Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

The American government: It is, therefore it spies on everyone

By DOUG THOMPSON - Capitol Hill Blue
June 13, 2013

To Uncle Sam, nothing is private.

To Uncle Sam, nothing is private.

For many Americans, probably most, it came as no shock that Uncle Sam spys on his citizens 24/7.

We’ve been writing about the constant surveillance for a long time here at Capitol Hill Blue.  Intrusion into the lives of ordinary citizens became the order of the day under the despotic leadership of the Federal Bureau of Investigation by J. Edgar Hoover.

It got worse under Presidents like Richard Nixon when keeping an enemies list became standard operating procedure for those in power.

But spying became even more prominent after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and passage of the rights-robbing USA Patriot Act, the single largest assault on the Constitution ever foisted on America by Congress.

The Patriot Act came into being as new data collection procedures also became available.  In secrecy, the Pentagon put together the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program, a data-collection system that allowed the government real time access to the financial, communication and travel records of every American.

Congress tried more than once to shut down TIA, but the Pentagon — with the full backing and approval of the administration of George W. Bush — moved the program into its secret “black bag” program where it doesn’t have to answer to anyone, not even Congress or the Supreme Court.

Developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the system hooked into banking, travel and communications systems to download information on every financial transaction, any use of phones or email or Social Networking and travel reservations, plane trips, rail excursions, hotel stays or similar information.

Suppose you decide to take a trip by car and start out the journey with the purchase of gas at your local gas station.  When you swipe the credit card at the pump, that purchase goes not only to the credit card company but also to the DARPA data computer operating in a normal looking building on Fairfax Drive in Arlington, Virginia.

That system now feeds into the National Security Agency, which has the power to open investigative files on any American it thinks is suspicious.

When you stop for gas again on your trip and use your credit card, the information goes to DARPA and the computer compares the first purchase to the new one and starts mapping the route of your travel.  Hotel stays, charges at restaurants and other info build a detailed profile of where you went and when.

If the route matches a so-called “suspicious” profile, the trip becomes a “file of interest” to the FBI.  Congratulations.  The trip to visit family in another state just labeled you a terrorism suspect.

How do we know about TIA?  For 23 years, my wife and I lived in a high-rise condo across the street from that innocuous building on Fairfax Drive.  We would see the employees of the so-called “secret” agency in local delis, wearing their name badges with “DARPA” on the strap.  After 9/11, the building was guarded night and day by Arlington County police cars sitting in front of the structure.

We got to know some of those who worked there.  Some of them talked.

It became the worst kept secret in the neighborhood and now the secrecy in DARPA, TIA, NSA and the invasion of American lives by the federal government is another secret that is out in the open.

Will anything be done?  Probably not.  As Americans, we now know that we are spied upon for sure but we also realize that we have little control over the government that controls our lives and there really isn’t a damn thing we can do about it.

Or is there?

___

Copyright  © 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

14 Responses to The American government: It is, therefore it spies on everyone

  1. Joe Keegan

    June 13, 2013 at 6:55 am

    “Will anything be done?” Don’t expect the NSA to convert their 1.5 million square feet Utah data center to a mall anytime soon. Now it’s official that the government is officially spying on Americans, the obvious question: Why? To keep us safe?

  2. Keith

    June 13, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Clearly, President Eisenhower’s warning about the rise of what he called the “Military Industrial Complex” given in his farewell address over 60 years ago has now come to fruition.

    If anything, it’s now on steroids.

    My hunch is that the President and Congress… although highly complicit in this fraud called the “War on Terror”…are simply repeating the “Big Lie” over and over again so as to keep all that “spying” firmly in place (not to mention all those “homeland security and “defense” dollars flowing into their respective districts).

    In many ways, the Pentagon (along with the some 16 different agencies involved in “intelligence gathering” in the USA) have now LONG since become their own self-fulfilling oligarchy responsible to absolutely no one.

    What’s more, very much like the fear that J. Edgar Hoover and his “secret enemies list” put into the politicians of years past, most of today’s sitting crooks in the Administration and Congress are loathe to attack any of that totally out of control “intelligence” behemoth, lest THEIR OWN sexual dalliances and other assorted misdeeds be exposed for all to see.

    So, again, they keep lying about it all so as to ALSO cover their OWN sorry backsides.

    As I noted in another post, I believe it was Adolph Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda (Joseph Goebbels) who once said that, “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”

    However, only in his wildest dreams could Hitler have EVER thought he’d have the same kind of “intelligence gathering” capabilities at his disposal to reinforce and perpetuate a “Big Lie” like the so-called “War on Terror” that has now become firmly rooted in the American psyche.

    And, sadly, come the next election, we will once again be given a choice between electing yet another Stalin ….or a Hitler.

    You are absolutely right, Chief. Our once proud (and free) nation has now LONG since become the “United Police States of America.”

    • Jon

      June 13, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      When in doubt, follow the money.

      It’s remarkable how many ‘small-government conservatives’ will gleefully try to cut perfectly public (and demonstrated useful) expenses like food stamps and ordinary infrastructure spending yet nary a peep from them is heard about cutting the (highly dubiously useful) black ops budget.

      Follow the money… Guess where the donations come from, and where the contracts go…?

      J.

  3. Sandy Price

    June 13, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Americans have no interest or talent to protect themselves or each other. When we try to analyze a pushy government, we are heavily criticized.

    Our founders designed a government where we had our laws written under a U.S. Constitution and a government designed to keep it free from assault.

    Maybe without television, we might have been able to focus on our freedoms but our family unit centered on our television choices.

    Social conversations around our golf courses describe family arguments until every member has his/her own television and computer system all their own.

    Even here we are restricted to discussions based on certain authors but I warn anyone to stay off the subject of Ayn Rand. In my many book clubs, she led the subject matter and the discussions were stimulating. There have been more books written about her words than she wrote; and the general opinion here is that she is an enemy of American values. She often stimulates the human brain to focus on something or other.

  4. Bill Cravener

    June 13, 2013 at 10:01 am

    ….we have little control over the government that controls our lives and there really isn’t a damn thing we can do about it.
    Or is there?

    There is nothing!

    We are being watched on a daily bases everywhere we go and most everything we do. We leave digital bread crumbs everywhere making it easy for most anyone to reconstruct who you are, where you are, where you live and what things you like to do. A simple Google search can reveal what you think, what you like, as well as over interests you have while surfing the web. These crumbs can not be hidden and increasingly we will soon live in a world where you simply cannot find total privacy anywhere.

  5. woody188

    June 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Ultimately the program will probably return back to military hands, but it will continue. The military has a lot more leeway over what it does, particularly in black ops, versus the NSA. They will change the name again, move the Utah facility under DARPA/US Cyber Command, and keep doing the same thing.

    Freedoms lost are rarely restored.

  6. woody188

    June 13, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    It seems like the government claims of the right to collect our data rests on three points:

    1. The government claims the data is not private.

    2. The government claims the data ceases to be our property once transmitted.

    3. The operation prevents terrorism.

    These arguments are incorrect.

    If I call any of the companies providing this information to the government and ask them to provide me with the information because it’s “publicly available” they will laugh and hang up on me. Our communications are not publicly available in most forms unless you are talking about public message boards or systems like Twitter and Facebook, and even then information is supposed to be made private or else we wouldn’t have friend lists with separate security settings versus public posts.

    If data transmitted across the Internet magically becomes public available, what about mp3 music, digital books, movies on Netflix, and so forth?

    Just because something might prevent terrorism, does not make it legal to do so. Nor does it excuse lying about the program to the branch of government that is supposed to be conducting your oversight.

    Use your brains and think about these things as more and more is revealed.

  7. Carl Nemo **==

    June 13, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Thanks goes to Mr. Thompson for providing a highly accurate scenario as to how TIA operates.

    One simple countermeasure to this digital surveillance when it comes to travel is to quit swiping your card; I.E., credit or debit and pay cash for your gas,food etc.

    I rarely if ever use these cards and pay cash for everything on a daily basis. I will order products etc. via the web utilized for my shop or household use on occasion, but don’t use the cards in a willy nilly fashion providing a map to my daily feeding habits so to speak including restaurant tabs, it’s always a cash transaction.

    Some juridictions possibly with input from Homeland Security state that anyone carrying over $300 in cash is poossibly a ‘terrorist’…say what? Even folks storing more than a weeks worth of provisions are considered potential terrorists per recent Homeland Security guidelines for so-called ‘Fusion Centers’, state-bsed HUMINT gathering facilities.

    Our government is broke, plain and simple. We must borrow more than we take in annually via tax revenues. Our bogus central bank is purchasing our government debt to the tune of $85 billion per month to keep this phony paradigm afloat under the endless QE (Quantitative Easing) program. Eventually there will be a day of reckoning for our government’s swiping the national CC in an irresponsible fashion.

    Soon the fat lady is going to sing her last aria in the grand salon of the USS AmeriKa as she goes stern up and slips below the waves to the watery grave of failed empires past.

    It’s when this happens and there’s both rioting and blood running in the streets that these draconian surveillance state programs will be used with full force and efficienty against a mostly unwary, ill-informed citizenry. Martial law along with mass roundups will occur and all with the current blessings of an asleep at the wheel citizenry concerning the hazards of this now out of control surveillance state paradigm.

    Our now termminally corrupt leadership will do everything in their power to maintain control and to hopefully beat the citizenry down to the lowest common denominator in order to do their bidding. They’ll be putting American citizens on a very ‘short leash’.

    They’ve become elitist predators of the worst order with “We the People” simply their prey. Believe it…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  8. Gregg

    June 14, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    I was asked in RR: Since breaches of privacy by the NSA have been exposed, how do they affect me personally…with regards to my Liberties”?
    .
    That’s a fierce question. I didn’t realize at first how complicated it is to answer that question because “Liberty” is abstract in so many ways. Liberty can actually be looked at from a lot of different perspectives and categories.
    .
    I started to figure out how my liberties are affected. It’s really been a bit overwhelming. I can come up with tons of potential issues and problems. But the “personally affects me” part is tough. Collectively speaking…it’s probably an easier challenge to take on.
    .
    I’ve spent a couple of days on this question. And while I can point to infractions…and a lot of them, I haven’t yet been able to answer the question because the variables for individuals are many. The categories regarding liberties are quite a few.
    .
    Both government and private institutions are in the race. Do I try to pinpoint some “Financial related liberties” that I think has somehow affected by life? How about “privacy related liberties”, which are in the headlines as routinely abused by government and the private sector. But how has their abuses damaged me personally?
    .
    If FEELS LIKE these breaches of privacy has caused me personal damage or altered my liberties. The reality is…nobody is doing something TO ME…but rather to ALL OF US. But how does these things change my world…PERSONALLY? What am I suppose to be experiencing right now…now that I know what the government has been doing for eons?
    .
    Can you pinpoint specific effects on your personal liberties and life based on the NSA’s overriding our 4th Amendment?
    .
    Unless someone is personally experiencing ill effects from these breaches by government and the private sector…which technically there could be effects, then the true heart-felt need to fight back…isn’t going to happen for most people.
    .
    Look at what happened when the 21 children were killed in an elementary school. Everybody agrees how horrible that incident was. However, what has happened in both the private sector and government since that time that has literally changed life as we know it in America? How have we individually been affected in terms of how we live out our daily lives?
    .
    Unless something hurts us individually…and there’s a hell of a lot of individuals who sustain loss from the something that hurts us…what will inspire change to happen to prevent all from being hurt again?
    .
    Thanks…

  9. Carl Nemo **==

    June 15, 2013 at 6:24 am

    Hi Gregg…

    “I was asked in RR: Since breaches of privacy by the NSA have been exposed, how do they affect me personally…with regards to my Liberties”? …extract from post

    RR is a somewhat different venue than CHB in terms of discussionals. At times they get somewhat ‘heady’ and fail to wake up and smell the dung of fascism creeping in upon the American landscape.

    You then ask the rhetorical question: “…how are my liberties affected…” in a seemingly perplexed fashion. So I thought I’d give you something for you and other readers to grip on to by viewing and even possibly feeling the fear associated with having to confront an armed, in your face policing contingent operating all in the name of ‘Homeland Security’ and the ‘war on terror’.

    Although the focus of this article is about the NSA’s SIGINT activities I thought I’d provide a somwhat scary clip of real life encounters in America’s southern regions on U.S. highways, not at entry points, but simply DHS ‘checkpoints’. These alleged ‘Checkpoints’ are creeping ever further away from America’s borders. This week there was an article that police officers in Alabama were stopping motorists and ‘asking’ them to provide a swab of their saliva for DNA registration etc. Allegedly it was voluntary, but talk about being both scary and over the top or what…?!

    *****

    Consider what happened recently in Central Alabama. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a branch of the federal government’s Dept. of Transportation, wanted to do some research to find out how many motorists are driving on public roads when they have alcohol in their system. Or illegal drugs. Or even legal prescription drugs.

    Local deputies were deployed to set up roadblocks.

    And then whoever was taking the information asked for a breath sample, an oral fluid sample and a blood sample. In Alabama, those motorists who agreed to give samples were paid $50 for blood samples and $10 for mouth swabs.

    NHTSA spokesman Jose Ucles said Participation was “voluntary,” and all data remains “anonymous.” Harmless? Or is it more government intrusion at a time when, clearly, the federal government has given us great reason to worry about personal privacy? …extract from web article

    *****

    By extending these encounters with DHS personnel on our American highways, then visualizing these Gestapo like intrusions on our core freedoms as it creeps ever inward from the border, our airports to your local neighborhood with policing contingents saying “show me your papers” as shown in old movies of pre-war and wartime Germany.

    The following link with an accessable vidclip at the bottom of the article shows a brave American standing up to these ‘enforcers’. Granted they are simply folks doing a job and no doubt both happy and lucky to have one in these times, but so too they are the types that will wreak havoc on a passive citizenry even if it degenerates to rounding up people and sending them to internement camps. Their apologia as always…” I was simply following orders” regardless of possibly a gruesome ‘terminal’ outcome for internees.

    http://www.fronterasdesk.org/news/2013/mar/07/what-happens-if-stop-border-check-points/

    Out now out of control, what I consider to be traitorous Congress to upholding the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights pass evermore anti/unconstituional laws while behind the scenes gormless bureaucrats administer these statutes with ‘dark vigor’.

    Just so folks know, the current rework of immigratation statutes in the Senate and then passed on to the house has a little to not referenced amendment requirement pushed by Senators Schumer, McCain et al. for a national i.d. card with biometric scanning.
    This ‘smart card’ will not doubt be linked to the TIA computer profiling database. If you want to hold a job in the U.S., having this card will be a requirement. In fact it will be linked to the SSA card so in effect everyone will be registered and stored in the ‘belly of the beast’ so to speak.

    I hope this post helps clear away any ambiguities from your understanding as to how the NSA et al. intel gathering agencies of the government affect your life not only now, but even moreso into the future.

    Carl Nemo **==

    • Gregg

      June 15, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      Carl,

      Thanks for the post. I’m fairly certain how the NSA works. That’s not the problem.
      .
      How is NSA infringing on your liberties in your day to day life activities? You personally?
      .
      I know what they’ve done. I know what they’re capable of. But how is CARL NEMO’s life being hindered by the discoveries made about these infringements?
      .
      Do you wake up everyday feeling more restrained…or are you actually, physically more restrained from living your life as you wish?

  10. Carl Nemo **==

    June 15, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Hi Greg…

    “Do you wake up everyday feeling more restrained…” …extrasct from reply

    In short, yes I do. : |

    These incremenalist liberty robbing schemes foisted upon us by our now rogue government are not simply about Carl Nemo **== and how I might feel.

    I’m an empath and truly care about my fellow citizens as well as our nation along with its founding principles and the men and women who’ve given their lives for the maintenance of our freedom for the past 237 years since the first shots were fired on Bunker Hill.

    It’s the “I’ve got mine screw the rest of you attitude” that’s sending this nation upon the rocks of desruction which can be extended to if it’s not happening to me personally on a daily basis then everything must be aok…no? / : |

    If you watched the link material supplied with the DHS checkpoint stops you need to realize that could be either you, myself or any other American citizen. These incursions upon our basic liberty cannot simply be discounted via a sophist apologia that it’s always going to be them and not us as you propose with your rhetorical question as to how it affects me directly. When that man in the vidclip was stopped in the fashion that he was, then it’s all of us that should be challenging this statist b.s. before it’s too late. We’re in that vehicle as surely as he is being challenged at these bogus checkpoints. If you don’t understand this, then I don’t know what else to add in order to satisfy your angst concerning this issue.

    *****

    “We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately”…Benjamin Franklin

    *****

    Carl Nemo **==

    p.s. I urge all concerned citizens to contact their Congressional District Rep and two Senators on this issue and let them know you’ve had enough of this type of overreaching from blanket SIGINT gathering of all phone call transactions to DHS, TSA, Border Patrol schemes that threaten our core Constitutionally guaranteed freedom not to violated in our persons and papers under the 4th Amendment to the Constitution without probable cause and a warrant secured supporting such a search with allegations supporting such. Otherwise our government needs to cease and desist…period!

    • Gregg

      June 15, 2013 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Carl…

  11. Sandy Price

    June 16, 2013 at 7:06 am

    Meaningful dialog! It is something we are all able to express. Head out into the streets of our own neighborhoods and see how impossible it is to locate! This kind of dialog is what I dreamed about when I went on line back in the early 1990s. Even this week, I tried to start a general discussion about our actions supporting the rebels in Syria. The reaction from the people I spoke to came back to me that I was a typical Gemini trying to stir up an argument on politics. Last month, I asked a general question to my arthritis group to share the latest book they had read. Having had a book store years ago, I am always interested is what people want to read. Not a single person in my group could remember the last book they had read.

    I got off on the wrong social track 70 years ago and never caught up with the top ten on any subject.

    Would it be at all possible to dump the House of Representatives before they destroy what is left of our freedoms? If this is not the solution, what is?

    Happy Father’s Day guys!