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General News    H3'ed 11/2/13

Hey, Hey NSA: How Many Leaders Have You Spied On Today?

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The New Dominatrixes of Empire: Hey, Hey NSA: How Many Leaders Have You Spied On Today?

By Danny Schechter

New York, New York: First we had Spymaster James Clapper dismissing concerns about NSA spying abuses denounced worldwide with a reference to the movie Casablanca. (His critics most recently were seconded by Secretary of State John Kerry  who fears a tad of overkill, at least, now that some of this surveillance has been exposed.)

To Clapper's cinema-addicted mind, the critics are naive in the same way that French colonial police were when gambling was "discovered" in the famous Rick's Cafe'.

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He told a congressional committee probing his agency's overreach: " Some of this reminds me a lot of the classic movie 'Casablanca': 'My God, there's gambling going on here!'"

Explained the CNET website to those who missed the reference to one of America's greatest and most watched movies, "As you may recall, the scene has the French Capt. Renault (Claude Rains) closing down the cafe run by American Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) on the pretext that it's a front for a casino.

"I'm shocked -- shocked -- to find that gambling is going on in here!" Renault says, at which point, of course, he's approached by a croupier who hands him a wad of cash.

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"Your winnings, sir."

"Oh, thank you very much."

And that's the scene that was invoked to dismiss critics who questioned Washington's clandestine spying on foreign leaders, be they friends or enemies.  The NSA'a head honcho even said that the practice was "not significant enough" to tell Congress about.

The practice was defended simply as a staple in what's known as intelligence "tradecraft."

In these circles, apparently, it is  no longer enough to be a know it all. Today, you are only prized if you can claim to know everything--except perhaps how to build a health care website that works

Morality or special relationships don't enter into the picture.

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Clapper and company seem familiar fixtures, calling to mind-- the character of General "Buck" Turgidson in another movie, "Dr Strangelove," the saga of a mad and paranoid  U.S. General who starts World War 3 by bombing Russia.

Wouldn't you know it that his successors literally live and work in an office designed as movie set, so attuned are they to Hollywood symbolism.

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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at Amazon.com. See Newsdisssector.org/store.htm.
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