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Sun Jul 1, 2012, 11:46 AM

The Dissenter reports on Greenwald's Surveillance State speech at the Socialism 2012 conference [View all]

(Video links of the speech at the end of the article.)
http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/07/01/glenn-greenwald-on-challenging-the-surveillance-state/

Historically, the NSA was not something that was not supposed to be talked about by people in the government. That history continues today because the public knows very little about the surveillance state, including “who runs it, how it is operated, who it is directed at and who makes those decisions.” For example, Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Mark Udall, two Democratic senators, are engaged in a Sisyphean effort to force the NSA to reveal how many Americans are actually being spied upon currently. They both serve on the intelligence committee in the Senate and have said they don’t know basic details on NSA eavesdropping and they have communicated that the government is relying on secret interpretations of the Patriot Act to justify invading Americans’ privacy.

Udall and Wyden sent a letter asking how many Americans have had their email communications read or their phone calls listened to by the NSA. They replied that they could not tell the senators because it would violate the privacy of Americans. Now, this is plainly laughable and, in fact, the entire room at Greenwald’s talk laughed hysterically when they heard this; Greenwald read the exact text of this response so he could clearly establish he was not making this newspeak up.

As Greenwald continued, he expanded the discussion into how private companies are working in concert with the federal government. He characterized this coopeation as “a full-scale merger between the federal government and industry” where the two are “equally important parts” of the surveillance state. To illustrate this he shared an example where Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates announced a ban on BlackBerry devices in their countries because they could not intercept communications. The US government, along with US media, were condemning this move saying they were engaged in oppression that could not be tolerated; and yet six weeks later, according to the New York Times, the Obama administration was pushing legislation to require “all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct ‘peer to peer’ messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.”

This legislation was born out of the mindset that motivated Saudi Arabian government officials and UAE government officials to ban BlackBerry technology. And this mindset, Greenwald says is, “There can be no human interaction, especially no human communication not just from foreign nationals and between foreign nationals but by American citizens on American soil that is beyond the reach of the US government.” That is why the surveillance state has become so ubiquitous and ever-expanding.

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Reply The Dissenter reports on Greenwald's Surveillance State speech at the Socialism 2012 conference [View all]
Luminous Animal Jul 2012 OP
xchrom Jul 2012 #1
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