Doublespeak, censorship, surveillance,
unlawful detention, torture-- the state as in Orwell's 1984

"Politics today --and there are honorable men and women in it-- but politics today is little more than money laundering in the trafficking of power and policy, fewer than six degrees of separation from the spirit and tactics of Tony Soprano."
                                                                                                                      --Bill Moyers

About Us
Cultural Creatives
Being Peace
Journey Within
Transforming World
13 Grandmothers
Cost of War
Oil & War
Corporations & War
Withdrawing Consent
God the Economy
Sacred Feminine
Woman's Womb
Equality for All
Stories & Features
Simple Living
Face of Iraq
Contact us

** Search this site **







Jeffrey Sterling, ex-CIA agent

Watch the Short Documentary “The Invisible Man: CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling”

CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Speaks Out Upon Sentencing to 3.5 Years in Prison 051215

Was Jeffrey Sterling Trial a Gov’t Effort to Divide Investigative Journalists & Whistleblowers? 021215

Covert Drone War        Know Drones      Torturing Democracy     The Fog of War

The Story behind Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy

War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death

The Colbert Report - AUMF & usage of drones 052313




Know Drones

Expose Facts

The Intercept



Videos, audios...

The Kill List: ICWatch Uses LinkedIn Account Info to Out Officials Who Aided Assassination Program 052815

Julian Assange on the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Secretive Deal Isn’t About Trade, But Corporate Control 052715

Julian Assange: British Nuclear Sub Whistleblower William McNeilly Revealed Major Security Lapses 052715

Robert Scheer Discusses His New Book on How Data-Collecting and Government Snooping Is Destroying Democracy 052215

As Internal Docs Show Major Overreach, Why Is FBI Spying on Opponents of Keystone XL Pipeline? 051315

Snowden Docs: NSA Technology Lets Gov’t Generate Transcripts of Private Phone Calls 050615

Chris Woods - Sudden Justice: America's Secret Drone Wars 050115

The Obama Administration’s War on Whistleblowers --
7 Whistleblowers speak at News Conference 04-27-15

As Obama Apologizes for Deaths of Hostages in Drone Strike, Does the U.S. Know Who It Is Killing? 042415

FBI Informant Exposes Sting Operation Targeting Innocent Americans in New "(T)ERROR" Documentary 042015

Andrew Cockburn, author of ”Kill Chain, the Rise of the High Tech Assassins” & Washington editor for Harper’s Magazine 2nd hr 041915

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Government Surveillance (HBO) 040515 (Interview w/Edward Snowden begins at 14:00 )


Sign petition to Sen. Mark Udall to enter the torture report into the Congressional Record


Tell Obama: Hands off
Edward Snowden!



John Kiriakou, ex-CIA agent

Freed CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Says "I Would Do It All Again" to Expose Torture 020915

The One Man Jailed For CIA Torture Tried To Expose It 121014

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou: Torture was official US policy 013113

"Eric Holder has been the nation's top censorship officer, not the top law enforcement officer.
[He] has done the bidding of the intelligence community and the White House to damage press freedom in the United States."
                                                                                                                                --James Risen




Videos, audios...

"How the FBI Created a Terrorist": Agency Accused of Entrapping Mentally Ill Man in Florida - Part 2 - 031915

A Double Standard on Leaks? As Whistleblowers Jailed, Petraeus Escapes Prison & Advises White House 031715

Data and Goliath: Bruce Schneier on the Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World - Part 2 - 031315

Chomsky on Snowden & Why NSA Surveillance Doesn’t Stop Terror While the U.S. Drone War Creates It 030315

Robert Scheer, author of They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy 030215

As Netanyahu Tries to Stop U.S.-Iran Deal, Leaked Cables Show Israeli Spies Reject His Nuke Claims 022415

Jailed for Speaking to the Press: How the Obama Admin Ruined Life of State Dept Expert Stephen Kim 021815 - Part 2 032015

Was Jeffrey Sterling Trial a Gov’t Effort to Divide Investigative Journalists & Whistleblowers? 021215

In Victory for Gov’t Whistleblowers, Supreme Court Sides
with Fired TSA Air Marshal Who Spoke Out

Barrett Brown Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison After Reporting on Hacked Private Intelligence Firms 012315

Scott Horton, author of Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America's Stealth Warfare 012015 @ 00:25:25

SHOCKING NEW INTERVIEW! CHEMTRAILS Kristen Meghan USAF Air Force Whistle Blower! USAF 011715

"Eco-Terrorist" Freed 10 Years Early After Feds Withhold Evidence on Informant’s Role 011415

Scott Horton: "Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy" (Book Excerpt) 010515



Punishing Another Whistle-blower, Jeffrey Sterling 051315

CIA Officer Jeffrey Sterling Sentenced to Prison: The Latest Blow in the Government’s War on Journalism 051215

CIA’s Jeffrey Sterling Sentenced to 42 Months for Leaking to New York Times Journalist 051115

Desmond Tutu Calls for Justice for Jeffrey Sterling, Citing Petraeus Deal 040915

CIA Evidence from Whistleblower Trial Could Tilt Iran Nuclear Talks 022615

Risen: Obama administration is greatest enemy of press freedom 021715

CIA Mission: Perfume the Stench of 'Operation Merlin' 020315

Why the CIA Is So Eager to Demolish Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling 012015



Videos, audios...

Peace Activist Kathy Kelly Heads to Prison for Protesting
U.S. Drone War

"These Are Crimes": New Calls to Prosecute Bush Admin as Senate Report Reveals Brutal CIA Torture 121014
Condoleezza Rice defends Torture Program,confirms Bush's role in it 042613 Condoleezza Rice Defends Bush Interrogation Tactics 042413

A "Precise" U.S. Drone War? Report Says 28 Unidentified Victims Killed for Every 1 Target 120314

Charles Lewis, journalist, author of 935 Lies and creator of Ctr for Public Integrity, on power and lies (1st segment)_ --  Peter Linebaugh, author of Stop Thief!: The Commons @48:10 - 111714

Craig Aaron of Free Press, Kevin Huang of Fight for the Future,
on Net Neutrality
(1st hr) -- Marjorie Cohen and Ahmed Ghappour on Whistleblowers, Obama and Edward Snowden (2nd hr) 111614

Michael J.Glenning, author of National Security and Double Government. Despite who is voted into office they are not the bureaucratic/security aparatus that runs the government 110414

Citizenfour: Inside Story of NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Captured
in New Film by Laura Poitras

James Risen Prepared to "Pay Any Price" to Report on War on Terror Amid Crackdown on Whistleblowers 101414

NSA Creates Google-Like Search Engine to Help Other Agencies
Access Collected Phone, Email Records




What Did the CIA’s Torture Program Have to Do With Intelligence Gathering? Not Much 121214


The Real News



"The concentration of mass media is in the hands of a very few, very large international corporations who have a lot of different businesses, defense businesses, theme parks..., and news became a smaller and smaller part of ever larger corporations."
                                                                                                                              --Dan Rather



The Bureau of Investi-
gative Journalism

Courage Foundation

The Center for Public

The Intercept


Videos, audios...

Jeremy Scahill: Leaked U.S. Terrorist Watchlist Rulebook Reveals "Global Stop and Frisk Program" 072914

Mass U.S. Surveillance Targeting Journalists and Lawyers
Seen As Threat to American Democracy

Green Scare: Animal Rights Activists Face Terrorism Charges for Freeing Minks from Fur Farm 071514

Sarah Harrison - The Battle Against Unaccountable Power -
Keynote address and discussion - Global Media Forum

Democracy Now! Goes Inside Embassy Refuge, Talks w/
Julian Assange About WikiLeaks, Snowden

WikiLeaks Editor Sarah Harrison on Helping Edward Snowden,
Being Forced to Live in Exile

NBC Primetime: Inside the Mind of Edward Snowden 052814

"Collect It All": Glenn Greenwald on NSA Bugging Tech Hardware, Economic Espionage & Spying on U.N. 051314

"You Might Get Hit by a Car": On Secret Tape, FBI Threatens American Muslim Refusing to be Informant 050214

"Silenced" Film Explores the Human Toll of Obama’s Crackdown
on National Security Whistleblowers

Muslim Americans Who Claim FBI Used No-Fly List to Coerce Them Into Becoming Informants File Lawsuit 042414

Domestic Terrorism - Chip Berlet 042014

Edward Snowden: Here's how we take back the Internet TED Mar 2014

NSA, FBI, DIA Sued over Refusal to Disclose U.S. Role in Imprisonment of Nelson Mandela 032514

Why Did FBI Monitor Occupy Houston, and Then Hide Sniper Plot Against Protest Leaders? 032514

Why Did the FBI Label Ryan Shapiro’s Dissertation on Animal Rights a Threat to National Security? 032514

Defying Threats to Journalism, Jeremy Scahill & Glenn Greenwald Launch New Venture, The Intercept 021014

Death By Metadata: Jeremy Scahill & Glenn Greenwald Reveal NSA Role in Assassinations Overseas 021014

Julian Assange on Being Placed on NSA "Manhunting" List
& Secret Targeting of WikiLeaks Supporters

Will Potter - Green is the New Red




"Every empire...tells itself and the world that it is unlike all other empires, that its mission is not to plunder and control but to educate and liberate."
                                                                                        --Edward Said (Los Angeles Times, July 20, 2003)


Intl Action Center

Electronic Frontier

Tor - Anonymity Online




Videos, audios...

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Calls on Computer Hackers to Unite Against NSA Surveillance 123113

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier, authors of Big Data
- digital surveilance and prediction of behavior 122313

Jeremy Scahill: Oscar Nod for "Dirty Wars" Could Raise Awareness of Ongoing U.S. Drone Strikes 120513

"There is a War on Journalism": Jeremy Scahill on NSA Leaks
& New Investigative Reporting Venture

TPP Exposed: WikiLeaks Publishes Secret Trade Text to Rewrite Copyright Laws, Limit Internet Freedom 111413

"Wounds of Waziristan": Exclusive Broadcast of New Film on Pakistanis Haunted by U.S. Drone War 110413

"These Drones Attack Us and the Whole World is Silent": New Film Exposes Secret U.S. War 103113

The End of Internet Privacy? Glenn Greenwald on Secret NSA Program to Crack Online Encryption 090613

"Undermining the Very Fabric of the Internet": Bruce Schneier on NSA’s Secret Online Spying 090613

Bradley Manning: "Sometimes You Have to Pay a Heavy Price to Live in a Free Society" 082213

Pratap Chatterjee - the technology & money behind digital surveillance 082213

Full coverage of Bradley Manning sentencing 082113

British govt forces the destruction of The Guardian newspaper computers that contained Edward Snowden's documents 082113

Noam Chomsky on the recently released documents showing he was being watched by the CIA during the 1970s 081513

Owner of Snowden’s Email Service on Why He Closed Lavabit Rather Than Comply With Gov’t 081313

Former Internet Provider Gagged by National Security Letter Recounts How He Was Silenced For 6 Years - 081313

Kevin Gosztola: Behind the Scenes of the Bradley Manning Trial Ignored by Corporate Media 071613

Testifying for Bradley Manning’s Defense, Ex-Guantánamo Prosecutor Says Leaks Caused No Harm to U.S. 071013

Senate Set to Confirm New FBI Head Who Ok’d Waterboarding, Defends Mass Spying, Indefinite Detention 071013

Daniel Ellsberg on Edward Snowden 070813

Glenn Greenwald: "Rogue" Actions of U.S. in Snowden Row Yield Latin American Offers of Asylum 070813





NSA surveillance: A guide to staying secure 090613

Glimmerglass Intercepts Undersea Cable Traffic for Spy Agencies Pratap Chatterjee 082013

Interview: ‘Ask the wrong people about drone deaths and you can be killed’ 080113

XKeyscore: NSA tool collects 'nearly everything a user does on the internet' 073113

Amy Goodman The Lab Magazine 071113





Where is Edward Snowden? Glenn Greenwald on Asylum Request, Espionage Charge; More Leaks to Come 062413

FBI’s Use of Drones for U.S. Surveillance Raises Fears over Privacy, Widening Corporate-Gov’t Ties 062113

Edward Snowden: NSA Leaks Motivated by "Litany of Lies" from U.S. Officials 061813

Chris Pyle, Whistleblower on Domestic Spying in 70s, Says Be Wary of Attacks on NSA’s Critics 061313

Digital Blackwater: How the NSA Gives Private Contractors Control of the Surveillance State 061113

"You’re Being Watched": Edward Snowden Emerges as Source Behind Explosive Revelations of NSA Spying  061013

Assange: U.S. Probe of WikiLeaks & "Show Trial" of Bradley Manning Aims to Scare Whistleblowers 052913

Victor Menotti, Intl Forum on Globalization, and Michelle Chan, Friends of the Earth - the TPP and the pivot to Asia 052913

Senate Advances Expanded, "Orwellian" Gov’t Surveillance with FISA Amendments, CISPA 052413

Caroline Casey hosts, Earth First, singer, activist, Darryl Cherney,
co-maker of the movie "Who Bombed Judi Bari?
Who Bombed Judi Bari Documentary Trailer - purchase

Clips from documentaries Shadows of Liberty
and Long Distance Revolutionary on Mumia Abu-Jamal
Gary Webb's 1996 coverage of CIA involvement in crack explosion

Allan Nairn: After Ríos Montt Verdict, Time for U.S. to Account
for Its Role in Guatemalan Genocide
Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Hails Genocide Conviction
of Ex-Guatemalan Dictator Ríos Montt

Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark Decries Government’s "Big Brother" Seizure of AP Phone Records 051213

Former Air Force Pilot Has Cautionary Tales About Drones

Audio from NPR - David Green & Kelly McEvers 051013


Image of NSA leaker Edward Snowden evolves with each revelation McClatchy 062813

Obama’s crackdown views leaks as aiding enemies of U.S. McClatchy 062013

Bradley Manning Is Guilty of “Aiding the Enemy” --If the Enemy Is Democracy Norman Soloman 060513

Naming Our Nameless War Andrew J. Bacevich 052813

Former Drone Pilot Talks Candidly re Attacks 051113

The Death of Truth 050513

Watch full length videos

Shadows of Liberty

Fighting for the Press

"We're now at a stage where every journalist who isn't asleep understands that corporate power has made it impossible for them to do the job as it needs to be done."
                                                     --Norman Soloman, Journalist, Founder of Institute for Public Accuracy



Covert Drone War

Robert Fisk --
The Independent, UK

Free Bradley Manning

Public Citizen

Daniel Ellsberg



Trade Watch

Mother Jones

Digital Due Process

Center for Democracy
& Technology

School of the Americas


Videos, audios...

Kimberly Rivera, Pregnant Mom of 4, Sentenced to Military Prison for Refusing to Serve in Iraq 043013

Trevor Aaronson , author of The Terrror Factory @00:06:20
Charlotte Silverman - FBI's "preventive prosecutions"

The World Is a Battlefield: Jeremy Scahill on "Dirty Wars" and Obama’s Expanding Drone Attacks 042413

As Obama Shuns Hearing, Yemeni Says U.S. Drone War Terrifying Civilians, Empowering Militants 042413

Jeremy Scahill: The Secret Story Behind Obama’s Assassination of Two Americans in Yemen 042313
Abdulrahman Alawlaki Facebook page

More Secrets on Growing State Surveillance: Exclusive with NSA Whistleblower, Targeted Hacker 042313
Tor - Anonymity Online

The Persecution of Lynne Stewart by Chris Hedges 042313

Jeremy Scahill: Killing Anwar al-Awlaki 042213

National Security Agency Whistleblower William Binney on Growing State Surveillance 042013

Detained in the U.S.: Filmmaker Laura Poitras Held, Questioned Some 40 Times at U.S. Airports 042013

Allan Nairn Exposes Role of U.S. and New Guatemalan President in Indigenous Massacres 041913

Filmmaker Robert Greenwald on "War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State" 041813
Free copy of DVD

After Obama Shuns Probe, Bipartisan Panel Finds "Indisputable" Evidence U.S. Tortured Under Bush 041713

Pardiss Kebriaei who is representing a Guantanamo Bay Detainee on hunger strike @00:37:00 - 041613

Melvin Goodman - Costs of militarism - 1st hour
Raoul Hinojosa Ojeda - Immigration policy @ 1:05:10

Audio from KPFA Sunday Show w/ Philip Maldari 041413

The Way of the Knife: NYT’s Mark Mazzetti on the CIA’s Post-9/11 Move from Spying to Assassinations 041013

"Shadows of Liberty": New Film Explores How Corporate Control of Media Erodes Press Freedoms 040513



Petition Free Lynne Stewart



‘Long Distance Revolutionary’: New film examines the life of Mumia Abu-Jamal 050113

D. Liebelson: Obama Poised to Deliver Another Blow to Whistleblower Protections 042413

Read an Excerpt From Jeremy Scahill’s "Dirty Wars: The World Is A Battlefield" 042313

T. Aaronson : How the FBI in Boston May Have Pursued the Wrong "Terrorist" 042311

The Persecution of Lynne Stewart 042113

Mark Mazzetti: A Secret Deal on Drones, Sealed in Blood 040713

"The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilt and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses."
                                                                                                                              --Malcolm X




Bureau of Investigative
Journalism - Drones

Americans Who Tell
the Truth

Project on Govt

Rolling Stone

Independent Television
News (UK

Jen Sorensen -
SlowPoke Comics


" In the summer of 2010, a foreign intelligence officer offered me cash in exchange for classified information. I turned down the pitch and I immediately reported it to the FBI. So, the FBI asked me to take the guy out to lunch and to ask him what information he wanted and how much information he was willing to give me for it. They were going to put two agents at a nearby table. They ended up canceling the two agents but they asked me to go ahead with the lunch so I did. After the lunch, I wrote a long memo to the FBI — and I did this four or five times.

It turns out – and we only learned this three or four weeks ago – there never was a foreign intelligence officer. It was an FBI agent pretending to be an intelligence officer and they were trying to set me up on an Espionage Act charge but I repeatedly reported the contact so I foiled them in their effort to set me up."              -- John Kiriakou

Ex-CIA Agent, Whistleblower John Kiriakou Sentenced to Prison While Torturers He Exposed Walk Free 013013
Ex-CIA agent heads to prison for torture leak 012513
CIA whistleblower faces jail term - ITN (UK)

See full length documentaries here:

"Torturing Democracy"

"Taxi To The Dark Side" - Documentary
This 2007 Oscar-winner examines the death of an Afghan taxi driver
at Bagram Air Base from injuries inflicted by U.S. soldiers




President Obama: Pardon CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou


'US a police state, Obama consciously allows torture' – CIA veteran John Kiriakou 020113

The Bizarre Kiriakou Sentencing:
Secret Evidence, Dropped
Charges & New "Facts" Never

CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou, Sentenced to 30 Months in Jail, Wears Conviction as ‘Badge of Honor’ 012513

En EEUU encarcelan a los que
denuncian las torturas


Matt Taibbi - 'Zero Dark Thirty' is Osama bin Laden's Last Victory Over America

Marjorie Cohen - "Zero Dark Thirty" torturing the facts


"The power of journalism is that it is rooted in verifiable fact. You go out as a reporter, you seek to find out what is factually correct. You cross-check it with other sources. It's sent to an editor. It's fact-checked. You put it out. That's all vanishing."
                                                                                                                              --Chris Hedges



Common Dreams

Free Speech TV

Free Press

Freak Radio
Santa Cruz

Veterans For Peace


Media Reform

Open Secrets

Global Network
Against Weapons
and Nuclear Power
in Space

Voices for Creative

War is a Crime

Don't Spy on us

Echelon Watch

PR Watch

Center for
Constitutional Rights

Wen Ho Lee

Against the Grain

Videos, audios...

BBC-Guardian Exposé Uses WikiLeaks to Link Iraq Torture Centers to U.S. Col. Steele & Gen. Petraeus 032213

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake speaks at National Press Club - March 15, 2013

Rand Paul filibuster of John Brennan's nomination to CIA 030713

Living Under Drones, Brennan Hearing Preview 020713

ACLU Blasts Supreme Court Rejection of Challenge to Warrantless Spying Without Proof of Surveillance 022713

Daniel Ellsberg - Tribute to Bradley Manning - 1st hour
Documentary - Roadmap to Apartheid and Palestine @ 1:02:10

Audio from KPFA Sunday Show w/ Philip Maldari 021713

War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and The National Security State -- Official Trailer 021113

Marjorie Cohn & Tom McGovern - Confirmation hearings on John Brennan, droning in America @ 1:04:30
( Frakking California - 1st hour )

Audio from KPFA Sunday Show w/ Philip Maldari 021013
DOGGR - Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources
Anthony Pignataro - Brown scandal resurfacing? 021013
Dan Bacher - Jerry Brown: The Big Oil Governor 050312

Globalizing Torture: Ahead of Brennan Hearing, International Complicity in CIA Rendition Exposed 020713

Decade After Iraq WMD Speech at U.N., Ex-Powell Aide Lawrence Wilkerson Debates Author Norman Solomon 020613

Daniel Ellsberg: NDAA Indefinite Detention Provision is Part of "Systematic Assault on Constitution" 020513

Court: Gov’t Can Secretly Obtain Email, Twitter Info From Ex-WikiLeaks Volunteer Jacob Appelbaum 020513

KILL LIST EXPOSED: Leaked Obama Memo Shows Assassination of U.S. Citizens "Has No Geographic Limit" 020513

Julian Assange speech that was censored by the Oxford Union 020113

Dirty Wars: Jeremy Scahill and Rick Rowley’s New Film Exposes Hidden Truths of Covert U.S. Warfare 012213

"An Incredible Soul": Larry Lessig Remembers Aaron Swartz After Cyberactivist’s Suicide Before Trial; Parents Blame Prosecutor 011413

Exclusive: As Gitmo Turns 11, Al Jazeera’s Sami al-Hajj on 6-Year Ordeal of U.S. Detention, Torture 010813



Petition Free Lynne Stewart

Living Under Drones - full report by Stanford/NYU



Kevin Gosztola: The Obama Administration’s Latest Anonymous Leaks Aim to Justify Drone Killings of US Citizens 031013

John Brennan's Excuse on Torture 030813

The Drone Question Obama Hasn’t Answered 3/8/13

Resistance From a Cage: Julian Assange Speaks to Norwegian Journalist Eirik Vold 030113

Kevin Gosztola - A Future World Where Drones Engage in Wholesale Surveillance & Dominate US Airspace 011513

Inside the Terror Factory
Trevor Aaronson 011113



Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning
Support Network

Courage to Resist

UK Guardian

Truth and Consequences:
The U.S. vs. Bradley



Bradley Manning's Nobel Peace Prize


NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake: All Doubts Dispelled, Bradley Manning’s a Whistleblower 032013

Bradley Manning explainer: best of the Guardian's coverage of WikiLeaks case



Videos, audios...

Dean Baker - The fiscal cliff, the economy and you   1st hour
Alastair Smith, Dictator's Handbook - The nature of political power

Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics w/Mitch Jeserich 122712

The Other Bradley Manning: Jeremy Hammond Faces Life Term for WikiLeaks and Hacked Stratfor Emails 122212

Seth Rosenberg - Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power @ 00:06:18

Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics 122012

Alfred W. McCoy Speaks On It: Torture and Impunity 120112

Julian Assange on WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, Cypherpunks, Surveillance State 112912

Living Under Drones at JHU: Presentations + Q&A (Human Rights Working Group) 111512 John Hopkins University

Jeremy Scahill and Dennis Kucinich: In Obama’s 2nd Term, Will Dems Challenge U.S. Drones, Killings? 110712

Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu-Jamal (official trailer 2) 102912

Are US drones terrorising civilians? 092712

The United States of ALEC: Bill Moyers on the Secretive
Corporate-Legislative Body Writing Our Laws

As Italy Sentences 23 CIA Agents in Rendition Case, Obama Refuses to Prosecute Anyone for Torture 092112

TPP...Trojan horse for global corporate domination? 091312
Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiated in secret 080912
The Trans Pacific Partnership - A Corporate Fascist Coup 070812

9/11’s Footprint on America: Democracy Now on Pacifica Radio’s Memorial Broadcast 091212

The 9/11 Decade: Voices of Dissent on Democracy Now! 091112

Book Reveals Extensive Effort by Reagan, FBI to Undermine California’s Student Movement in 1960s 082412

Student 'Subversives' And The FBI's 'Dirty Tricks' 082112 NPR

Full Video of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange & Philosopher Slavoj Žižek with Amy Goodman 081612

Chris Hedges Sits Down With Bill Moyers 072212

Spying on Scientists: How the FDA Monitored Whistleblowers Who Raised Concerns over Radiation 071712



The Unsilenced Voice of a ‘Long-Distance Revolutionary’ 120912

October 2012 update: US covert actions in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia 110112

ACLU Comment on Targeted Killing “Disposition Matrix” 102412

The “Disposition Matrix”: The Institutionalization of Targeted Killing 102412

Kevin Gosztola - Five Stages of Impunity for Torture 092212

NY Times Scrubs Mention of CIA Arming Syrian Rebels 082812

'Subversives,' by Seth Rosenfeld 082012

Kevin Ryan - The nexus between terror propaganda and terrorism: Bremer and Jenkins 072112

Tom Junod - America Targets People to Kill. Why Is Congress AWOL? 071012 !!!!  Asks Lindsay Graham: "Who wants to be the congressman or senator holding the hearing as to whether the president should be aggressively going after terrorists?  Nobody." !!!!


Justice for Lynne

Let Them Talk








The Persecution of Lynne Stewart Chris Hedges 042113

Dick Gregory Supports Lynne Stewart with Fasting & Praying

Lynne Stewart, Jihadi lawyer
Sharon Chadha, Winter 2006


News about Lynne F. Stewart, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times

Videos, audios...

Marion Nestle - What the govt is doing to our food - 1st hour
Diane Ravitch - Undermining/ privatizing public education @ 1:10:40

Audio from KPFA Sunday Show 072212
The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn

Fawaz Gerges - Middle East
Rebecca MacKinnon - Internet surveillance @ 0:36:33

Audio from KPFA Letters and Politics 071712
Consent of the Networked

NSA whistleblower William Binney Keynote at HOPE #Nine 071312

Simone Richmond - Drones and domestic surveillance - @ 0:18:00

Audio from KPFA Up Front w/Brian Edwards-Tiekert 071212
Waging Nonviolence - The specter of domestic drones

Deepa Kumar - Islamophobia- 1st hour
Arleen Blum - Fire retardent chemicals - 2nd hour

Audio from KPFA Sunday Show 070812

Damon Nagami - Frakking in California - 2nd hour @ 1:01:05
Natural Resources Defense Council
Steve Horn & Sarah Blaskey - Fossil fuels industry and ALEC (Amer.Legislative Exchange Council) @ 1:13:00
Exposed: The Other ALECs' Corporate Playbook

Audio from KPFA Saturday Morning Talkies w/Kris Welch 070712

Chris Hedges - Days of revolt
George Lakoff - Framing political debate in U.S.

Audio from KPFA Sunday Show w/ Philip Maldari 062412

Breaking ’08 Pledge, Leaked TPP Trade Doc Shows Obama Wants to Help Corporations Avoid Regulations 061412
Newly Leaked TPP Investment Chapter Contains Special Rights for Corporations 061312

Chris Hedges - Death of the liberal class 060112




Seth Rosenfeld- The Hunters and the Hunted -‘Subversives’

Deepa Kumar - Islamophobia: A Bipartisan Project 070212

Newly Leaked TPP Investment Chapter Contains Special Rights for Corporations 061312

U.S. drone targets in Yemen raise questions 060212

Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will 052912

Lori Wallace - A Stealth Attack on Democratic Governance 031312
   Why are Obama trade negotiators pushing the extreme Trans-Pacific Partnership, and why is it being negotiated in such an untransparent manner?

Obama terror drones: CIA tactics in Pakistan include targeting rescuers and funerals 020412




Videos, audios...

Senate Advances Expanded, "Orwellian" Gov’t Surveillance with FISA Amendments, CISPA 052412

With Control of Drone Strikes, Is Counterterror Chief John Brennan the U.S. "Assassination Czar"? 052412

Noam Chomsky on WikiLeaks, Obama’s Targeted Assassinations and Latin America’s Break from the U.S. 051412

Targeted Hacker Jacob Appelbaum on CISPA, Surveillance and the "Militarization of Cyberspace" 042612

More Secrets on Growing State Surveillance: Exclusive with NSA Whistleblower, Targeted Hacker 042312

National Security Agency Whistleblower William Binney on Growing State Surveillance 042012

Detained in the U.S.: Filmmaker Laura Poitras Held, Questioned Some 40 Times at U.S. Airports 042012

Whistleblower: The NSA Is Lying–U.S. Government Has Copies of Most of Your Emails 042012

"We Don’t Live in a Free Country": Jacob Appelbaum on Being Target of Widespread Gov’t Surveillance 042012

Judi Bari Revisited: New Film Exposes FBI Coverup of 1990 Car Bombing of California Environmentalist -- Part 2 032712

Part 2: Former NSA Employee Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack on Obama Admin. Whistleblower Crackdown 032612

State Dept. Seeks Firing of Peter Van Buren, Whistleblower Who Exposed Wasteful Iraq Projects 031612

Lori Wallace - A Stealth Attack on Democratic Governance 031312
Why are Obama trade negotiators pushing the extreme Trans-Pacific Partnership, and why is it being negotiated in such an untransparent manner?
NAFTA's Broken Promises: Failure to Create US Jobs

Jeremy Scahill: U.S. Has Ignited Islamist Uprising in Impoverished, Divided Yemen 021612




Bill Moyers keynote at Public Citizen's 40th Anniversary Gala 102511

6 Questions for Noam Chomsky 100311

Noam Chomsky on the 9/11 Decade and the Assassination of Osama bin Laden: Was There an Alternative? 091311

A Debate on Human Rights Watch’s Call for Bush Administration Officials to be Tried for Torture 071211

David House on Bradley Manning, Secret WikiLeaks Grand Jury, and U.S. Surveillance 071111
‘I Can’t Believe What I’m Confessing to You’:
The Wikileaks Chats

TalkingStickTV - Will Potter - Green is the New Red 060911

Inside Obama’s "Orwellian World" Where Whistleblowing Has Become Espionage: The Case of Thomas Drake 051811

Ralph Nader and Daniel Ellsberg: We Need to See Courage and Mobilization Here as Well as the Middle East 031811

WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs Expose US-Backed Iraqi Torture, 15,000 More Civilian Deaths, and Contractors Run Amok 101510

Gagged for 6 Years, Nick Merrill Speaks Out on Landmark Court Struggle Against FBI’s National Security Letters 081110

Laura Poitras, Puzzling Over A Jihadi's Journey 060210
New Directors/New Films Video: Laura Poitras 033910

Chris Hedges: Fighting corporate rape of US 021310

“The Fed Who Blew the Whistle" 121608

Former U.S. Soldier Camilo Mejia on Killings of Iraqi and Afghan Civilians

Audio excerpt from following youtube video @ 00:49:50
Seymour Hersh, Jeremy Scahill, Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian in Conversation

Bush’s Law: Eric Lichtblau on Exposing the NSA’s Warrantless Wiretapping Program and How the White House Pressured the New York Times to Kill the Story 040108

The Two Georges, Orwell and Bush: A Dramatic Reading of George Orwell’s Classic Work 1984 Interspersed With Recent News Clips From President Bush and Others 062503

Justice Delayed But Not Denied: Renowned Environmental Leaders Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney Win a Multi-Million Dollar Verdict in Civil Rights Suit Against the FBI 061202



The Best Terrorists Money Can Buy Trevor Aaronson Sep2011

NAFTA's Broken Promises: Failure to Create US Jobs
Alan Wolfe - The Education of Diane Ravitch 051410

"This Is for Destroying Airplanes" Trevor Aaronson 081211

Bill Quigley - The Ongoing Torture of Syed Fahad Hashmi 040510

Sheldon S. Wolin - Inverted Totalitarianism: A New Way of Understanding How the U.S. Is Controlled 051908

My Country, My Country
POV interview w/Laura Poitras 102506 -My Country Trailer
More on Poitras' films

James Bamford - Big Brother is Listening 031206

Scandals at the FBI Crime Lab 041697 - Guests include
Lynne Stewart

Jon Carroll - The Death of Empires


"Then the face of Big Brother faded away again, and instead the three slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals: 'WAR IS PEACE' 'FREEDOM IS SLAVERY' and 'IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH'."
                                                                                                      --From George Orwell's




All articles reprinted
under the Fair Use
doctrine of

copyright law
). All
copyrights belong
o original publisher.









Big Brother Is Listening

The NSA has the ability to eavesdrop on your communications-- landlines, cell phones, e-mails, BlackBerry messages, Internet searches, and more--with ease. What happens when the technology of espionage outstrips the law?s ability to protect ordinary citizens from it?

By James Bamford

03/12/06 "The Atlantic" -- On the first Saturday in April of 2002, the temperature in Washington, D.C., had taken a dive. Tourists were bundled up against the cold, and the cherry trees along the Tidal Basin were fast losing their blossoms to the biting winds. But a few miles to the south, in the Dowden Terrace neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, the chilly weather was not deterring Royce C. Lamberth, a bald and burly Texan, from mowing his lawn. He stopped only when four cars filled with FBI agents suddenly pulled up in front of his house. The agents were there not to arrest him but to request an emergency court hearing to obtain seven top-secret warrants to eavesdrop on Americans.

As the presiding justice of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, Lamberth had become accustomed to holding the secret hearings in his living room. "My wife, Janis, has to go upstairs because she doesn't have a top-secret clearance," he noted in a speech to a group of Texas lawyers. "My beloved cocker spaniel, Taffy, however, remains at my side on the assumption that the surveillance targets cannot make her talk. The FBI knows Taffy well. They frequently play with her while I read some of those voluminous tomes at home." FBI agents will even knock on the judge's door in the middle of the night. "On the night of the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa, I started the first emergency hearings in my living room at 3:00 a.m.," recalled Lamberth. "From the outset, the FBI suspected bin Laden, and the surveillances I approved that night and in the ensuing days and weeks all ended up being critical evidence at the trial in New York."

"The FISA court is probably the least-known court in Washington," added Lamberth, who stepped down from it in 2002, at the end of his seven-year term, "but it has become one of the most important." Conceived in the aftermath of Watergate, the FISA court traces its origins to the mid-1970s, when the Senate's Church Committee investigated the intelligence community and the Nixon White House. The panel, chaired by Idaho Democrat Frank Church, exposed a long pattern of abuse, and its work led to bipartisan legislation aimed at preventing a president from unilaterally directing the National Security Agency or the FBI to spy on American citizens. This legislation, the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, established the FISA court--made up of eleven judges handpicked by the chief justice of the United States--as a secret part of the federal judiciary. The court's job is to decide whether to grant warrants requested by the NSA or the FBI to monitor communications of American citizens and legal residents. The law allows the government up to three days after it starts eavesdropping to ask for a warrant; every violation of FISA carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. Between May 18, 1979, when the court opened for business, until the end of 2004, it granted 18,742 NSA and FBI applications; it turned down only four outright.

Such facts worry Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor who worked for the NSA as an intern while in law school in the 1980s. The FISA "courtroom", hidden away on the top floor of the Justice Department building (because even its location is supposed to be secret), is actually a heavily protected, windowless, bug-proof installation known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF. "When I first went into the FISA court as a lowly intern at the NSA, frankly, it started a lifetime of opposition for me to that court," Turley recently told a group of House Democrats looking into the NSA's domestic spying. "I was shocked with what I saw. I was convinced that the judge in that SCIF would have signed anything that we put in front of him. And I wasn't entirely sure that he had actually read what we put in front of him. But I remember going back to my supervisor at NSA and saying, 'That place scares the daylights out of me.'"

Lamberth bristles at any suggestion that his court routinely did the administration's bidding. "Those who know me know the chief justice did not put me on this court because I would be a rubber stamp for whatever the executive branch was wanting to do," he said in his speech. "I ask questions. I get into the nitty-gritty. I know exactly what is going to be done and why. And my questions are answered, in every case, before I approve an application."

It is true that the court has been getting tougher. From 1979 through 2000, it modified only two out of 13,087 warrant requests. But from the start of the Bush administration, in 2001, the number of modifications increased to 179 out of 5,645 requests. Most of those--173--involved what the court terms "substantive modifications."

This friction--and especially the requirement that the government show "probable cause" that the American whose communications they are seeking to target is connected in some way to a terrorist group-- induced the administration to begin circumventing the court. Concerned about preventing future 9/11-style attacks, President Bush secretly decided in the fall of 2001 that the NSA would no longer be bound by FISA. Although Judge Lamberth was informed of the president's decision, he was ordered to tell no one about it--not even his clerks or his fellow FISA-court judges.

Why the NSA Might be Listening to YOU

Contrary to popular perception, the NSA does not engage in "wiretapping"; it collects signals intelligence, or "sigint." In contrast to the image we have from movies and television of an FBI agent placing a listening device on a target's phone line, the NSA intercepts entire streams of electronic communications containing millions of telephone calls and e-mails. It runs the intercepts through very powerful computers that screen them for particular names, telephone numbers, Internet addresses, and trigger words or phrases. Any communications containing flagged information are forwarded by the computer for further analysis.

The NSA's task is to listen in on the world outside American shores. During the Cold War, the principal targets were the communications lines used by the Soviet government and military-- navy captains calling their ports, fighter pilots getting landing instructions, army commanders out on maneuvers, and diplomats relaying messages to the Kremlin. But now the enemy is one that communicates very little and, when it does, uses the same telecommunications network as everyone else: a complex system of wires, radio signals, and light pulses encircling and crisscrossing the globe like yarn. Picking up just the right thread, and tracing it through the maze of strands, is difficult. Sometimes a thread leads back inside the United States. An internal agency report predicted a few years ago that the NSA?s worldwide sigint operation would demand a "powerful and permanent presence" on the global telecommunica- tions networks that carry "protected American communications." The prediction has come true, and the NSA now monitors not only purely "foreign" communications but also ?international? ones, where one end of the conversation might be in the United States. As a result, the issue at hand since the revelation last December of the NSA's warrantless spying on American citizens is not the agency's access to the country's communications network--it already has access--but whether the NSA must take legal steps in preparing to target the communications of an American citizen.

It used to be that before the NSA could place the name of an American on its watch list, it had to go before a FISA-court judge and show that it had probable cause "that the facts and circumstances were such that a prudent person would think the individual was somehow connected to terrorism" in order to get a warrant. But under the new procedures put into effect by Bush's 2001 order, warrants do not always have to be obtained, and the critical decision about whether to put an American on a watch list is left to the vague and subjective "reasonable belief" of an NSA shift supervisor. In charge of hundreds of people, the supervisor manages a wide range of sigint specialists, including signals-conversion analysts separating HBO television programs from cell-phone calls, traffic analysts sifting through massive telephone data streams looking for suspicious patterns, cryptanalysts attempting to read e-mail obscured by complex encryption algorithms, voice-language analysts translating the gist of a phone call from Dari into English, and cryptolinguists trying to unscramble a call on a secure telephone.

Bypassing the FISA court has meant that the number of Americans targeted by the NSA has increased since 2001 from perhaps a dozen per year to as many as 5,000 over the last four years, knowledgeable sources told The Washington Post in February. If telephone records indicate that one of the NSA's targets regularly dials a given telephone number, that number and any names associated with it are added to the watch lists and the communications on that line are screened by computer. Names and information on the watch lists are shared with the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security, and foreign intelligence services. Once a person's name is in the files, even if nothing incriminating ever turns up, it will likely remain there forever. There is no way to request removal, because there is no way to confirm that a name is on the list.

In December of 1997, in a small factory outside the southern French city of Toulouse, a salesman got caught in the NSA's electronic web. Agents working for the NSA's British partner, the Government Communications Headquarters, learned of a letter of credit, valued at more than $1.1 million, issued by Iran's defense ministry to the French company Microturbo. According to NSA documents, both the NSA and the GCHQ concluded that Iran was attempting to secretly buy from Microturbo an engine for the embargoed C-802 anti-ship missile. Faxes zapping back and forth between Toulouse and Tehran were intercepted by the GCHQ, which sent them on not just to the NSA but also to the Canadian and Australian sigint agencies, as well as to Britain's MI6. The NSA then sent the reports on the salesman making the Iranian deal to a number of CIA stations around the world, including those in Paris and Bonn, and to the U.S. Commerce Department and the Customs Service. Probably several hundred people in at least four countries were reading the company's communications. The question, however, remained: Was Microturbo shipping a missile engine to Iran? In the end, at the insistence of the U.S. government, the French conducted a surprise inspection just before the ship carrying the mysterious crate was set to sail for Iran. Inside were legal generators, not illegal missile engines.

Such events are central to the current debate involving the potential harm caused by the NSA's warrantless domestic eavesdropping operation. Even though the salesman did nothing wrong, his name made its way into the computers and onto the watch lists of intelligence, customs, and other secret and law-enforcement organizations around the world. Maybe nothing will come of it. Maybe the next time he tries to enter the United States or Britain he will be denied, without explanation. Maybe he will be arrested. As the domestic eavesdropping program continues to grow, such uncertainties may plague innocent Americans whose names are being run through the supercomputers even though the NSA has not met the established legal standard for a search warrant. It is only when such citizens are turned down while applying for a job with the federal government --or refused when seeking a Small Business Administration loan, or turned back by British customs agents when flying to London on vacation, or even placed on a "no-fly" list-- that they will realize that something is very wrong. But they will never learn why.

More than seventy-five years ago, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis envisioned a day when technology would overtake the law. He wrote:

"Subtler and more far-reaching means of invading privacy have become available to the government. The progress of science in furnishing the government with means of espionage is not likely to stop with wiretapping. Ways may some day be developed by which the Government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurrences of the home. Can it be that the Constitution affords no protection against such invasions of individual security?"

Brandeis went on to answer his own question, quoting from an earlier Supreme Court decision, Boyd v. U.S. (1886): "It is not the breaking of his doors, and the rummaging of his drawers that constitutes the essence of the offence; but it is the invasion of his indefeasible right of personal security, personal liberty, and private property."

Eavesdropping in the Digital Age

Today, the NSA's capability to eavesdrop is far beyond anything ever dreamed of by Justice Brandeis. With the digital revolution came an explosion in eavesdropping technology; the NSA today has the ability to scan tens of millions of electronic communications --e-mails, faxes, instant messages, Web searches, and phone calls-- every hour. General Michael Hayden, director of the NSA from 1999 to 2005 and now principal deputy director of national intelligence, noted in 2002 that during the 1990s, e-communications "surpassed traditional communications. That is the same decade when mobile cell phones increased from 16 million to 741 million --an increase of nearly 50 times. That is the same decade when Internet users went from about 4 million to 361 million--an increase of over 90 times. Half as many land lines were laid in the last six years of the 1990s as in the whole previous history of the world. In that same decade of the 1990s, international telephone traffic went from 38 billion minutes to over 100 billion. This year, the world's population will spend over 180 billion minutes on the phone in international calls alone."

Intercepting communications carried by satellite is fairly simple for the NSA. The key conduits are the thirty Intelsat satellites that ring the Earth, 22,300 miles above the equator. Many communications from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to the eastern half of the United States, for example, are first uplinked to an Intelsat satellite and then downlinked to AT&T's ground station in Etam, West Virginia. From there, phone calls, e-mails, and other communications travel on to various parts of the country. To listen in on that rich stream of information, the NSA built a listening post fifty miles away, near Sugar Grove, West Virginia. Consisting of a group of very large parabolic dishes, hidden in a heavily forested valley and surrounded by tall hills, the post can easily intercept the millions of calls and messages flowing every hour into the Etam station. On the West Coast, high on the edge of a bluff overlooking the Okanogan River, near Brewster, Washington, is the major commercial downlink for communications to and from Asia and the Pacific. Consisting of forty parabolic dishes, it is reportedly the largest satellite antenna farm in the Western Hemisphere. A hundred miles to the south, collecting every whisper, is the NSA's western listening post, hidden away on a 324,000-acre Army base in Yakima, Washington. The NSA posts collect the international traffic beamed down from the Intelsat satellites over the Atlantic and Pacific. But each also has a number of dishes that appear to be directed at domestic telecommunications satellites.

Until recently, most international telecommunications flowing into and out of the United States traveled by satellite. But faster, more reliable undersea fiber-optic cables have taken the lead, and the NSA has adapted. The agency taps into the cables that don't reach our shores by using specially designed submarines, such as the USS Jimmy Carter, to attach a complex "bug" to the cable itself. This is difficult, however, and undersea taps are short-lived because the batteries last only a limited time. The fiber-optic transmission cables that enter the United States from Europe and Asia can be tapped more easily at the landing stations where they come ashore. With the acquiescence of the telecommunications companies, it is possible for the NSA to attach monitoring equipment inside the landing station and then run a buried encrypted fiber-optic "backhaul" line to NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, where the river of data can be analyzed by supercomputers in near real time.

Tapping into the fiber-optic network that carries the nation's Internet communications is even easier, as much of the information transits through just a few "switches" (similar to the satellite downlinks). Among the busiest are MAE East (Metropolitan Area Ethernet), in Vienna, Virginia, and MAE West, in San Jose, California, both owned by Verizon. By accessing the switch, the NSA can see who's e-mailing with whom over the Internet cables and can copy entire messages. Last September, the Federal Communications Commission further opened the door for the agency. The 1994 Communica-tions Assistance for Law Enforcement Act required telephone companies to rewire their networks to provide the government with secret access. The FCC has now extended the act to cover "any type of broadband Internet access service and the new Internet phone services" and ordered company officials never to discuss any aspect of the program.

The NSA won't divulge how many people it employs, but it is likely that more than 38,000 worldwide now work for the agency. Most of them are at Fort Meade. Nicknamed Crypto City, hidden from public view, and located halfway between Washington and Baltimore, the NSA's own company town comprises more than fifty buildings--offices, warehouses, factories, laboratories, and a few barracks. Tens of thousands of people work there in absolute secrecy, and most never tell their spouses exactly what they do. Crypto City also houses the nation's largest collection of powerful computers, advanced mathematicians, and skilled language experts.

The NSA maintains a very close and very confidential relationship with key executives in the telecommunications industry through their membership on the NSA's advisory board. Created shortly after the agency's formation, the board was intended to pull together a panel of science wizards from universities, corporate research labs, and think tanks to advise the agency. They keep the agency abreast of the industry's plans and give NSA engineers a critical head start in finding ways to penetrate technologies still in the development phase.

One of the NSA's strategies is to hire people away from the companies that make the critical components for telecommunications systems. Although it's sometimes difficult for the agency to keep up with the tech sector's pay scale, for many people the chance to deal with the ultimate in cutting-edge technology and aid national security makes working for the NSA irresistible. With the help of such workers, the agency reverse-engineers communication system components. For example, among the most crucial pieces of the Internet infrastructure are routers made by Cisco. "Virtually all Internet traffic," says one of the company's television ads, "travels across the systems of one company: Cisco Systems." For the NSA, this is an opportunity. In 1999, Terry Thompson, then the NSA deputy director for services, said, "[Y]ou can see down the road two or three or five years and say, 'Well, I only need this person to do reverse-engineering on Cisco routers (that's a good example) for about three or five years, because I see Cisco going away as a key manufacturer for routers and so I don't need that expertise. But I really need somebody today and for the next couple of years who knows Cisco routers inside and out and can help me understand how they're being used in target networks.'"

The Temptations of Secrecy

The National Security Agency was born in absolute secrecy. Unlike the CIA, which was created publicly by a congressional act, the NSA was brought to life by a top-secret memorandum signed by President Truman in 1952, consolidating the country's various military sigint operations into a single agency. Even its name was secret, and only a few members of Congress were informed of its existence--and they received no information about some of its most important activities. Such secrecy has lent itself to abuse.

During the Vietnam War, for instance, the agency was heavily involved in spying on the domestic opposition to the government. Many of the Americans on the watch lists of that era were there solely for having protested against the war. Among the names in the NSA's supercomputers were those of the folk singer Joan Baez, the pediatrician Benjamin Spock, the actress Jane Fonda, the civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., and the newspaper editor David Kahn, whose standard history of cryptology, The Codebreakers, contained information the NSA viewed as classified. Even so much as writing about the NSA could land a person a place on a watch list. The NSA, on behalf of the FBI, was also targeting religious groups. "When J. Edgar Hoover gives you a requirement for complete surveillance of all Quakers in the United States," recalled Frank Raven, a former senior NSA official, "and when Richard M. Nixon is a Quaker and he's the president of the United States, it gets pretty funny."

Of course, such abuses are hardly the exclusive province of the NSA; history has repeatedly shown that simply having the ability to eavesdrop brings with it the temptation to use that ability --whatever the legal barriers against that use may be. For instance, during World War I, the government read and censored thousands of telegrams --the e-mail of the day-- sent hourly by telegraph companies. Though the end of the war brought with it a reversion to the Radio Act of 1912, which guaranteed the secrecy of communications, the State and War Departments nevertheless joined together in May of 1919 to create America's first civilian eavesdropping and code-breaking agency, nicknamed the Black Chamber. By arrangement, messengers visited the telegraph companies each morning and took bundles of hard-copy telegrams to the agency's offices across town. These copies were returned before the close of business that day.

A similar tale followed the end of World War II. In August of 1945, President Truman ordered an end to censorship. That left the Signal Security Agency (the military successor to the Black Chamber, which was shut down in 1929) without its raw intelligence --the telegrams provided by the telegraph companies. The director of the SSA sought access to cable traffic through a secret arrangement with the heads of the three major telegraph companies. The companies agreed to turn all telegrams over to the SSA, under a plan code-named Operation Shamrock. It ran until the government?s domestic spying programs were publicly revealed, in the mid-1970s. The discovery of such abuses in the wake of the Watergate scandal led Congress to create select committees to conduct extensive investigations into the government?s domestic spying programs: their origin, extent, and effect on the public. The shocking findings turned up by the Church Committee finally led to the formation of permanent Senate and House intelligence committees, whose primary responsibility was to protect the public from future privacy abuses. They were to be the FISA court's partner in providing checks and balances to the ever-expanding U.S. intelligence agencies. But it remains very much an open question whether these checks are up to the task at hand.

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Today, the NSA has access to more information than ever before. People express their most intimate thoughts in e-mails, send their tax returns over the Internet, satisfy their curiosity and desires with Google searches, let their hair down in chat rooms, discuss every event over cell phones, make appoint-ments with their BlackBerrys, and do business by computer in WiFi hot spots.

NSA personnel, the customs inspectors of the information superhighway, have the ultimate goal of intercepting and reviewing every syllable and murmur zapping into, out of, or through the United States. They are close to achieving it. More than a dozen years ago, an NSA director gave an indication of the agency's capability. "Just one intelligence-collection system," said Admiral William O. Studeman, referring to a listening post such as Sugar Grove, "can generate a million inputs per half hour." Today, with the secret cooperation of much of the telecommunications industry, massive dishes vacuuming the airwaves, and electronic "packet sniffers," software that monitors network traffic, diverting e-mail and other data from fiber-optic cables, the NSA's hourly take is in the tens of millions of communications. One transatlantic fiber-optic cable alone has the capacity to handle close to 10 million simultaneous calls. While most communications flow through the NSA's electronic net unheard and unread, those messages associated with persons on the agency's watch lists --whether guilty or innocent-- get kicked out for review.

As history has shown, the availability of such vast amounts of information is a temptation for an intelligence agency. The criteria for compiling watch lists and collecting information may be very strict at the beginning of such a program, but the reality --in a sort of bureaucratic law of expansion-- is that it will draw in more and more people whose only offense was knowing the wrong person or protesting the wrong war.

Moreover, as Internet and wireless communications have grown exponentially, users have seen a corresponding decrease in the protections provided by the two institutions set up to shield the public from eavesdroppers. The first, the FISA court, has simply been shunted aside by the executive branch. The second, the congressional intelligence committees, have quite surprisingly abdicated any role. Created to be the watchdogs over the intelligence community, the committees have instead become its most enthusiastic cheerleaders. Rather than fighting for the public's privacy rights, they are constantly battling for more money and more freedom for the spy agencies.

Last November, just a month before The New York Times broke the story of the NSA's domestic spying, the American Bar Association publicly expressed concern over Congress's oversight of FISA searches. "The ABA is concerned that there is inadequate congressional oversight of government investigations undertaken pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act," the group stated, "to assure that such investigations do not violate the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution.? And while the administration did brief members of Congress on the decision to bypass FISA, the briefings were limited to a 'Gang of Eight'", the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate and the chairmen and ranking members of the two intelligence committees. None of the lawmakers insisted that the decision be debated by the joint committees, even though such hearings are closed.

Frank Church, the Idaho Democrat who led the first probe into the National Security Agency, warned in 1975 that the agency's capabilities could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such [is] the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it is done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capacity of this technology.

It was those fears that caused Congress to enact the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act three years later. "I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge," Senator Church said. "I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that [the National Security Agency] and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return."

The Atlantic Monthly Group










The death of empires
Jon Carroll
Published 4:00 am, Thursday, February 21, 2002

HISTORY TEACHES THREE pretty clear messages. One is that all empires die. Second, empires take a long time to die. Finally, the citizens of the empire rarely recognize the warning signs for what they are.

The necessity for change is immutable. Empires by their natures do not change very well. They have had positive feedback for not changing -- usually it's called "standing by our principles" -- for years, even centuries.

Empires think they have beaten the rule of change. They haven't. Empires think size will protect them. It won't. Empires think military might will protect them. It won't. Empires think charismatic leaders will protect them. They won't. Nothing will. The old makes way for the new.

The American empire is beginning to die. We will not see its death, nor will our grandchildren, but it is dying. Its leaders, sensing trouble, are fetishizing the "old ways," the ways that brought us power in a different world, a world in which America was young and the other empires were fading.

They have made denial a national creed. They have made arrogance a national stance. "We do not need the others because we are America," they say. A dying empire is like a dying dinosaur; the only question is how much damage the huge tail will do as it thrashes around.

I have some examples. Our foreign policy is governed by our need for oil, and yet we have no effective formal programs to reduce our need for oil. Instead, we purchase large vehicles that use gasoline with staggering inefficiency. We do it because we can, because God is on our side, and something will happen because something always does.

Dick Cheney is the prophet of this mind-set. Conservation is a hobby; use whatever you want; go to sleep, little citizens, your oil-based politicians will protect you.

WE ARE GRADUALLY killing the earth that gives us succor. We are poisoning the air and the water. We are cutting down the forests that give us life; we are killing the creatures of the ocean that feed us or feed the things we eat and use; we are ignoring the benefits of biodiversity.

Because something will happen. Because God is on our side. Because the scientists are wrong -- indeed, it is important to our whole way of life to marginalize science. Hey, they said we'd all be dead by the year 2000, and here we are. Fools.

We know more about the human body than we ever have. We understand more about nutrition than we ever have. We are a child-centered culture; we worship our little darlings and protect them from all harm. Except that childhood obesity is on the rise. Type 2 diabetes strikes children as young as 10. Only the very rich and very poor are thin.

We know more about the brain than we ever have. We use that knowledge to persuade children to eat food that will make their lives more difficult and place a greater burden on our medical system. This practice exists outside the morality that we are so very proud of.

Inside the morality is discouraging the use of condoms that can stop the spread of disease that also kills children. Death, where is thy sting? We are Americans.

WE ARE PROUD of our fine economic system, and yet our government routinely fails to punish profiteers and cheaters. We are proud of our Constitution, yet our government seeks to suspend parts of it when we enter an armed conflict. We are proud of our military, yet we spend billions on politically mandated weapons systems of no utility.

Maybe this is the way empires die. Maybe they weaken themselves from within.

The structure is so rotten that any young and enthusiastic foe can push it over. I dunno. Heck, I've got mine; why should I care?

This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a fine speech.

San Francisco Chronicle       



FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Lysistrata Project posts this material without profit for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.