

A World Can't Wait Panel at the Left Forum, June 1, 2014.  The US government collects billions of bytes of "metadata" on phone calls, emails, bank traffic, text messaging, chats - content, recipients, etc. - storing everything for future use, if not needed immediately. Edward Snowden and others in the field say the amount of data collected doubles every two years. The ramifications of this data collection and storage process goes beyond issues of civil liberties and abstract rights.

On KPFA's 'Project Censored' program: Discussing Homeland Security's Labeling of ThisCantBeHappening! as a 'Threat'

By Dave Lindorff

 

Dave Lindorff is interviewed by Mickey Huff and Peter Phillips of Project Censored on their June 27 program on San Francisco public radio station KPFA. Lindorff tells Huff and Phillips about how TCBH! learned, from a Department of Homeland Security document obtained recently thanks to a Freedom of Information Act filing by the Partnership for Civil Justice, that ThisCantBeHappening! had been labeled a "threat" by the DHS.

Yet another step toward a police state: FaceBook Experiments with Manipulating Your Mind

By Alfredo Lopez

 

How does the news on the Internet make you feel?

Meme with Wings: Are Western Anti-Fracking Activists Funded by Putin's Russia?

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

At a June 19 speaking event at London's Chatham House, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen claimed the Russian government is covertly working to discredit hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in the west from afar.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

"Illegal Procedure" (One of Them) at the FBI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


How NSA Can Secretly Aid Criminal Cases

 

 

 

 

 

 

Editor Note:  Though the NSA says its mass surveillance of Americans targets only “terrorists,” the spying may turn up evidence of other illegal acts that can get passed on to law enforcement which hides the secret source through a ruse called “parallel construction."

By Ray McGovern

Rarely do you get a chance to ask a just-retired FBI director whether he had “any legal qualms” about what, in football, is called “illegal procedure,” but at the Justice Department is called “parallel construction.”

Our proudest moment: Department of Homeland Security Brands ThisCantBeHappening! a ‘Threat’

By Dave Lindorff


The staff of the ThisCantBeHappening! collective have just learned that our little news organization was listed, in an alert fired off to all 78 Fusion Centers by Kelly Wilson, Director of the Washington DC Fusion Center's Regional Threat and Assessment Center, as a potential threat.

Commander Behind Bin Laden Killing: FBI/DHS Wasting Time Tracking Environmentalists

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Dave Cooper, Command Master Chief SEAL (Retired) for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), has authored a threat assessment concluding TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is potentially at-risk of a terrorism attack. 

Like Madoff telling a bum to get a job: After Running from his Anti-War Past, Kerry Tells Snowden ‘Man Up’ and Face Trial in US

By Dave Lindorff

 

            Our prissy Secretary of State John Kerry, hair carefully coiffed for his interview, told NBC’s Brian Williams last week that fugitive National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden should “man up” and return to the US to “stand in our system of justice and make his case.”

Krauthammer is right: The US Empire is in Decline

By Dave Lindorff


I was shocked to find myself in almost perfect agreement today with a recent column by the neoconservative pundit Charles Krauthammer. 


Usually Krauthammer has me groaning, but yesterday his column nailed it.


No justice at the US DOJ: AG Holder’s Big News about Prosecuting Chinese Spying and a Crooked Swiss Bank are a Joke

By Dave Lindorff 


The Justice Department is really pumping out the pointless prosecutions these days. 


The deepening police state USA: More on Washington's coordinated Occupy Crackdown, and the Dark Side of the Boston Bombing (Par

By Dave Lindorff


Part II of Dave Lindorff's interview by Kathy Swift on Santa Barbara's RadioOccupy. Lindorff continues talking about his investigation into the FBI's and Homeland Security Department's hidden campaign to crush the Occupy Movement, based upon the thousands of documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act campaign of discovery by the Partnership for Civil Justice. Lindorff also talks about his investigation into the men from Craft International, the Dallas-based mercenary firm who's personnel appear to have been hired (by someone -- likely the DHS) to be at the Boston Marathon a year ago.

Killing of leaders was being planned: Exposing the Federal Government’s Plan to Crush the Occupy Movement (Part I)

By Dave Lindorff


  Listen to Dave Lindorff explain on Santa Barbara radio KCSB's Radio Occupy program how the federal government, in collusion with state and local police, and possibly with private bank and oil company security firms, planned to use "suppressed sniper fire" to assassinate the leaders of Occupy Houston, and perhaps also the leaders of other Occupy Movement actions around the country.

Punishment or Witness Elimination?: Confessed Brazilian Torturer Found Murdered

By Michael Uhl

  

            At approximately four o’clock this past Thursday afternoon, Paulo Malhaes, a retired officer who served in the ‘70s  during the years of Brazil’s military dictatorship, was murdered at his small farm outside of Rio de Janeiro.

USAID used fake Twitter to try and oust a government!: The Hummingbird Tweet: An Espionage Tale

By Alfredo Lopez

For two years, starting in 2010, the United States Agency for International Development ran a social networking service -- similar to Twitter -- for the Cuban people. Its long-term objective was to forment popular revolt against the government and de-stabilize the country.

A program to take over human communications?: The Drones of Facebook (and the NSA)

By Alfredo Lopez

 

"Connectivity," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a CNN interview last year, "is a human right."

A program to take over human communications?: The Drones of Facebook (and the NSA)

By Alfredo Lopez

 

"Connectivity," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a CNN interview last year, "is a human right."

What are they hiding?: Some Serious Problems with the FBI’s Killing of a Witness in Florida

By Dave Lindorff


In the voluminous report issued by Florida State’s Attorney Jeff Ashton’s Office on the killing in Orlando last May 22 of a witness/suspect under interrogation by the FBI -- an investigation that concluded that the shooting was “justified” -- there is not a single mention of the bruise and contusion on the left side of Todashev’s head.


Snowden Speaks on Obama Reforms As Supporters Call for End of His Persecution

100,000 petitions in defense of Snowden delivered to State and Justice Departments on Wednesday

- Jon Queally, staff writer, CommonDreams.org

Snowden said the reforms would not have happened without the disclosures he precipitated. (Photograph: Sunshine Press/Getty)

Did the FBI Snuff a Boston Marathon Bombing Witness? Dark Questions About a Deadly FBI Interrogation in Orlando

By Dave Lindorff


(This article was written as an exclusive for Counterpunch magazine, where the full story can be read, along with photos of the crime scene)


NSA: No Problemo...Until

By Coleen Rowley

If you think about it, it's ironic, to put it lightly, that whistleblower Edward Snowden -- whose message of the need for CHANGE essentially repeats President Obama's own original campaign promise -- is now so threatened and persecuted by that very same "Change" President that he must seek asylum in foreign countries and cannot safely travel outside of Russia (which granted him temporary asylum).  
 
Snowden's disclosures, backed up by documents, served effectively as the gravest of grave, but also very obvious warnings that no good can come from empowering a "Deep State Top Secret America" to secretly and illegally spy on its own citizens.  
 
Unsurprisingly, Congress and other government officials now find themselves in this moment of "constitutional crisis" where not only is freedom of the press threatened, and ordinary citizens are not allowed to know about or democratically control the Deep State "Security" Surveillance but we've reached the point where, for instance, the CIA's secretive and illegal attempts to thwart the Senate Intelligence Committee's lengthy and exhaustive investigation of CIA torture as part of its oversight responsibilities, has now led to a real constitutional crisis. 

 
This level of dangerous blowback is exactly the harm Snowden blew the whistle on! 
 
But isn't it also what Senator Obama campaigned he would change, if elected to the presidency, before further damage could occur to our Constitutional rule of law?  And isn't the current perilous situation on all fours with the similar constitutional crisis involving the FBI's COINTELPRO, CIA's CHAOS and NSA's MINARET Programs that occurred in the final years of the Vietnam War, which led to Watergate and a president's resignation? 
 
The spying and intimidation of Senator Feinstein's Committee is very similar to the spying on Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Whitney Young, and main NYT and Washington Post newspaper editors and columnists along with thousands of other innocent Americans who found themselves targeted by these secret spy programs during the last six years of the Vietnam War. 
 
These "national security" programs claimed authority not only to listen to but to "disrupt" Americans domestically.  Wasn't this the important history lesson that Obama actually based his campaign for "Change" on?!  Senators Church and Baker have passed on but surviving Church Committee members and staffers have quickly realized that history is repeating which is why they're so urgently calling for a new Church Committee-type investigation.   
 
When Obama came into power, however, he had a choice to make as to whether to put into effect the "change" that he had promised, a change away from the illegal, unethical and highly counter-productive actions "justified" in secret memos that his predecessor, George Bush, had ordered, just days after 9-11 to wage his "war on terror."  Obama unfortunately decided to go against his promises
 
Maybe the history lesson was lost on him or maybe he believed the strength of his speechifying could distract people from the fact there was to be NO (significant) CHANGE, just some minor tweaking, i.e. in the verbiage from "war on terror" to "overseas contingency operations"; switching the emphasis from capture to kill (in "kill or capture") and the like. 
 
Perhaps Obama gambled that the secret programs would not get out of hand so quickly or that no one would see the official hypocrisy in telling the troops they are fighting "for freedom" when here in the U.S., government officials had already put the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments--freedoms of speech, association, religion, and press; protection from unreasonable search and seizure;  rights against self incrimination and due process--on the chopping block.  

Unfortunately, that decision dropped us so far down the rabbit hole that Chairman Feinstein's apt warning of "constitutional crisis" hardly gets a rise out of her fellow spied-on colleagues, many of whom still seem inclined to continue the partisan gaming of such serious wrongdoing as torture.  By contrast, similar COINTELPRO type revelations at the end of the Vietnam War and outing of war deceits and cover-ups did meet with widespread outrage and concern, making for bipartisanship that led to the end of the Vietnam War, the Church and Pike Committees' investigations and Nixon's resignation.

Does anyone know whether Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker ever realized (or even guessed) they were themselves being targeted by the NSA's secret Minaret Program?   (The NSA also monitored 1650 other Americans--whose identities still remain largely unknown.)  It seems that Feinstein's seeing of the light could be a kind of deja-vu from that moment when Senators Church, Baker and maybe others realized the war, its corollary spying, Kent State type repression and attempt at public information control, etc wasn't merely directed toward others.  They may have realized that they were no longer seen as "us" in "us versus them."  When that truth hits, then the Congress, media and public opinion can turn against continuing the status quo and some real change can become possible.    
 
In this vein, it's darkly funny that the Secret Spy Machine's greatest defender Michael Hayden only seems to have showed concern once about any potential adverse repercussions of his hasty post 9-11 decision to turn the massive spy operation upon US citizens as well as foreign people.  It was when some FBI agent (probably not understanding who's in the "Us" insider club) applied "collect it all" to Hayden's buddy, General Petraeus' sex affairs.  Hayden finally became a little concerned that "collect it all" had gone too far when it took down his friend.  Information IS power!

I just hope that Feinstein and other Congresspersons now understand they really aren't in the trusted top echelons of the Deep State Secret Spy Club and ultimately this "nearly Orwellian" apparatus has already been turned onto even other branches of government just as it was upon those foreign country leaders termed "allies."  It's very much a constitutional crisis!  Recall also that the only time Feinstein seemed concerned about NSA spying was learning it included Angela Merkel's cell phone.  Maybe she identified with the other powerful female leader who previously thought she was in the Club.  A little light was starting to go on.   Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi should wake up too that "collect it all" means her legislative oversight efforts are also in the crosshairs. 
 
Congress should realize they must reign in this out-of-control Security State which now threatens the balance of power set up under the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  The President needs to fulfill his promises to change the rotten system that has resulted from years of deceitful "war on terror."  A good first step would be to listen to Edward Snowden along with other NSA and other whistleblowers who know the truth of these programs instead of threatening them with prison terms equating them with being "spies."  Instead of magnifying the vilification of Edward Snowden who happens, for better or worse, to have no option but to remain in a country of asylum, Obama ought to recognize that Snowden and earlier NSA and other government whistleblowers are the ones who possess the insights to help him climb out of this rabbit hole, fix the constitutional mess and restore the rule of law.    

Edward Snowden should become the first witness called by a new Church Committee!  Ultimately common sense tells us that restoring the rule of law will entail: 1) ending the global war on terror; 2) focusing on the bad guys, not the innocent.  Stop adding hay to the haystack. Restoring due process that allows greater intrusiveness upon individuals' freedom only as the level of evidence and judicial certitude increases; 3) reducing governmental secrecy to a necessary minimum by making it temporary instead of perpetual; 4) increasing independent oversight of and whistleblower protection in all intelligence agencies and national security contractors; 5) reducing governmental corruption and "revolving door" conflicts of interest that Eisenhower was first to warn about and which were supposed to be banned by Office of Government Ethics rules; and 5) repealing the two provisions of the 1917 Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. 793 (d) and (e), that are being used to prosecute disclosures to the press, i.e. the copying and retaining of classified information as well as potentially prosecuting news reporters and organizations directly. 
 
We hope to get this message across this week in Washington DC at the Press Club at 1 pm on Tuesday, March 25 and also via delivery of 100,000 Roots Action signed petitions to John Kerry and Eric Holder at the Departments of State and Justice (further details here).  We may also read aloud some of the 100,000 signers' comments outside the White House.  The moment again seems reminiscent of the days after the popularity of LBJ's war presidency dropped and so many American citizens were forced to shout messages  over the fence that he needed to change course.
 
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Coleen Rowley -- a former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo to the FBI Director exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures -- was named one of Time magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. Rowley wrote to the FBI Director again in February 2003 with some hard questions about the reliability of the evidence being adduced to “justify” the impending invasion of Iraq.

Ego trumps principle: Sen. Feinstein Finally Goes after the CIA, but not for Lying to and Spying on Us

By Dave Lindorff


Of all the people to come to the rescue of the Constitution, who would have thought it would be Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA).

Feinstein, after all, as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee since 2009, has yet to see an NSA violation of the Constitution, an invasive spying program or a creative “re-interpretation” of the law that she hasn’t applauded as being lawful and “needed” to “keep people safe.”

If they drop these charges, why not all of them?: Crowd-Sourcing, Crowd Support and Barrett Brown's Partial Victory

By Alfredo Lopez

 

Federal prosecutors last week dropped several of the most significant charges facing Internet activist and journalist Barrett Brown -- charges that could have drawn a jail sentence of 105 years.

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