Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Z Magazine:
"Totalitarian systems carry out wholesale surveillance not to find crimes. It’s so they have information should they seek to shut down an individual or a group. They can manufacture evidence from the data they’ve collected to criminalize and incarcerate those they’ve targeted. Go back and look at what fascism and communism did. That’s why they had systems of mass surveillance.  Blackmail was one of the major tools that the FBI used against Martin Luther King Jr. and others in an attempt to shut down their activism. In the case of King, it was adultery. Nobody’s clean; everybody’s got something. And the state wants to know what it is so they can build a case against anyone. ...

Mass surveillance also destroys any possibility of serious investigative reporting because your sources always know they’re being tracked. Under those conditions, no one can reach out independently to a reporter to shine a light on the inner workings of power. The Obama administration’s assault on civil liberties has been far more egregious than the Bush administrations. We’ve seen Obama use the Espionage Act eight times against whistleblowers. That’s not why the Espionage Act was written. It was the equivalent of our Foreign Secrets Act to prosecute people who gave sensitive state information to those who were deemed the enemy. But it has been misused and has essentially killed investigative journalism into government activity." -Chris Hedges 

-->Wouldn't it be amazing if our mainstream media was that straightforward about the purpose of mass surveillance? This interview with Chris Hedges exposes the secrets of the national security state, but you have to seek out such information from alternative media.


The Guardian UK:
"Confidential files containing evidence of violations committed during El Salvador’s civil war have been stolen from a Washington-based human rights group days after it launched legal proceedings against the CIA over classified files on a former US-backed military commander implicated in massacres, death squads and forced disappearances.

A computer and hard drive containing testimonies from survivors were stolen from the office of the director of the University of Washington Center for Human Rights (UWCHR) last week. The director’s office was the only one raided, there were no signs of forced entry, and items of monetary value were left behind, raising concerns that it could have been a targeted attack linked to the group’s sensitive work, said UWCHR.

The stolen files contained details of investigations related to the 1980-1992 civil war, which left at least 75,000 people dead, 8,000 missing and a million displaced. The vast majority of crimes were committed by US-backed military dictatorships against civilians in rural communities suspected of supporting the leftist guerrillas, according to the UN-sponsored truth commission."

-->The NYT didn't report this story, so American readers are spared the gruesome details of how the CIA funded and trained the death squads in El Salvador, and then committed a burglary in the US to hide the evidence.


Z Magazine:
"Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act overturns over 150 years of domestic law that prevents the U.S. military from carrying out domestic policing. The NDAA also authorizes the military to carry out, in essence, extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil who, in the words of that section, 'substantially support' Al Qaida, the Taliban, or something called 'associated forces.' This is not material support, which is a defined legal term. 'Substantial support' is an amorphous term and 'associated forces' is another nebulous term. Section 1021 would strip these citizens of due process, an egregious violation of one of our most basic constitutional rights, and hold them in military facilities including in offshore penal colonies or 'black sites' until, in the language of this section, 'the end of hostilities.' In an age of permanent war that means probably forever.

The NDAA is a major step in eviscerating one of the most basic tenets of the Constitution. It had bi-partisan support and was initially sponsored by Senators Levin and McCain. In January, 2012, I met with lawyers Bruce Saffron and Carl Meyer and we sued the President in the Southern District Court of New York. Judge Katherine B. Forest ruled in our favor and declared in her 112-page opinion that not only was the law unconstitutional, but that it opened the way for the government to criminalize whole categories of people and hold them in military detention facilities. She brought up the case of the 110,000 Japanese Americans who were interned in military camps without due process during World War II." -Chris Hedges

-->One would think the American people would at least be informed of the end of Constitutional rights for US citizens. But few media outlets have been forthcoming about how the National Defense Authorization Act authorizes state tyranny, all in the name of national security.

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