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SECRECY, SURVEILLANCE AND TERRORISM April 9, 2012

Posted by wmmbb in Social Environment, Terrorism Issues.
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To what extent is the Security State consistent with Government by the People? The United States with its’ dysfunctional democracy and trashed Constitution seems set on the path to totalitarianism. Who then will rule?

There some trends and tendencies and done deals that are cause for pause and concern. No expense it seems can be spared in tracking terrorism, as the ready of availability of firearms and the “stand your ground” laws in twenty states do away with the crime of murder. Alice Ross, at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports:

In the small town of Bluffdale in the Utah desert, the US government is halfway to completing a gargantuan complex designed to store and trawl through billions of phone calls, emails, and other global communications. As the UK government reveals its own plans to carry out mass surveillance, a lengthy piece in May’s Wired reveals the full extent of the US’s ambitions to capture and spy on almost everything that is said online or on the phone.

The Utah Data Center is the new hub in the National Security Agency’s (NSA) network of surveillance centres: a sprawling $2bn (£1.25bn) complex that takes the US one step closer to ‘total information awareness’.

The centre is so big it’s hard to get your head around the figures quoted in the article. Ten thousand builders are working on it. It will use an estimated $40m of electricity every year, according to one estimate. Much of this will be spent powering four 2,300 sq m halls filled with servers capable of storing a truly enormous amount of data – Wired mentions Pentagon ambitions to store yottabytes of data (septillion bytes of data).

The centre will ‘intercept, decipher, analyse and store vast amounts of the world’s communications from satellites and underground and undersea cables of international, foreign and domestic networks,’ Wired reporter James Bamford says. Even the most apparently insignificant scraps of data will be captured and stored – in case they later become important: ‘private emails, mobile phone calls and Google searches, as well as personal data trails – travel itineraries, purchases and other digital “pocket litter”‘, Bamford adds.

There are several obvious questions that arise, such as who will have access to the information and whether it can be used for political ends. J Edgar Hoover has probably met his match.

Chris Hedges and others challenged the National Defence Authorization Act in court. His standing depends on the Court accepting the proposition that working as a international journalist he could be arrested and detained. Naturally, the place to air the interview is Russia Today:

The third example concerns the training of terrorists in Nevada by the CIA, a body beyond the law. Juan Cole notes and observes:

The intrepid Seymour Hersh reports at the New Yorker that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) of the US military gave members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK or People’s Holy Jihadis) training in signals intelligence at a facility in Nevada during the Bush era. The MEK was then and is now on the US State Department’s terrorism watch list, so the Pentagon’s deployment of this group was quite illegal.
. . .
As Sheila Musaji points out, lots of American Muslims are in jail for ‘material support of terrorism,’ but American politicians and pundits get a free pass for actively supporting the MEK– which, remember, is definitively on the terrorism watch list.

Note to the US government and the Neocons: George Orwell’s 1984 was a dark political satire, not a blueprint for how you should do things.

The Empire, in its’ prerogative description is devoid of moral and civic virtue as it casts it shadow of violence and domination over the globe. The difference between the violence and terrorism of one cannot be distinguished by the violence and terrorism of the other. Lawlessness would appear to be the common currency.

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