Washington, DC (The NAAIJ) – Well after over a year of leaks from Snowden and others from the depths of ‘super secure’ intelligence agency networks like the American NSA, Canadian CSEC and Britain’s GCHQ. State Surveillance, or the Surveillance State if you will, has been pushed into the spotlight finally. Not for a lack of effort by the numerous individuals who should be awarded the highest honor. Edward Snowden, William Binney, Thomas Drake to name a few.
Author’s Note: I wrote this in Aug 2014 referring to Bill C-13, at the time not law. It was passed into law in Dec. 2014. It has to be this law they are aiming to use. Seems I nailed it. (It referring to news out of the CBC today that the Harper Regime is going to be cracking down on factual reports of Israeli war crimes or any protest/boycott of said criminal activity.)
Perry Fellwock is credited with revealing that the NSA even EXISTED in 1972, There was a time when this too was just another ‘Conspiracy Theory.’ At the same time he disclosed the existence of the ‘Five Eyes Network‘. The Five Eyes Network is comprised of the intelligence agencies of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States
The Five Eyes network was established to get around domestic spying laws. Governments can’t spy on their own citizens (legally), But Canada can spy on the EU and US, US can spy on Canada and the EU (and everyone else for that matter..) and the EU can spy on Canada and America, and so on. It was this framework that led to the whole of global communications being vacuumed up by Governments worldwide. Stored, cataloged and examined, and then filtered out to fill up dossiers on every single person on the planet.
Margaret Newsham is credited with revealing the program jointly run by the Five Eyes Network known as ECHELON in 1988.
The European Parliament describes the capabilities of ECHELON as follows: ECHELON was capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks (which once carried most Internet traffic) and microwave links.
In December 2005 the New York Times published an article detailing evidence they had been sitting on SINCE 2004 that describes the Bush Administration spying on Americans without following the rule of law and in potent violation of the Constitution. The evidence stems from a 2002 Presidential Order signed by Bush ‘legalizing’ these unconstitutional actions. (If only it were that easy eh?)
Circa 2006 Thomas Drake starts talking to a reporter, these discussions resulted in a number of articles being written in The Baltimore Sun critical of the NSA. Drake was eventually charged. All charges were dropped in 2011. Drake has been speaking candidly about the NSA and the Surveillance State since 2012. Thomas Drake is the 2011 recipient of the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling and co-recipient of the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) award.
William Binney describes our current surveillance state as “better than anything that the KGB, the Stasi, or the Gestapo and SS ever had. We’re just waiting to turn the key.” Binney was also charged along with Drake. His charges were also dropped. Binney has mentioned publicly that, since 9/11, the NSA has intercepted between 15 and 20 trillion communications. Binney also revealed that the NSA concealed STELLARWIND under the patriotic-sounding “Terrorist Surveillance Program,” in an attempt to disguise the warrantless surveillance program’s violations of Americans’ constitutional rights. Binney testified in 2012 in a 2008 case brought by the EFF against the Bush Administration
The key Binney refers to turning is that of the “Turnkey Totalitarian State”, Totalitarianism is defined as a form of government that theoretically permits no individual freedom and that seeks to subordinate all aspects of the individual’s life to the authority of the government.
It’s analogous to having a Facebook profile with every imaginable piece of information about you – with your privacy settings set to ‘Friends of Friends’ – but your only friends are Governments and Police agencies worldwide… Coincidentally, mere hours after this very article was published. The Intercept published documents from the NSA that explicitly show that this is the case. Forget the analogy. This is exactly what it looks like right here direct from the NSA:
Read The Intercept’s article for more on the ICREACH programn.
Just in case you think I’m exaggerating the scope of this surveillance. Here is an excerpt from some internal NSA communication citing how many calls they are collecting. AT JUST ONE SERVER. (They have hundreds of these particular servers) Exactly how many phone calls do you think ‘The Terrorists’ are making a day? Surely nowhere near the 400 MILLION they are collecting at ‘just one server’
So why does this all matter? After all, You’ve got nothing to hide right? You’re an honest, tax paying, law abiding, boot lickin’ citizen! Totally subservient to authority whenever it beckons. Never questioning, Always trusting in the State, and whomever your beloved leader is, to do what’s best for the citizens and the Country … right? Unchecked corruption and illegality, blatant racism, an endless revolving door. None of these things exist, all myths. After all its not on the news. Therefore it didn’t happen. If the talking head in the magic box doesn’t say it then you must be full of it!
I would like to think that public consciousness has evolved past such nonsense, But every time I hear the I’ve got ‘nothing to hide’ argument, such hopes are shaken.
Wikipedia describes the ‘Nothing to Hide’ argument as follows:
The nothing to hide argument is an argument which states that government data mining and surveillance programs do not threaten privacy unless they uncover illegal activities, and that if they do uncover illegal activities, the person committing these activities does not have the right to keep them private. Hence, a person who favors this argument may state “I’ve got nothing to hide” and therefore do not express opposition to government data mining and surveillance. An individual using this argument may say that a person should not have worries about government data mining or surveillance if he/she has “nothing to hide.”
We are living in a world where protest, dissent, even moderate criticism is becoming illegal. Whenever police tell you ‘You are unlawfully assembled, Disperse immediately or be subject to arrest or death’ someone should remind them of the Freedom of Assembly. It’s on that widely popular document known as The Constitution, above the fold. Canadians refer to Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Can someone show me exactly what the difference between a lawful and unlawful assembly looks like. (ProTip: Rioting and Looting are not assemblies. Those are very distinct, separate actions from the act of assembling and peacefully protesting. Don’t confuse the two.) Is the lawfulness of an assembly determined by the racial breakdown of the protestors? Maybe it’s determined by how many signs they are carrying. Or perhaps the issue they are protesting for/against. Funny. The Constitution doesn’t mention ANY of these arbitrary restrictions on the rights being declared.
Regarding dissent, I’ll quote the Director of the Office of Human Rights at the University of Ottawa writing about the issue in Canada.
“In Canada, gone are the days of being able to oppose one’s government without the fear of being silenced. Lawful demonstrations during the G-20 summit in 2010 resulted in a rash of arrests, as well as unlawful “kettling” of innocent citizens participating in the event. The Canadian International Development Agency failed to renew development contracts for NGOs that disagreed with particular policies. The Canada Revenue Agency will remove an organization’s status as a charity if it deems its work to be political.
Most recently, the criminalization of dissent has been noted in Canada’s counter-terrorism strategy unveiled by Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews in 2011. In “Building Resilience Against Terrorism,” under the main heading “The Terrorist Threat,” the strategy document lists environmentalism and anti-capitalism as examples of “domestic issue-based extremism.” http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/4561/The-criminalization-of-dissent.html
In case you missed it, environmentalists and advocates for sensible economic policy are being branded as Terrorists in Canada. The original publication referred to by the article has since been scrubbed from the internet by the Harper Government. I was unable to find that copy. A ‘Second Edition‘ copy is available here. The 2nd Edition also adds ‘Animal Rights activists’ and ‘White Supremacists’ to the definition of Terrorism for Canada.
Oddly enough as ‘evidence of groups moving beyond legal protest’ in Canada … They cite two incidents spanning more than a decade that have nothing to do with Canada. Relevant text follows:
DOMESTIC ISSUE-BASED EXTREMISM
Although not of the same scope and scale faced by other countries, low-level violence by domestic issue-based groups remains a reality in Canada. Such extremism tends to be based on grievances -real or perceived– revolving around the promotion of various causes such as animal rights, white supremacy, environmentalism and anti-capitalism. Other historical sources of Canadian domestic extremism pose less of a threat. Although very small in number, some groups in Canada have moved beyond lawful protest to encourage, threaten and support acts of violence. As seen in Oklahoma City in 1995 and in Norway in 2011, continued vigilance is essential since it remains possible that certain groups- or even a lone individual-could choose to adopt a more violent, terrorist strategy to achieve their desired results.
On the issue of criminalizing criticism. This is largely grabbing headlines for its almost obvious usage of quelling criticism of the Terrorist State of Israel and the genocide they are carrying out on the Palestinian population. What a perversion of law it is that pointing out hate crimes and genocide … is twisted to become a hate crime in and of itself. GlobalResearch reports:
Section 12 of Bill C-13 proposes several small additions within that part of the Criminal Code (Sections 318-321.1) that carries the subtitle “Hate Propaganda.” Section 12 reads as follows:
12. Subsection 318.(4) of the Act is replaced by the following:
(4) In this section, “identifiable group” means any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, or mental and physical disability.
(The emphasis here indicates the wording being added to the current Criminal Code by Bill B-13.)
These proposed additions within Section 318 of the Criminal Code, which is concerned with the crime of “Advocating genocide,” also have an impact on the meaning and application of Section 319, which is concerned with the crimes of “Public incitement of hatred” and “Willful promotion of hatred,” and in which—as Subsection 319.(7) states—“’identifiable group’ has the same meaning as in section 318”. The relevant clauses in Section 319 read as follows:
319. (1) Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
(2) Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction
The most noteworthy addition to the concept of “identifiable group” is that of the category of national origin, which has no evident connection to the ostensible purpose of Bill C-13, but may be understood as linked to another agenda that was forcefully enunciated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in his January 20, 2014 speech to the Israeli Knesset—namely, that of re-defining criticism of the policies and behaviour of the nation-state of Israel in relation to its Palestinian citizens and to the inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territories as hate propaganda.
What is basically happening here, Is this law is going to be the case precedent for imprisoning people for having criticism of entire nations, Including the actions of their Governments, Military and Police Forces.
I for one, as an independent journalist exercising the Freedom of Press and the Freedom of Expression, Will be heading straight to jail if this becomes law.
Which brings me to my concluding point. The reason why you have something to hide. Your phone calls, text messages, e-mails, private conversations, political musings, facebook posts, credit card history, bank account statements, various metadata including who you call/text/contact, when you call/text/contact, and how long you engage in that communication. All of that might not reveal anything that’s illegal…today. It’s what is going to be illegal tomorrow or after they turn that key that you have to worry about.
OpenMedia.ca has put out the following video raising awareness about CSEC’s malicious activities here:
They have also started a campaign at OurPrivacy.ca where you can show our ‘elected’ leaders you do not appreciate having your rights grossly violated every second of every day.
Something else to check out is this DEFCON 22 Video about detecting covert surveillance.
Originally published at the NAAIJ on Aug 25th 2014. Republished with permission
Halfway through this article is 2 new leaked NSA slides. They were leaked mere hours after this was published. Source: TheIntercept