The U.S. government's inter-related "War on Terror" abuses, including the NSA spying scandal, the treatment of whistleblowers including Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, and government attempts to use secret information to scare and manipulate the public, are among the leading indicators of America's slippage down the road to serfdom. As such, they are obviously a topic of extreme concern for the Libertarian Party and the larger libertarian community.
Yesterday, leading civil liberties reporter Glenn Greenwald, who interviewed Snowden in Hong Kong, was on "Democracy Now" with Amy Goodman. The segment offers a good overview of a lot of these issues, especially for those who may not have been closely following recent developments.
Among other matters discussed, Greenwald had this to say about the recent closure of 19 U.S. embassies in response to intelligence ("chatter") supposedly suggesting that terrorists might be planning an attack:
"For eight straight years, literally, Democrats, every time there was a terrorist alert or a terrorist advisory issued by the United States government in the middle of a debate over one of the Bush-Cheney civil liberties abuses, would accuse the United States government and the national security state of exaggerating terrorism threats and manipulating advisories, of hyping the dangers of Al Qaeda, in order to distract attention away from their abuses, and to scare the population into submitting to whatever it is they wanted to do.
So here we are in the midst of one of the most intense debates and sustained debates that we've had in a very long time in this country over the dangers of excess surveillance, and suddenly an administration that has spent two years claiming that it has decimated Al Qaeda, decides that there's this massive threat that involves the closing of embassies and consulates throughout the world. And within literally a matter of hours, the likes of (Republican Senators) Saxby Chambliss and Lindsey Graham join with the White House and Democrats in Congress -- who remember are the leading defenders of the NSA at this point -- to exploit that terrorist threat and to insist that it shows that the NSA and these programs are necessary.
What that has to do with the ongoing controversy about the NSA is completely mystifying. Nobody has ever questioned or disputed that the U.S. government like all governments around the world ought to be eavesdropping and monitoring the conversations of people who pose an actual threat to the United States in terms of plotting terrorist attacks. The controversy is over the fact that they are sweeping up billions and billions of emails and telephone calls every single day, from people around the world and in the United States who have absolutely nothing to do with terrorism.
And if anything, the only thing that (the warnings that lead to the embassy closures have to do with the NSA spying scandal), is the argument that a lot of analysts have made very persuasively, that when you have have an agency that collects *everything*, it actually becomes harder, not easier, to detect actual terrorist plots and to find the actual terrorists. If this agency really were devoted -- if these surveillance programs really were devoted -- to finding terrorism, they would be more directed and discriminating, but they're not, they're indiscriminate and limitless, and that's one of the problems."
The interview covers a lot more ground, including:
• How the leading congressional Democrat on the Church Committee, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, is compromised
• How a FISA court ruling kept secret by the Obama administration found that the U.S. government is systematically violating the law, violating the Fourth Amendment
• And most chillingly, Greenwald reveals how a secretive DEA agency has been using the unconstitutionally obtained NSA search data to illegally launch criminal investigations against Americans that have nothing to do with national security, often lying not only to defense attorneys, but even to prosecutors and judges about how they got the information.
I hope the LP will keep hammering on these issues in press releases, and that we and others in the movement will do whatever we can to support and publicize the efforts of courageous individuals like Greenwald who are trying to raise the alarm about the growing menace of an American police state.
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))
At-Large Representative, Libertarian National Committee