Orwell Lives: The state of surveillance



Orwell lives.

American citizens are now encompassed in near total surveillance by the United States government.  The propaganda of fear has pacified the population into accepting the obtuse idea that one must allow their liberties to be dismantled in an effort to save their freedom from terrorists.  Virtually every phone call, text message, email, or website visited has been logged by The NSA since 2001.  While surveillance has been present for decades never has the watchful eye been so steady and capable of such depth.

The theater of surveillance is mocked by the attempted clandestine tradecraft of James Clapper, former director of the NSA , who admitted to lying to congress in March of 2013 about the NSA’s surveillance capabilities.  Specifically Sen. Ron Wyden asked Clapper during testimony under the penalty of perjury about the NSA.  Wyden simply asked, “has the NSA collected any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”  Clapper quickly responded, “no sir.”  He lied.  Bold faced.  Rather than being charged with perjury and sentenced to prison, Mr. Clapper was assigned a post in a special panel commissioned by President Obama to investigate the NSA.  How quaint?  A man who lied is hired to consult on the investigation his own lies.  This scenario in its own grandeur provides ample reason to mortify any law abiding American who faces swift penalties for breaking the law, but we are in a much worse place.

A vile, toxic,  un-American environment has been created in the name of fighting terrorism.

The FBI has taken to manufacturing terrorist attacks to the end of manipulating media headlines glorifying and justifying the privacy rights of millions of Americans being revoked.  The bureau seeks out individuals who they believe would be capable of carrying out an attack, but who had no intention of attacking anything, and they entrap the individual by providing them with money, technology, weapons, and logistics.  The FBI helps their hand picked ‘terrorist’ to devise a plan on how to precisely deliver the most chaos and destruction.  Then before the mark is able to carry out their scheme the FBI rushes in and arrests them, to much fanfare and back slapping.  Keeping America safe and the public complicit.  This tactic has been documented numerous times.  Once the FBI helped a man plot an attack on the Federal Reserve.  In total 17 of the 20 terrorist attacks foiled by the government have been manufactured by the government.  The three attacks that were stopped, the shoe bomber, underwear bomber, and Times Square bomber were all stopped by private citizens.

To the point of some who would say that these numbers are inaccurate because the government doesn’t inform the public when they stop an attack, I would ask them if that were true then why is the government informing the public about the halting of manufactured attacks?

The DEA is also culpable and has been benefiting from NSA intelligence in matters not relating to national security, and the story is more dubious than that detail.  The DEA has been reportedly arresting individuals, but they have been ordered to conceal where they gained their intelligence.  Rather they are instructed, as government policy, to create a fake scenario on paper that would logically have allowed them to locate the information without outside intervention of the NSA.   These documents are then presented to judges as official and accurate and are accepted as the absolute truth.  Warrants of search, seizure, and arrest are granted based on fiction.  This fiction is documented as official record.

The United States Post Office has been photographing every single piece of mail that they have delivered since 2001, and USPS has been quietly passing this information along to governmental authorities.  The top secret Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program was implemented weeks after the anthrax attacks of 2001.

Even if one is offline they are not free from the overbearing parent in the room.  The NSA has the capability to interact with your personal computer even if it is not connected to the Internet!  A top secret technology allows the NSA to interact with computers using a special radio frequency.  Thanks to the helpful post office the NSA employs a another dastardly technique, known as interdiction, of intercepting computers that are shipped through the mail that allows the NSA to reroute packages to their black facilities, where the packages are opened and spying hardware or software is installed onto the computer without the owner’s authorization, or notification.  The computer is then repackaged as if it were new, and is shipped off to the unsuspecting individual who is now an oblivious surveillance beacon for the government.

Before resigning in disgrace David Petraeus, four star general and director of the CIA, gave a speech in early 2012 at In-Q-Tel which is a venture capital firm of the CIA.  Petraeus discussed technological advancements that will be able to track movement through geolocated data of a household thanks to the electronics of appliances like a coffee machine, toaster, washing machine, or dishwasher.

Technology created by Google has been hijacked by the NSA.  Each time one logs onto Google they are treated with the delightful experience of being followed by the NSA indefinitely.  The tracking information is supplied by a ‘PREF’ cookie and allows the NSA to track every website visited by a specific browser, while identifying the browser as unique.  With this knowledge the NSA is able to target computers with precision.  This point may be lost on some who decry that individuals willingly allow corporations such as Google to track their activity, so the government piggybacking off Google is not a serious offense.  The difference, of course, is consent.  Users consent to being tracked by Google, but has the American government sent you any correspondence asking for your permission to collect your personal data?

Days before the new year it was announced by the FAA that six states have been selected to be trial areas for drone technology and it is estimated that in the next decade every major metropolitan area in America will have its skies littered with drones offering another layer of repressive and comprehensive surveillance against the American people.

Most of these Kafkaesque violations were made possible by that most repugnant of legislation, The Patriot Act.  How often has The Patriot Act actually been evoked in the name of terrorism?  Rarely.  In fact the far majority of surveillance that is made permissible through the act has had to do with narcotic, or financial crimes.  The law itself, while being manipulated to allow surveillance, is misused by the government to further agendas not



relating to national security.  A New York Magazine review of The Patriot Act found that in 2011 the act had been used in over 1,600 cases related to drugs, and a mere 15 involving terrorism. The liberties guaranteed by the fourth amendment to the American people have been infringed to halt the profits of drug dealers.  It was recently reported that the U.S. government has been working with Mexican drug cartels in allowing free passage of billions of dollars worth of drugs across the border in exchange for intelligence on the cartel’s rivals.  A mutual relationship, where competitors are dismantled.  So who is working for who?

The other dastardly, and far less publicly known, element of this duo is the FISC.  The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was made possible by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.  This court presides over foreign intelligence matters, in near secrecy, and until recently the court was largely not acknowledged to have even existed!  FISC is chaired by 11 judges, all of whom are hand-selected by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts.  These decisions are made at Roberts’ sole discretion with zero oversight or procedural accountability beyond his literal impeachment.  Roberts, during his confirmation hearing, admitted anxiety over being granted this sweeping authority and said, “It’s not what we usually think of when we think of a court” but that did not stop the chief justice from stacking the court with 10 out of 11 Republican nominated judges.  Consider the lineage.  Republican President George W. Bush nominated John Roberts, a staunch Republican.  Roberts then, in turn, filled over 86% of the nation’s secret court with individuals nominated by past Republican presidents aligned with his personal ideology.  Federal judges are rigorously vetted and interviewed by the senate, where hearings are held and their nominations to the bench are publicly discussed.  There is no such transparency with the FISC, while the court itself is now considered to be a second supreme court whose decisions influence foreign policy while contradicting previous Supreme Court decisions.

Since the court’s inception The FISC has reviewed over 33,000 cases and has denied only 11 FISA warrant requests.  That is less than one request denied every three years.  In 2012 the court accepted 1,856 requests and denied zero.  The FISC has also previously ruled that part of the NSA’s surveillance tactics are illegal and unconstitutional.  A two week span in December 2013 had two separate rulings on data collection which conflicted with and contradicted the other.  On Dec. 16 U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled, ”I cannot imagine a more indiscriminate and arbitrary invasion than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval.  Surely such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment.”  Conversely on Dec. 27  U.S. District Judge William Pauley ruled the NSA’s tactics were legal, ”While robust discussions are underway across the nation, in Congress, and at The White House, the question for this court is whether the Government’s bulk telephony metadata program is lawful.  This Court finds it is.”

A glorious reckoning of freedom and liberty against totalitarianism, and the infringements upon the fourth amendment is presently underway in America.  Polling data overwhelming shows that 71% of the American people are against surveillance.  70% of Democrats and 77% of Republicans agree that surveillance is an intrusion upon their rights, and yet the American government holds hearings on aliens rather than discuss this most grave of matters which few legislators have found the fortitude to speak out against.  These matters could theoretically be stopped tomorrow via an executive order from President Obama, or through an act of congress defunding these various programs from the budgets of intelligence agencies.

Citizens have a choice in how they cast their vote, as members of congress continue to allow these egregious fourth amendment violations to continue.  The duty falls to the reader if they choose to allow themselves to be deceived, or if they will recognize the facts and current state of surveillance in America.

Lou Colagiovanni is the editor of ruthless-politics.com, National Crime Reporter for Examiner.com, and editor of the political discussion community,”We survived Bush.  You will survive Obama.”  You may contact Lou at [email protected]