Saturday, April 21, 2012

Scary surveillance stuff

As usual, it comes from Glenn Greenwald, who dutifully keeps us up to date on these things. I've posted some of Glenn's stuff before and the theme is usually the same. I want to continue to post his stuff to try and get it out there. And also as usual I don't have much to add since Glenn is almost always spot on in his analysis.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, George Bush ordered the NSA to spy on the communications of Americans on American soil, and they’ve been doing it ever since, with increasing aggression and fewer and fewer constraints. That development is but one arm in the creation of an American Surveillance State that is, literally, ubiquitous — one that makes it close to impossible for American citizens to communicate or act without detection from the U.S. Government — a state of affairs Americans have long been taught since childhood is a hallmark of tyranny. Such are the times — in both America generally and the Democratic Party in particular — that those who now echo the warnings issued 35 years ago by Sen. Church (when surveillance was much more restrained, legally and technologically) are scorned by all Serious People as radical hysterics.
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JACOB APPELBAUM: But in the period of time since they’ve started detaining me [at airports], around a dozen-plus times. I’ve been detained a number of times. The first time I was actually detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, I was put into a special room, where they frisked me, put me up against the wall. One guy cupped me in a particularly uncomfortable way. Another one held my wrists. They took my cell phones. I’m not really actually able to talk about what happened to those next.

AMY GOODMAN: Why?

JACOB APPELBAUM: Because we don’t live in a free country. And if I did, I guess I could tell you about it, right?And they took my laptop, but they gave it back. They were a little surprised it didn’t have a hard drive. I guess that threw them for a loop. And, you know, then they interrogated me, denied me access to a lawyer. And when they did the interrogation, they has a member of the U.S. Army, on American soil. And they refused to let me go. They tried—you know, they tried their usual scare tactics. So they sort of implied that if I didn’t make a deal with them, that I’d be sexually assaulted in prison, you know, which is the thing that they do these days as a method of punitive punishment, and they of course suggested that would happen.

I have given Rand Paul a ton of shit for some of the things he has said and done. But him and only a handful of other politicians have spoken out against this type of stuff. We need more people like them in positions of power to try and stop it. And we need to find a way to hold people like Obama and his entire administration accountable for what they have done. I'm not sure how we would go about doing that. Obviously I don't think we could trust the Republican party. I guess the best way would be to vote for someone like Gary Johnson in the presidential election. Obviously he won't win. But if enough people voted for him as a dissent from Obama and made it clear these issues were the reason it could force Obama and the Democratic party's hand in changing their policy.

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