08/24/2013 - What HR has become
On the 19th I sent the following to the two US Senators from Florida and US Congressman Jeff Miller who will sometimes acknowledge those in Florida's 1st congressional district who disagree with him: "Right now it appears that American influence is behind the Miranda/Heathrow incident just as it was behind the recent denial of European airspace to the Bolivian president's plane. Apparently the US is not satisfied with alienating most of the world through belligerent foreign policy. She seems hell-bent to alienate everyone on earth by abusing and encouraging other nations to abuse fashionable widespread ill-advised anti-terrorism legislation." Apparently Miller's office staff sent the red-herring 8/21 reply found HERE—not the first time they've indicated such in-depth understanding, perhaps exemplifying what the House of Representatives has become.
By now everyone knows that Brazilian citizen David Miranda was held yesterday at Heathrow airport for nine hours under contemporary tyrannical legislation considered crucial in perpetuating western regimes now in decline. Reportedly all the Londoners' questions of that detainee centered on US matters of NSA revelations and the journalistic transparency efforts of his partner Glenn Greenwald.
Keith Vaz chairman of the UK Home Affairs Select Committee told BBC "... it is a new use of terrorism legislation to detain someone in these circumstances ... Those of us who were part of passing this legislation certainly would not have expected it to be used in a case of this kind." The Brazilian government has issued an official statement expressing expectations that its citizens will be treated with more respect in the future.
Right now it appears that American influence is behind this incident just as it was behind the recent denial of European airspace to the Bolivian president's plane. Apparently the US is not satisfied with alienating most of the world through belligerent foreign policy. She seems hell-bent to alienate everyone on earth by abusing and encouraging other nations to abuse fashionable widespread ill-advised anti-terrorism legislation.
John DeLong, NSA's director of compliance, reportedly sent 8/15 e-mail to AP defending NSA's internal procedures and oversight closing with "What's more, we keep our overseers informed through both immediate reporting and periodic reporting" although US Congressman Ted Poe of Texas recently took serious issue with that line of reasoning. Of course by now everyone knows that back in March the Director of National Intelligence lied to senators about similar issues.
So one apparent American problem is that Congress allows itself to be pressured into giving undue amounts of money and authority to highly trained militarized individuals lacking fundamental respect for human rights issues and dismissive of humanitarian concepts. Retired military flag officers should not oversee activities other than combat. Here is what I wrote to US Senator Bill Nelson back in June: "Enormous transparency and non-militarized oversight is needed to the point of curtailing those programs."
Following conviction by a military court and after about three years of silence, Bradley Manning has claimed remorse for "hurting the US". Unfortunately no one outside the closed courtroom has a clue what he is sorry for. That information apparently is still too sensitive for the ears of the general public although some of us are forever baffled as to how he has hurt anything at all. (This is precisely why a US trial of Edward Snowden would accomplish nothing of lasting value.)
For example sentencing arguments in open court focused on claims that "hundreds" of government workers were called away from their desks to mitigate certain "chilling effects" the disclosures had on foreign relations. My firsthand opinion is that calling government workers away from their workstations typically is inconsequential irrespective of timeframes and if truth has "chilling effects" on US international relations perhaps foreign policy could use a change. Howard Zinn said it most eloquently, CLICK HERE (this short video is not limited to 911).
When it was confirmed that government agents were overreaching authorities granted to them under the PATRIOT act, I contacted Florida's two senators as well as senator Rand Paul of Kentucky expressing my concerns over the surveillance State in general and NSA practices in particular.
'My' two senators predictably sent party-line replies assuring me in essence that government knows best and anyone proving otherwise with 'classified' documents is a bad person. Senator Nelson's reply is HERE and Senator Rubio's reply is HERE. Federal military-industrial-surveillance communities enjoy a dominant presence here in NW Florida. Here are my subsequent replies to Senator Nelson and Senator Rubio.
Senator Paul on the other hand provided an informed reflective reply pretty much nailing core problems while expressing genuine sympathy and giving hope that something might yet be done to thwart the devastation of traditional American ideals. Be sure to read his words before leaving this site.
I agree with JFK's 1961 comment "Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it" and I suspect that Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky agrees as well.
August 5th exchange with Senator Marco Rubio about NSA surveillance.
Government enforcers inherently overreach surveillance efforts done in secrecy. The US FISA court (FISC) was created in 1978 in a resolute attempt to preclude overreaches like those acknowledged while using hard-earned taxpayer dollars to track down dangerous subversives like John Lennon during the civil rights movement. Unfortunately FISC appears to be genetically rubber-stamping government fanaticism as indicated by the "2012 Annual Report on FISA Implementation" now posted at 'wired.com'. It shows that no government requests were denied of several thousand applications for surveillance, business records, or physical searches—despite no major arrests ensuing. Also it has been reported elsewhere that FISC requests can be legally made after the fact—diluting intent and smacking of legislated CYA.
In addition there reportedly were at least 15,229 warrant-replacing NSL requests by federal agents under the PATRIOT Act umbrella. These appear to be large numbers of "special considerations" declaring "critical needs of national security" so one might reasonably expect at least a single conviction per 20 or so such special requests which are important enough to require secret processing in the face of constitutional law. Nonetheless it looks like big brother end-runs the judiciary and preempts taxpayer rights while collecting unwarranted private information and failing to provide specific benefit to taxpayers.
Like Senator Rand Paul has said: "My main objection to the PATRIOT Act is that searches that should require a warrant from a judge are performed with a letter from an FBI agent - a national security letter (NSL). Since the passage of the PATRIOT Act, over 200,000 NSL searches have been performed. In addition, the roving wiretaps allow the government to ignore requirements to name the target of the wiretap or the specific place or facility that is to be monitored."
Reasonable people everywhere support those involuntary transparency efforts targeting America because there is no voluntary transparency at all in that now burgeoning police-State. There is not even efficacious judicial oversight of fashionably militarized methodologies. Secret purview of public communications channels by the likes of Homeland Security and NSA is not about national security as much as unfettered acquisition of private information by professional bureaucrats for controlling purposes.
The Director of the NSA claims to have thwarted 50 major terrorist plots by listening-in on America but without a single charge of any kind being brought against suspects. That's some credible justification when four garrulous old men running their mouths in a rural Waffle House can be arguably entrapped by federal informants and eventually charged with conspiracy. In any case Miss Liberty needs to watch her back. NSA would monitor the air you breathe if practical and dispense it only to those who "play ball". Patrick Henry claimed to prefer death over life without guaranteed liberties so he would not live long in today's America.