Why Illegal Surveillance Matters

Chris Hayes has been doing an excellent job of examining the recent revelations about illegal government spying, including this segment explaining why history teaches that we should be very concerned about the abuses of government surveillance, especially when it’s done without serious checks and balances. He makes many of the same points I’ve made about this.

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18 comments on this post.
  1. Don Williams:

    1) Ed Braydon, Chris Hayes and Ed Snowden are wasting their breath — you can not preserve a democracy when the voters are a herd of stupid sheep. People who are morons and who take pride in being morons.

    2) This country has sustained severe damage in the past 12 years — to our economy, our Treasury , and our Bill of Rights. 14,000 plus families have lost a loved one.

    And yet few people ask WHY.

    Everyone believes the Big Lie put out by Whore-in-Chief George W Bush and endorsed by Big Media: The Terrorists on the far side of the world hate out freedoms. Hate freedom so much they came across the globe and committed suicide just to strike a blow against freedom.

    3) When I heard that in 2001, I know it was a crock of shit. So I spent a little amount of time to look into the matter further and discovered several American and foreign news agencies had archives with interviews with Bin Laden from 1997-98.

    Back when he was the comical little man/curiosity declaring war on a nuclear armed hegemon.

    Back when it was career-safe for a reporter to report Bin Laden’s 3 reasons why Al Qaeda was going to war.

    Back before Condi Rice went to the CEOs of the 5 TV networks and ordered them to ban broadcast of any Bin Laden’s speeches addressed to us.

    Back before White House spokesman Ari Fleischer warned the American People that we “need to what we say.”

    4) I’m not defending Bin Laden or Al Qaeda — obviously you have to hunt down and destroy a small band of extermists if it attacks your countrymen. But the major phrase there is “a small band of extremists”. And the best way to have dealt with Al Qaeda –without destroying the USA in the process — was to have acknowledged and addressed the grievances that Bin Laden was using in a world of 1 billion Muslims to recruit for his cause:

    a) That for decades the US government had installed and militarily supported a greedy, predatory dictatorship in Saudi Arabia that let US oil companies steal the wealth of the Saudi people –their only future — in exchange for a share in the loot.

    b) That the US government did not just defend Israel from attack — it gave Israel advanced weapons systems like the F16 fighters and Apache attack helicopters that the Likud government of Ariel Sharon used to massacre Palestinian CIVILIANS.

    c) That the US government under Bill Clinton killed 600,000 Iraqi children with a cholera pandemic by bombing water plants and forcing Iraqis in a desert state for drink polluted water. Madeleine Albright acknowledged that on 60 minutes.

    5) So why did our wealthy elites feel they could not acknowledge those facts? Much less allow a debate of whether those actions were in the national interest? We are paying $39 per gallon for Middle Eastern gasoline — $3.75 at the pump and $35/gallon on our income tax return to pay for massive US military operations to protect Big Oil’s Middle Eastern investments.

  2. Don Williams:

    Correction: Ari Fleschier said that the American People needed to “watch what we say”.

  3. Don Williams:

    And if you want to know why Democratic Members of Congress have rolled over for the Bush/Cheney war for Big Oil, look at Wikipedia’s entry for “Haim Saban”.

  4. slc1:

    Re Don Williams @ #3

    Ah gee, ole Don Couldn’t go one blog post without a mention of his favorite bete noir, Haim Saban. A man who suggested that the US conduct negotiations with Hamas.

  5. slc1:

    Re Don Williams @ #1

    Shorter Don Williams: If the US had only thrown Israel under the bus, Bin Laden wouldn’t have launched the attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

  6. Don Williams:

    Msg for SLC: Bitchslapping Bibi occasionally when he needs it is not “throwing Israel under the bus”.

  7. Don Williams:

    Why, for example, does no one ask Republicans leaders why we have tens of thousands of people dying every year from gun violence — far more in a year than Al Qaeda’s body count in the past decades — in order to maintain the Second Amendment as a bulwark against a hypothetical federal tyranny in the future. Given that the Republicans are eagerly supporting creation of a turnkey federal tyranny today.

    Why does no one ask Republicans why they support creation of a massive surveillance system over the American People — an electronic super-Stasi — if they fear federal tyranny so much. Why does no one ask NRA’s Wayne LaPierre why the ACLU is receiving NO SUPPORT whatsoever from the NRA in resisting what Wayne LaPierre once called the “jackbooted federal thugs.”

  8. Don Williams:

    Why does no one ask the Republicans why they oppose federal oversight of Wall Street– while at the same time letting the NSA crawl up the behind of the common American with a flashlight.

    After all, in 2008 Al Qaeda was looking on with deep envy at how Wall Street had sabotaged the American economy on a massive scale. The 2001 attack was a pinprick by comparison.

    And before you mention loss of life, look at how American suicide rates have spiked in this depression. Wall Street criminal greed and Washington corruption have killed far more Americans than Al Qaeda. If we had any sense, we would be sending Seal Team 6 to Goldman Sachs.

  9. slc1:

    Ah ole Don, the random conspiracy generator.

  10. dingojack:

    Hey Don – You do realise that, according to the CDC, 9,154 persons died from malignant melanomas during 2010. Perhaps that SEAL team should land on the sun (at night, naturally).
    Dingo

  11. podkayne:

    Well, with the wonder of hindsight, I think we could all probably agree that buying every american sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, while televising a federal skin cancer PSA, may actually have been a more efficient use of resources, not to mention net lives saved, than the whole Iraq/Afghanistan deal turned out to be.

  12. Trickster Goddess:

    Danm! This article came with some bonus paranoia for me. I clicked on the link and got the message “website not available”. Reloaded and got the article, but no comments. Reloaded again and it was back to website not available.

    Server glitch or secret government censorship?!?!!1! These days it feels like either one could be possible.

  13. EnlightenmentLiberal:

    Don’s tone is alarmist, but I don’t see any particular conspiracy theories in this thread. This is also the first time I’ve read anything by this person. His points seem by and large reasonable. What am I missing here?

  14. slc1:

    Re EnlightenmentLiberal @ #13

    I had considerable interaction with Don over at Matthew Yglesias’ former blog. Just for the enlightenment of you, Don believes that the Civil War was started by the Northern states for the purpose of obtaining the coal mines in West Virginia. He also blames the Holocaust on British Prime Minister David Lloyd George. In addition, there is his remarkable fascination with Haim Saban. These are just a few examples of ole Don’s conspiracy theories. He had a bundle of them over there. He also blames 9/11 on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, perhaps a slightly more reasonable conspiracy theory and thinks that bitch-slapping Bibi once in a while would have stayed Osama’s hand.

  15. Don Williams:

    1) SLC leaves out the part where I provide citations to support my points. Unlike those
    who argue with me.

    And that my arguments usually follow from a comical dialectic we developed over
    the past 5 years — whereby I lure SLC out on a branch and then saw it off behind
    him. Usually by exploiting hilariously deep holes in his knowledge of the cause
    he so strongly promotes.
    Yin and Yang. Wily Coyote vs Roadrunner.

    2) Several months ago, We discussed David Lloyd George’s role in creating the
    Nazi party /Holocaust and the role of the Pocahontas Coal Fields — the Saudi
    Arabia of the Industrial Revolution — as motivation for Congressional prostitutes
    of the North’s Big Railroad Lobby –here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2013/03/07/adelson-bribed-foreign-officials/

    I was attempting to enlighten SLC to the fact that the Israel Lobby cause to which
    he is so devoted has been run by billionaire goyim from day one. To further their
    own goals and agendas. And that they run it today. Like they have always run things.

    3) And to clarify SLC’s comment, what I noted was that the US News Media suppressed
    the facts re WHY the Sept 11 2001 attack occurred. The Likud’s use of US-supplied
    F16s to kill Palestinian civilians was only ONE of the THREE reasons Bin Laden gave in 1997
    for declaring war. And, as I have noted to SLC in the past, Bin Laden was probably
    more irked by the glass ceiling his family faced due to the Saudi dictatorship imposed
    and protected by the US government for Big Oil.

  16. EnlightenmentLiberal:

    @slc1
    Thanks. I just went to the thread to which Don linked, and like all good conspiracy theorists, a lot of the facts are good, but a lot of the conclusions are indistinguishable from wild mass guessing.

    It’s unfortunate, because I would make many of the same claims that Don has made in this thread, including:
    - the two recent bullshit wars,
    - the actual likely motivations of Bin Laden and Muslim terrorists (although I would include that they really do want to enforce Sharia law too),
    - the amazing ineptitude of the US news media Fox “News” and “liberal” news too (but of course Fox “News” moreso),
    - the US’s questionable support of Israel and the US’s whole horrible foreign policy in general – if you look at it, it’s really quite pathetic and horrendously short-sighted, selfish, and unproductive in the long term,
    - the interesting hypocrisies of the Republican party when they support gun rights as a bulwark against tyranny and yet support tyrannical destruction of the constitution such as by destroying the fourth,
    - the handling of the recent wall street housing bubble,
    - etc.

  17. Don Williams:

    Some more of my conspiracy theories, written in the weeks after the Sept 11 attack back in 2001:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2001/12/04/questions-barbara-walters-didn-t-ask-george-bush/

    http://www.gnosticliberationfront.com/corrupt_government_media2.htm#white house censorship

  18. Don Williams:

    And from Salon , back in 2001:

    http://www.salon.com/2001/10/31/stuck_in_gulf/ (scroll down to last letter)

    http://www.salon.com/2001/11/26/oillet/ (first letter)

    The two letters were a response to efforts by a Salon writer named Damien Cave
    to dismiss leftist arguments that Bush/Cheney were acting on behalf of Big Oil.

    Damien’s dismissal of the idea that Cheney might invade Iraq to protect Exxon’s
    interests is particularly hilarious in hindsight. Damien, of course, went to work
    several years later for the New York Times where he could join Tom Friedman in dismissing
    the dirty, uneducated hippies.

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