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10 Thoughts Re Unlawful Mass Surveillance (w/out snips)

Edward Snowden is risking his welfare in order to expose illegitimate surveillance of millions of Americans and foreign peoples who are innocent of any wrongdoing.

Edward Snowden has revealed the betrayal and incompetence of our Congress and judicial system, both unable to watch-dog and prevent such anti-4th amendment over-reach of the executive branch’s intelligence and security operations.

The government security system has a “classification” system that protects political and military leaders and bureaucrats and consultants from being accountable and having their activities transparent to the citizenry whom they are supposed to be serving and whose tax dollars are paying them. Significant failures and criminal activities can too easily be covered up under the label “classified.” This label can be exploited to block judicial investigation.

Most of the enormous taxpayer budget for security -- domestic and foreign -- goes to outside, profit-motivated (and lobbying of politicians) corporate contractors not government departments and employees

It is suspect for US security leaders to now insist they have protected us by thwarting many and serious attacks from terrorists from their over-reaching illegal surveillance programs. Did they or not? They have proven how willing they are to lie to self-protect themselves and their programs.

Do people who think they have nothing to hide from government scrutiny really feel comfortable having masses of private information and revelations stored through the years “just in case” any of it may be needed for their prosecution and/or intimidation in the future? Do they not care about the fates of more proactive citizens who threaten the dysfunctional and criminal ruling class establishment damaging the welfare of ALL citizens?

Obama recently called the anti-constitutional mass surveillance systems “modest encroachments” on our liberty for the sake of security. These systems violate the 4th amendment. They are not modest encroachments! They are an illegitimate presumption of executive power.

When security operations leaders of the executive branch commit perjury in front of Congress, the crime of perjury should be legally pursued, not shrugged off by DC cronies of all three branches of our government along with those in corporate media who readily minimize, normalize or ignore it.

It is clear that Obama and Congressional leaders feel that they have the right to keep a massive, anti-constitutional dragnet secret from the citizenry and, in the case of the Congresspeople, from many of their own members.

It is clear that the intelligence agencies consider citizen activists exercising their first amendment right to speak out and assemble “potential domestic terrorists”. More and more of these citizen activists will be put onto “watch lists” and as the present “police state” intensifies, more and more of these activists will be threatened with prosecution and punishment.

[cross-posted on open salon]

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Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

The government security system has a “classification” system that protects political and military leaders and bureaucrats and consultants from being accountable and having their activities transparent to the citizenry that they are supposed to be serving and whose tax dollars are paying them.

Officially, this isn't true (scroll down to afterword). Such use is illegal. Unofficially, has anyone heard of someone prosecuted for this?

Submitted by libbyliberal on

Look at the Manning case with so much judge-declared classified information.

I got this talking point from David Sirota, actually, quoting Marcy Wheeler in his article "Put the NSA on Trial".

"The government has gone to great lengths to say because this is all secret, no one can prove they've been surveilled, so (plaintiffs) can't make a harm argument."

Sirota: "'s difficult to prove a case against the government when the government is allowed to keep case-critical information classified."

Sirota says that the Supreme Court has refused to review government surveillance practices since 9/11!

Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

Yes, this is yet another road block to transparency - being unable to get the courts to do anything has become even more difficult. They were never all that active on this, IMHO, but now with the conservative judges' emphasis on "standing", it's become a Catch-22. You can't prove you were harmed, because the information that would prove it is secret.

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

... for the link:

Note particularly that information may not be classified to cover up a crime. That is one of the problems with classified information - releasing it without it being declassified is a crime, but so is classifying it to cover up a crime or to prevent personal embarrassment. Without whistleblowers willing to release such information to the public, there is no way, independent of the federal government, of determining whether it was classified illegally or not.

Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

You're welcome. I keep emphasizing that point, MM, that it's illegal to classify information for certain reasons (cover up a crime, profit personally, avoid personal embarrassment), but that once something's classified it's nearly impossible to know it's been classified improperly. Supposedly, the inspector general should be able to investigate, but as we've seen that's a hit or miss process, with misses being the usual result.

Very few people seem to think this is important.

That's why whistle blowers are necessary here. Without them, there's no way to know when the government uses official secrecy to cover up corruption or blunders.

Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

For anyone else reading - my question in my first comment wasn't rhetorical. I've never heard of such a case being brought. If anyone knows of one, please comment.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

from the mainstream village about the lawfulness of all this that it is sickening. The truth is that we are in the grip of a criminal elite and it is very difficult to see a clear way out. Only through activism can we find out how strong they are. Our one advantage is that many who make elite institutions work and sustain the power of the plutocrats still believe two things:

1) That we live in a democracy where the people rule;


2) That we ought to live in such a democracy.

As the elite and its power is unmasked by activism and it becomes clear that 1) isn't true, then some among them may split from the elite and react to the loss of democracy in ways that the elite cannot control, including fueling and supporting real activism.