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America Is Watching You

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Posted on Oct 30, 2007
uncle sam

By Elliot D. Cohen

(Page 2)

Add to this that the parsing technology being used to secretly gather information is notoriously unreliable and can turn up false positives linking innocent Americans with crimes, terrorism and other “forbidden” activities.  With the disbanding of Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure without court warrants or probable cause, no Americans, not even those who are apolitical and believe they have nothing to hide, are safe.  Under this judicially unregulated Orwellian system of total information awareness, all Americans who use the Internet and/or the telephone (which means virtually all Americans) are suspects in a massive, nationwide (and global) government dragnet. 

The Washington Post has reported that granting retroactive immunity to the telecoms will have the effect of “wiping out” pending lawsuits against AT&T.  This, however, is an oversimplification because not even Congress has the power to immunize anyone against being held accountable for the violation of another’s constitutional rights.

According to Lee Tien, attorney for the EFF, “When you’ve got pending lawsuits and suddenly pull the rug out from under them ... that’s a major attack on the role of the judiciary.”

If the bill becomes law, Tien said, plaintiffs’ attorneys will argue that the grant of retroactive immunity violates the separation of powers and involves an attempt to legitimize the violation of the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment right to privacy.  In that case, Congress will have acted to provide a major impediment to the survival of a free America in a monumental battle to be waged in the courtroom—and quite possibly the Supreme Court.

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Congress should therefore act responsibly in the first place by unequivocally refusing to grant retroactive immunity to the telecoms.  For it to do otherwise is a breach of trust with the American people and a precedent fraught with peril.

Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D., is a media ethicist and critic. His most recent book is “The Last Days of Democracy: How Big Media and Power-Hungry Government Are Turning America Into a Dictatorship.”  He is a first-prize winner of the 2007 Project Censored Award.


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By purplewolf, November 6, 2007 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena, they are probably the latest in spying on the little guy techniques being tried out on those of us who still have not fallen into that hypno induced trance of religious brainwashing and the element of fear crowd that the PTB have worked so hard to put into their place,like under their boot.I am certain that those of us who cannot be turned into zombie drones,all in the name of their madness,will dissappear without a trace in the middle of (4 am is their favorite time)night.Just like they do in other “BAD” countries elsewhere in the world.NUF SED!

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By cyrena, November 4, 2007 at 1:25 am Link to this comment

#110939 by Deb

I hear ya Deb. The eye doctor recently wanted to take a photo image of my retinas, and CHARGE me to do it!! I ran out of there real fast, and never even went back to pick up the glasses.

The housing/apartment people recently came through to put in new light fixtures. Will they fix anything else around here? Of course not, and the place should really be condemned. But, they were hell bent on installing new lights in 4 out of 6 rooms of a very tiny place. I didn’t trust it then, but knew they’d report me as ‘crazy’ if I resisted. So now I think I’ll just rip those suckers right out.

Purplewolf, I’m ready for the farm.

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By purplewolf, November 2, 2007 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

# 110810 Village Elder:
Not only do I want to be a non-conformist,I am a Mad non-conformist.Mad as in Mad magazine/books, Alfred P. Nueman of the 1960’s books in which they had a whole mocumentary comparing conformist,non-conformist and mad non-conformist.I have always proudly fit into that category.

# 110615 Akira:
Woman/child you make me proud to know there are others besides my cronie friends out there who are off the wall with our Bushrant. We are constantly condemning Herr Bush and his latest Bungle and we are always sure to drop all the trigger words we know of just for fun.Maybe one of these days they will realize that a bunch of disabled elderly old women need to releave the stress that this administration is continually fabricating to try to control and confuse most of the dimwits known as Americans.It’s called survival instinct to us.Keep up the good work.

# 110620 Charles:
How many democrats are spied on? All of them.

# 110939 Deb:
I always suspected that the PTB would and could and probably did put equipment ito unsuspecting patients. I had major surgery as a child when I was ten in 1963 and my father said I never came out of the surgery the same.He said there was something different about me after the surgery. I don’t know what they did to me,but whatever it was I know I was a failed case of what they thought they would accomplish.

# 110999 Tigger:
Let them put in a camera in my house, that is if they haven’t done so already. That way I can flip them off every time I walk by.Better yet they can install it at the bottom of the toilet bowl so they can have the latest “crap” as in the type of information they now get from their experts.Guaranteed,they will get the latest hot information dumped on them on a regular basis.I will even toilet train the cats to use the toilet just for the cameraman. Okay everybody Smile for the camera.

# 110848 Cyrena:
One in four people suffer from some form of mental illness,disease or defect in America today.That means that every family has at least one menber in their immediate family that is affected in some way.
This information was part of the sermons presentes at one of the local Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses,which by the way have been spied upon by our very own goverment and just for the record to you goverment guys,the J.W.‘s know you spy on them.

# 110738 Pablo:
Look, the Powers That Be have allowed Ms.Cleo the Psychic back so Americans can find out the latest about their hidden future.Like as you mentioned: where are my keyes,will I get married,am I pregnant, will I get that job,will I ever get out of debt?  Just pick up your phone and ask-no need to punch any numbers,there is always someone on the other end who undoubtedly has that valuable information and they only charge a small fortune for the phone lines, a real bargain at such a small price.Not the $3.99 a minute they used to charge for this service for Ms. Cleo.
Disclaimer: For entertainment purposes only. Now if only those morons listening would wake up to the fact: you have been outed and 99.99% of what you listen to illegally is pure fabricated B.S. just to screw with the Big Brother machine and waste trillions of dollars in taxpayer money to find nothing of value or importance going on in the general population. Tip: You morons who listen trying to uncover whatever you think is the latest fake threat to the world need to focus all of your attention along with your spying equipment on the real threats to the world. You can start with all the White House occupants,all of their residences, hangouts,their friends, cars, businesses they frequent,and don’t forget Air Farce(force) One etc. That is where the real valuable information of secret plots to destroy everything are engineered from.Start there first.

Wow! I feel much better/safer now to get that out and to know our goverment is hard at work keeping us all safe from harm.Yeah.Right.

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By Bert, November 2, 2007 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now, thomas, it’s not nice to call the government
fascist. Just because Bush talks with a german
accent and Cheney runs around in leather boots
and a little armband is no cause for alarm. I
REPEAT, NO CAUSE FOR ALARM. NOW, STAY IN YOUR
HOME, CITIZEN. ALL THE TIME. AND WATCH YOUR
TELEVISION PROGRAMMING. NOW.

LOL

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By Keith, November 2, 2007 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Interesting article…many thanks.

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By tigger, November 1, 2007 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment

face the facts folks right now the government will do whatever it wants to do, and that does include ignoring the constitution of the US and the privacy of the civilians here.  Next shall we expect them to be coming to our door and putting in little cameras so they can watch us 24/7.  I hope the get their kicks.

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By rowdy, November 1, 2007 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

Watchdogs of Democracy?: The Waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed the Public. by helen thomas. a fun book,about the liars we call presidents and how they manipulate information.

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By Deb, November 1, 2007 at 10:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The devil, however, is in the details…”

How true that is!! BushCo have gone way beyond electronic surveillance with the telecommunications companies. What is not known yet by the majority of the public is that ‘WE’ the people are being electronically manipulated. And what I mean by that is that they(BushCo)are using the weapons in space (satellites,cell phone towers)to emit radio waves or more or less ‘thoughts’ into the human mind(brain). They also are using doctors,dentists,the medical field to implant microchips,transmitters or God only knows what other suveillance tools into mankind when you go in for a surgery!

They also are orchestrating hypnosis under anesthesia to unwitting victims during these surgeries. And believe me—-there is nothing good about it. It’s designed to devastate and destroy!!

I’ve been called ‘crazy’ over and over again for telling what I know as the truth. And I will not back down from that form of intimidation when I know this “Great Truth” to be the secret behind all of the Bush administrations actions to have total dominance. They want the world to remain ignorant so can keep on committing these sinister crimes. They also know that once the people are ‘aware’ of this sophisticated operation of mind control—-it won’t work as well. Simply put…God made each individual human mind to protect itself from harm and when we are conscious of danger to our selves or our loved ones—-we will rebuke it. BushCo latent operation will not have the same controlling effect if they are exposed. This is why and how they have gotten away with so much—so far. I don’t fear these devil’s agents any longer—as I once did—so I will continue to let my voice ring…loudly!

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By cyrena, November 1, 2007 at 1:30 am Link to this comment

#110738 by Pablo on 10/31 at 12:38 pm
• 
America is watching…me?!  Do you remember where I put my car keys?
Pablo,
This is great. Another good chuckle before I head off. But, let me share this with you first. I’ve just completed an article on the Dementia/Alzheimer’s statistics for Americans. 1 out of 7 adults (I think over the age of 71) has one or both.
More Than 3 Million Have Dementia In U.S.
Study: Nearly 1 In 7 Adults Aged 71 And Older Have Dementia; Alzheimer’s Is Most Common Type

So, maybe this massive spy operation will indeed by able to help you find your car keys by the time you need the assistance. Surely there will be some kind of way where you can just pick up your phone, or click on your PC home page, and say HEY!! Where are my car keys? Think of it as the ultimate in customer service. For me, it’ll beat having to go to one phone to call the missing phone’s number to locate it.

#110810 by VillageElder on 10/31 at 7:06 pm

Village Elder, thanks for this. It reminded me of some stuff I’d forgotten, and some other stuff I never knew. Very helpful for an aging scholar.

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By VillageElder, October 31, 2007 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

This process has been going on for some time—Ike warned against the Military-Industrial Complex some 50 years ago.  Prior to WWII there was a lot of fascination with a strong military style of organization and “leadership” in the corporate world and the government sector.  After WWII the military style was seen as the way to get things done with great efficiency.

The corporations told people how to dress. (IBM repair people had to wear white shirts, suits and ties, while working on copiers and carry their tools in brief cases.)  Re-read Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.  Conformity was the hallmark of being a good person.  “You don’t want to be a non-conformist do you?”

The regimentation of the 40’s and 50’s lead to the social reaction seen in the 60’s/70’s.  The corporations continued.  As a wealthy “superpower” American business was able to expand worldwide.  The Trilateral Commission and World Trade Organization(s) were much talked about.  The corporate expansion continued.  Moving money off shore became fashionable. The corporate state gained power, size and wealth.

The government felt the need to keep track of radicals and others who opposed the wisdom of our leaders.  The line from Hoover’s FBI and HUAC is pretty straight.  Today’s problems are well grounded in history.

This group now in power are the most blatantly authoritarian we have seen.  We frequently discuss the sociopathic behaviors seen in the cadre of our leaders.  Authoritarian’s working with/for the corporate interests while keeping the population in tow through scapegoating and presenting a devious foe waiting to destroy our way of life.  Sounds like fascism to me . . .

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By Bert, October 31, 2007 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

http://public.cq.com/public/20060414_homeland.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/08/14/the_skinny/main3165879.shtml
http://thinkprogress.org/2006/05/11/telcos-liable/
http://www.snapshield.com/Problem_www_fs.html

Just like illegal immigration and government fraud
etc., the eavesdropping thing isn’t just an american
problem…but, since it DID happen in our country,
it’s one more reason to go and sign up:

http://www.impeachbush.org

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By Jonas South, October 31, 2007 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

Elliot Cohen wrote:´.... It’s clear why a grant of legal immunity to the telecoms to secretly conduct surveillance for the government is a high priority for the Bush administration.´ Dr. Cohen goes on to cover much useful ground, but he manages to miss the real reason.

In breaking the privacy laws as it then existed, the telecom companies, of necessity, must have conspired (legal definition) with certain individuals in the administration. When the Democrats grant immunity to the telecoms for past crimes, they also are letting high administration officials off the legal hook. That, Dr. Cohen, is the true ´clear´ and urgent reason why Bush is so exercised over immunity.

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By Pablo, October 31, 2007 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

America is watching…me?!  Do you remember where I put my car keys?

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By rodney, October 31, 2007 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

O course Bush will take care of his partners in crime. he took care of Libby and Tenant.

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By voice of truth, October 31, 2007 at 9:39 am Link to this comment

“When I say that one definition of fascism is when the government and the corporations become one”

Per this definition, and I don’t necessarily disagree with it, we have lived in a fascist state for longer than George W has even been alive.

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By prosefights, October 31, 2007 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

I was threatened with arrest for obstruction of an investigation by US Marshal Ken Halverson if I posted his picture on Internet.

http://www.prosefights.org/nmlegal/apd/apd.htm#halverson

So we filed a complaint with General Gabreski at Wright-Patterson AFB.

http://www.prosefights.org/nmlegal/dcvoid/dcvoid.htm#gabreski

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By mary, October 31, 2007 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

#110619 Paraceisus, thanks for Barbs phone no. You can bet I’ll use it often.  And #110619, Akira Maritis, I love your plan, think I’ll just have to join you.

It’s going to take a very long time to clean up DC and the related mainstream media who supports all this crap.  No better place to start than voting against the incumbent, especially if you can stop them in a primary.  Better hurry though, before they take that right away from us…....

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By WR Curley, October 31, 2007 at 8:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Took your advice and read the bill. The only ideology specified as an area of expertise for the members of this new commission is Islam. Pretty much sums it up, I’d say.

There is nothing new here. This is just another block for the rising edifice of the eternal Global War on Terror (GWOT). It will provide lifetime sinecures for a cozy crowd of Zionist academics; just another think tank churning out position papers designed to keep you very very afraid. And, doubtless, to investigate and to criminalize any organization or individual who has the temerity to suggest that Arabs are people too.

Just another mechanism to slubber up excess tax revenue, and to support RightThink in the Congress and academe, if not with the public at large. More fodder for NPR’s in-depth analyses of the perils of “Islamo-fascism”.

(Have you noticed that your intrepid press never asks for definitions for these buzz words? Muslim Extremist, Militant Islamist, Islamo-facist? They’re all just rag-head targets, I reckon.)

It’d be funny, if it didn’t threaten to initiate Armageddon: Ms Harman’s bill purports to establish a commission to study the roots of activism bent on forcing its religious and political views through violence or the threat thereof. Which neatly sums up BushCo’s intensely activist crusade in the MidEast, I’d say. Identify and take down everyone who will not submit to their world view.

Learned a new phrase today, from an article on the “Counter-punch” website: kill-chain. I gather, without a specific definition, that this connotes the sequence of individuals in an indigenous population who must be “neutralized” in order to break down resistance to an occupying force. It’s a military term. Not much sentimentality in that crowd. Our boys abroad have anthropologists embedded with their units to identify the links in the kill-chain. Beats slogging through piles of undergrad term papers, I suppose, if you like that heady adrenal rush.

With repect to immunizing the telecoms? I must say, it seems like kind of a raw deal to punish these guys for doing what BushCo told them they were obliged to do to fulfill their role in the GWOT. Aren’t we flogging the victim instead of the perp? If we don’t have the stones to impeach Bush/Cheney, we don’t have justification to penalize their enablers. You gonna sue Limbaugh? I’m terminating my Verizon service, though. Qwest was the only major to stand up to Chertof and his loony tunes crowd. They’ve earned my business thereby.

You have to applaud this site for giving us room to rant. It’s useless, but it does ease the pressure some.

Yours,

WR Curley
Elizabeth, Colorado

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By Winston, October 31, 2007 at 7:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I believe the primary reason that the criminals decided to bypass the otherwise rubber-stamp FISA courts in 2001 is because they had illegal evidence obtained from a highly illegal domestic program that couldn’t be exposed, even to a FISA court.  The court wouldn’t have approved the surveillance (hopefully) and might have asked how the information was obtained, thereby exposing the secret domestic program.

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By KISS, October 31, 2007 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

Another brick in the building of Fascist-Republic of Amerika.
Of the 400+ aye votes, how many of these jerk-offs actually read the bill?

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By CHARLIE KASNICK, October 31, 2007 at 5:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I WONDER HOW MANY DEMOCRATS WERE SPIED ON!

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By Paracelsus, October 31, 2007 at 5:16 am Link to this comment

US Rep. Jane Harman (D) Phone Number (202) 225 8220

Give her your love when you speak of HR 1955! It was all her idea. This is the bill that criminalizes free speech. Then call you congressman, and give him/her an earful as well, because it is 94% likely he/she voted for it too!

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By Akira_Maritias, October 31, 2007 at 5:01 am Link to this comment

...You know what? Once he gets full permission to wire tap our phones, I’m gonna give him one hell of an ear full. I’ll spend hours bashing Bush, and I’ll make sure to slide in as many suspicious words as physically possible. After they’ve spent hours tracing my call, I’ll say ‘you morons keep wasting your time on a 17 year old girl, and you -still- think this wiretapping was a brilliant idea?’

Way more than half of the country talks about the war, and guess what? That means suspicious words getting thrown into -every- phone conversation. That asshole doesn’t know what he’s doing, because I doubt that he could find -anybody- by using this method.

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By weather, October 31, 2007 at 3:15 am Link to this comment

The US Supreme Court becomes a strip mall where corporations line up to buy up last minute details that may impede a profit or safeguard a citizen.

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By Paracelsus, October 31, 2007 at 12:08 am Link to this comment

That was Jane Harman’s idea. She the Democrat Rep from Ca., who is guess what? A great fan of Micheal Chertoff. Additionally she is a loyal funder of Isreal. Why do these made over Stalinists want to turn this country into the Soviet Union? Sometimes I think Mao’s Chine and the Soviet Union were just experimental petri dishes. At times I think the whole Cold War was faked as a way to make over America into a replica of its enemies. So China was the best experiment so far. David Rockefeller said so in 1973 in the NYT. So Nixon went over there to alter the experiment a bit. You know that Nixon was a lawyer for the Rockefellers during the 1960’s? You don’t expect a Quaker cloth coat Republican to live on air, right?

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By Don Stivers, October 30, 2007 at 10:55 pm Link to this comment

Hey!!!

Our State Department, who works for Bush, gave immunity to murderers.  Did not Hitler give immunity to his minions.  There IS NO IMMUNITY for murder.  There is no excuse for following orders when murder is involved.  Where does Blackwater and this Republican Administration get off? 

These idiots give immunity to anybody!!!  Except to the innocent.

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By 911truthdotorg, October 30, 2007 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

This explains everything…..

Michael Chertoff, our head of Homeland Security has a name that literally means “of the devil” in Russian. Seldom has real life been more Dickensian.

He also has a cousin who wrote the infamous “Popular Mechanics” 9/11 cover story that attempted to debunk all the 9/11 revisionist theories that run counter to the official consensus reality mythos.

http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=3969

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By 911truthdotorg, October 30, 2007 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment

As bad as this is, at least we know about it.

Check this out - passed last week by 94% of the House. It is a Thought Crime bill. Read it and weep.

Kucinich voted NO!!

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h110-1955

http://www.blacklistednews.com/view.asp?ID=4596

And the traitors who voted FOR this Orwellian nightmare!

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2007-993

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By thomas billis, October 30, 2007 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When I say that one definition of fascism is when the government and the corporations become one.Please oh please show me where I am wrong after you read this article.I guess for some people to see reality George Bush would have to grow a little moustache.Not that I am comparing the Nazi’s to our government but I wonder when the light is going to go off in the American people’s minds that we are living in a fascist state.One author to avoid the negativity of the term has used the word corporationism.Use any word you you want.If you are in the middle class you are screwed.

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