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Monday, June 10, 2013

Surveillance okay because “I’ve done nothing wrong” ─ think again

Standards must stand as agents manufacture “wrongs” as they manufactured WMDs
Excerpt, editing, brief commentary by Carolyn Bennett 
On grounds of “a self-certification” they believe serves the “national interest,” the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and the intelligence community in general focuses on getting intelligence” by any means possible.” Though originally tailored narrowly for foreign intelligence gathering overseas, the NSA increasingly focuses within the United States ─ specifically targeting communications of everyone.  [Edward Joseph Snowden]
Manufactured evidence
Breach of civil liberties, human rights, law, ethics

Insidious Creep

“The greatest fear I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change,” says American whistleblower Edward Joseph Snowden.

“People will see in the media all of these disclosures.  They’ll know the length that the government is going to grant themselves powers, unilaterally, to create greater control over American society and global society,” he said ─  “but they won’t be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things, to force their representatives to actually take a stand in their interests.

“In the months ahead, in the years ahead it’s only going to get worse ─ until eventually there will be a time where policies will change because the only thing that restricts the activities of the surveillance state are policy.”

(Remember that nineteenth-century slavery was protected under policy and state laws upheld by federal lawmakers until new laws were written, old laws were changed, guarantees in the U.S. Constitution upheld and progressive laws enforced.)

“Even our agreements with other sovereign governments we consider to be a stipulation of policy rather than a stipulation of law,” Snowden said; “and because of that, a new leader will be elected and they will flip the switch; pronounce that ─

Edward Joseph Snowden
…because of the crisis, because of the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat ─ we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. It will be turnkey tyranny. 

American technical contractor, whistleblower, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Joseph Snowden has released to The Guardian (UK) and The Washington Post (USA) classified material on top-secret NSA programs including the PRISM surveillance program.

Wikipedia note: Edward Joseph Snowden: Born: June 21, 1983; Elizabeth City, North Carolina, United States; Residence: Hawaii. Currently in Hong Kong; Nationality: United States; Occupation: System administrator; Employer: Booz Allen Hamilton; Known for PRISM whistleblower.

Robin Cook
a mysterious death
The Democracy Now program today aired an interview  Glenn Greenwald had over the weekend with Edward Snowden and the most poignant question/answer for me was addressed to the often-heard mantra: “I don’t care if the government watches or listens in on my private actions and conversations” because “I have nothing to hide” or “I’ve done nothing wrong.” This kind of response has always irritated and baffled me on several levels: whose whimsy defines “wrong”; societies exist as “societies” (diversities within a whole) by the protection of and adherence to law, human rights principles and conventions, and ordinary ethics. These standards exist and must exist so that all may live free, not as license for any agent or agency or individual or head of state to do whatever pleases them. The preservation of domestic and global society (a reasonable knitting or coexistence of varieties of us) depends on adherence to rules of relations enshrined in law, human rights principles and convention, ethical standards.

 As USA agents’ Iraqi “WMDs”
Surveillance manufactures “wrong”

U.S. against Iraq
In his response, Snowden addressed the consequence of what heads of state and rogue agents can and will do with a license to do whatever they want to do. Greenwald asked, “Why should people care about surveillance?” Snowden answered ─ 
Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re being watched and recorded. 
“Storage capability of these systems increases every year, consistently by orders of magnitude; and it is getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong.

Iraq U.S.
shocked and awed
“You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody ─ even by a wrong call (consider tribes, factions, groups, gangs, neighbors bent on revenge, my insert) ─
U.S. terrorizing Iraqis
into the future based on
manufactured evidence: 
Nonexistent WMDs

…and then they can use the system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis, to sort of derive (develop, create, conjecture,  manufacture, my insert) suspicion from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer.

 Speaking about the release of information by Edward Joseph Snowden in the public interest, another American whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, is reported saying  ─ 

Daniel Ellsberg
…‘there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden’s release of NSA material – and that includes the Pentagon Papers, for which I was responsible 40 years ago.’

Snowden has done an ‘incalculable’ service to his country. His leaks might prevent America from becoming a surveillance state.

A Der Spiegel magazine article reviewing Snowden’s action was titled ‘The New World-Improvers’ (‘Die Neuen Weltverbesserer’)

Edward Joseph Snowden
At the same time, the United States National Security Agency has asked the U. S. Department of Justice to conduct a criminal probe into Snowden’s actions. The U.S. Select Committee on Intelligence chair Mike Rogers said the whistleblower ‘should be prosecuted.’ Booz Allen Hamilton called Snowden’s actions ‘shocking’ and ‘a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm.’

Dragnet: reckless waste and abuse

“The NSA,” Snowden said in that interview with Greenwald, “specifically targets the communications of everyone.

It ingests them by default.

It collects them in its system, and it filters them, and it analyzes them, and it measures them, and it stores them for periods of time ─ simply because that’s the easiest, most efficient and most valuable way to achieve these ends.  

(Valuable to whom, efficient for whom – to say they are doing something to combat crises they have also manufactured? My question)

While they may be intending to target someone associated with a foreign government or someone that they suspect of ‘terrorism,’ they are collecting your communications to do so. 

Any analyst at any time can target anyone, any selector anywhere.

“Where those communications will be picked up depends on the range of the sensor networks and the authorities with which that analyst is empowered,” Snowden said“Not all analysts have the ability to target everything. But, sitting at my desk, I certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone ─ from you or your accountant to a federal judge, even to the president if I had a personal email.”

Sources and notes

“‘You’re Being Watched’: Edward Snowden Emerges as Source Behind Explosive Revelations of NSA Spying,” June 10, 2013, http://www.democracynow.org/2013/6/10/youre_being_watched_edward_snowden_emerges

Snowden has fled to Hong Kong, a special administrative region that falls within the sovereignty of the People’s Republic of China. Snowden has expressed hope of being granted asylum in Iceland. The U.S. Department of Justice has classified Snowden’s involvement in the PRISM surveillance program as a ‘criminal matter.’ Snowden fate remains unclear. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden

See also at Democracy Now

“Glenn Greenwald on How NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Helped Expose a ‘Massive Surveillance Apparatus,’” June 10, 2013, http://www.democracynow.org/2013/6/10/glenn_greenwald_on_how_nsa_leaker

“‘On a Slippery Slope to a Totalitarian State’: NSA Whistleblower Rejects Gov’t Defense of Spying,” June 10, 2013, http://www.democracynow.org/2013/6/10/on_a_slippery_slope_to_a

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