Member since: Sat Dec 6, 2003, 04:15 AM
Number of posts: 44,966
Number of posts: 44,966
The Allies were responsible for the safety of the many, many Jewish refugees. Those refugees could not be left safely in Germany after the war. They could not be returned to their homes because those homes were now occupied by Germans (or others in Europe) who would take revenge if they had to give them up to Jews. To try to repatriate the Jewish people to the homes they lived in and the businesses and status they had before the war would have prolonged the war.
The Allies were overwhelmed by the numbers of refugees. The US took a lot of them. But remember, we had just come out of the Depression to fight a war. We had a housing shortage, even in some areas, a schoolroom shortage. We had failed to take refugees during the Depression because we did not have the jobs and economy to support them. That, we recognized as a mistake, and we did what we could but it was not enough, could not be enough.
In short, there was a crisis of refugees but especially of Jewish refugees. They could not stay where they were. They wanted to go to what is now Israel. It was at the time a British Protectorate. It had that status not because the British had sought to make it a colony but because it was part of the Ottoman Empire which the British and allies defeated in WWI and which Britain governed after that war.
After WWII, the people living in Palestine were viewed as supporters of Hitler. Fair or not, that is how the Allies perceived them because some of their leaders had supported Hitler. So Palestine was viewed as a sparsely populated land that had never established a national or sovereign government for any length of time but had passed from the supervision and control of the Ottoman Empire and Turks to the British Protectorate and sided with the enemy of the allies in WWII.
The Jewish people had not had a homeland since the Romans destroyed their nation (please correct me if I am wrong about this), yet they had maintained a national identity as Jews, not just a religious one but a national one. The phrase, "Next year in Jerusalem" had great meaning to them just as a pilgrimage to Mecca has meaning to Muslims. Israel was a spiritual as well as national significance to the Jewish people from what I gather. (I am not Jewish.) The Jewish people were, for centuries, not accepted as full citizens across Europe. Hence the expression, "The Wandering Jew."
Here is a small excerpt from a list of the exiles of Jewish people. You need to go to the Wikipedia page to appreciate the long, long history of the exiles of the Jewish people. The amazing thing is that the Jewish people retained their identity as a people through so many exiles. That is astounding. Here are just a few examples of the persecution of Jewish people.
The German Nazi persecution started with the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in 1933, reached a first climax during the Kristallnacht in 1938 and culminated in the Holocaust of the European Jewry. The British Mandate of Palestine prohibited Jewish emigration to the Land of Israel. The 1938 Evian Conference, the 1943 Bermuda Conference and other attempts failed to resolve the problem of Jewish refugees, a fact widely used in Nazi propaganda (see also MS St. Louis). Many German and Austrian Jewish refugees from Nazism emigrated to Britain and many fought for Britain in the second World War.
The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, in which the combined population of Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa (excluding Israel) was reduced from about 900,000 in 1948 to less than 8,000 today. The history of the exodus is politicized, given its proposed relevance to a final settlement Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. When presenting the history, those who view the Jewish exodus as equivalent to the 1948 Palestinian exodus, such as the Israeli government and NGOs such as JJAC and JIMENA, emphasize "push factors", such as cases of anti-Jewish violence and forced expulsions, and refer to those affected as "refugees". Those who argue that the exodus does not equate to the Palestinian exodus emphasize "pull factors", such as the actions of local Zionist agents aiming to fulfil the One Million Plan, highlight good relations between the Jewish communities and their country's governments, emphasize the impact of other push factors such as the decolonization in the Maghreb and the Suez War and Lavon Affair in Egypt, and argue that many or all of those who left were not refugees. Israel absorbed approximately 600,000 of these refugees, many of whom were temporarily settled in tent cities called Ma'abarot. They were eventually absorbed into Israeli society, and the last Maabarah was dismantled in 1958.
(Living in France and in Los Angeles, I have met many of these Jewish refugees from the Middle East. They did not all go to Israel, so I do not think that Zionism was the real reason for their leaving their homelands. In fact I am very sure it was not based on conversations I have had with some of them.)
Due to the 1968 Polish political crisis thousands of Jews were forced by the communist authorities to leave Poland. See also rootless cosmopolitan, Doctors' plot, Jackson-Vanik amendment, refusenik, Zionology, Pamyat.
State-sponsored persecution in the Soviet Union prompted tens of thousands of Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel, and some also to the United States with "refugee" status.
In the US, we view Jewish people as just the same as everyone else, no more to be ostracized or persecuted than any other religion. But that is because of our First Amendment. If the right-wing Christians had their way, who knows what religion they would persecute?
Genocide is wrong. The establishment of the nation of Israel was intended to right the centuries, close to two thousand years of genocide against the Jewish people. Genocide is still wrong. But is Israel practicing genocide?
A lot is said about how intolerant Israel is of people of other religions. But compared to Saudi Arabia where Bibles are pretty much banned or Egypt where the Christians have been persecuted from time to time and are subject to certain limitations based on their religious affiliations, Israel is an extremely tolerant society. All citizens have the vote, and last I heard there were non-Jews sitting in the Knesset, their parliament.
As far as I have heard, people who are not Jewish still have civil rights in Israel. The violence going on now does not appear to be aimed at non-Jews in Israel. Not from what I have heard. I question, therefore, whether what is going on can be called a genocide. I don't think it is violence based on race or ethnicity. I think it should be viewed as a war.
Genocide is wrong. War is wrong. My solution is to pray for peace and to wish well to those who are negotiating right now for peace.
The Palestinians want the right to return to Jerusalem and the land partitioned for Israel. They want to live in the homes that they think their grandparents live in. Do you live in the home your grandparents lived in? I live thousands of miles from that home although I have cousins who still live there. Most Americans live closer than I do, but we don't expect to live near where our grandparents lived. Lucky is the American who does. And the world increasingly reflects US culture in that people live near work, not near their ancestral homes. There would be no immigration in the world if living where your grandparents lived was an important value to us today.
The Israelis are accused of genocide, perhaps rightfully so at this time, but it is mostly because their military power is greater and most important better organized than that of the Palestinians.
Let's look for a moment at the military situation from the point of view of the Palestinian role in it. The Palestinians bombard Israel with rockets, etc. and then protest loudly when Israel responds with its superior military capacity. The Palestinians then pretend to wonder why so many of them are killed and why the area given to them has shrunk each time that Israel responds with its superior military organization and power. The process has become predictable. It may be somewhat cynical. I don't know, but it may be.
Do you seriously think that the Palestinians believe at this point that they can win back land with their rockets? Why are they sending the rockets? They must know what the response will be to those rockets. They must have figured that out by now.
I do not think the Palestinians are stupid or so emotional that they cannot keep from sending the rockets. I think that they are sending the rockets to incite Israel to respond with violence. That is the only reason I can think of for the rockets and stones. Yes. It is an expression of frustration. But it has never gained back any territory. It has never helped to obtain peace. I think it is done to incite Israel to attack. It makes no sense otherwise.
The small weapons of the Palestinians are like flea bites on a lion's back. What does the lion do? It takes it's mighty tail and whips its backs to make the fleas stop biting. That's what mighty tails are for. How can the Palestinians expect less of Israel?
Of course, Israel fights back when it is repeatedly harassed and its people cannot live in peace. Do the Palestinians seriously expect Israel to respond to their rockets and stones with rockets and stones? Of course not, Israel responds with its mighty tail. The Palestinians tease Israel and then pretend righteous indignation when Israel swings it tail. Seriously, how would you respond if your neighbors threw potentially harmful things, say broken glass, into your back yard where you garden and your children play?
I think the plan is to cause the world to condemn Israel. Younger children do this to their older siblings. A little pinch from the younger child, the larger child responds with a slap or a kick, and mom and dad scold the older child. That is, I think the Palestinians' plan.
My point: There are two sides to this. I am presenting Israel's side because we do not see it on DU.
The only answer is meaningful peace negotiations. The exchange of land for a negotiated peace is a good possibility in my view. But the Palestinians and Israelis will have to take a long view. It will not just be an exchange of land for peace. It will involve a lot of personal exchanges and a plan to build trust between the two sides. Finally, I believe it will require a couple of generations possibly before the borders can be made secure enough that Israel can accept a powerful Palestine as its neighbor.
Sometimes peace negotiations can take place before a dispute reaches a crisis. (As I have posted so many times, there are three ways to end disputes.) After so many years of fighting and so many failed attempts to negotiate a peace that would leave the Palestinians with some national identity and pride, the Israelis may be resigning themselves to the final resort of simply conquering Palestine. It's a rather sad situation, but Israel is certainly not entirely to blame for it.
I have presented an argument in support of Israel. Many DUers have made the argument in support of Palestine. I repeat that there are two sides to this dispute and because there are two sides it is better not to take sides but to pray for peace and support the peace negotiations.
My hope is that Israelis and Palestinians will be able to live together in peace, side by side for the moment, and one day in a unified country in which religious and cultural tolerance is the rule.
I hope all DUers on both sides of this issue will pray or if they prefer to put it this way, "send good vibes" to the peace negotiators.
Posted by JDPriestly | Fri Aug 1, 2014, 05:18 PM (0 replies)
At page 190, Greenwald describes the tactics used to deceive and damage reputations.
"One PowerPoint slide presented by GCHQ (the British surveillance service with which the US collaborates in spying on innocent people and spreading disinformation) surveillance officials at the 2012 SigDev conference describes two forms of attack "information ops (influence of disruption)" and "technical disruption." GCHQ refers to these measures as "online Covert Action," which is intended to achieve what the document calls "The 4 D's: Deny/Disrupt/Degrade/Deceive."
Further, a power point slide states again at page 190 of Greenwald's book cited above"
- "Using online techniques to make something happen in the real or cyber world"
- Two broad categories"
- Information Ops (influence or disruption)
- Technical disruption
-Known in GCHQ as Online Covert Action
- The 4D's Deny/Disrupt/Degrade/Deceive.
Speaks for itself.
Russia uses, of course, the same techniques. Very unfortunate when they are used in the US by any person or country because some one of us who is so used to and tired of the deception of our own media -- deception for pay not for ideology -- is bound to point out what it is.
Deny Disrupt Degrade Deceive.
We see a lot of that on DU. I'm sure it is heartfelt, but it is what it is.
Unfortunately, a lot of people come to DU naively believing what they read and hear elsewhere. Their posts in their early time here reflect those borrowed ideas.
We all need to inform ourselves well enough that we can read and listen critically and make informed decisions about what may be true and what is obviously not. Having to defend your ideas on DU develops a lot of critical thinking. I know it has for me.
RT is what it is. Thom Hartmann is a great, independent commentator.
If you don't like RT, you can also hear an hour of Thom Hartmann a day on KPFK Los Angeles -- independent, listener supported radio. I don't always agree with it either, but it at least doesn't repeat the same old same old corporate garbage.
Posted by JDPriestly | Fri Jul 25, 2014, 08:28 PM (0 replies)
Combat operations, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and general fear resulted in millions of people being uprooted from their original homes in the course of World War II. Between 11 million and 20 million people were displaced according to estimates. The majority were inmates of Nazi concentration camps, Labor camps and prisoner-of-war camps that were freed by the Allied armies. In portions of Eastern Europe, both civilians and military personnel fled their home countries in fear of advancing Soviet armies, who were preceded by widespread reports of mass rape, pillaging, looting, and murder.
Here is a listing of the incredible number of expulsions mostly by the NAZIS of the citizens of various countries in Eastern Europe during and after the War:
At the end of World War II, 12 million people had been driven from their homes. In 1946 there was 200,000 inquiries for lost children. There were more than 7 million men and women living in Germany who had been moved to the German Reich as slave laborers or prisoners. The United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) took care of these people. UNRRA was essentially a temporary organization which expired in June 1947. Afterward, the International Refugee Organization (IRO) took care of Displaced Persons. Almost 6 million DPs were repatriated in the 5 months from May to Sept. 1945. Three years after the war, there were 370 camps in the English, French and American Zones in Germany, 120 camps in Austria and 25 camps in Italy with well over 800,000 DPs. Of this 800,000:
55% Roman Catholics
27% Protestant and other Eastern orthodox faiths
(Statistics provided by Scholars in the DP Camps by Edward B. Rooney, SJ):
Near the end of 1947, a US emigration bill required every DP emigrant to have a sponsor in the US. When not enough sponsors were found, in June 25, 1948, Congress passed Public Law 774, the Displaced Persons Act which provided for more than 200,000 DPs to enter the US over the next two years. 85,000 were Ukrainians.
. . . .
Between June 1946 and 1957, the United States received over 2.6 million refugees.
Shoah Resource Center, The International School for Holocaust Studies
Displaced Persons, Jewish
At the end of World War II, between seven and nine million people had been uprooted from their homes by the Nazis. By the end of 1945, more than six million had returned home to begin life anew. However, many Jews who had survived forced labor camps, extermination camps, concentration camps, and death marches did not want to go home. After experiencing the horrors of the Holocaust, they wanted to leave Europe altogether and rebuild their broken
lives elsewhere. Some did return home, only to leave again after finding their homes and property stolen by their former neighbors. None of these Jews had anywhere to go. Thus, they congregated in Displaced Persons' (DP) camps located within the central European areas controlled by the Allies. They organized themselves under the Hebrew name, She'erit ha-Pletah,
a biblical term meaning "surviving remnant." The She'erit ha-Pletah organization existed from the end of the war until December 1950.
Those Western European Jews who survived generally returned to their countries of origin, while those from Eastern Europe flocked to DP camps in the Allied zones of Europe. Soon, thousands more Polish, Soviet, Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, and Romanian Jews who had tried to go home
began to flee westward to the DP camps when they realized that nothing was left for them in Eastern Europe. By the end of 1946, there were approximately 250,000 Jewish DPs–185,000 in Germany, 45,000 in Austria, and 20,000 in Italy.
A year and a half earlier, in the summer of 1945, public interest in the DP camps had influenced President Harry S. Truman to send Earl G. Harrison as his personal emissary to check into the conditions of the Jewish DPs in the camps of the American zone in Germany. Harrison reported that the conditions in the DP camps were terrible. He accused the Americans of being responsible for the awful situation, and declared that the only solution was to let the Jewish DPs immigrate to Palestine. Harrison advised that the Americans work to improve the conditions in their camps, and that the British allow 100,000 DPs to move to Palestine. . . . .
Why couldn't the Jews of Western Europe simply move back into their former homes in Western Europe?
Based on my experience in living in Western Europe, it is clear that
a) the hatred of Jews which was prevalent all over Europe especially following the Inquisition made life there dangerous for Jews. The last of the anti-Jewish Catholic shrines in Austria was disavowed and closed in the late 1970s or early 1980s. (I was there but don't remember the year.)
b) the NAZIs had confiscated the homes and property of the Jews, at least those things that the Jews had been unable to entrust to their friends. The properties had been sold or were being lived in and used by non-Jews. In most cases, the properties could not have been simply handed back to the previous Jewish owners. This included not just homes but businesses. The losses were terrible and could not be made right.
The US was barely out of the Great Depression when WWII began. During WWII, Americans sacrificed. I still have pages of ration stamps for sugar that were erroneously made out in my name (I was a baby) with the wrong year. Pristine condition and a reminder of the relative poverty of the time.
After WWII, there was a severe housing shortage not only in the US but in Europe as the baby boomers arrived. Schools were overcrowded. The crisis was very difficult to deal with.
Israel was just one country that made room for displaced persons. The Ottoman Empire of which the area that Palestinians claim as their country was actually a British Protectorate beginning in the aftermath of World War I.
The allies fought against the Germans in the Middle East during WWII.
Many Jews had fought for the Allies during World War Two and had developed their military skills as a result. After the war ended in 1945, these skills were used in acts of terrorism. The new Labour Government of Britain had given the Jews hope that they would be given more rights in the area. Also in the aftermath of the Holocaust in Europe, many throughout the world were sympathetic to the plight of the Jews at the expense of the Arabs in Palestine.
Al-Husseini was the scion of a family of Jerusalemite notables. After receiving an education in Islamic, Ottoman and Catholic schools, he went on to serve in the Ottoman army in World War I. At war's end, he positioned himself in Damascus as a supporter of the Arab Kingdom of Syria. Following the fiasco of the Franco-Syrian War and the collapse of the Arab Hashemite rule in Damascus, his early position on pan-Arabism shifted to a form of local nationalism for Palestinian Arabs and he moved back to Jerusalem. From as early as 1920, in order to secure the independence of Palestine as an Arab state he actively opposed Zionism, and was implicated as a leader of a violent riot that broke out over the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Al-Husseini was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, but was pardoned by the British. Starting in 1921, al-Husseini was appointed Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, using the position to promote Islam, while rallying a non-confessional Arab nationalism against Zionism.
His opposition to the British peaked during the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine. In 1937, evading an arrest warrant, he fled Palestine and took refuge in, successively, the French Mandate of Lebanon and the Kingdom of Iraq, until he established himself in Italy and Germany. During World War II he collaborated with both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy by making propagandistic radio broadcasts and by helping Germans recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS. On meeting Adolf Hitler he requested backing for Arab independence and support in opposing the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish national home. At war's end, he came under French protection, and then sought refuge in Cairo to avoid prosecution.
In the lead-up to the 1948 Palestine war, Husseini opposed both the 1947 UN Partition Plan and King Abdullah's designs to annex the Arab part of British Mandatory Palestine to Jordan, and, failing to gain command of the 'Arab rescue army' (jaysh al-inqadh al-'arabi) formed under the aegis of the Arab League, formed his own militia, al-jihad al-muqaddas. In September 1948, he participated in establishment of All-Palestine Government. Seated in Egyptian-ruled Gaza, this government won a limited recognition of Arab states, but was eventually dissolved by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1959. After the war and subsequent Palestinian exodus, his claims to leadership, wholly discredited, left him eventually sidelined by the Palestine Liberation Organization, and he lost most of his residual political influence. He died in Beirut, Lebanon, in July 1974. Husseini was and remains a highly controversial figure. Historians dispute whether his fierce opposition to Zionism was grounded in nationalism or antisemitism or a combination of both.
Remember, at the time, there was a lot of anti-Jewish sentiment in the US so just receiving all of the Jewish refugees here was not an alternative.
It is so easy to judge decisions made in times of historic upheaval.
But if you had lived in the years between 1946 - 1956, what would you have done?
Remember, the Allies had just won WWII with the help of Jewish soldiers. Some of the Americans who built our atomic bomb and split the atom were Jewish. Because of the actions of Al-Husseini, they viewed Palestinians as German supporters and allies. Palestine had never been an independent country in modern times.
We all love to second-guess history. But what would you have done had you been faced with the task of setting new national boundaries in all the areas in which the war had taken place.
Strasbourg, France and the Alsace-Lorraine became as it had been off and on through history, a part of France. (Its population was divided German and French.) Yugoslavia was formed. The Iron Curtain fell.
Peace came at a price, and that price was paid by many people across Europe and the world.
Israel was in my view a necessary part of the compromises that finally ended WWII.
To try to do away with Israel would probably mean more war. It is time that the Palestinians make a peace. They should try to exchange peace for land and live as friends with all their neighbors. They are wasting their lives and those of their children in constant war.
I posted this as an OP in a thread under Israel/Palestine. It was locked because it was not a recent event. I remember this history. I predicted the Yom Kippur War way back when based on my understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The brutality of the fighting, the absurdity of the fighting does not speak well of the Palestinian leadership. They are the worst enemy of the Palestinian people. Israel is a democracy (in which Palestinian residents vote by the way). If Israelis feel safe living next to Palestinians, they will vote for leaders who will make peace with Palestine. The Israelis have proved in the past that they are capable and willing to destroy settlements and trade land for peace. It is up to the Palestinians and up to Hamas in particular. Peace or the suffering of war. It's up to the Palestinians.
Life is not fair. Peace is to be preferred over so many decades of war. Getting justice means getting the right to be yourself and to live in peace with the world, not just getting back at those who have hurt you. It is not easy to "get over it," but sometimes "getting over it" is a huge victory.
Posted by JDPriestly | Sun Jul 20, 2014, 03:30 PM (3 replies)
I am posting the link again so that I can put it on my journal and cite to it in Hillary Clinton threads. It points precisely at the problem with a Hillary Clinton candidacy.
Fool me once . . . . as George W. Bush once tried to say.
We have been fooled for the past 34 years. I for one am tired of it.
Posted by JDPriestly | Tue Jun 24, 2014, 02:49 PM (1 replies)
complained about the lies that were printed in the press, but absolutely defended the freedom of the press. He stated over and over that the laws protecting us from slander and libel are all we need. Beyond that the court, (the magistrate) should leave the press alone.
There is a long computer page of quotes from Jefferson explaining that without absolute freedom of the press, we have no freedom for individuals.
"Considering great importance to the public liberty , and the difficulty of submitting it to very precise rules, the laws have thought it less mischievous to give greater scope to its freedom than to the restraint of it." --Thomas Jefferson to the Spanish Commissioners, 1793. ME 9:165
"It is so difficult to draw a clear line of separation between the abuse and the wholesome use of the press, that as yet we have found it better to trust the public judgment, rather than the magistrate, with the discrimination between truth and falsehood. And hitherto the public judgment has performed that office with wonderful correctness." --Thomas Jefferson to M. Pictet, 1803. ME 10:356
"Printing presses shall be free except as to false facts published maliciously either to injure the reputation of another (whether followed by pecuniary damages or not) or to expose him to the punishment of the law." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes for a Constitution, 1794.
"Printing presses shall be subject to no other restraint than liableness to legal prosecution for false facts printed and published." --Thomas Jefferson: Draft of Virginia Constitution, 1783. ME 2:298, Papers 6:304
Our government is not supposed to keep so many secrets from us. The Founding Fathers (maybe with the exception of Adams) would be turning over in their graves today if they knew how our government keeps secrets from the American people.
“Let the people know the facts, and the country will be safe.”
“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”
Posted by JDPriestly | Sat Jun 7, 2014, 04:37 PM (0 replies)
Communism employed various techniques to place people under surveillance.
As a result, people in Communist countries whispered about their discontentment in life, their distrust of the government, their fear of ostracism, lest they suffer perhaps loss of income, loss of opportunity for themselves and their children due to some slip of the tongue, some unacceptable opinion they might have expressed, some small indiscretion that was picked up by an informant.
The NSA spying is far more intrusive than the spying the Communists did.
Who knows how many people have lost their jobs because of the spying?
We have no way of knowing. And we have no way of knowing how many people could lose a job or be viewed as dangerous by the NSA and your local police who will, if they do not already, get information from the NSA.
Government spying is a waste of time and money. We agree on that. But many people are employed as government spies by the NSA. Since what they do brings no reward to our country, how are they to justify the expense and time spent on it?
Here's how: they will find new, very practical uses for the information they discover -- like informing employers of disgruntled employees.
Truman signed the NSA into law in 1952.
"Originating as a unit to decipher coded communications in World War II, it was officially formed as the NSA by President Truman in 1952."
I quote this:
It (The NSA) was very quickly assigned the task of intercepting and collecting "foreign intelligence from foreign communications or foreign electronic signals" and entered into "'a secret arrangement' with ITT, RCA Global Communications, and Western Union" to gather millions of cables sent by Americans to foreign recipients.
Morton Mintz and Jerry S. Cohen Power, Inc. (Macmillan 1976) page 376.
At that time, according to Mintz and Cohen, the NSA was collecting millions of cables "which had been sent by American citizens in the reasonable expectation that they would be kept private." Mintz, Power, Inc., age 376.
The NSA set up a watch list of American citizens with suggestions for inclusion on the list from the Bureau of Narcotics. General Lew Allen, Jr. stated that when he took responsibility foe the NSA in 1973, he got rid of the watch list.
Mintz and Cohen at pages 376-377.
Congress finally ended the collection of the international cables (supposedly) in 1975.
"The NSA has the capability 'to monitor anything' Senator Church . . . warned. That capability 'could be turned around on the American people,' he said. 'And no American would have any privacy left. There would be no place to hide. If a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capability that the intelligence community has given the Government could enable it to impose total tyranny.'"
Mintz and Cohen, at page 377.
But here we are. The program either did not end or was revived. (Was Cheney's presence in the executive branch in the Nixon and Bush administrations just a coincidence? Did the NSA conduct surveillance on virtually all international communications with the US after it was instructed to stop? I don't know.)
Today, we are more dependent on electronic communications than ever before. Therefore, the NSA activities intrude on more of our communications and into our private lives more than ever. This is particularly true because the collection of our communications is now arguably being done within the US. And the collection of metadata is most definitely being done in the US.
We need to make sure that Congress is exercising adequate oversight on NSA activities. And we need to curtail and open up to the public more about what those activities are.
The secrecy of the NSA programs since the beginning of the agency is quite troubling. Sen. Church was right in 1975 and is right today.
American citizens should, in my opinion, be protected regardless of where they are in the world. But that is my opinion.
The NSA is out of control is my guess.
Some good legislation has been proposed to get the NSA under control. But we tried that before and it did not work. We already have the CIA and the defense intelligence agency. We need to prevent the intelligence system from becoming the enemy of the people. I don't think they are that yet, but the potential is there. And that is a dangerous matter.
Posted by JDPriestly | Fri Jun 6, 2014, 02:30 PM (0 replies)
government gives us the rights listed in the Bill of Rights. These are rights that belong to us no matter what our government says about it. The Supreme Court may curtail or abridge or diminish these rights in its decisions, but they still belong to us. When the Supreme Court defines the Fourth Amendment rights in a narrow way, the law will enforce that Supreme Court decision, but it is wrong because the right belongs to us. It is not even up to the government to recognize that right. The Supreme Court has, in my opinion, defined the First Amendment right too narrowly. And crazily. While it defines the right of corporations to spend money as speech and thus unlimited and not subject to regulation, it defines the right of people to speech, assembly and to petition the government as subject to reasonable regulation. There is a disconnect in the interpretation of the First Amendment. I am hoping that someone will notice the discrepancy. Unlimited campaign expenditures by the corporations but limited right to assemble, speak and petition the government for the rest of us. What?
The Fourth Amendment rights are some of the rights that are born with us, they are innate to us. (The Bill of Rights does not list all the rights that are born in us -- like marriage which has been recognized as a fundamental right.)
The problem is not whether any law or other constitutional provision can supersede or precede a right listed in the Bill of Rights.
The problem is how to apply the language of early America that is used in the Constitution to our modern technology. The Fourth Amendment recognizes our innate right to privacy in our lives and in our personal and real (real estate) property.
That cannot be changed. The executive branch of our government has to get a warrant based on probable cause with the specificity described in the Fourth Amendment before it takes or searches our private property. The NSA has not been doing that. The Court will have to decide how to apply the Fourth Amendment, how to reserve our privacy rights in the face of the technology we now have.
Because this is such an important issue and because the technology now at the government's disposal is so invasive, so capable of depriving us of any right to privacy without our even realizing that we have been violated, it will take a long time and many decisions before the Supreme Court comes to terms with its task.
Because we have so many conservatives on the Court, we may have to suffer a lot of grief, see a lot of overstepping by the executive branch (and maybe by Congress) before the country wakes up to the dangers that the use of that technology presents.
In a way, the potential in the surveillance technology and some of our other technology such as medical technology is as dangerous to our personal freedom and our country, maybe the world as nuclear weapons. We just don't realize it yet.
Posted by JDPriestly | Wed Jun 4, 2014, 08:36 PM (0 replies)
Here is the text of the Fourth Amendment because we should never lose sight of what we are talking about:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The comment at that website states that the Fourth Amendment focuses on the security and protection of the home. In fact, some of the early, pre-revolutionary cases that are believed to have given rise to the Fourth Amendment had nothing to do with the privacy of the home.
John Adams' defense of John Hancock based on an insufficient warrant concerned the Liberty, a ship, not Hancock's home. The Fourth Amendment does not specifically mention the home. The assumption that the Fourth Amendment is about protecting just the home seems absurd to me. It is not supported in the history of the revolutionary period.
The trigger for the dispute between the American revolutionaries and the British government was the British government's enforcement of import duties and restriction of trade in the American colonies. The British government wanted to tax and control the products that Americans brought in. To this end, they issued general warrants that permitted the British to enter the businesses, ships and homes of Americans to search for illegally imported items.
Here is an article in the Indiana Law Journal that discusses the likely original intent of the drafters of the Fourth Amendment. Madison drafted the Fourth Amendment for our Constitution based on the work of John Adams.
Do read the whole article, Stephen Leser. I hope you enjoy it.
INDIANA LAW JOURNAL
Several themes that found later resonance in John Adams’s views and in Fourth
Amendment jurisprudence can be seen in Thatcher’s arguments, including the
acknowledgement of probable cause as a standard to measure the propriety of an
intrusion, a concern with standardless discretion, and the temporary nature of
warrants. Still, it was Otis who inspired Adams, and many of the principles that
Otis advocated found a place in Adams’s writings and subsequent search and
seizure constitutional provisions. Specifically, significant aspects of Otis’s
arguments became elements of Article 14 and Fourth Amendment structure and
jurisprudence. They include the following: identifying the right to be “secure” as
the interest implicated by a search or seizure; listing the home as a protected place;
utilizing the common law search warrant as a model for when warrants can issue;
defining unjustified intrusions as “unreasonable”; and indicating that probable
cause based searches and seizures are proper. More broadly, Otis’s concerns about
the need for certain procedures, the scope of intrusions, and the arbitrary use of
authority, have had continued importance in search and seizure jurisprudence to
this day. Underlying all of those arguments and principles was a quest for objective
criteria to measure the legitimacy of a search or seizure.
. . . .
Many of the state governments at the time of the American Revolution adopted
legal protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. . . . Those protections,
embodied in the constitutions of the various states after declaring their
independence, typically addressed only abuses associated with general warrants. The Massachusetts Constitution, drafted by John Adams in 1779 and adopted by the Commonwealth in 1780, offered a much different model. The constitution Adams created was preceded by a “Declaration of Rights,” including a search and seizure provision that ultimately became Article 14, which provided:
Every subject has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches
and seizures of his person, his house, his papers, and all his
possessions. All warrants, therefore, are contrary to this right, if the
cause or foundation of them be not previously supported by oath or
affirmation, and if the order in the warrant to a civil officer, to make
search in suspected places, or to arrest one or more suspected persons,
or to seize their property, be not accompanied with a special
designation of the person or objects of search, arrest, or seizure; and no
warrant ought to be issued but in cases, and with the formalities
prescribed by the laws
I added the emphasis.
The FISA orders and searches and seizures by the NSA closely resemble the general warrants that were so hated by the American colonists. (It was reading the Verizon order that shocked me into becoming a crusader on this issue. It is far too general, far too sweeping. I was just speechless.) They do not conform to Adams' and Madisons' and the Founding Fathers' standard. They are not based on probable cause and they do not identify with specificity the persons, places, things, etc. to be searched. And they do purport to authorize searches.
Since the introduction of telephones, the internet and other new technologies (including the automobile) the question is whether and how the Fourth Amendment should apply. These new technologies permit intrusions into our lives and the amassing and analysis of data that would have astounded our Founding Fathers.
The NSA takes the view that it can do what it wants. I and, from what he has done and said, Edward Snowden and many others strongly disagree.
Since at least the Franklin D. Roosevelt era, our government with a nod from the Supreme Court has increasingly violated our rights under the Fourth Amendment. As we use more technology that makes the sidestepping or ignoring of the Fourth Amendment less noticeable to us, we need to defend our rights.
To explain: violations of the Fourth Amendment are obvious when the police come and knock down your door without a warrant. But today, the government can accomplish almost the same degree of invasion of your personal privacy with no noise, imperceptibly by just reading your text messages to your boyfriend for example. That's pretty horrible.
The Supreme Court has, in the past, suggested that the test to apply in deciding whether a search or seizure violates the Constitution is whether we have a reasonable expectation of privacy as to the person, place, thing searched. That is a pretty weak test in my opinion because the government and the Supreme Court have told us that we can't expect much privacy at all. The expectation of privacy is measured not by our subjective expectation of privacy but by the Court's expectation of privacy. And for example Anthony Wiener's expectation of privacy about his person is probably very different from mine. But that is the test. It is ultimately therefore the Supreme Court Justices' expectation of privacy that controls the test I suppose.
Der Spiegel claims that the NSA can use various technologies to view you as you type on the internet -- if you have Skype, they can view you supposedly -- and Snowden stated that the NSA employees can watch us as we edit on the computer. That is an example of a new technological capacity that the Supreme Court has not ruled on.
I would assert that I have, at the very least, a reasonable expectation of privacy to any information that I use a password to get including my personal identifying information on DU. People certainly have an expectation to privacy if that encrypt their messages or use some sort of program that limits the collection of their history. I would also assert that I have a reasonable expectation of privacy as to my location when I am not in a government office, and there is no search warrant for me. I would assert a reasonable expectation to my financial accounts, to the interior of my car, to my phone records, to the content of my phone records, my e-mails and many, many other things. I would assert a reasonable expectation of privacy to anything I have or use on my computer that is not specifically placed by me on a website that is open to the public. I believe that I have a right to expect privacy in my Google searches. If Google asks my permission to collect them, fine. But it is up to me to consent to government access to them.
Those who argue in support of the NSA surveillance rely on that Maryland case decided by the Supreme Court in the late 1970s. Supreme Court decisions make general rules based on specific circumstances. The specific circumstance in that case concerned obtaining pen registers from the phone company in the context of a criminal investigation. The Court did not necessarily approve of the NSA's obtaining the pen registers of millions of innocent people, then sorting and analyzing them so as to determine who calls whom, what our social networks are. The facts are very different.
We need to obtain new Supreme Court rulings by bringing new cases, instances in which innocent people are placed under surveillance. Changing precedents set by the Supreme Court is a war of attrition. The past decisions have to be questioned, distinguished, meaning differentiated based on the facts or the law. It can take a long time to correct a situation. Think of the "separate but equal" battle. But so far, the U.S. government has made bringing new cases that are not related to criminal activity difficult if not impossible by asserting the right to withhold evidence based on national security interests.
Whether the government should withhold such evidence is a political issue. I believe the government's policy in that regard needs to be changed.
We also need to push Congress to pass new laws that prohibit the NSA's abuse of its capacity for surveillance. To that end, we need to change public opinion, to alert people to the dangers of excessive NSA surveillance.
Snowden has played a very helpful role in alerting Americans that he witnessed what he believed was excessive surveillance when he worked as a private contractor for the NSA.
I'm with John Adams and his fellow revolutionaries. I want to see the Fourth Amendment enforced so as to protect our privacy. I want the standard to be the issuance of a warrant that complies with the Fourth Amendment.
I do not think that Americans will put up with the status quo once they understand what is going on, what it means for their loss of privacy. Snowden has done us a favor by starting the conversation. Without seeing the Verizon order, I for one would not have understood just how bad the problem with the NSA surveillance is.
I support Edward Snowden's efforts to start a conversation. In the end, this is an issue that has to be dealt with through international protocols. I don't want the Chinese, the Germans, the Russians or the Portuguese or the British to place my electronic data under surveillance any more than I want the American government to do it.
We all, we earthlings, need to protect our right to privacy. It is a universal right.
Posted by JDPriestly | Tue Jun 3, 2014, 09:01 PM (1 replies)
Posted by JDPriestly | Mon Jun 2, 2014, 12:37 AM (0 replies)
Our ancestors would laugh at our NSA for justifying its massive surveillance including its collection of our metadata by the dangers we face.
In a great speech on the freedom of the press and his own disinclination to meddle with it (in contrast to Obama who is trying to force Risen to give up his sources on a story that Obama claims comprised our national security) claimed that the time in which he served -- the 1960s -- was the most dangerous in history.
I was born during WWII. Since I can remember, the leaders of America have either asserted or acted as though the time in which they were lived was the MOST DANGEROUS in our nation's history. Their awe at the task of protecting our country is understandable, even admirable and explains their hyperbole. But they are wrong.
My ancestors came to this country when it was very, very young. They faced dangers that we cannot imagine now. When they later entered Kentucky and Indiana and moved on West, at each watering hole, at each campground, at each settlement, in every home they built on the prairie or in the wilderness, they faced dangers to themselves and our country far greater than any we can imagine today.
They had no internet, no telephones, no electricity or gas. They chopped trees for kindling wood so that they could cook and heat. They lived in log cabins or houses constructed without cranes and bulldozers. They tilled virgin soil. They hammered horseshoes over blazing fires. They created America in the face of dangers we cannot and do not bother to imagine.
They were fearless.
But they valued freedom and eventually fought for the independence of our country and for a new government, a constitutional government that would pioneer a new relationship between the ordinary man and his civil life. It wasn't just a change of the chief of state. It was a change in the relationship between the farmer (we were mostly farmers back then) or the working man and the government. No longer would we have a king, a sovereign, a master. We would be our own king, our own sovereign, our own master. (I'm talking about Yankees who moved from the East to the West, not Southern slaveholders.)
Today, our government, purchased and owned not by us so much any more but by the very, very wealthy (some of whom serve in Congress) and corporations, is seeking to govern us as a master. The first attack is on our right to know the truth about the dangers and opportunities that confront and greet us.
The first attack is on the media including the internet.
Had my grandfather many times removed, who first came to this country when there was little civilization here, enjoyed the capacity we now have to live safely and tranquilly, had he been able to sit in the evening and watch canned TV shows, old movies or interact with others on the internet, he would have felt incredibly safe, maybe even claustrophobic. He would have believed he had a life of ease.
I think he would have felt very generous toward people in other countries whom we now perceive as enemies. Instead of wasting his time in fear, I think he would have set out to learn more about them. I think he would have tried to figure them out, outsmart them. And I think he could have done that without quivering in fear just as he learned to catch and hunt enough game to feed his family until his crops were in.
I think that if my grandfather many times removed were living today, he would want our government to be truly honest with him. And I think he would have been very cautious before he bought a cow from a stranger off the street or the propaganda that now passes for news.
To survive you have to be smart, but you don't have to lie. You can keep secrets, but they had better be your own, not the public's.
And now to the point: Our government keeps too many secrets from us. It doesn't trust us. And I ask myself, what has happened to the dream of my ancestors, the dream they had for this country. Where is the country that is governed by the people, not by a king, or a sovereign or a master? Where is it when the very government that is supposed to be under our control is placing us under surveillance?
Where is it when that government tells us that we live in the most dangerous times imaginable?
Our ancestors faced dangers far greater than any dangers we could even imagine, save one. And that one danger that is greater than any danger we have faced so far is the danger that the warming oceans and the rising seas and the melting icebergs pose to our grandchildren and their children. (And we don't hear nearly enough about that real danger.)
The idea that we should allow our government to hide so many secrets that are not specifically combat-related from us because of the dire dangers we face is absurd.
We Americans are the most courageous people on earth. At least we used to be. Every one of us. It's in our DNA.
Very few Americans can boast that they have no ancestors who ventured to this country distancing themselves from the comforts of family and childhood memories to face a mysterious wilderness or at least an unknown future. Even today, although the dangers are less obvious, most immigrants leave behind not just family but very often a career and opportunities in order to allow their children to have a better, freer life.
Ironically, the glory of America, the dream of a better, freer life is now being endangered not by foreign enemies but by our own corporate-owned government snooping on our private lives, negotiating trade agreements that will curtail our rights in secret, keeping all kinds of secrets from us and punishing our press, our media when it tries to inform us (I originally wrote this in response to an OP about James Risen and the Obama administration's attacks on the press).
As I write this, I hope the NSA agent who may now or in the future read my post will realize that what he is doing is downright wrong. We have a right to be a free people. That means free of surveillance. Law enforcement is supposed to punish illegal actions. It should not concern itself at all with our political expression, our political speech or our personal law-abiding lives.
My ancestors did not want a country in which the government placed the people under surveillance. How do I know? It's in my DNA and the DNA of all Americans: the love of freedom and the courage to accept the risks that accompany it.
If terrorists endanger our country, don't let them come in. Placing Americans under surveillance is not necessary to keep them out. Otherwise, place criminals under surveillance after they have committed criminal acts. But don't place law-abiding citizens under surveillance.
Posted by JDPriestly | Sun Jun 1, 2014, 02:24 AM (16 replies)