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Tue Jul 2, 2013, 05:27 AM

To those who say ‘trust the government’ on NSA spying: Remember J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI?

It's after 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, and I'm heading to bed finally; but I just stumbled
across this at Raw Story (from the Guardian), and couldn't resist posting it before logging
off to go nite-nite.

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To those who say ‘trust the government’ on NSA spying: Remember J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI?
By Barrett Brown, The Guardian
Monday, July 1, 2013 13:19 EDT

Those who tell us to trust the US’s secret, privatised surveillance schemes should recall the criminality of J Edgar Hoover’s FBI

It’s a fine thing to see mainstream American media outlets finally sparing some of their attention toward the cyber-industrial complex – that unprecedented conglomeration of state, military and corporate interests that together exercise growing power over the flow of information. It would be even more heartening if so many of the nation’s most influential voices, from senator to pundits, were not clearly intent on killing off even this belated scrutiny into the invisible empire that so thoroughly scrutinizes us – at our own expense and to unknown ends.

Summing up the position of those who worry less over secret government powers than they do over the whistleblowers who reveal such things, we have New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who argues that we can trust small cadres of unaccountable spies with broad powers over our communications. We must all wish Friedman luck with this prediction. Other proclamations of his – including that Vladimir Putin would bring transparency and liberal democracy to Russia, and that the Chinese regime would not seek to limit its citizens’ free access to the internet – have not aged especially well.

An unkind person might dismiss Friedman as the incompetent harbinger of a dying republic. Being polite, I will merely suggest that Friedman’s faith in government is as misplaced as faith in the just and benevolent God that we know not to exist – Friedman having been the winner of several of the world’s most-coveted Pulitzer Prizes.

If Friedman is, indeed, too quick to trust the powerful, it’s a trait he shares with the just over half of Americans, who tell pollsters they’re fine with the NSA programs that were until recently hidden from their view. Why, our countrymen wonder, ought we to be disturbed by our state’s desire to know everything that everyone does? Given the possibility that this surveillance could perhaps prevent deaths in the form of terrorist attacks, most Americans are willing to forgo some abstract notion of privacy in favor of the more concrete benefits of security.

Besides, the government to which we’re ceding these broad new powers is a democracy, overseen by real, live Americans. And it’s hard to imagine American government officials abusing their powers – or at least, it would be, had such officials not already abused similar but more limited powers through repeated campaigns of disinformation, intimidation and airtight crimes directed at the American public over the last five decades. Cointelpro, Operation Mockingbird, Ultra and Chaos are among the now-acknowledged CIA, FBI and NSA programs by which those agencies managed to subvert American democracy with impunity. Supporters of mass surveillance conducted under the very same agencies have yet to address how such abuses can be insured against in the context of powers far greater than anything J Edgar Hoover could command.

Many have never heard of these programs; the sort of people who trust states with secret authority tend not to know what such things have led to in the recent past. Those who do know of such things may perhaps contend that these practices would never be repeated today. But it was just two years ago that the late Michael Hastings revealed that US army officials in Afghanistan were conducting psy-ops against visiting US senators in order to sway them towards continued funding for that unsuccessful war. If military and intelligence officials have so little respect for the civilian leadership, one can guess how they feel about mere civilians.

Not that anyone need merely guess. Discussing the desirability of such “information operations” in his 2001 book, retired USAF Lt Col George Crawford noted that voters tend to view these sorts of programs with suspicion. “Consequently,” he concludes, “these efforts must take place away from public eyes.”

MORE HERE: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/01/to-those-who-say-trust-the-government-on-nsa-spying-remember-j-edgar-hoovers-fbi/

11 replies, 832 views

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply To those who say ‘trust the government’ on NSA spying: Remember J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI? (Original post)
99th_Monkey Jul 2013 OP
djean111 Jul 2013 #1
Demeter Jul 2013 #5
cantbeserious Jul 2013 #2
Fire Walk With Me Jul 2013 #3
baldguy Jul 2013 #4
99th_Monkey Jul 2013 #9
alc Jul 2013 #6
99th_Monkey Jul 2013 #10
devilgrrl Jul 2013 #7
99th_Monkey Jul 2013 #11
byeya Jul 2013 #8

Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Jul 2, 2013, 05:38 AM

1. Gonna guess that stuff like this falls into the "where was the outrage then!!!???!!" category.

Or "it has always been done, so it is okay".
And we will be admonished that all NSA-type spying started long ago, so we shouldn't complain now.
Wonder how all of this activity, worldwide, will change now that it has been dragged out from behind the curtain.
My guess is that at some point - behind closed doors, of course - all spying nations will just shake hands, have a toast, and continue on their merry way, because they all spy on their citizens and will not be stopping that.

More and more "efforts" are taking place away from public eyes - TPP, NSA, wonder what else.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 2, 2013, 08:23 AM

5. Obama is already saying this, and worse

He claims that all nations do it. (What, act like the East German Stazi? I don't think so!)

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Jul 2, 2013, 06:16 AM

2. That It Has Always Been So Means That It Has Always Been Right?

eom

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Jul 2, 2013, 06:49 AM

3. K&R!

 

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Jul 2, 2013, 07:24 AM

4. To those who say "Don't trust the govt":

Last edited Tue Jul 2, 2013, 08:58 AM - Edit history (1)



Glenn Beck and Alex Jones would be proud of you.

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Response to baldguy (Reply #4)

Tue Jul 2, 2013, 01:01 PM

9. Nice try, to change subject. We are talking here about what KIND of government we want.

... not "gov't good" v. "gov't bad", as it's just not that simplistic.

More precisely, do we want the kind of government that spies its own citizenry
24/7, including their tracking their phone calls and emails, and does this spying
in collusion with huge private corporations such as Blackwater, Bechtel, et. al.

Is that really the kind of goverhment that YOU want?

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Jul 2, 2013, 08:58 AM

6. Forget Hoover

Think about the next time we have a president and head of NSA who are not trustworthy. Trust is irrelevant in the long run. We will have MANY leaders over the countries lifetime and they will not all be trustworthy. Precedence and limits are significant.

We've set up a surveillance system and databases that Hoover would kill for as well as becoming much more reliant on electronic communications. If/when the wrong people get access to the database they may never give up power.

I think a lot of congressmen, judges, media owners & reporters, campaign donors, and candidates DO have things to hide. Not a large percentage of any group, but enough that someone misusing the databases can exert a lot of control over legislation (and less oversite), warrants (expand surveillance), reporting (we won't know), and who gets elected.

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Response to alc (Reply #6)

Tue Jul 2, 2013, 01:07 PM

10. Once "the wrong people get access to the database they may never give up power". <-PRECISELY!.

This isn't rocket science folks. We've got history and lots of varied experiences to learn and draw from,
to decide anew what kind of government we really WANT, and if we're very lucky and creative, we'll do
this in a way that is bloodless and truly democratic, where "one person, one vote" rules, not big corporations
from behind their damn Curtain.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)


Response to devilgrrl (Reply #7)

Tue Jul 2, 2013, 01:11 PM

11. Abso-fucking-lutely!! What's good for our war lords, is good for US.

and if I'm good, the Tooth Fairy will leave a pony under my pillow.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Tue Jul 2, 2013, 09:57 AM

8. "Justice is incidental to law and order"...J. Edgar Hoover

 

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