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Forum Post: RE: NSA Spying - Devil's Advocate

Posted 1 year ago on Aug. 26, 2012, 5:09 p.m. EST by ZenDog (13319) from South Burlington, VT
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Trevor posted a great thread on the state of electronic surveillance in the country today, it has some interesting links, and for those interested the article may be found:

I did make a lengthy comment response to some of the contentions Trevor puts forth, but no one it seems reads those lengthy texty-rants - I rarely do unless I typed them and then only for proof reading purposes. All others I skip over with barely a glance.

Silly me.

In any case, if I have performed my task properly, then you will neither be bored during the perusal, nor will you leave entirely unchanged.

My thoughts ran as follows:

.

Thanks for the post, Trevor.

Mind if I play devil's advocate for a sec? It's not my preferred occupation, but hey . . . .

I mean, I've been screaming about this shit for years - literally. I don't like the Shaw's card - I don't like the television advertisement for one of the new phones, which insists:

  • share everything

Because I am well aware that what this is, is private industry incorporating personal information, buying and spending habits and whatever else they can get their hands on - in an effort that is in part designed to identify new marketing opportunities.

It has other applications, and I could show you - had I access to the data - I could show you how to infect someone with so much cognitive dissonance they go completely insane - quite possibly killing themselves or others.

And that is the private sector. It isn't just the government invested in harvesting your personal effects but private industry as well. It's a problem.

So, here's the devil's advocacy - because I think the reality is very complex, and what we are seeing has meaning -

The fact is this information has come out - some of it. I would suggest some of the programs talked about may be duplication of programs already in use by either other agencies or private sector institutions - after all, I started screaming in 1997 - which seems to precede some of the programs under discussion.

The people talking about these programs are talking - they aren't dead. Neither am I. I don't know why, but it is a fact. I am alive and people are talking about this subject. What does that mean?

What would it say about our society if there were no discussion about any of this?

I have no doubt there are those who do not appreciate any discussion of this topic at all. shh they say - and they do so very quietly. shh

What if you got elected? You would confront government agencies - NSA, CIA, DIA - the entire Pentagon for all practical purposes - agencies under the Justice Dept in all likelihood - and that does not begin to address the degree of investment by the private sector - IBM and other high tech industries providing the chips, the wire, the mother boards, access to the entire communications grid . . . .

Were you elected to office you would encounter significant resources committed to opposition of any initiative that curbed the harvesting of our personal effects.

I am absolutely certain they move quietly, and lobby the political establishment not with facts so much as assertions, probabilities, and pictures of chaos.

They point out the investment of Jobs - and whose Congressional districts these jobs may be located in.

So what do you do? As an elected official, what do you do?

Say you held that pen - and with that pen you could reshape America. You could reshape America in ways some very powerful interests would find not simply objectionable, but highly irresponsible - and they come armed with some of the best and brightest minds this nation has to offer - arguing on their behalf.

Only a few months ago both Vice President Biden and Secretary Clinton boarded planes - air force planes - and both had incidents that required those planes to return to their point of departure. Less than 24 hours apart.

That pen has power. There are those who insist it be used very very carefully.

What do you do?

14 Comments

14 Comments


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[-] 3 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

"NSA is sucking up every piece of communication data in America."

"Once it takes in that data... it will build profiles on everybody in that data."

"You know that microphone in your phone.... they track that."

"The purpose is to be able to monitor what everybody is doing."

"You can't have secret interpretations of laws and not tell anyone."

"It's highly classified only because it's spying on Americans... extremely impeachable crimes."

"They came in with guns drawn for me."

  • Binney, 32 years in the NSA

The program needs to be shut down... the supreme court needs to be dismissed... people in the DOJ needs to be fired... congressmen need to be recalled... and presidents need to be impeached. These illegal actions cannot stand! Working hand in hand with corporations through crony capitalism cannot stand!

And then all of them need to be put on trial for circumventing the constitution and treason against the duties of their post. An example needs to be made of these types of actions to prevent them from happening in the future.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

the military should operate in the public view

[-] 2 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

did they ban soldiers from having cameras ?

"It sounds like the punchline of a bad joke, but after years of dealing with photographs of troops torturing prisoners, desecrating corpses and generally behaving badly, commanders in southwestern Afghanistan have announced that they are going to solve the problem by banning photography."

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 year ago

those commanders need to resign

[-] 2 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

they need to be fired... dishonorably discharged.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (13319) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

I hear that. I don't think I would go as far as you suggest, which is perhaps interesting, if it can be established that we have been creating little manchurian candidates and that I am one . . .

But consider for a moment - Binney worked on some of these programs. Certainly you cannot say he is not a patriot. Do you think there are other Americans who have worked on the creation of these programs who might also qualify as decent Americans? Even if they haven't taken action that has subjected themselves or their families to ostracism from their profession, and so on?

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

Binney did his duty to America by coming out and exposing the truth. From what he says he was not aware his work would be used illegally against Americans. And when he found out it was happening... he spoke out against it risking being picked up by the FBI

Anyone else involved in this and breaking the law needs to be tried in court. Now is their time to come clean before the hammer of justice falls. This is not something unimportant like smoking a joint. This is spying on the entire American populace illegally and betraying the oath of their profession.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (13319) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

I know well what it is, and the fact is it has been going on for successive administrations - since at least the mid 1960s. The technology is evolving, and that has made possible rapid expansion of both the amount of data harvested and the analysis of that data - but the principles that allow for the justification have been in place since the cold war.

You cannot hope to take apart the monolithic entity that is the U.S. Federal Government by attacking it as a whole. Nations have tried.

So.

What do you do?

Are you going to assume everyone in government service is guilty?

[-] 1 points by kaiserw (211) 1 year ago

It seems that alot of people who worked in .gov who had serious problems of conscience with what was going on left .gov service in the 2002-2004 timeframe, Binney, and many others. That was the primary wave of dissenters. I know for a fact there are many people currently in .gov service biding their time, (clandestine units, 3 letter agencies, and special military units) maintaining their position waiting for a significant event. The system is out of control, it's a freight train with no brakes flying down a mountain. It's not going to be fixed.

One point I think many people who advocate large government don't think of is the perverse incentive structure in place and how power will destroy most people (especially secret power). Anyone with conscience will be plowed out of the way. Many others are too ignorant of the actual current state of things, or historical perspective to think differently (normalcy bias). People go along to get along... sad.

The system cannot be fixed at this point, it will crash.

From a historical perspective, things are pretty clear for what lies ahead. Any government that deploys the methods of tyranny, (surveillance, censorship, prosecuting whistle blowers, and a vast military empire) eventually turns the military aggression inward. East Germany did this at several stages then blew up at the most advanced stage. Historically, the outcomes have been economic collapse, domestic tyranny, or both.

Economic collapse from the perverse incentive structure that has terminally infected the .gov (Fascism) is beyond the point of no return. We will suffer, all of us, worldwide because of it. Any actions to give the .gov more power to "fix" things will ONLY be used to increase the efficiency of Fascism, domestic control, and oppression.

The second option (and more unpleasant) is that the government(s) are able to arrest the economic collapse (likely at a pointless level) but are able to maintain their power, or the Governments, in their quest to "stabilize" society in the face of an imminent collapse deploy the fist inward before full economic collapse. This can have several permutations, but violent civil war, and/or world war are usual outcomes.

Our best chance is for the financial collapse to occur first, rendering the military police apparatus unsupported, the logistics train starved. Without logistics and funding, extreme domestic tyranny becomes problematic, and ideally practically impossible. You may still have local gov take that route though.

Long term, a redistribution of power to the lower level (individual and municipal and state) is the likely outcome, but that could take years. How that occurs could vary widely including secession of several states, or a break up of the USA. Certainly, it will mean the end of US hegemony, and the US empire. A Balkan style collapse might be a good model.

Plan for that, all the high level operating people I know in .gov are. What would you do if your neighborhood turned into a Bosnia style war zone, or international supply chains were disrupted from major war and economic collapse? Intensity level may be different depending on geography, and what city/country you live in.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (13319) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

I don't welcome economic collapse as a partial solution because there seems to me to be the possibility that in the chaos a charismatic fascist may step forward and seize the reins of power.

I think that is kinda what happened in Germany prior to 1933.

[-] 1 points by kaiserw (211) 1 year ago

I know, but some level of collapse is baked in at this point. It's just a matter of taking extreme pain now, or apocalyptic pain later as Kyle bass has put it. The door to the lesser has been closing since 2008 and even much earlier.

"The wavelike movement affecting the economic system, the recurrence of periods of boom which are followed by periods of depression, is the unavoidable outcome of the attempts, repeated again and again, to lower the gross market rate of interest by means of credit expansion. There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." - Ludwig Mises, "Human Action" Chapt 20 Section 8

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (13319) from South Burlington, VT 1 year ago

Fortunately I don't really understand this portion of economic philosophy - so while it may be true, I'm just ignorant enough not to be scared.

Isn't that scary . . . ?

[-] 1 points by kaiserw (211) 1 year ago

Don't feel bad, there are very few that do. Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner certainly don't, or if they do, they're pure evil. After watching the housing bubble grow, I started reading everything I could get my hands on about it. I noted who had predicted it, then as I learned more and read book after book of economics and financial history, I became somewhat terrified.

For a high level introduction to the various schools of monetary policy, watch these, they're fun to watch, 5 minutes each, catchy, and very well made:

http://econstories.tv/2010/06/22/fear-the-boom-and-bust/

http://econstories.tv/2011/04/28/fight-of-the-century-music-video/

[-] 1 points by Mooks (1985) 1 year ago

For what it's worth, there are people predicting all kinds of things. If you want to go back and find someone that predicted a certain event, you probably can. It doesn't make them a prophet though.