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Ghosts in the Machine: Encounters with the NSA

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Quite some time ago, I am not sure exactly when, the thought police (National Security Agency) clandestinely moved into my computer. It did so without my permission and in violation of the law, not to mention the Constitution. The prying eyes of government are watching my every move, noting my every keystroke and monitoring my every electronic transmission and telephone conversation. They became visible to me one day when I did a trace route from the Windows command line of my home computer. Since then we have been peering at each other with eyes that do not blink.

I am astonished that so many manifestations of a police state have managed to crowd into the narrow confines of my hard drive. Disease thrives in dark places. According to the NSA, I could pose a threat to national security because I have been exposing the government's criminality. So, in order to save myself hardship further down the road, I hereby confess to having a previous encounter with the law. Sometime in the 1970s, I think it was, I got a ticket for an expired parking meter, which was my single recorded offense over nearly fifty-three years of existence. It must be this nearly forgotten incident that makes me a hardened criminal, extremely dangerous; a menace to national security-a terrorist threat.

Will my new status require me to man a sand bag bunker in the front yard?

At least I am in good company with other suspected terrorist organizations including librarians, that most militant breed of non-conformists, Mennonites and Quakers. Waging peace, waging justice, is apparently a threat to national security in a criminal regime bent on war and occupation. My office, like much of the Middle East, is now an occupied territory. The news is like the discovery of a malignant tumor. I could disappear as completely as a wisp of smoke.

Over the years I have participated in anti-war demonstrations and have committed acts of civil disobedience; but I have never been charged with a crime and have yet to be arrested for any offense. I rarely even swat a bothersome fly. But I am being watched, preemptively, in case I get a dangerous thought. These appear to be the only kind of thoughts I have.

For all I know, the FBI, the CIA and the military may even be hiding in the bushes outside my door. My small office may be bugged with electronic listening devices or miniature cameras, and my every movement monitored by unmarked vans parked down the road, just out of sight. The NSA has more than a hundred satellites in synchronous earth orbit, at least one of them spying on U.S. citizens like me. I almost feel like apologizing to the tax payers for costing them so much money, but I do not believe it is my fault.

While it troubles me that the NSA is lurking in my computer, it does not deter me from exercising my constitutional rights of free speech and, more specifically, speaking truth to power. I am not paranoid or afraid. I have not armed myself. I go on doing what has to be done. I stand behind my words and have every intention of continuing for as long as I draw breath. Truth still matters and someone has to protect it.

I marvel that I, a man in my fifties of relatively small physical stature, command so much respect from the most powerful government ever assembled. To think that an innocuous figure like me with a long history of non-violence can have so many governmental forces marshaled against me at tax payer expense is both astonishing and appalling. I don't know whether to be indignant or flattered.

One naturally wonders why the government is watching me. The government knows that I am not a terrorist and do not pose a threat to national security. They fear me because I have power and I exercise it frequently. Each of you has similar power and I urge you to exercise it freely. Truth is the enemy of corrupt power and that is what the government fears. Shady government has made a mockery of national security and rendered the concept moot. The truth is that we have long been an occupied nation.

And you, dear reader, may be complicit in my crimes by reading these most dangerous of words and responding to them with equally dangerous words of your own manufacture. There are almost certainly ghosts in your machines too and you cannot shake them out. But do not allow them to deter you from doing what must be done. Now is not the time to fall silent. It is a time, like all times, to stand up and be counted; a time to keep truth and hope alive in the hearts of humankind. More than ever, it is a time to live the word, to be the word.

Once again, as so many times throughout history, we bear witness to who America's so called law enforcement agencies and the military are really working for: the same ones it has always served-the ruling Plutocracy. As always, high level law enforcement is on the side of the oppressors, not the oppressed; the purveyors of injustice, not the just. It has traditionally been on the wrong side of morality, always against the people.

The Plutocracy cannot withstand the probing light of truth; it requires the cover of darkness to do its gruesome work. Its continued existence is dependent upon deception and lies. If the people knew and understood what is being done to them and their families, they would not support this criminal cabal, and it would soon collapse into the dust bins of history. No one would serve in the military. That is why it must operate behind closed doors, safely beyond the pale of public scrutiny. That is why it feels compelled to spy upon its own citizens and treat them like criminals.

 

Charles Sullivan is a photographer, social activist and free lance writer residing in the hinterland of West Virgina.

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That's what we forget about electronic eavesdroppi... by Russ Wellen on Friday, Dec 1, 2006 at 1:23:59 PM
"While it troubles me that the NSA is lurking in m... by Yaybob on Saturday, Dec 2, 2006 at 4:59:03 AM