World Affairs Brief, August 23, 2013 Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World. Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief (http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com)
IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO HIDE… YOU SHOULD STILL WORRY
As for NSA spying, the notion of “done nothing wrong, nothing to worry about” clearly is NOT true anymore. It was based upon the premise that government can’t arrest you without cause and if they did the courts will defend you and sanction them. That’s no longer true. Even as the US media is filled with intentional leaks of minor “mistakes” by the NSA and some thousands of “unintended” violations of our privacy which leave the impression that spying is “no big deal” or “doesn’t affect me,” we learn of the police-state tactics used to intimidate journalists working to uncover the real story behind this domestic spying scandal.
This week British police illegally applied anti-terrorism laws to detain Glenn Greenwald’s (David Snowden’s interviewer) Brazilian partner, David Miranda, for 9 hours at the London Heathrow airport without any terror link whatsoever. They violated his privacy, property and right to travel, all in the name of terror. Trouble is, journalism isn’t terrorism and being the mere domestic partner of a journalist doesn’t meet the criteria of the law either. But what is really disturbing is that the government clearly doesn’t care what the restrictions of the law are. They do what they want to do and the courts are letting them get away with it. That affects everyone’s liberty even though you may not realize it until YOU get detained for no reason at all.
David Miranda did nothing wrong, was still detained and no court will side with him as long as the state can throw out the excuse of National Security against terror. However, with all the bad press, and the threat of a wrongful detention lawsuit, the British government suddenly declared they found thousands of classified British documents on Miranda’s computer, supposedly justifying their violation of his rights.
Miranda was not carrying the Snowden files (which did reveal this week that the Brits are operating a Middle East spy center, where the British have tapped into the underwater fiber-optic cables which pass through the Middle East on behalf of the NSA), so it’s highly probably the government planted the classified documents on his computer—just like bad cops learn to plant drugs in someone’s car in order to justify an illegal search. Here’s what happened as he was detained, according to his own account speaking with the Guardian. Nobody should be subjected to this kind of unlawful questioning simply on layover in a country, when no laws have been broken.
Miranda said the authorities in the UK had pandered to the US in trying to intimidate him and force him to reveal the passwords to his computer and mobile phone. “They were threatening me all the time and saying I would be put in jail if I didn’t co-operate,” said Miranda. “They treated me like I was a criminal or someone about to attack the UK … It was exhausting and frustrating, but I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong.” [He should have refused to cooperate about the passwords, and their jail threat. It would have strengthened his case against them.]
Miranda – a Brazilian national who lives with Greenwald in Rio – was held for the maximum time permitted under schedule seven of the Terrorism Act 2000 which allows officers to stop, search and question individuals at airports, ports and border areas [but only if suspected of terrorist intent or actions, which police admitted was not the case].
During that time, he said, he was not allowed to call his partner, who is a qualified lawyer in the US, nor was he given an interpreter, despite being promised one because he felt uncomfortable speaking in a second language. “I was in a different country with different laws, in a room with seven agents coming and going who kept asking me questions. I thought anything could happen. I thought I might be detained for a very long time,” he said.
He was on his way back from Berlin, where he was ferrying materials between Greenwald and Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who has also been working on stories related to the NSA files released by US whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Miranda was seized almost as soon as his British Airways flight touched down on Sunday morning. His carry-on bags were searched and, he says, police confiscated a computer, two pen drives, an external hard drive and several other electronic items, including a games console, as well two newly bought watches and phones that were packaged and boxed in his stowed luggage.
“This law shouldn’t be given to police officers. They use it to get access to documents or people that they cannot get the legal way through courts or judges,” said Miranda. “It’s a total abuse of power.”
He was offered a lawyer [but not one of his own choice] and a cup of water, but he refused both because he did not trust the authorities [or the lawyer they would provide—good call]. The questions, he said, were relentless – about Greenwald, Snowden, Poitras and a host of other apparently random subjects.
Unable immediately to find a flight for him back to Rio, Miranda says the Heathrow police then escorted him to passport control so he could enter Britain and wait there. “It was ridiculous,” he said. “First they treat me like a terrorist suspect. Then they are ready to release me in the UK.” [proves they had nothing on him relative to terror]
Although he believes the British authorities were doing the bidding of the US, Miranda says his view of the UK has completely changed as a result of the experience. “… you can’t go to a country where they have laws that allow the abuse of liberty for nothing,” he said.
Dutiful denials by US government spokesmen are almost laughable nowadays. The White House claimed the US did not ask the British to question Miranda. Josh Earnest told reporters at a White House briefing. “This is something that they did independent of our direction,”
Nonsense, I say. The US and Brits are in daily secret discussions about how to capture Snowden or to find out how much Snowden knew and what he gave to Greenwald. The Brit’s gave a partial-truth admission by saying they “gave their US counterparts a ‘heads up’ before detaining the partner of American journalist Glenn Greenwald, Brazilian David Miranda.”
Both the US and British governments are starting to use any excuse, not remotely related to terror (reporting on US spying) to arrest and detain people. Once again, if judges won’t put officials in jail for this it will never stop. And they won’t, because they too are co-opted by the system or are willing participants in the control system. I predict it will only get worse. We are being conditioned by these incidents to expect more in the future without protest.
Now let’s analyze the pacification campaign aimed at keeping Americans unconcerned about domestic spying. Let’s start with an article by the Wall Street Journal which purported to bring more facts to light on this scandal.
The National Security Agency’s surveillance network has the capacity to spy on 75 percent of all U.S. Internet traffic. Citing current and former NSA officials for the 75 percent figure, the paper reported that the agency can observe more of Americans’ online communications than officials have publicly acknowledged.
But they clearly buy into the government’s claim that they aren’t using that capacity:
The NSA’s system of programs that filter communications, achieved with the help of telecommunications companies, is designed to look for communications that either start or end abroad, or happen to pass through the U.S. between foreign countries. However, the officials told the Journal that the system’s reach is so broad, that it is more likely that purely domestic communications will be intercepted as a byproduct of the hunt for foreign ones. “
They infer that there are filters on the front end of the process but there are not. They collect everything coming down the fiber optic cables and then they filter, sort and store anything in a wide range of categories, most of which have nothing to do with terror. Terrorism is just the excuse that covers for the process.
The NSA defended the program in a statement to Fox News. “NSA’s signals intelligence mission is centered on defeating foreign adversaries who aim to harm the country. We defend the United States from such threats while fiercely working to protect the privacy rights of U.S. persons. It’s not either/or. It’s both,” the statement said.
And that’s the big lie. There is virtually no privacy in digital communications, except when you use encryption and that isn’t secure if they decide to apply some of their expensive computing power to decrypt. So far the only way to stymie this spying is for everyone to start encrypting so that it overloads their computing system.
Controlled members of Congress, especially those on the intelligence committees or past intelligence officials are being trotted out all the time to defend NSA spying. A particularly devious tactic is to purposefully leak reports showing the agency had broken privacy rules and overstepped its authority thousands of times, but all “accidental or minor” in scope and then get these “experts” (patsies) to defend the spying on the news. Get the picture of what these leaks are trying to do?
Fox News pretends to be conservative but is really just a shill for government aimed at conservative audiences, as evidenced by this little piece of disinformation (parroting government spokespersons) in the same article as above:
The NSA programs described by the Journal differ from the programs described by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in a series of leaks earlier this summer. Snowden described a program to acquire Americans’ phone records, as well as another program, known as PRISM, that made requests from Internet companies for stored data. By contrast, the Internet monitoring systems have the capability to track almost any online activity, so long as it is covered by a broad court order.
Not true, especially the inference that it’s all covered by a court order. Both programs are actually part of the same, broad “Total Awareness” system that scoops up everything. The FISA court has admitted they don’t have the capacity nor do they even try to scrutinize everything the government does. They are just there to approve a few token warrants to mask the larger surveillance net which is totally unregulated and undiscoverable by either Congress or the Courts.
There were lots of smaller admissions adding more each day to the pacification plan. Here’s the AP:
The National Security Agency declassified three secret court opinions Wednesday showing how in one of its surveillance programs it scooped up as many as 56,000 emails and other communications by Americans not connected to terrorism annually over three years, revealed the error to the court – which ruled its actions unconstitutional…” [but did nothing about it]
Lastly, they’ve admitted to an overarching database called Main Core: The Wikipedia coverage was adequate enough to repeat here:
Main Core is the code name of a database maintained since the 1980s by the federal government of the United States. Main Core contains personal and financial data of millions of U.S. citizens believed to be threats to national security. The data, which comes from the NSA, FBI, CIA, and other sources, is collected and stored without warrants or court orders. The database’s name derives from the fact that it contains “copies of the ‘main core’ or essence of each item of intelligence information on Americans produced by the FBI and the other agencies of the U.S. intelligence community.”
The Main Core database is believed to have originated with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1982 [true—it goes back that far], following Ronald Reagan’s Continuity of Operations plan outlined in the National Security Directive (NSD) 69 / National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 55, entitled “Enduring National Leadership,” implemented on September 14, 1982.
As of 2008 there were reportedly eight million Americans listed in the database as possible threats, often for trivial reasons, whom the government may choose to track, question, or detain in a time of crisis.
I think there are more than 8 million on their lists, but even if it were 8 million, there’s no way all this many citizens could be involved in terror. No, these are dissident lists they are compiling and that tells you where government is headed with all this.