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“Today the path to total dictatorship in the U.S. can be laid by strictly legal means, unseen and unheard by Congress, the President, or the people. Outwardly we have a Constitutional government. We have operating within our government and political system … a well-organized political-action group in this country, determined to destroy our Constitution and establish a one-party state…. The important point to remember about this group is not its ideology but its organization… It operates secretly, silently, continuously to transform our Government…. This group … is answerable neither to the President, the Congress, nor the courts. It is practically irremovable.”— Senator William Jenner, 1954 speech
Unaffected by elections. Unaltered by populist movements. Beyond the reach of the law.
Say hello to America’s shadow government.
A corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that is fully operational and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country, this shadow government represents the hidden face of a government that has no respect for the freedom of its citizenry.
And the punchline is that just as expected, Europe’s Patriot Act has finally taken shape: according to a proposed amendment, the French state-of-emergency police powers, such as to conduct warrantless searches and order house arrests, will be unconditionally shieleded from court challenges.
In other words, a handful of government bureaucrats will soon be above any and all legal “checks and balances“, and will be provided absolute power to decide the fate of virtually any French citizen without due or any process. This is precisely what took place for decades in the Soviet Union, and why the west was so proud to provide its own citizens with those core civil rights which the soviets never enjoyed. And now it is the turn of the “democratic” western powers to unleash their own mini USSR on their citizens. You know, in the name of “preventing terrorism.”
Back on September 11, Zero Hedge accurately predicted not only the terrorist events which unfolded in Paris on November 13, but also the resulting aftermath with uncanny accuracy.
We said that “as the need to ratchet up the fear factor grows, expect more such reports of asylum seekers who have penetrated deep inside Europe, and whose intentions are to terrorize the public. Expect a few explosions thrown in for good effect” and we added that “since everyone knows by now “not to let a crisis go to waste” the one thing Europe needs is a visceral, tangible crisis, ideally with chilling explosions and innocent casualties. We expect one will be provided on short notice.”
It was provided exactly two months later. But it was the “fine print” in out forecast that was most troubling:
And as predicted….
From the article:
“This is what we do not understand. The targets bombed by French warplanes were mostly abandoned by ISIL fighters.”
French authorities are still largely in the dark regarding how many people were ultimately involved in the attack and with suspected “mastermind” Abdelhamid Abaaoud out of reach in Syria, police are focused on locating Salah Abdeslam who allegedly helped with logistics and rented a black Volkswagen Polo used by the gunmen who stormed the Bataclan concert hall.
– FBI Confirms No Major Terrorism Cases Cracked Via Unconstitutional Patriot Act Phone Spying (ZeroHedge, May 23, 2015):
“FBI agents can’t point to any major terrorism cases they’ve cracked thanks to the key snooping powers in the Patriot Act, the Justice Department’s inspector general said in a report Thursday that could complicate efforts to keep key parts of the law operating... Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said that between 2004 and 2009, the FBI tripled its use of bulk collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows government agents to compel businesses to turn over records and documents, and increasingly scooped up records of Americans who had no ties to official terrorism investigations.”
– Federal Appeals Court Rules Mass NSA Spying On US Citizens Not Authorized By Patriot Act (ZeroHedge, May 7, 2015):
While Edward Snowden may be legally charged for treason in the US (even as he gets his own statue in Berlin), his contributions to US civil rights just got a huge validation by none other than the Federal appeals court which ruled moments ago that the National Security Agency’s controversial collection of millions of Americans’ phone records isn’t authorized by the Patriot Act, as the Bush and Obama administrations have long maintained.
It would appear America’s transformation into a “Big Brother” police state is not endorsed by every branch of the government after all.
– Congress Is Trying To Reauthorize Key Patriot Act Provisions by Sneaking it Into ‘USA Freedom Act’ (Liberty Blitzkrieg, April 17, 2015):
Yet with Section 215’s lifespan now stretching to a matter of weeks, supporters of broad surveillance powers have yet to put forth a bill for their preservation – evidence, opponents believe, that the votes for reauthorization do not exist, particularly not in the House of Representatives.
More likely, according to a multiple Hill sources, is a different option under consideration: making the major NSA reform bill of the last Congress the point of departure for reauthorizing 215 in the current one.
The bill would not abridge NSA collection of Americans’ international communications, nor prevent the NSA or the FBI from warrantlessly searching through its troves of them for Americans’ identifying information. Nor would it restrict a constellation of surveillance efforts authorized by a Reagan-era executive order. Even a recently disclosed bulk domestic phone records collection dragnet by the Drug Enforcement Agency would be untouched.
“We should be demanding more reforms than the intelligence agencies are gladly willing to offer us,” said David Segal of the activist group Demand Progress.
– From the Guardian article: NSA and FBI Fight to Retain Spy Powers as Surveillance Law Nears Expiration
June 1, 2015 is a very important day for American civil liberties and the Constitution. On that day, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, one of the most egregious pieces of legislation passed in U.S. history, will expire automatically without reauthorization from Congress. Naturally, this is causing a panic attack within the heart of the NSA, FBI and all the authoritarian lackey legislators in Washington D.C. With the chances of a clean reauthorization next to none, these crafty “representatives” and their puppeteers need to figure out a way to sneak it into another piece of legislation. What better way to do this than making it a part of something that ostensibly appears to be reining in surveillance powers. Enter the USA Freedom Act.
There are very few government checks on what America’s sweeping surveillance programs are capable of doing. John Oliver sits down with Edward Snowden to discuss the NSA, the balance between privacy and security, and dick-pics.
– Meet the “Surveillance State Repeal Act” – A Bipartisan Bill to Fully Repeal the Patriot Act (Liberty Blitzkrieg, March 25, 2015):
Revelations about the NSA’s programs reveal the extraordinary extent to which the program has invaded Americans’ privacy. I reject the notion that we must sacrifice liberty for security — we can live in a secure nation which also upholds a strong commitment to civil liberties. This legislation ends the NSA’s dragnet surveillance practices, while putting provisions in place to protect the privacy of American citizens through real and lasting change.
– Rep. Mark Pocan on the Surveillance State Repeal Act
Whenever I hear “bipartisan bill,” the first thing that pops into my mind is that classic George Carlin quote:
The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.
Nevertheless, when I looked at the sponsors and some of the language being used with regard to the Surveillance State Repeal Act, it became pretty clear to me that this bill might actually do what it says. While I’m unfamiliar with Mark Pocan, I’m familiar with Thomas Massie as a result of his close relationship with one of the few members of Congress I respect, Justin Amash.
– More “War on Terror” Abuses – Spying Powers Are Used for Terrorism Only 0.5% of the Time (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Oct 28, 2014):
The Patriot Act continues to wreak its havoc on civil liberties. Section 213 was included in the Patriot Act over the protests of privacy advocates and granted law enforcement the power to conduct a search while delaying notice to the suspect of the search. Known as a “sneak and peek” warrant, law enforcement was adamant Section 213 was needed to protect against terrorism. But the latest government report detailing the numbers of “sneak and peek” warrants reveals that out of a total of over 11,000 sneak and peek requests, only 51 were used for terrorism. Yet again, terrorism concerns appear to be trampling our civil liberties.
– From the EFF’s excellent piece: Government Authority Intended for Terrorism is Used for Other Purposes
The last week or so has provided several examples of how Western governments aren’t using their increased spy powers for terrorism at all, but rather, are abusing them in almost every other manner imaginable. From tax collection and raiding manufacturers of female undergarments, to confiscating counterfeit goods.
While powerful, all of that is just anecdotal evidence. What we really need to see are some hard numbers to prove that the “war on terror” is a gigantic fraud simply used to strip citizens’ of their civil liberties. Well, thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), we now have such numbers.
Read it and weep serfs:
Published on Jun 5, 2013
If this doesn’t wake you up, I don’t know what will.
Links to get you started on your research:
It is convenient that in a recent post covering the latest historic Verizon M&A deal we showed a spaghetti chart, created by the WSJ, of the US telecom space because it lays roughly how many current subscribers that other US telecom giant, AT&T, has.
The reason for this is that according to the latest revelations from the NYT, which following recent work-sharing with the Guardian is now another official distributor of the Edward Snowden leaks (who in a brilliant move has decided to spread out his disclosures week after week, many times allowing such staggered disclosures to catch the administration – which has no idea what is coming next – in flagrant lies), the chart above shows that 140 million landline and wireless paying AT&T customers is the minimum number of affected Americans whose every call is recorded, however not directly or indirectly by the government, but rather by a private corporation working in collaboration with the US government.
The name of the collaboration: the Hemisphere Project, fomerly Hudson Hawk.
“Minimum” because the number of affected American citizens is far greater than just AT&T customers. As the NYT reports, every call that crosses through an AT&T switch, not just calls made by AT&T customers which means virtually every US phone call, is recorded in a formerly top secret AT&T database that has existed since 1987 and whose “scale and longevity of data storage appears to be unmatched by other government programs, including the N.S.A.’s gathering of phone call logs under the Patriot Act.” It is a database which adds 4 billion call records every single day and which unlike the N.S.A.’s also includes information on the location of callers.
In other words, before the NSA was recording every phone call, that task was being handled by another entity: AT&T. The cover back then, just like the Patriot Act is the cover for the continuation of the NSA’s espionage operation against America’s own people, so Hemisphere was in collaboration with counternarcotics agents and federal and local drug officials. And of course, just like with the NSA and its utmost secrecy, there is no way to monitor and observe what if any checks on the violation of privacy rights exists. One can simply hope that unlike in every other instance, that US government officials never had an inkling to abuse this treasure trove of phone records for non-drug related offenses.
A snapshot of the “Project” from the NYT:
H/t reader M.G.:
“On another subject, a very important story that the US propaganda/obfuscation machine is not presenting on US media TV or US websites is this one. I thought this would be of interest to you. The amount of stuff this government is doing without telling anyone is shocking. These are the acts of a totalitarian dictatorship, not a republic.
With all the 24/7 news that isn’t being broadcast daily on TV, it is remarkable how no story of any portend gets covered. There are other stories related to this one on the UK Guardian.”
– Intelligence committee urged to explain if they withheld crucial NSA document (Guardian, Aug 14, 2013):
The leadership of the House intelligence committee is under growing pressure to explain whether it withheld surveillance information from members of Congress before a key vote to renew the Patriot Act.
A Republican congressman and government ethics watchdogs are demanding that the powerful panel’s chairman, Mike Rogers of Michigan, responds to charges that the panel’s leadership failed to share a document prepared by the justice department and intelligence community.
The document was explicitly created to inform non-committee members about bulk collection of Americans’ phone records ahead of the vote in 2011. Michigan Republican Justin Amash alleged that the committee kept it from non-committee members – the majority of the House.
Now Morgan Griffith, a Republican who represents Virginia’s ninth district, is calling for answers. “I certainly think leadership needs to figure out what’s going on. We’re trying to get information so we can do our jobs as congressmen,” he told the Guardian. “If we’re not able to get that information, it’s inappropriate.”
“Obviously, this is of concern,” he added.
– Why Won’t They Tell Us the Truth About NSA Spying? (Ron Paul Institute, Aug 4, 2013):
In 2001, the Patriot Act opened the door to US government monitoring of Americans without a warrant. It was unconstitutional, but most in Congress over my strong objection were so determined to do something after the attacks of 9/11 that they did not seem to give it too much thought. Civil liberties groups were concerned, and some of us in Congress warned about giving up our liberties even in the post-9/11 panic. But at the time most Americans did not seem too worried about the intrusion.
This complacency has suddenly shifted given recent revelations of the extent of government spying on Americans. Politicians and bureaucrats are faced with serious backlash from Americans outraged that their most personal communications are intercepted and stored. They had been told that only the terrorists would be monitored. In response to this anger, defenders of the program have time and again resorted to spreading lies and distortions. But these untruths are now being exposed very quickly.
– Secrets exposed: How the NSA rubber-stamps warrantless spying (PressTV, July 15, 2013):
If we are to regard ourselves as a grown-up nation-and anything else will henceforth be mortally dangerous-then we must, as the Biblical phrase goes, put away childish things; and among these… the first to go, in my opinion, should be… the search for absolute security…
-George Kennan, The Sources of Soviet Conduct, in Foreign Affairs (1947.)
Now we know what they so badly wanted to tell us but couldn’t and what a revelation it is. I refer to the exciting and long-awaited news reported in the Wall Street Journal as to what it was that Senators Mark Udall and Tom Wyden have been dying to tell the American public about the operations of the NSA but were unable to disclose because the information was of such a top-secret nature.
– CISPA Will Legalize PRISM Spy Program (Activist Post, June 8, 2013):
Give them an inch and they will take a mile. That is how power-hungry tyrants interpret any law.
The PATRIOT Act and the FISA court led to the blanket wiretapping of every American citizen and a PRISM lens into all Internet activity for the NSA.
Jim Sensenbrenner is a US politician who has been a member of the Republican party in the House of Representatives since 1979, representing Wisconsin’s 5th congressional district. In 2001, he introduced the USA Patriot Act in the House
– This abuse of the Patriot Act must end (Guardian, by Jim Sensenbrenner, June 9, 2013):
We’ve gotten used to what “Big Government” looks like – Washington’s unchecked deficit spending, the Obama administration’s policing of the press and the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. But the problem is bigger than we thought. “Big Brother” is watching. And he is monitoring the phone calls and digital communications of every American, as well as of any foreigners who make or receive calls to or from the United States.
Last week, the Guardian reported that the Obama administration is collecting records of every call made to, from or within the US, as well as records of many digital communications. President Obama has tried to deflect criticism by claiming “every member of Congress has been briefed on this program.” While some members of Congress were briefed – particularly those on the intelligence committees – most, including myself, were not.
The administration claims authority to sift through details of our private lives because the Patriot Act says that it can. I disagree. I authored the Patriot Act, and this is an abuse of that law.
I was the chairman of the House judiciary committee when the US was attacked on 11 September 2001. Five days later, the Justice Department delivered its proposal for new legislation. Although I, along with every other American, knew we had to strengthen our ability to combat those targeting our country, this version went too far. I believed then and now that we can defend our country and our liberty at the same time.
I immediately called then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert and asked him for time to redraft the legislation. I told the speaker that if the legislation moved forward as drafted, I would not only vote against it, but would actively oppose it.
– Even the Author of the Patriot Act Slams the NSA and Eric Holder on Spying (Liberty Blitzkrieg, June 6, 2013)
– Judge Orders Google To Give Customer Data To FBI (Huffingtion Post, June 1, 2013):
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has ruled that Google Inc. must comply with the FBI’s warrantless demands for customer data, rejecting the company’s argument that the government’s practice of issuing so-called national security letters to telecommunication companies, Internet service providers, banks and others was unconstitutional and unnecessary.
FBI counter-terrorism agents began issuing the secret letters, which don’t require a judge’s approval, after Congress passed the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.