Tag Archives: PRISM

Untangling the web of NSA, Snowden, and PRISM

stevendepolo (CC)

stevendepolo (CC)

stevendepolo (CC)

Arguments over the value of what Edward Snowden revealed to Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian have been out there ever since the story broke, and of course, the smearing of Snowden by official sources in government is in full swing. It is understandable that Greenwald is doing what he can to protect the integrity of his source. However, his current statements do not dispel some issues brought up by Mandy Nagy over at Legal Insurrection. If anything, the inconsistencies brought up by Nagy raise many legitimate questions that probably will need to be addressed sooner or later by Greenwald and The Guardian, presuming that there is a real desire to protect the integrity of their source, and the legitimacy of their reporting.

That is a relatively harsh way of putting another issue on the table – was The Guardian “right” to report on this in the first place? It’s a treacherous situation to report on intelligence procedures in the best of circumstances, and this case is particularly difficult to wade through, if for no other reason, because it appears that Snowden may or may not have been what he claims to have been. If Nagy is right, the big question becomes how did Snowden get the information in the first place? It is bad enough to think that someone that had been employed by the government through a contracted corporation could get this information if that person had access to it daily for years. But, it’s possible that Snowden only had real access to anything for just a few weeks, at most – taking into account training time, where it’s not unreasonable to assume he would have had limited access, regardless of his past history with the CIA. And that’s not even getting into the apparently spotted work and academic history of Snowden, that arguably should have been considered a warning sign that maybe he really wasn’t what he appeared. Given the nature of the information that he was revealing – government secrets that, by definition, can’t be verified by secondary sources – one would think that a great deal of scrutiny should be given to what should be verifiable – the life history of the source. Since it appears that Snowden’s history looks at least a little like a poorly pieced together “cover identity” from a spy novel, there should have been at least a little wariness about what the man had to say. One serious question should have been, has the CIA really taken to hiring people that had to get a GED because they couldn’t complete high school, and apparently couldn’t manage to complete a single degree in one school?

And then there is the PRISM program itself. While Palantir has a program of that name, they’ve categorically denied involvement in the NSA program of that name. Given the documentation of Palantir program, their claims appear to be true. However, that does not mean that Palantir doesn’t have hands in government intelligence gathering at all. The company specializes in data mining, management, and interpretation software, and openly states that it has clientele in government, law enforcement, the healthcare and pharmacy industries. While they tout their work against human trafficking in conjunction with Google, that doesn’t mean that their other endeavors are not worth scrutinizing. Just because they apparently are not involved in the development of NSA’s PRISM program does not mean that they are not involved in governmental data mining at all.

Snowden’s leaks to The Guardian have raised more questions than answers. The information that he has revealed still could eventually be proven to be of little value, but the fact that he had managed to hold any position in the government, or at a company that has been contracted to do security work is disturbing. It has been taken for granted that there has been some level of spying on U.S. citizens by the government since at the very least, 9/11. How far the government has gone, and continues to go, hasn’t been made any more clear by Snowden’s information. He’s merely pointed out that it probably is far more extensive than anyone had suspected previously. As for what citizens and journalists alike should be focusing on at this point is the simple fact that the government is spying on U.S. citizens. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the breadth of information on citizens that will be available to the government will increase radically. We should be more concerned with what the government intends to do with information it gathers, either through its intelligence infrastructure, or through purely domestic agencies like the IRS. The unfortunate fact at this point is that the conspiracy theorists are at least partially right. Government has grown to the point where no citizen should assume any level of privacy in anything that they do. They should assume that the government will not restrict itself to using that information for innocuous reasons – the claims that information could be used to intimidate citizens through threats of prosecution should be considered accurate, because there is nothing in place to prevent the government from acting in that way. Politics aside, this should be a wake-up call to the public. Unfortunately, until there are verified cases of the government using information that it has gathered through the use of PRISM or any other data mining programs to prosecute citizens as a tool of intimidation, it’s more likely that apathy will continue to keep the masses silent.

Turnkey Tyranny is in place

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Economic Policy Journal writes that the most important thing NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has said comes at the end of this interview. The infrastructure is now in place to bring tyranny onto the people of the United States with a simple flip of a switch. Edward Snowden calls it “turnkey tyranny.”

Americans Warned of ‘Revolution from Above’ and the Appearance of the ‘Messiah’

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Call it “fundamental transformation.” Call it a “coup d’etat” (like one of the architects of opposition to the “evil empire” under Ronald Reagan). Call it a “revolution from above.” But don’t call it American.

The e-scandals or revelations about the NSA tapping the meta-data of Verizon, T-mobile, AT&T and Sprint and data-mining major Internet companies only confirm what we all knew about the U.S. government: All this spy stuff is not for “them,” it’s for “us.” Indeed, as Forbes reports, the Verizon order specifically targeted Americans, not foreigners.

Furthermore, the explosive report about Project PRISM and the nine major Internet companies involved shows not only that top U.S. intelligence officers lied repeatedly about surveillance on millions of Americans, but it belies that the everyday behavior of citizens was being analyzed.

This hearkens back to the words of Maxine Waters, the rambling socialist “liberal” that she is, who bragged about a data-mining operation run by the Obama campaign that would blow people’s minds:

“The President has put in place an organization with the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life,” Representative Maxine Waters told former CNN contributor Roland Martin. “That’s going to be very, very powerful. That database will have information about everything on every individual on ways that it’s never been done before and whoever runs for President on the Democratic ticket has to deal with that.”

Maxine continued to give the game away. “They’re going to go down with that database and the concerns of those people because they can’t get around it. And he’s [President Obama] been very smart. It’s very powerful what he’s leaving in place.”

The important point is that there is nothing ideologically that restrains a “progressive” from using and abusing the American government to achieve narrow political ends. Alinsky taught precisely that way of utilizing instruments of power; and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both disciples of that master radical tactician.

The agencies of the DOJ, DHS, EPA, IRS, HHS, and NSA are seen by the radicals who comprise this government as mere appendages of their progressive machine; and as such, they are being custom-designed to control Americans and squelch political dissent. The Obama administration has gone after whistleblowers to an extent unseen before in American history. It has rewarded known liars and gone after ordinary, law-abiding citizens.

When progressives balk at the notion that they had anything to do with fabricating these totalitarian vestiges being thrown open before a dumb-founded public, it behooves us to remind them that they tailor-made them. It wasn’t George W. Bush or Barack Obama who foisted them upon an unwitting public, it was the artists and the entertainers, the professors and the schoolteachers, the lawyers and the judges, the unions and the activists, who made the notion of a government that controls the people mainstream.

Progressives can scapegoat Bush and deflect responsibility onto others, apologize to future generations and condescend to us that it is all for our own good, point the fingers at conservatives or launch irrelevant epithets like ‘racist’ and ‘sexist,’ or smear those who disagree with them and call them out for their delusions. But the fact remains that a big, all-powerful state has always been the progressives’ modus operandi.

So when the awesome force of the United States government comes untethered from its moorings, crashing through the countryside like a Leviathan unbound — don’t say you weren’t warned. There was ample warning all around the progressives; but in their haughty rush to foist their baseless utopia upon an unreceptive populace, they smashed the most prosperous, powerful, and just society known to man.

A nation that had rescued millions from tyranny and totalitarianism. One that had provided a port in the storm for the oppressed and the repressed. One that has stood as an exemplar to the world. And even now, in its crestfallen glory, it provides inspiration to billions around the world to lift themselves up from poverty and desperation to adopt free enterprise.

Just a few weeks ago, President Obama addressed young people at a college graduation ceremony. During his address, he downplayed all talk of impending “tyranny.” It was a signal foreshadowing that the scandals now being reported in the mainstream media were all but to be a temporary distraction and that soon everything would be “normalized.”

That is to say, politicians like himself would eventually come to be in control of every aspect of people’s lives and there would be nothing to worry about. In reality, the U.S. government is accruing power to become a de facto dictator over people’s lives, fortunes, and political opinions; and upon penalties like tax confiscation and medical denials, dissent could be smothered and the torch of freedom doused.

Anyone that has spent more than five minutes delving into the background of the progressive media’s appointed Messiah — the self-professed Marxist radical community organizer and “regular” attendee of the Jeremiah Wright school of America-hatred — a man so well-versed in the tactics of the leftist agitator Saul Alinsky that he was dubbed “the master” — current American president Barack Hussein Obama is wholly unsurprised by the borderline totalitarian trajectory of the nation.

As a student of Soviet history, a fluent speaker of Russian and a journalist who worked a short walk from Red Square in the old state press building of ITAR-TASS, I’ve always been impressed by the accounts of KGB defectors describing national politics in America. One such account is that of Yuri Bezmenov, who was a KGB propaganda specialist embedded in the Canadian press, who describes the open (i.e. non-clandestine) effort to ideologically subvert the United States:

The most fascinating thing about this interview is that there is no talk of grand conspiracies. No microphones in Coca-Cola bottles, no cloak-and-dagger exchanges of briefcases, no blowing up of bridges, and none of the “James Bond cliches” that animate the public imagination about espionage. What Bezmenov says is this:

“Ideological subversion is the process which is legitimate, overt and open. You can see it with your own eyes. All you have to do… all American mass media has to do… is to unplug their bananas from their ears, open up their eyes, and they can see it. There’s no mystery. There’s nothing to do with espionage. I know that espionage, intelligence gathering, looks more romantic. It sells more deodorants through their advertising, probably. That’s why your Hollywood producers are so crazy about James Bond type of thrillers.

But in reality, the main emphasis of the KGB is not in the area of intelligence at all. According to my opinion, and opinion of many defectors of my caliber, only about 15% of time, money and manpower is spent on espionage as such. The other 85% is a slow process, which we call either ideological subversion or “active measures,” aktivniye meripriyatiye in the language of the KGB, or psychological warfare.

What it basically means is to change the perception of reality of every American to such an extent that despite the abundance of information no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their community and their country. It’s a great brainwashing process, which goes very slow, and it’s divided in four basic stages.

The first one being demoralization — it takes from 15 to 20 years to demoralize a nation. Why that many years? Because this is the minimum number of years which it requires to educate one generation of students in the country of your enemy, exposed to the ideology of the enemy. In other words, Marxism-Leninism ideology is being pumped into the soft heads of at least three generations of American students without being challenged or counter-balanced by the basic values of Americanism or American patriotism.

The result? The result you can see. Most of the people who graduated in the 1960s, drop-outs or ‘half-baked intellectuals,’ are now occupying the positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media, educational system. You are stuck with them. You cannot get rid of them. They are contaminated. They are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli in a certain pattern.

You cannot change their mind. Even if you expose them to authentic information, even if you prove that white is white and black is black, you still cannot change the basic perception and the logic of behavior. In other words, these people… the process of demoralization is complete and irreversible. To rid society of these people, you need another 15 to 20 years to educate a new generation of patriotically minded and commonsense people who would be acting in favor and in the interests of United States society.”

During the last half of the previous decade, I attended an M.A. program in International Studies and then a PhD. program in Political Science, and I personally studied Marx & Marxism, Post-Soviet Russia, and also the intersection of civil liberties and the “war on terror.” I can say with certainty that the majority of professors on the faculty were one variant or another of Marxist; and tellingly, one professor claimed to be on the fence between Keynesianism and Marxist-Leninism. Far more common in academia than even the doctrinaire paleomarxist is the “neomarxist,” who believes in such things as “social justice” and spreading Marxist ideas through doubletalk and imbuing redistributionist values in the culture.

No… America having once been a free society, all those who would have sought to weaken the U.S. would have to have done to undermine it, or even turn it into a vehicle for advancing their own political agenda, would be to embed self-defeating ideas in the minds of the intelligentsia and have them indoctrinate teachers, journalists, and artists, all the way down to schoolchildren, and as a new initiative would have it about “free” daycare, toddlers.

“Progressive” ideas would be taught in school K-12 and their antitheses of liberty and individual rights stripped from the curriculum. Government would become in the minds of the misled a means of equalizing wealth and achieving the needs of the poor. The indispensable concept is that government as an intermediary between civil and economic relations would be deemed necessary in order to protect people from each other and themselves.

Bezmenov’s ideas are not fanciful relics of the Red Scare fears that many Americans felt during the Reagan-era generation. The left-wing program he described — demoralization, destablization, crisis, and normalization — is specific and relevant. Does anyone doubt that the Obama administration’s goal is to capitalize on crisis as a way of furthering its agenda? Both Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel have explicitly used language advocating never letting a good crisis go to waste.

The way to get both progressives and “conservatives” to cede to this concept that government is needed as an intermediary between all human relations is to spread the notion that it is needed to control others. On the leftist side, the idea that economic justice demands redistribution and government intervention would become the norm.

On the right side, the fear that Muslims are everywhere and likely to blow up a shopping mall near you would become widespread; and thus, the matrix-like government sweep of information to protect us from the ubiquitous threat of Islam writ large could be accepted as a necessary evil. Never mind that there are hundreds of millions of Americans who want nothing to do with Islam culturally, and an easy solution is to keep people from terrorist states out of the country to begin with.

Like socialized medicine. Anticipating the looming disaster of Obamacare, whose privacy-destroying implications are only now being grasped, along with the dismantling of Americans’ right to self-determination, former President Ronald Reagan had this to say (worth quoting at length):

“Now back in 1927 an American socialist, Norman Thomas, six times candidate for president on the Socialist Party ticket, said the American people would never vote for socialism. But he said under the name of liberalism the American people will adopt every fragment of the socialist program.

There are many ways in which our government has invaded the precincts of private citizens, the method of earning a living. Our government is in business to the extent over owning more than 19,000 businesses covering different lines of activity. This amounts to a fifth of the total industrial capacity of the United States.

But at the moment I’d like to talk about another way. Because this threat is with us and at the moment is more imminent.

One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.

Now, the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it. We had an example of this. Under the Truman administration it was proposed that we have a compulsory health insurance program for all people in the United States, and, of course, the American people unhesitatingly rejected this.”

The American people continue to reject socialized medicine, and so they protested against it in 2010. And as any reader of Saul Alinsky could have predicted, the government was turned against the protesters. The IRS’ tax exempt office acted as an instrument of political suppression and refused to authorize tea party, conservative and pro-Constitution groups in the manner it would rubberstamp progressive groups.

But why should we be surprised? Between 94% and 98% of the campaign contributions of the National Treasury Employees Union representing the IRS were given to Democrats in the last few national elections. Professors were major donors to the Obama campaign in the last election. The 90%-95% level of support given to Democrats by professors, teachers, artists, lawyers, bureaucrats and minorities is simply unnatural for a purportedly free society. It smacks of patron-client cronyism and a concerted program to select fellow-travelers for offices across the land.

It is highly disturbing to see political correctness seeping into the U.S. military. Todd Starnes reports that a soldier is being reprimanded for even reading Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin. One can be sure if he were reading one of Barack Obama’s autobiographies, not a word would have been said to him.

But in one sense, one could understand why military brass who are sympathetic to the progressive agenda, having been educated in America’s universities, would be skittish about enlisted men reading such “reactionary” ideas as the ones animating the American Revolution of limited government, liberty and individual rights. Never mind that the entire military and the Commander-in-Chief swear loyalty to the U.S. Constitution. But “what difference does it make,” right?

The American people must not be fatigued by these scandals, and should see them for what they are: declarations that their government has been seized from them by a faction calling itself “progressive.” Unless something more serious than idle banter among the Washington political class is done, the government will only grow in its attacks upon the personal lives of Americans. The state will swell until it swallows society whole and the self-determination of the individual along with it.