Big Brother in America

Pathless

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A thread for alarmed and/or concerned Americans who frequent this board to blow the whistle and link to articles that educate, enlighten, and disturb us about the real possibility of a 1984-style police surveillance scenario in the United States.

Citizens of other countries with similar concerns and information are, of course, encouraged and welcomed to submit information about their respective countries, or anywhere else where repressive governental acts aim to inhibit and limit individual human freedoms.

Institutionalized Spying On Americans
by Stephen Lendman

NSA (National Security Agency) was established in 1952, is super-secret, and for many years was never revealed to exist. Today, its capabilities are awesome and worrisome. It eavesdrops globally, mines a vast amount of data, and does it through a network of spy satellites, listening posts, and surveillance planes to monitor virtually all electronic communications from landline and cell phones, telegrams, emails, faxes, radio and television, data bases of all kinds and the internet.

NGA is new and began operating in 2003. It lets military and intelligence analysts monitor virtually anything or anyone from state-of-the-art spy satellites. Both NSA and NGA coordinate jointly with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) that designs, builds and operates military spy satellites. It also analyzes military and CIA-collected aircraft and satellite reconnaissance information.

Combined with warrantless wiretapping, pervasive spying of all kinds, the abandonment of the law and checks and balances, intense secrecy, and an array of repressive post-9/11 legislation, Executive Orders and National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directives, NAO is another national security police state tool any despot would love. It's now established and may be operating without congressional approval.

...

Anyone for any reason may be watched at all times (through walls) with no way to know it, but a June 2001 (before 9/11) Supreme Court decision offers hope. In Kyllo v. United States, the Court ruled for petitioner 5 to 4 (with Scalia and Thomas in the majority). It voided a conviction based on police use of thermal imaging to detect heat in his triplex to determine if an illegal drug was being grown, in this case marijuana.

The Court held: "Where, as here, the Government uses a device that is not in general public use, to explore details of a private home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion, the surveillance is a Fourth Amendment 'search," and is presumptively unreasonable without a warrant....To withdraw protection of this minimum expectation would be to permit police technology to erode the privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment" protecting against "unreasonable searches and seizures."

...

Real ID Act Update - Another Intrusive Police State Tool

The Real ID Act of 2005 required states to meet federal ID standards by May, 2008. That's now changed because 29 states passed or introduced laws that refuse to comply. They call the Act costly to administer, a bureaucratic nightmare, and New Hampshire said it's "repugnant" and violates the state and US Constitutions.

The federal law mandates that every US citizen and legal resident have a national ID card that in most cases is a driver's license meeting federal standards. It requires it to contain an individual's personal information and makes one mandatory to open a bank account, board an airplane, be able to vote, get a job, enter a federal building, or conduct virtually all essential business requiring identification.



Institutionalized Spying On Americans By Stephen Lendman
 
I know its not my country, Pathless, but I dont really have a problem with it if it was happening here. I dont have anything to hide. Im not into conpiracies. Im far too small on the greater scheme of things to be noticed. Im not important and I like it that way. It might be different for me if I was of any political persuasion or power. But now, Im just an ant.
 
Grey, I'm glad that you seem to be able to afford the luxury of that sort of attitude. For lots of people over here, myself included, 1984 really began in 1984. I've seen the oppression and manipulation of people's lives up close and personal. And there's nothing the ordinary citizen can do about it here. It is not a "conspiracy theory", it's real and it happens 24/7/365 to some of us.

For many of us it is a hidden system of abuse and torture, and I'm not kidding. I'm not spinning fables about all of this either. And to feed your favorite comment, I often tell others that if you think too much in America, you are automatically labeled an extremist or terrorist. You would think that with all the crap and problems that have been created the past fifty years here, people in charge would seek out original thinkers and allow them to help think things through to solutions. But no, they are tagged and turned into enemies of the state. Pathless has a right to bring this to anyone's attention that he wishes.

flow....:mad:
 
Oh, we all love you grey. :)

I don't know about torture, but I do know the American government often acts in some... unethical ways when it comes to gaining information, especially when it has to do with "homeland security" or defense.

And they do some odd things too. For a while, the teacher's union was considered a terrorist organization. No, I'm not kidding. And anymore, it seems like whenever more than a half-dozen people gather together in protest, it winds up with everyone going to jail under the guise of "disturbing the peace" and other such nonsense.

Personally, I think 9/11 was awful but worse was that it was used mostly as an excuse to start shelving many of our civil liberties, getting the public to agree by using their fear. This is done with all sorts of things in the States, and the government usually does one thing while the media says another. The government is so enmeshed in big business that it is ridiculous, and there is a vested interest in keeping most of the populace ignorant and fearing each other. A group that is afraid is easy to control, and a group that is turning in on itself means their attention is directed away from the larger processes at work.

Post 9/11, our own government did more to take away a lot of what the United States is all about than the terrorists ever did. The terrorists killed Americans, but it is our own government that used it as an opportunity to do things that are against the spirit of our constitution and ideals.

What is sad to me is that most Americans are either so apathetic or uneducated that they just stand by and get sucked right in.:(
 
Sucked in is right. Most Americans would rather live in a 1950's style consensus thinking mode than really look at what is going on. The sad thing is both parties are in on it. There is only one political party and its name is money and power.
Hillary and Bill both have ties to the Bilderberg group. The Bush crime family has been dabbling in international power brokering for literally generations.
So keep on keeping on Pathless! I got your six ;)
 
Yes, this is partly what is so frustrating. You see over time that whoever you vote into office, nothing much will change. This is because by the time we are given our candidates, they have already had to have so much money and power that they are bound to have different agendas than the general public.

I think aside from fear, Americans are kept, as a whole, rather passive about everything so long as they feel like they can buy what they want. As long as we can keep charging new vehicles, bigger homes, more stuff, then people are pretty happy. People who can't do this are taught by the media to spend their time trying to get to a point where they can, admiring those that already do, and being envious of one another. People who can buy stuff are told by the media to keep upgrading as often as possible.
 
A really important movie to watch about the military-industrial complex is Why We Fight by Eugene Jarecki. Muslimwoman has already talked about and linked to this film somewhere in these forums, and if you click here you can watch many excerpts on the official website.

This is a documentary that starts with Dwight D. Eisenhower's warnings in his parting address of 1960 or '61 about the newly established military-industrial complex. One of the more memorable quotes that his granddaughter recalls from him is, "God help this country when somebody sits at this desk who doesn't know as much about the military as I do."

Politicians on both sides of the aisle are interviewed. John McCain, the Republican ex-military congressman running (again) for President in '08 states that Dick Cheney should be investigated for ties to Haliburton/Kellogg, Brown & Root--then ironically has to end the interview because "the Vice President is on the phone." George W. Bush tells us all in one of his presedential speeches that "America is a great democracy because of its great media," (my paraphrase, but something very close to this), which is once again ironic and scary considering that the kind of media that makes America "great" in the way that he is referencing is nothing less than a nationalistic propaganda machine.

A Vietnam Vet recalls how his son was killed in the attacks on the WTC on 9/11, and the documentary follows his story all the way through his complete support for the vengeful retribution of war in both Afghanistan and Iraq until he hears George W. Bush state, months after Operation Iraqi Freedom, that "we've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved" in the September 11th attacks. To which the vet who lost his son in those attacks and went as far as to request that the Air Force paint his son's name on a bomb to be dropped somewhere, anywhere, to make people pay for his son's death--his reply after hearing Bush rescind his administration's claims that Iraq had ties to 9/11 is, "What the hell did we go in there for?" And indeed a bomb with his son's name was dropped in Iraq on April 1, 2003.

Many, many more stories are told in the film. Every American should watch this movie. We should show it in high schools and churches across the country.

Another important movie to watch is Bush's Brain, which is also (and firstly) a book. The film-makers and authors tackle Karl Rove, who is sometimes referred to as "the President" (a title also often attributed to Dick Cheney). Examining his roots as a smart and somewhat mean-spirited student, the film traces Rove's ascendency into politics through the Young Republicans, to the first George Bush, and on to an icky symbiotic/parasitic relationship with son George, the "wartime President." Along the way, Karl Rove plays and develops a repertoire of dirty tricks including:
  • 1986: planting listening devices in his own office and blaming political opponents of Bill Clements, the candidate he was working for (it worked, too, which is very sad)
  • 2002 and 2004: politically smearing military veterans who have gone on to become members of congress (see Max Cleland and John McCain for related stories)
  • 1990s (?): sending the opposition in Texas to jail
  • and perhaps most memorably, very likely involvement with journalist Robert Novak, who in July of 2003 outed CIA operative Valerie Plame
Everyone who thinks that government has citizenry's best interests in mind should know that this same Karl Rove has made his nest in the West Wing of the White House for seven years of the Bush Administration. He has since resigned, although I don't think he's been charged with any crimes--but Scooter Libby has.


More on Rove:
Wayne Madsen: Exposing Karl Rove
 
Surviving a CIA Black Site
December 19, 2007
from Democracy Now!

The kidnap and torture program of the Bush administration, with its secret CIA “black site” prisons and “torture taxi” flights on private jets, saw a little light of day this week. I spoke to Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah in his first broadcast interview. Bashmilah was a victim of the CIA’s so-called extraordinary rendition program, in which people are grabbed from their homes, out of airports, off the streets, and are whisked away, far from the prying eyes of the U.S. Congress, the press, far from the reach of the courts, to countries where cruelty and torture are routine.

...

Full article:
Democracy Now! | Surviving a CIA Black Site

Also:

Canada Puts U.S. on Torture Watch List
Democracy Now! | Headlines for January 18, 2008

The Canadian government has put the United States on a watch list of countries that could practice torture. The mention is made on a secret Canadian government document not intended for public release. The document cites the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay and lists U.S. interrogation techniques including “forced nudity, isolation, and sleep deprivation.” Other countries on the list include Israel, Syria, China, Iran and Afghanistan.
 
Still love you Grey. Perspective is the most informative issue in this. Path is so right in her analysis. People here who are comfortable, brainwashed, and have enough "stuff" swim around in vanilla or chocolate pudding all of the time and life is "sweet".

Those of us who see the flaws and dangers to the individual and collective human spirit in these scenarios and speak up are hammered down just as in the Japanese tradition of hammering down the nails which sticks up advocates. You can try to be insignificant and not be noticed in the USA, but EVERYONE here is physically and technologically addressable and reachable. They/we can be "reached" by the "powers that be" when that is believed to be necessary. If that isn't a "Big Brother" scenario, I don't know what is.

And Path, torture through technological channels can be very subtle and effective when the targets are sensitized to it through years of conditioning. A single telephone call can serve to let you know that "they" know where and who you are, and that "they" know what you're doing counter to the desires of the pudding masters. Older citizens who go against the "pudding program" are made especially vulnerable. Like my dear departed Dad used to say, once you reach 65, you become a "throwaway person". And I've found that it can be made to happen to certain people long before that.

Pathless...keep up the good work. You certainly are effective in getting my back up.

Grey, so many of us here would give almost anything to escape our imposed "nightmares" and escape to simpler attitudes and lifestyles, but sometimes it is simply not possible when abuse and cruelty rule. None of it is your doing or fault my dear. It's just the way life is here.

Yeah I know, love it or leave it. I'd rather stay and try to bring about change. Am I stupid or just comfortably numb ?

flow....:(
 
For many of us it is a hidden system of abuse and torture, and I'm not kidding. I'm not spinning fables about all of this either. And to feed your favorite comment, I often tell others that if you think too much in America, you are automatically labeled an extremist or terrorist. You would think that with all the crap and problems that have been created the past fifty years here, people in charge would seek out original thinkers and allow them to help think things through to solutions. But no, they are tagged and turned into enemies of the state. Pathless has a right to bring this to anyone's attention that he wishes.

That is why I wonder why so many people go to the U.S. It is a living hell.........:eek:...........Question: Why do so many people choose to go to hell?:D

Yes, this is partly what is so frustrating. You see over time that whoever you vote into office, nothing much will change. This is because by the time we are given our candidates, they have already had to have so much money and power that they are bound to have different agendas than the general public.

I think aside from fear, Americans are kept, as a whole, rather passive about everything so long as they feel like they can buy what they want. As long as we can keep charging new vehicles, bigger homes, more stuff, then people are pretty happy. People who can't do this are taught by the media to spend their time trying to get to a point where they can, admiring those that already do, and being envious of one another. People who can buy stuff are told by the media to keep upgrading as often as possible.

That is why the U.S. should adopt the Westminster parliamentary system!!! Stop voting for Presidents. Start voting for Members of Parliament. That's the solution for proper representation. It would surely be a blow to America's pride, but do you want national pride or personal security? Appoint a Governor General as Head of State. Have a Premier or Prime Minister heading the executive branch. It'll probably be humiliating for America, and the world may stop worshipping America as it starts giving its soul back to the Crown, but you know, the real independence America always deserved was lost in 1776 (correct me if I got the year wrong). The Westminster system was always better. True democracy comes from Britain. The British were the ones who were really defending American independence. They were trying to save the rebellious, impetuous and reckless Americans from themselves. Their volatile and undisciplined minds were never fit to make a country. Now that the Americans are finally seeing the folly of their rebellion, they will repent of their sins, turn from the error of their ways and with sincere hearts rekindle their love of the British monarchy. Just hope Elizabeth II will have a successor!!!:eek: This is starting to get pretty important. The worst time for Britain to become a republic like the U.S. and repeat its mistakes.

Britons are the ones who know how to set up a democracy with their Magna Carta, English Revolution and their famous Gunpowder, Plots, Treason (might have got the order wrong there), trying to blow up Parliament and King James. What you need is something to annul the Divine Right of the Presidency.

Nah just kidding. I'm not that much of a fan of Brits, but it's a good thing they are less pompous these days. They seem to have been replaced by the Americans. Good Arthur Harris may have a reincarnation one day!!! Britain will build a new generation of Avro Lancaster bombers and fly them over the Land of the Stars and Stripes. To get the needed resources, the Commonwealth will need to revert back to Empire. It will need all that and more to defeat the American Luftwaffe. There's going to be firestorms and whole cities will be wiped out. Bomber Command will be condemned, but the actions will have been necessary. Gotta get China and Russia on board with this to fight on the Western Front after the Battle of Stalingrad is won.

BTW, it seems that very few people have responded to Dauer's Story of Stuff thread.
 
That is why I wonder why so many people go to the U.S. It is a living hell.........:eek:...........Question: Why do so many people choose to go to hell?:D

Hi Salty !

I admit that there are more repressive places to try to live. But America taught many of the leaders in those places our system and methods at places like the School for the Americas at Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA.

America exports the basics of hell under cryptic names and operations. And I believe that the answer to your question is "advertising" . Of course there is no flood of immigrants trying to get here these days from say France, Scandinavian countries, Ireland, or the Netherlands.
 
Pathless...keep up the good work. You certainly are effective in getting my back up.

I do what I can, flow. :)

flowperson said:
Yeah I know, love it or leave it. I'd rather stay and try to bring about change. Am I stupid or just comfortably numb ?

flow....:(

Ditto me, and when did being civically engaged turn into such a derided pasttime? Seems like these days, being vocal about the importance of individual involvement in democracy by dragging out the shadowy elements for a nice laundering is still highly unpopular. Been that way for as long as I've been alive and aware, really, although I'm currently enjoying the slight return to sanity that is coming as a reaction to the corruption in high places that has been so disgustingly and shamefully flaunted for the past seven years.

With the streamlining of presidential politics through technological applications like teevee and computerized voting machines, I think it may be time for us as people of the United States to get back to some basics in our electoral process. Paper leaves a verifiable trail. Computerized voting machines don't have to. Political issues and affiliations aside, all Americans should be able to agree that each and every vote should be counted. Please support Rep. John Laesch's initiative to create paper ballots to back up the e-voting machines in this election year.

Protect the Integrity of Our Democracy!

Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) has introduced the "Emergency
Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008". This act will help
election authorities using e-voting to convert to paper ballots,
offer emergency paper ballots or convert audits by hand counts. We
want to make sure that every vote is counted, that every election
result is verifiable.

Accoring to Holt, there are six states that have no verifiable paper
trail and counties in 16 other states have the same problem. That
means 20 states cannot fully verify their votes in the primaries or
the November Presidential election.

This is no way to run a Democracy. This legislation needs to be
passed immediately to protect our elections! Our democracy can only
be as strong as the integrity of our elections. It is critical that
we support Rep. Holt’s legislation. Citizens need to know that their
vote will be counted, and that they can trust our electoral process.

http://usalone.com/laesch/pnum779.php


 
I'll stay until it gets where I can't stand it anymore, and then I'll bail for Canada. Thank God I have relatives there that would sponsor me. That, or head for a backwoods life "off the grid." I'm only partly kidding and my main reason we haven't done this already (though we've seriously contemplated) is my love affair with hot showers and art galleries.

I think people want to come here partly because of false advertising (not entirely the US's fault) and partly because it's still better than the real third world hell-holes of the world where people are randomly shot, children often die of malnutrition, and the majority is surviving on less than $2 a day (around 50% of the world makes less than $2/day).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to complain about my poor sad life in the US. It could be and is much worse in other places. It's just that the US has several scary tendencies that have grown worse in my short lifetime and the government is so divorced from the reality of ordinary people. I think much of the answer should be in chucking all the televisions into a giant dump and starting again with politics being some candidate going 'round the country and speaking to folks in person, but that is just me.

What frustrates me more than our government and media is our overall culture of apathy and passivity. Studies show that young children plunked in front of televisions have fundamental changes to their neural pathways, leading them to be more passive in this way (among other problems). Studies also show that Americans spend the bulk of their free time watching TV. So basically, we have a whole huge culture of people who raise their kids to be unquestioning, uncreative, passive blobs glued to the TV set. It isn't that surprising we end up with an adult population of overweight, depressed, uncreative and uneducated people, still glued to their TV sets, living pathetically vicariously through the lives of celebrities, sports heroes, and fictional characters. It is pathological to me, and people can blame the "system" but any American is free to stop owning a TV or to limit their watching to things like PBS and BBC. Americans are choosing the erosion of democracy and their own humanity. They are choosing to remain uneducated about how their choices affect others. Any one of us is free to read real scientific journals and books, but people choose not to.
 
Hi Path...Scientific journal reading is SOOO FAR beyond the comprehension of the average American that I had to chuckle at your last sentence. I certainly wouldn't have begun to if I hadn't gotten to where I had to do it to keep abreast of the stuff I ended up doing in my University job handling intellectual property. Most people simply aren't that curious anymore. That seemed to die about twenty years ago in the third generation of TV watching.

These days aside from the daily news sites, I usually cruise several science sites on the web, and if something really catches my eye I'll try to get the original stuff from a journal. My experience with my colleagues around the country who did what I did was that they were competent in understanding the basics and promissory aspects of what we handled. Some were former "bench" researchers with PhD's, some were accountants or other business types with lifelong curiosities about science and technology, and some were having to learn lots of stuff from the ground up. This was in the early 80's and early 90's. I'm sure you'd have to have about six degrees these days to get such a gig.

The insidious influences of TV and some video games on some people is fairly obvious these days. I'm fortunate enough to remember when TV was NOT. And that was the beginning of people neglecting to use their imaginations. My personal take is that the analog signal linkages between the transmitters, receivers, and people's brains sometimes interlock to create certain effects in watcher's minds, most of them detrimental. The repetitive nature of TV programming and advertising also has a certain detrimental effect upon a watcher's will to seek and be independent.

My own opinion is that these effects will be more directly targetable towards certain individuals and classes of individuals with the mandated advent of digital television in '09 when each watcher and their household will be rendered directly addressable. Here's a clue to all of this, before he became the U.S. Secretary of Defense Mr. Rumsfeld was the CEO of a corporation, General Instruments, which designed and manufactured digital set top boxes for televisions connected to cable and satellite program sources.

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck....

flow....:rolleyes:
 
Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army reports that seven non-violent protesters sat in jail for five days while Blackwater mercenaries remain out of jail and in Iraq, doing what they get paid to do: shoot, maim, and kill Iraqis.


AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: Pioneering Blackwater Protesters Given Secret Trial and Criminal Conviction

Pioneering Blackwater Protesters Given Secret Trial and Criminal Conviction

Last week in Currituck County, N.C., Superior Court Judge Russell Duke presided over the final step in securing the first criminal conviction stemming from the deadly actions of Blackwater Worldwide, the Bush administration's favorite mercenary company. Lest you think you missed some earth-shifting, breaking news, hold on a moment. The "criminals" in question were not the armed thugs who gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians and wounded more than 20 others in Baghdad's Nisour Square last September. They were seven nonviolent activists who had the audacity to stage a demonstration at the gates of Blackwater's 7,000-acre private military base in North Carolina to protest the actions of mercenaries acting with impunity -- and apparent immunity -- in their names and those of every American.


The arrest of the activists and the subsequent five days they spent locked up in jail is more punishment than any Blackwater mercenaries have received for their deadly actions against Iraqi civilians. "The courts pretend that adherence to the law is what makes for an orderly and peaceable world," said Steve Baggarly, one of the protest organizers. "In fact, U.S. law and courts stand idly by while the U.S. military and private armies like Blackwater have killed, maimed, brutalized and destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis."



Full article: AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: Pioneering Blackwater Protesters Given Secret Trial and Criminal Conviction
 
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin
 
InfraGard?? Private contractors connected with the FBI? Immunity for murders committed to protect property? Protecting critical interests and infrastructure from terrorists, or fascism on the rise?

AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: FBI Deputizes Private Contractors With Extraordinary Powers, Including 'Shoot to Kill'

Matthew Rothschild said:
"At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector," the InfraGard website states. "InfraGard chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories."

In November 2001, InfraGard had around 1,700 members. As of late January, InfraGard had 23,682 members, according to its website, InfraGard - Public Private Partnership -Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which adds that "350 of our nation's Fortune 500 have a representative in InfraGard."

...

"Then they said when -- not if -- martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn't be prosecuted," he says.

...

"We were assured that if we were forced to kill someone to protect our infrastructure, there would be no repercussions," the whistleblower says. "It gave me goose bumps. It chilled me to the bone."

AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: FBI Deputizes Private Contractors With Extraordinary Powers, Including 'Shoot to Kill'
 
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