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Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

The U.S.A. Today


Sunday, November 3, 2013
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Day after day, week after week, month after month, new and devastating information is published regarding the U.S. government’s spying on you and me.

Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft’s Skype or Outlook email, the U.S. Postal Service, Verizon telephone service — all — routinely record and pass to the government our communications. (Microsoft has even provided the government the means to read your “encrypted” email.)

In Long Island, a mom, wanting to make a lentil dish, googled “pressure cooker”; dad, into hiking, googled “backpack”; son, interested in terrorist history, googled “Boston massacre.” Soon after, three black SUVs pulled up to their house, one blocking the driveway, and disgorged armed men who searched the home and closely questioned family members, who now cannot get information as to who “visited” them — and who read their Google searches.

At London’s Heathrow airport, the live-in partner of Glenn Greenwald (The Guardian journalist who has persistently exposed the U.S. National Security Agency’s secret practices) was detained and questioned for nine hours by U.K.“security officials” — his laptop and phone confiscated — before being allowed to continue his flight home to Brazil — this executed under a provision of a Terrorist Act where there was no suspicion of terrorism.

This oppressive Stasi-era intimidation is now the routine nature of the U.S. under the leadership of Barack Obama and of his obsequious U.K. ally.

The Constitution forbids our being governed by secret law, but it took Edward Snowden to reveal that citizen communications logged and collected by government agents under the PATRIOT Act were being “overseen” by a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) that granted the NSA any interpretation it wanted of the word “relevant” — an interpretation of the law until then rigorously hidden.

The president’s remarks constantly mask, belie — and seek to divert attention from — his actions. While assuring us that the NSA’s practices are overseen by Congress, he knows well that no Congressmember can exercise his constitutional duty of oversight since none of them can get from either the Senate or House Intelligence Committees any information as to how the NSA is implementing the PATRIOT Act.

Obama has sought to make it legal for the government to lie to its citizens as to whether it has a document in its possession; he has continued and expanded the practices of torture and prisoner detention without charge or trial; he has repeatedly authorized the murder of U.S. citizens and innocent bystanders via drone strike; enforced the painful nasal force-feeding of Guantanamo hunger-striking prisoners; and established a hunt-and-jail oppression of those who would expose our government’s spying on its own citizens and on the communications of allies and competing nations alike.

Those who want to know the truth can thank whatever gods there be for Bradley Manning, the martyred soldier whose “leaks” disclosed for the first time video of the horrific murder by U.S. Apache pilots of innocent Baghdad civilians, including children and two Reuters journalists; Edward Snowden, without whose revelations we might never know just how the government can intercept and read our every communication; Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO), who have devoted themselves, despite Congressional gags, to alerting us to the corruption of the checks-and-balances government Thomas Jefferson and James Madison labored to create; Representatives Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Alan Grayson (D-FL) for their persistent though unsuccessful efforts to learn from the House Intelligence Committee about NSA programs and relevant FISA court rulings; journalists Chris Hedges, Amy Goodman, Jeremy Scahill, and Glenn Greenwald, who’ve focused on the often-hidden behavior of the U.S. and its allies; and most especially The Guardian, the U.K. publication that probes, informs, and exposes practices we must understand if we hope to make this democratic society function as it was meant to.

Duck and lie low” is not their motto, as it is of The Independent‘s publisher, editor, and columnists.

On the other side of the coin we have Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) who immediately labeled Edward Snowden — without whose revelations we might never have known the vast extent and capability of the U.S.’s spying on its own people — a “traitor.”

I have notified this senator that her rash outburst does not represent me, nor does her false — as we now know — claim that NSA spying has foiled many terrorist plots. I’ve told her that I’d never vote for her again.

Since, according to Time magazine, a majority of Americans now believe Edward Snowden did “a good thing,” perhaps I’m not alone.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

“The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.”
— 1930's infamous German politician

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Let's not forget that the increasing domestic tyranny, the massive surveillance state apparatus, the FBI-created terror incidents, the increasing crimes and abuses directed at the US population from the CIA, DEA, DHS, NSA, TSA….

...all comes from 9/11 — and it's all based on a lie.

Those in government and in the media who knowingly promote the official USA government cockamamie conspiracy theory regarding 9/11 are traitors and complicit in the MILLIONS of innocent people overseas who have been terrorized, driven from their homes, maimed, and killed, and continue to be, in numerous countries that did not attack us and posed no threat to us.

Government intelligence agencies throughout the world laugh at those US citizens who blindly accept the USA government big lie regarding this incident.

Recent surveys have indicated that up to 75% of New York City residents disbelieve the USA government claptrap regarding 9/11; other surveys are beginning to show 50%+ among the US population disbelieve it.

For those who are increasingly in the minority regarding this:

Widely respected independent journalist and videographer James Corbett thoroughly deconstructs the USA government's 9/11 big lie in less than 5 minutes, via this entertaining, fast-paced, and information-packed video:

9/11 In a Nutshell
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqQdy7...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Leaders throughout history have acknowledged the danger of false flag attacks (such as, planned or perpetrated by the USA government: Operation Northwoods (Cuba), Gulf of Tonkin, Iraq, Iran, Syria (failed)...):

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.” — Plato

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
 — U.S. President James Madison

“The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened.” — Josef Stalin

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[2000+] Architects & Engineers for 911 Truth
http://www.ae911truth.org/

JohnTieber (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 11:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

good stuff, Smithers, and also let's be fair that this began several presidents back, notably under Bush II. Even so, when Obama's NSA spies even on the cell of a most loyal ally and US friend like Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, you know they've overplayed their hand. And also to be fair, in the horror and frenzy right after 911 -- whatever came out later and however true -- a huge majority of Americans blindly supported the Patriot Act and the expansion of snooping. We are now getting what many citizens implied they wanted 12 years ago. Fear begets mistrust, and Merkel plaintively asked for "trust among friends". Who are our friends?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 12:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You guys act surprised by all this. Remember, the government has been covering up stuff for years calling it a weather balloon or a military aircraft, and you are concerned about somebody reading your email? Consider the bigger picture. I won't be voting for Feinstein again either, been there way too long. Calling someone a traitor for pointing out traitorous activity makes you a traitor.

spacey (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 1:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The back story for the "Long Island mom" is that her husband searched for "pressure cooker bombs " on his _work computer_ and his worried employer ratted him out.
Are there government excesses and intrusions? Of course.
Is this a good example? Not really.
Is this yet another example of "I read it on the Internet, so...."
ure looks like it. I didn't read the rest of the letter after noting this spurious example.

zappa (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 1:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm in trouble. I Googled "pressure cooker" because I wanted to make a tennis ball re-pressurizer.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2013 at 2:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If there is a behind-the-scenes scheme to determine which party will win the presidency then it certainly makes sense to elect a youthful, hip, ostensibly person-of-the-people type such as Obama because in this day of turning down the screws on our rights such a sympathetic figure is far more likely to get a free pass than a Moral Majority darling such as Bush.

Additionally, there are the right-wing machista military types who think they are patriots because they are all about "law and order" (The Nixon/Agnew campaign motto) and dropping bombs on civilians in the name of "freedom" who are too brainwashed in their own self-righteous egos to realize that the the Founding Fathers would give them a severe tongue lashing about what "freedom" really is.

When all is said and done, it comes down to who y'all are going to vote for in the next election. As for me, I'm not voting for anyone who supports the Patriot Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, or more imperialism. The Founding Fathers would agree with me.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 1:09 a.m. (Suggest removal)

And so shall I Mr. Clausen.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 1:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

When I was growing up in the 80's, I remember a news commentator remarked that the Federal Government keeps a file on you the day your born or become a SSI card holder. This file just keeps getting bigger and fuller with every communication you submit (including this email comment) or is submitted to you until the day you die. So....I am far from shocked of the Spying by our Government on every citizen in this Country. From the associates I work with at the Agency, the NSA spy's on itself and everyone who works at their facility, which tells how paranoid they are of their own shadow. Now I don't drink the Kool-Aid the Governments gives us and I already know that only the Electoral College chooses our leaders based on the amount of money they have and how well their Interest Groups pay them so I discontinued my Voting Rights long ago; ergo I am NOT rich enough to buy a Politician, thus I have no VOICE in our Government but you all keep drinking and voting for no voice (unless you bought that Politician).
This whole spying thing is blah, blah, blah, it ain't never going to stop or go away and even when everything is said or done, it will continue, besides, we American's love putting out dirt out there for the whole world to read & see, Facebook, Twitter, Loudmouth, Blogs, emails, Web-Groups, Comment Post pages, etc.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 7:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hey zappa, you may want to look more closely into how the German Stasi as well as the Russian KGB operated and why they were so successful before saying that the example cited was poor.

They were successful because they had convinced their citizens to be afraid of each other instead of their government. Citizens were turning in other citizens to the government in droves. The bitter irony, of course, was that the citizens they were turning in were not anywhere near as dangerous as their government which was the true enemy.

Think about that next time you see a report about a gang member. Why do we have a gang problem? Government war on drugs as well as the immigration spike beginning with NAFTA that effectively doubled Mexico's poverty rate in the early 90s, which the US govt. pressured and essentially forced their government to sign. They even had to throw out a portion of their Constitution that their forefathers fought and died for just to get NAFTA through. The gang members committing the crimes is a direct consequence of the actions that government took to cause the situation.

So should they go to jail for committing a crime? If it's a violent crime then yes. But do we fix it with more government and more police? Well, that's what the Germans did and look how it turned out. Why don't we start by ending the war on drugs and ending our wars overseas? The amount of money we save will likely lead to a prosperity that will overshadow some of the issues the artificial immigration spike combined with the war on drugs has caused.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 11:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

loonpt wrote:
"...They were successful because they had convinced their citizens to be afraid of each other instead of their government. Citizens were turning in other citizens to the government in droves..."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This just came in via my RSS feed a few minutes ago, an update of Martin Niemoller's brilliant poem from the 1930s, 'First They Came':

Stand Together Now Or You Will End Up Facing the Police State Alone
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/1...

Selected excerpts of post linked directly above:

First they tortured a U.S. citizen and gang member [ http://archive.lewrockwell.com/orig7/... ]
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a criminal...

Then they started labeling virtually every innocent and normal behavior as marking Americans as “potential terrorists” …[ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/0... ]
I remained silent;
I didn’t want to be called a terrorist...

Then they declared that they could label U.S. citizens living on U.S. soil as “unlawful enemy combatants” and imprison them indefinitely without access to any attorney …[ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/1... ]
I remained silent;
I didn’t want to be labeled an enemy

Then they assassinated an American citizen without any court trial
And they killed his son because he should have had a “far more responsible father” … [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10... ]
I remained silent;
I live on American soil

Then they declared that they could assassinate U.S. citizens living on U.S. soil without any due process of law … [ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/0... ]
I remained silent;
I didn’t want to be on the list...

Then they started spying on all Americans, even though top experts say that doesn’t protect us from terrorism [ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/0... ]
I remained silent;
I didn’t want to call even more attention to myself from the spies

When they came for me,
Everyone was silent;
there was no one left to speak out.

JohnTieber (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 12:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It is really important to remember that one of the main ways Hitler was able to retain so much power was through fear. Hitler's men burned down the Reishtag (German Parliament building) in 1933 and they blamed it on a Polish 'terrorist' who was merely a mentally disabled patsy brought in from Poland and left at the scene for the authorities to find. That is why the German people generally backed the attacks against Poland and it was through fear that Hitler was able to keep his little empire of lies going for so long.

9/11 was the Reishtag event for the United States, the 9/11 terrorists were all patsies let in on the visa express program and there isn't even any evidence that ANY of them were in the Dulles or Logan airports on 9/11. The maneuvers performed and the speeds achieved by the planes were nearly impossible, even for a professionally trained pilot. According to their instructors, these 'terrorists' could barely fly at all.

There were war games happening that brought almost all of our air force in the North Atlantic region over to Canada on 9/11. The air force and NORAD were training for a hijack scenario where commercial airliners would be hijacked and crashed into buildings like the WTC. The FAA had phone lines down and they were having difficulty reporting the hijackings, and there were false radar blips all over the screens from the drills.

Researchers have found that the most likely scenario was that whatever flights left Logan and Dulles flew out west a few hundred miles and then were switched with drone aircraft that were flown back to hit the targets.

9/11 truth started mainly with authors and then in 2006 made way for a couple of films - Loose Change and 9/11: Press for Truth. Loose Change was made by a couple of young kids and explored a lot of the questions surrounding 9/11 from the standpoint of a couple of young kids. The establishment of course ignored 9/11 Press for Truth and set their sights on a couple of amateur film makers to attack. Straw-man arguments ensue.

Several years and iterations of the film passed and we get Loose Change: Final Cut. Pretty solid film if you ask me.. But most recently another three part film has come out that is very much worth watching:

"September 11 - The New Pearl Harbor"

Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1GCeu...

Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7mDXH...

Part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DegLpg...

What I like most about this film is that it really focuses in on the questions for 9/11 - then focuses in on what the debunkers have to say - and then thoughtfully counters the claims that 9/11 debunkers tend to make about these topics. Don't believe the Popular Mechanics yellow journalism non-sense without watching this film.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 2:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Godwin's Law!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2013 at 4:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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