According to a review of official documents, the FBI have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed, and more-over, the actual number of violations that may have occurred from 2001 to 2008 could approach 40,000 possible violations of law, Executive Order, or other regulations governing intelligence investigations.
(Illustration found here).
A goodly portion of those violations came through the use of National Security Letters, a device way-expanded under the nefarious and nasty USA PATRIOT Act, in which intelligence services gather information from communications service providers like phone companies and ISPs, and, allow the FBI to secretly demand data about ordinary American citizens’ private communications and Internet activity without any meaningful oversight or prior judicial review. Recipients of NSLs are subject to a gag order that forbids them from ever revealing the letters’ existence to their coworkers, to their friends, or even to their family members, much less the public.
Let freedom ring — just not on your phone or Internet.
And parts of that nasty Patriot Act comes up for renewal at the end of next month, especially worth noting, two anti-freedom, big-bro-is-watching-you provisions — one authorizing “roving” wiretapping, and the other allowing the government to pull all sorts of records and electronic communications from U.S. citizens.
Despite bad-talking the act as a senator, President Obama has already signed one extension (last year) and according to reports, will quietly, easily sign another.
While a candidate in 2007, Obama spoke with a mighty-forked-tongue and the Patriot Act’s provisions should be repealed and “no more National Security Letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime” because “that is not who we are, and it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists.”
So much for transparency and truth-telling, huh?
And from the US federal government’s intense whining about the notorious international renegade Julian Assange and WikiLeaks came reports of a secret order ordering Twitter to produce all kinds of private shit on ALL those who even twitted about WikiLeaks. The order forbade Twitter to notify those affected, among them Birgitta JÃ³nsdÃ³ttir, a member of Iceland’s parliament.
The only reason the order became public is because Twitter refused and the gag order was rescinded.
And in a double standard, the US just about banned the noteworthy news organization, Al Jazeera English, from operating in this country — only a handful of cable outlets allow the Qatar-based group to have a slot.
Al Jazeera has been spot-on during the unrest in Egypt, which might complicate US bullshit there.
Even as the new year continues, US peoples will be faced with more and more intrusions into what was once considered fairly sacred — privacy.
So when you are in a particular situation, look into the camera and smile.