When we learned that the kids sitting in public parks protesting income inequality were being monitored by the FBI, you had to wonder why. I mean it’s not like young kids filled with idealism beating drums in parks that they purportedly own as citizens, pose any threat to the national security. Of course they were pepper sprayed and beaten, while the real criminals who collapsed the economy were pampered. Images of handcuffed kids, bathed in their own blood, young women crying and spitting the gas out of their lungs, and partying billionaires on the terraces laughing at them. Now it’s not a long walk from the shameful arrests of peaceful protestors to the notion that powerful moneyed and political interests paid surveillance companies to mine the data of the protesters. In other words, the government was compelled, or felt compelled to use abusive powers on members of their own constituencies, and on behalf of rich people. They did this in front of us and we let it happen. Our American Circus Infortainment Complex hardly recorded or reported or commented on the outrageous treatment non-violent citizens were being treated. It never occurred to anyone that they were convicted in part with their own cellphones.
So, perhaps the information the US government hoovers up about us is not being used against us. Are we to believe that US will never abuse this power? Well who spied on the protesters? Who actually asked the police to go after this guy standing and beating a drum in the park? Who spied on Conservative groups? Those with the power can’t really be counted on to keep our best interests in mind, to follow the law, or to even be fair. These powers must be heady to those who wield them. Once you grant an Emperor a certain amount of power, it is never returned. Remember Rome went from Republic to Empire (or should we say Totalitarian Dictatorship) because thos ein power saw little advantage in selling it.
This isn’t the first time the IRS has targeted groups. The IRS targeted Martin Luther King. Bush had US attorneys fired just for being Democratic. This is not legal but it is also not news, really. The difference here is the type of information, the amount of information and the fact that it is being used against us without the consent of the governed.
So while Obama promises that this metadata isn’t used against us, we look at recent examples of how it is used against us and ask ourselves: whom am I going to believe, you, or my lying eyes? The Constitution guarantees that we are allowed to face our accuser. But our accusers are thousands of clandestine faceless surveillance employees who pass our data along and no one in the chain, no manager, no administrator, no one will ever have a face to face accounting of what happens with the data. The hackers who revealed the Steubenville rape should be heroes. Nope, not in this police state. The hackers may serve longer sentence than the rapists. You see, surveillance is OK if you work for the state.
But one gets the distinct impression that Congress and the White House do not feel they need to inform their constituents of their actions. Why did this have to come from a whistleblower? Our own government is not interested in protecting us, only in protecting its primacy. With Citizens United we have built a firewall between citizen and career politician. Who is going to enforce the law when one can be paid to ignore it? We are a little late here trying to protect our privacy. We have along ago given that up for commerce. We have to understand that those who are in control of it are not compelled to use it prudently. Yes, there are laws that protect us. But laws work best in the light of day. Obama promised he would take us out of Bush’s surveillance. He has become far far worse than Bush in this regard.
Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian UK said: “They attack the media as the messenger and they are trying to discredit the story,” Greenwald responded. “This has been going back decades, ever since the Pentagon papers were released by The New York Times, and political officials said you are endangering national security. The only thing we’ve endangered is the reputation of the people in power who are building this massive spying apparatus without any accountability who are trying to hide from the American people what it is that they are doing.”
Citations: Guardian UK