Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Paul Craig Roberts
It has been public information for a decade that the US government secretly, illegally, and unconstitutionally spies on its citizens. Congress and the federal courts have done nothing about this extreme violation of the US Constitution and statutory law, and the insouciant US public seems unperturbed.
In 2004 a whistleblower informed the New York Times that the National Security Agency (NSA) was violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by ignoring the FISA court and spying on Americans without obtaining the necessary warrants. The corrupt New York Times put the interests of the US government ahead of those of the American public and sat on the story for one year until George W. Bush was safely reelected.
By the time the New York Times published the story of the illegal spying one year later, the law-breaking government had had time to mitigate the offense with ex post facto law or executive orders and explain away its law-breaking as being in the country’s interest.
Last year William Binney, who was in charge of NSA’s global digital data gathering program revealed that NSA had everyone in the US under total surveillance. Every email, Internet site visited and phone call is captured and stored. In 2012 Binney received the Callaway Award for Civic Courage, an annual award given to those who champion constitutional rights at risk to their professional and personal lives.
There have been a number of whistleblowers. For example, in 2006 Mark Klein revealed that AT&T had a secret room in its San Francisco office that NSA used to collect Internet and phone-call data from US citizens who were under no suspicion. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/interviews/klein.html
The presstitute media handled these stories in ways that protected the government’s lawlessness from scrutiny and public outrage. The usual spin was that the public needs to be safe from terrorists, and safety is what the government is providing.
The latest whistle blower, Edward Snowden, has sought refuge in Hong Kong, which has a better record of protecting free speech than the US government. Snowden did not trust any US news source and took the story to the British newspaper, the Guardian.
There is no longer any doubt whatsoever that the US government is lawless, that it regards the US Constitution as a scrap of paper, that it does not believe Americans have any rights other than those that the government tolerates at any point in time, and that the government has no fear of being held accountable by the weak and castrated US Congress, the sycophantic federal courts, a controlled media, and an insouciant public.
Binney and Snowden have described in precisely accurate detail the extreme danger from the government’s surveillance of the population. No one is exempt, not the Director of the CIA, US Army Generals, Senators and Representatives, not even the president himself.
Anyone with access to a computer and the Internet can find interviews with Binney and Snowden and become acquainted with why you do have very much indeed to fear whether or not you are doing anything wrong.
James Clapper, the lying Director of National Intelligence, who would have been perfectly at home in the Hitler or Stalin regimes, condemned Snowden as “reprehensible” for insisting that in a democracy the public should know what the government is doing. Clapper insisted that secretly spying on every ordinary American was essential in order to “protect our nation.” http://news.antiwar.com/2013/06/07/us-spy-chief-slams-reprehensible-leak-of-nsa-surveillance-scheme/
Clapper is “offended” that Americans now know that the NSA is spying on the ordinary life of every American. Clapper wants Snowden to be severely punished for his “reckless disclosure” that the US government is totally violating the privacy that the US Constitution guarantees to every US citizen.
President Obama, allegedly educated in constitutional law, justified Clapper’s program of spying on every communication of every American citizen as a necessary violation of Americans’ civil liberties that “protects your civil liberties.” Contrast the lack of veracity of the President of the United States with the truthfulness of Snowden, who correctly stated that the NSA spying is an “existential threat to democracy.”
The presstitutes are busy at work defending Clapper and Obama. On June 9, CNN rolled out former CIA case officer Bob Baer to implant into the public’s mind that Snowden, far from trying to preserve US civil liberties, might be a Chinese spy and that Snowden’s revelations might be indicative of a Chinese espionage case.
Demonization is the US government’s technique for discrediting Bradley Manning for complying with the US Military Code and reporting war crimes and for persecuting Julian Assage of Wikileaks for reporting leaked information about the US government’s crimes. Demonization and false charges will be the government’s weapon against Snowden.
If Washington and its presstitutes can convince Americans that courageous people, who are trying to inform Americans that their historic rights are disappearing into a police state, are espionage agents of foreign powers, America can continue to be subverted by its own government.
This brings us to the crux of the matter. What is the purpose of the spying program?
Even if an American believes the official stories of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon Bombing, these are the only two terrorist acts in the US that resulted in the lost of human life in 12 years. Far more people are killed in traffic accidents and from bad diets. Why should the Constitution and civil liberty be deep-sixed because of two alleged terrorist acts in 12 years?
What is astounding is the absence of terrorist attacks. Washington is in the second decade of invading and destroying Muslim governments and countries. Civilian casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya are extremely high, and in those countries that Washington has not yet invaded, such as Pakistan, Yemen, and Syria, civilians are being murdered by Washington’s drones and proxies on the ground.
It is extraordinary that Washington’s brutal 12 year assault on Muslim lives in six countries has not resulted in at least one dozen real, not fake FBI orchestrated, terrorist attacks in the US every day.
How can something as rare as terrorism justify the destruction of the US Constitution and US civil liberty? How safe is any American when their government regards every citizen as a potential suspect who has no rights?
Why is there no discussion of this in American public life? Watch the presstitutes turn Snowden’s revelations into an account of his disaffection and motives and away from the existential threat to democracy and civil liberty.
What is the government’s real agenda? Clearly, “the war on terror” is a front for an undeclared agenda. In “freedom and democracy” America, citizens have no idea what their government’s motives are in fomenting endless wars and a gestapo police state. The only information Americans have comes from whistleblowers, who Obama ruthlessly prosecutes. The presstitutes quickly discredit the information and demonize the whistleblowers.
Germans in the Third Reich and Soviet citizens in the Stalin era had a better idea of their government’s agendas than do “freedom and democracy” Americans today. The American people are the most uninformed people in modern history.
In America there is no democracy that holds government accountable. There is only a brainwashed people who are chaff in the wind.
This article first appeared at Paul Craig Roberts’ new website Institute For Political Economy. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His Internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.