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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/28/13

Why Worry About Total Surveillance When You're Just An Ordinary Joe?

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Once a citizen becomes active in attempting to change official policy, all bets are off. The US government surveils the lives of citizens who stand up and say "No."  This has been in evidence since forever; name your time period.  But more recently from Seattle WTO protests 1999, to the anti-war movement 2003, to Miami FTAA opponents 2003, to the protestors at national political conventions, and of course to Occupy Wall Street activists, the federal government has used all means at its disposal to invade the privacy of its citizen-opponents.  Ongoing surveillance of domestic political movements is the norm, as is infiltration by FBI "informants" (criminals who have made deals with the FBI to go undercover and spy for them).

What's more, the government contracts with private, for-profit spy corporations such as Booz, Allen Hamilton and Stratfor.  It hands this blanket power to spy on the entire citizenry over to private interests for them to exploit.  All this is done in secret, and the Congress cannot even oversee the activities of private contractors, who are naturally shielded from the kind of scrutiny which we are all now subject to by them.  If someone has no problem with the government owning all their personal data (I can't imagine why), they surely must stop and think about turning over that power to private, profit-driven corporations legally shielded from public accountability.

One of the most crucial and ignored whistleblowers to come out of the National Security Agency is a satellite analyst by the name of Russell Tice.  What Mr. Tice revealed is shocking and largely un-reportable in the corporate perception-management media.  It would shake the very system to its core, and so, recently, Mr. Tice has been persona non grata on corporate airwaves.  Previously, he was welcomed as an expert on the spying programs as an actual former NSA analyst.  After Tice revealed more damaging information, disclosures which threaten the very legitimacy of those who fail to perform Congressional oversight on the runaway surveillance agency, his spotlight was shut down.  Russell Tice finally revealed that for at least a decade now those at the top of the intelligence chain secretly abused the capabilities of their federal surveillance state.

"[NSA] went after lawyers and law firms. They went after judges.  One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court that I had his wiretap information in my hand. They went after State Department officials. They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House -- their own people!"
--NSA Satellite Analyst Russell Tice

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Now a picture emerges of something quite a bit more damaging to society than simple privacy preferences.  According to Tice, those sitting in Congress and tasked with doing oversight on the spy agencies are themselves under surveillance and compromised.
  • Their loyalties and duties are compromised.
  • Their judgments are compromised.
  • Their repeated displays of gross ignorance about NSA programs are perhaps intentional.

These Senators and Intelligence Committee Congresspersons must toe the line or face expulsion at the next election cycle (or worse).  That is how the NSA and its secretive doings can "change people's fates." Is it too obvious to state that such blackmail is criminal and an assault on democracy?  This attack is on the American people, who are now at the mercy of a Vichy Congress, occupied by the STASI intelligence/surveillance state.

James Clapper, America's current "Director of National Intelligence," blatantly lied to Congress on live TV, March 12th.  Clapper claimed the NSA doesn't collect Americans' communications knowing full well that they do and are expanding this capability daily.  Clapper received no penalty whatsoever for Contempt of Congress, a criminal offense!  In the Alice in Wonderland world of Washington politics, instead of being jailed for a year for lying to the Congress, Mr. Clapper was voted in UNANIMOUSLY to take over all 16 of America's spy agencies this August. Clapper's current version of the NSA Big Lie is that: "I realized later Sen. Wyden was asking about "metadata collection, rather than content collection. Thus, my response was clearly erroneous, for which I apologize."

But it's not just "metadata," and the metadata is only one component of the data collection, used to more easily search through the actual content that is also stored by the National Security Agency for varying lengths of time .  When the UK Guardian released this information, provided by Edward Snowden, their offices were later raided by British security forces, and computer hard drives were destroyed, as in a typical Banana Republic assault on the press.

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James Clapper continues to lie, and the liars have no disincentive to stop their officially-blessed fabricating.  Congressional oversight is negated absolutely, and the Congress remains powerless in the face of the Total Surveillance State -- where they are prime targets for blackmail and coercion. The official pattern has been to lie, backtrack to the next position and to maintain it until further revelations make the current story untenable.  Then, a new story is told with the theme being that regular, inactive, unengaged Americans have nothing to worry about; they are already neutralized.  The truth is that all Americans have plenty to worry about, the complete destruction of privacy and "freedom," that buzzword that passes by without the slightest contemplation of what it means. 

Rule by a secretive, military/corporate dictatorship is simply not the "America" people think of.  Surely it bears no resemblance to the "Land of the free."  It is an entirely different and alien place. So what's your personal preference on that one?  

Joe Giambrone publishes Political Film Blog, and his novel of Hollywood debauchery, Hell of a Deal, is available now.

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Joe Giambrone is an American author, freelance writer and filmmaker. Non-fiction works appear at International Policy Digest, WhoWhatWhy, Foreign Policy Journal, Counterpunch, Globalresearch, , OpedNews, High Times and other online outlets. His science fiction thriller Transfixion and his Hollywood satire (more...)
 
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