The U. S. Security State versus Civil Liberties

Part 1: Anonymous Browsing Helps You

Newsletter 20 August 2013 by Travis Hardin
next week: Timeline of the surveillance

I'm not a computer expert, a security expert, or a computer security expert, but I value civil liberties and I'm concerned about the overreach of the U. S. security apparatus we've all learned about from the news these last few months. If you want to learn with me, read on. Double-check everything with experts.

TOR protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location. –Tails documentation.

Key film-makers, writers, and reporters who reveal unflattering truths about the U.S. government’s military practices and national police practices are often stopped by the DHS when reentering the U.S., and they and their loved ones are detained and questioned and their electronics taken and copied (Greenwald and Poitras). As we have learned, the FBI and the NSA have created the capability to monitor and store the communications of all Americans and a large percentage of foreigners. It could easily follow that if you favor the free flow of information, and if you read on subjects the U.S. government would like to suppress, you could be harassed as a suspect. So it is safest to be anonymous when reading or downloading leaked classified material, Wikileaks material, and searching with sensitive keywords.    

(Before and after installing the anonymous browser, view a web site that will tell you what IP you appear to be coming from. One such site is )
1. Using a Windows computer put images of Liberté and Tails Linux distributions on a live USB drive using this procedure:
Format a 2 GB or greater USB pen drive as Fat32 and leave it inserted in your computer.
Browse to
Download the program YUMI (Your Universal Multiboot Installer) or the latest version and save it to your desktop. Clicking on the program will run it – no installation is needed.
In the program’s window the program creator has listed various Linux distributions for easy installation onto your USB stick. Scroll to “Other Distributions Alphabetical” about two-thirds of the way down and find both “Liberté (Anonymous browsing)” and “Tails (Anonymous browsing).” Install each one in turn according to the instructions. These two distributions, plus others you may want, may be installed on the same USB stick, and a menu is magically created on the stick (using Grub4dos) that lets you choose which to boot. Upon booting, both Liberte and Tails locate your Ethernet or wireless network connection easily.

2. Now here’s what you have: First a Linux operating system that boots and runs completely from external USB and so leaves no traces on the host computer. Second the ability to save files permanently, including HTML pages, on another USB drive you have inserted. The second USB drive is mounted under “Media” in Liberte. Separately, you can encrypt USB drives.

Third, an anonymous broswer operating through TOR network (which see in Wikipedia, etc.) that prevents someone watching your internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.

Email and Chat programs are included that the reader can make secure after reading about email encryption and about the respective programs.

OTHER EASY SECURITY to use with regular browsing
Use search engine. Unlike Google, it does not save searches. Install the add-on HTTPS Everywhere available for Firefox and Chrome browsers.

The U. S. Security State versus Civil Liberties

Part 2: Timeline of the Surveillance

Newsletter 30 August 2013 by Travis Hardin
next week: Current and Future Abuses of the Security State

“Collect it all” is NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander’s goal, observers say.

The NSA collects, and permits the FBI to share in, all Internet activity through beam-splitters in the optical Internet trunks. This the NSA calls “upstream monitoring,”  Installation began at least as early as  2003 at AT&T in San Francisco and was exposed in 2006 by former AT&T technician Mark Klein. William Binney, formerly a highly-placed official of the NSA,  estimates that 10 or 20 such sites exist in the U.S.

Upstream is paralleled with PRISM, which monitors traffic directly at internet companies. Slides leaked by Edward Snowden showed the companies to include Microsoft in 2007, Yahoo! in 2008, Google in 2009, Facebook in 2009, Paltalk in 2009, YouTube in 2010, AOL in 2011, Skype in 2011 and Apple in 2012.  

February 2001: On June 30, 2006, Bloomberg reported the NSA "asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks," citing court papers filed June 23, 2006 by lawyers in McMurray v. Verizon Communications Inc., 06cv3650, in the Southern District of New York. (
2002. President Bush, in an executive order, secretly authorized the NSA to monitor international phone calls and email messages initiated by individuals (including American citizens) in the United States--without warrants. Reported by the New York Times on December 16, 2005.

Six months later USA Today said that the NSA had been secretly collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans who used AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth.

Seven years later Edward Snowden. showed NSA had oversteped its legislative authority thousands of times every year, and working to flout attempts tat oversight and accountability, aided and abetted by the Obama administration, whose Justice Department cooperates with the NSA to request FISA certification. (from the April 20, 2011 submission to the FISA court, below.)

2011. The NSA monitors, collects, and acts on messages and transactions of Americans and others that reveal crimes:
    A FISA Court on government-submitted Reauthorization Certificates submitted April 20, 2011 in quoting NSA minimization procedures, made note,  “A foreign communication that is of or concerning a United States person and that is determined to contain neither foreign intelligence information nor evidence of a crime must be destroyed ‘at the earliest practicable point in the processing cycle,’ and ‘may be retained no longer than five years from the expiration date of the certificate...’” (, p. 52)

2011 The NSA shares bulk domestic messages with the FBI and with foreign governments:
FISA court: “The procedures also permit NSA to provide unminimized communications to (censored) FBI (subject to their own minimization procedures), and to foreign governments for the limited purpose of obtaining ‘technical and linguistic assistance.' Neither of these procedures has been used to share upstream acquisitions [as of] Sept. 7, 2011, the FISA judge was informed.  ( p.54)

This summary is to remind us of the terrible power of an unrestrained executive -- president Obama -- and of the likes of NSA director General Alexander who "is absolutely obsessed and completely driven to take it all, whenever possible," said Thomas Drake, a former NSA official and whistleblower. (Glenn Greenwald at

Many other details have come out due to the daring of Edward Snowden and those before him, and I have provided Web links to many articles. Please consult as a general chronological source of material about government surveillance against the citizens of the U.S. and of the world.


The official intelligence community’s new public Web site --
   A few relevant Wikipedia articles:
   Also see names of individuals such as--

The U. S. Security State versus Civil Liberties

Part 3: Abuses by the U.S. Security State

Newsletter 14 September 2013 by Travis Hardin
next week: Developing Technologies and Laws Useful to Subordinate Citizens

Unfinished business: Here's one more privacy link for you: Bruce Schneier's "NSA surveillance: A guide to staying secure" is available at

Also a postscript on the history of surveillance: In the 1970s 'way before 9-11, when satellites carried international telephone calls, most satellite traffic was monitored by the Five Eyes (US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) using orbiting and terrestrial monitoring stations. (Wikipedia ECHELON)

A. ABUSE OF THE PRIVACY RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS is what Part 3 addresses. The security agencies work outside the law, but even under the color of law, the world-scope of the dragnet is a dreadful stranglehold on human rights. In PART 4, I will continue with related and developing abuses.

We know from the Snowden papers and released documents that the types of data searched and stored include email, browsing, telephone metadata, VPNs, and Skype voice and video.

"An NSA tool called DNI Presenter, used to read the content of stored emails, also enables an analyst using XKeyscore to read the content of Facebook chats or private messages ... Analysts can search for internet browsing activities using a wide range of information, including search terms entered by the user or the websites viewed."
-Greenwald, The Guardian, 31 July 2013

Bulk collection through a PRISM tap at Microsoft servers  of Outlook email, Hotmail, Live, and, as well as Skype audio and video is typical. Prism collects this [Microsoft] data prior to encryption,” Greenwald quotes an NSA newsletter entry.

“Numerous NSA documents we've already published demonstrate that the NSA's goal is to collect, monitor and store every telephone and internet communication that takes place inside the US and on the earth. It already collects billions of calls and emails every single day. Still another former NSA whistle-blower, the mathematician William Binney, has said that the NSA has 'assembled on the order of 20 trillion transactions about US citizens with other US citizens' and that 'estimate only was involving phone calls and emails.'”

ABUSE: N.S.A. FOILS MUCH INTERNET ENCRYPTION -- In late news, a September 5 NYT news report based on documents obtain by The Guardian reveal that the NSA's [and British GCHQ's] "most intensive efforts have focused on the encryption in universal use in the United States, including Secure Sockets Layer, virtual private networks [since 2006], and the protection used on fourth-generation, or 4G, smart-phones."

Less by computing power than by pressure on internet companies and equipment manufacturers, "the Sigint Enabling Project had found ways inside some of the encryption chips that scramble information for businesses and governments, either by working with chip makers to insert back doors or by exploiting security flaws, according to the [leaked] documents, which bragged the program 'actively engages the U.S. and foreign IT industries to covertly influence and/or overtly leverage their commercial products’ designs' to make them 'exploitable.' [Messages that can't be decrypted are saved by the NSA.][This appears to be the upshot of the FBI's "Going Dark" initiative. Whether it now has the force of law I have not discovered. A law was sought in 2010.]]

"At Microsoft, as The Guardian has reported, the N.S.A. worked with company officials to get pre-encryption access to Microsoft’s most popular services, including Outlook e-mail, Skype Internet phone calls and chats, and SkyDrive, the company’s cloud storage service."
-How Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages _ World news _ The Guardian.htm

Microsoft and other internet companies are both pushed and pulled: Pulled with payments from the security agencies and pushed by being “served with  a directive to comply signed by the attorney general” as on 4 February 2011.
GlennGreenwald at

Since Prism's existence became public, Microsoft and the other companies listed on the NSA documents as providers have denied all knowledge of the program and insisted that the intelligence agencies do not have back doors into their systems. But data requests authorized by the court come with a gag order -- an order barring anyone at the company receiving the request from disclosing anything about them, even their existence. On 12 Sep. Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer said she feared winding up in prison for treason if she refused to comply with US demands for data.

Mayer spoke after intelligence agencies on 10 Sep. complied with an FOA request from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and released some documents. 

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which has been repeatedly amended since 9-11, authorizes the Director of National Intelligence to spy on communications under two scenarios: With a court order and without a court order. The 2007 amendment allowed the latter whenever monitoring any person outside the United States. Monitoring and retention of domestic traffic is illegal but has proven to be impossible to exclude as well as undesirable to to director of the NSA ("collect it all") and his foreign counterparts, particularly in the UK.

Under scenario one, a small number of court-ordered search warrants are generated to support the pretense that collection is limited and respects due process.

Under scenario two, a legal interception may be kept by the government indefinitely, yet an illegal interception must be thrown away as soon as possible which is defined in the law as 5 years! Plenty of time to decrypt and study domestic communications. It is a thin layer of pretense.
5, p. 52

 "[FISA court] documents demonstrate that this entire [court-approval] process is a fig leaf...Once the Fisa court puts its approval stamp on the NSA's procedures, there is no external judicial check on which targets end up being selected by the NSA analysts for eavesdropping." (Greenwald, 18 Jun 2013, The Guardian)


In preface, it is readily admitted by US intelligence agencies that foreign traffic is monitored, saved, decrypted, and used without restriction. The world's private communication is being monitored by the US NSA. The world hates it, but American apologists shrug, "It's their job." However, monitoring American traffic indiscriminately and hacking into devices is extralegal and frightening.

On September 7, Der Spiegel reports that smart phone address books, notes, and SMS messages can be see by the NSA, though "the material viewed by SPIEGEL suggests that the spying on smart phones has not been a mass phenomenon. It has been targeted ... without the knowledge of the smart phone companies ... Top secret NSA documents that SPIEGEL has seen explicitly note that the NSA can tap into [user data] on Apple iPhones, BlackBerry devices and Google's Android mobile operating system."

The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act was enacted by Congress on October 24, 1994 for court-ordered wiretaps of digital voice, but by 5 August 2005 the FCC (on petition of the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Drug Enforcement Administration in March 2004) simply declared internet access providers and VOIPs such as Vonage as covered under CALEA -- A crystal-clear usurpation of congress. Under the law the FBI "assists" telecommunications carriers in installing central taps. The question arises, was CALEA the archetype that was leveraged by the FBI and allied agencies into the behemoth PRISM and UPSTREAM that today collects it all?
FCC order, Aug 5, 2005:
FCC CALEA Information page:
The CALEA law: 47 USC Chapter 9 : http//

On Sept. 11 The Guardian said that an agreement was reached with the Israeli SIGINT National Unit in March 2009 that would give unfiltered US domestic intercepts to Israel. Undoubtedly Israel receives data it can use--perhaps the US collection of its own domestic traffic. Israel is sworn to be protective of US intercepts, but the agreement has no means of enforcement. 

The agreement revealed that among the Five Eyes "that NSA has agreements with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom that require it to protect information associated with U.K. persons, Australian persons,Canadian persons and New Zealand persons," and ISNU is asked to treat then as they treat U.S. persons. The agreement's requirement that Israel must "immediately on detection" of a US citizen inform the NSA, could just as easily be a way for ISNU to call the NSA's attention to an American as a way to report accidental views to them. "Ensure that any files containing the identities of U.S. persons withheld from dissemination are retained for no more than one year." Twelve months is a leisurely period for ISNU to look over U.S. dossiers they have agreed to pass over. 

CENTRALITY OF JUSTICE DEPARTMENT IN THE ABUSE. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 provides the President may authorize, through the Attorney General, electronic surveillance without a court order for the period of one year targeting foreign powers; The court is located within the Department of Justice headquarters building; The court hears evidence presented solely by the Department of Justice. The FBI and the DEA report to the Justice Department.     

National Security Advisor Tom Donilon (by the time of Gates' resignation, before being succeeded by Susan Rice) has called together 700 “Deputies Meetings,” and 200 “Principals Meetings” of the National Security Council. (Steve Clemons, Over 2 1/2 years, that's more than one meeting a week of the principals under president Obama. All the national security and foreign policy experts are present, including the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the Director of the CIA, and the Director of National Drug Control Policy. They knew each other like family. President Obama directs the National Security Council and he is central to all decisions.

It now seems quaint that former AT&T technician Mark Klein, on discovering the AT&T upstream tap, wrote on 31 Dec 2005 "I am presenting this information to facilitate the dismantling of this dangerous Orwellian project." and "This is the infrastructure for an Orwellian police state. It must be shut down!" Contrarily, the expansion has been incredible, and it is hard to imagine how it could ever be dismantled.

No citizen of the world who communicates electronically is free of the threat of interception by the U.S. government and those with like capability. If you are not bothered by the prospect, you are uninformed. The headlong and increasing speed of the security apparatus and hunger to use that power suggest the the ease of implementing a police state if a person in power were inclined. They suggest the trivial ease of personal vendettas by analysts, or of knowing everything about you and using it against you, your friends, and your causes.

WILLIAM BINNEY: Well, after some of the laws they passed, like the PATRIOT Act and their secret interpretation of Section 215, which is—my view, of course, is same as Tom Drake’s, is that that gives them license to take all the commercially held data about us, which is exceedingly dangerous, because if you take that and put it into forms of graphing, which is building relationships or social networks for everybody, and then you watch it over time, you can build up knowledge about everyone in the country. And having that knowledge then allows them the ability to concoct all kinds of charges, if they want to target you.

"Privacy is not simply a convenience, but it is intimately linked to free speech and to the future prospects for democracy in America.  Key elements of the Constitution provide a framework where incumbents can be challenged in free elections, ensuring that better ideas and better leaders will become available to guide the nation.  But nobody can win an election against an incumbent with unlimited access to the communications of its rivals.  We're not there yet, but the trend is in that direction." -An unidentified Missouri reader in the 5 Sep 13 New York Times, on the encryption-breaking story.

An "executive coup" against the US constitution; The fourth and fifth amendments of the US constitution ... have been virtually suspended; We have the full electronic and legislative infrastructure of [a police state] -Daniel Ellsberg

"...The NSA is collecting all forms of electronic communications between Americans as well as people around the world - and, as I've [Glenn Greenwald] said many times, thereby attempting by definition to destroy any remnants of privacy both in the US and globally - is as serious of a story as it gets, particularly given that it's all being done in secret. Here's another former NSA whistleblower, from the Post article, explaining why that is:

    "'He [NSA head General Keith Alexander] is absolutely obsessed and completely driven to take it all, whenever possible," said Thomas Drake, a former NSA official and whistleblower. The continuation of Alexander's policies, Drake said, would result in the 'complete evisceration of our civil liberties.'"



The U. S. Security State versus Civil Liberties

Part 4: Related and Developing Technoligies and Laws Useful to Subordinate Citizens; NSA Data Going to law Enforcement

Newsletter, 20 September 2013, by Travis Hardin
next week: Solutions

A series to summarize the dangers of executive overreach.

FISA, AGAIN. Claire V. Eagan, a judge on the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, released today of her own will her August 20 ruling permitting a July 18 request by the FBI to collect daily call detail records from an unnamed telephone company through 11 Oct 2013. The document seems to be justifying past decisions. Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2013.   

>From the ruling, p. 13: "Section 215 ... for foreign intelligence purposes ... merely requires a statement of facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the records sought are relevant to the investigation."  

"Congress chose to leave the term relevant undefined," Judge Eagan said. She therefore took her definition of relevant from "a government Memorandum of Law accompanying the first application ... filed May 23, 2006 which argued that "information is 'relevant' to an authorized international terrorism investigation if it bears upon, or is pertinent to, that investigation."

Note that the Justice Department or the Director of National Intelligence -- who are the supplicants -- defined, and the judge chose to use, a rule by which their own actions were to be judged.

"The concept of the ‘unknown' terrorist [as a reason to collect all call data]  and the argument for the lower burden had not before been explicitly linked to the program. Moreover, the government need only show that there are "reasonable grounds to believe" the records will be relevant to the investigation, a lower burden than required in ordinary criminal investigations. -Washington Post, 17 Sep 2013

"The ruling also reaffirmed the government's contention, upheld by the Supreme Court in 1979, that Americans have no reasonable expectation of privacy in records of their calls held by phone companies, and a warrant to collect them is not required. A warrant would be required to wiretap the calls.
 -Washington Post, 17 Sep 2013

Call information captured can be "wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls."

THE NSA's UTAH DATA CENTER soon to open will store much of the worldwide interceptions for later analysis -- without warrants, according to whistle blower William Binney.

SHARING RECORDS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT is an active arena of expansion. In one well-established operation, the Special Operations Division of the DEA obtains tips from FBI or NSA, then a parallel construction is invented that hides the source -- hides the "poison fruit" from the courts and the defendants.

By ANNE FLAHERTY 09/09/13, The Associated Press, Washington --
"Newly disclosed U.S. government files provide an inside look at the Homeland Security Department's practice of seizing and searching electronic devices at the border without showing reasonable suspicion of a crime or getting a judge's approval.

"The documents published Monday describe the case of David House, a young computer programmer in Boston who had befriended Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the soldier convicted of giving classified documents to WikiLeaks. U.S. agents quietly waited for months for House to leave the country then seized his laptop, thumb drive, digital camera and cellphone when he re-entered the United States. They held his laptop for weeks before returning it, acknowledging one year later that House had committed no crime and promising to destroy copies the government made of House's personal data.

"President Barack Obama and his predecessors have maintained that people crossing into U.S. territory aren't protected by the Fourth Amendment. That policy is intended to allow for intrusive searches that keep drugs, child pornography and other illegal imports out of the country. But it also means the government can target travelers for no reason other than political advocacy if it wants, and obtain electronic documents identifying fellow supporters."

Border inspections -- FBI data and suspects lists are usable by customs, by border patrol, and by immigration. Recall that data is supplied by NSA to the FBI. So NSA intercepts get into the outstretched hands of Customs.

RELATED ABUSE: THE CELL PHONE AS A SELF-SPYING APPLIANCE: Location, metadata, conversations, SMS instant messages, address books, photos, video, and notes.

RELATED ABUSE: SURVEILLANCE OF PEOPLE IN OUTDOOR PLACES (and recording them) by satellite, drone, aircraft, street cameras, and smart phones, by ever-aware federal, state, and local law enforcement. Surveillance in infrared allows some through-wall observation.

The Department of Homeland Security is making fast progress on surveillance technology that can scan a face at up to 100 meters, and identify individuals by cross-referencing databases of driver's license photos, police mug shots, and government and other photos. The hardware will photograph in stereo, tell range, and sense in daylight or infrared. A $5-million development contract was let to Electronic Warfare Associates, Inc. on 9 Nov 2010.
In addition, "The Federal Bureau of Investigation has spent more than $1 billion on its Next Generation Identification program, which includes <i>facial-recognition technology</i>. This technology is expected to be deployed as early as [2014] and to contain at least 12 million searchable photos. The bureau has partnerships with at least seven states that give the agency access to facial-recognition-enabled databases of driver's license photos."

"Imagine how easy it would be, in a society increasingly videotaped and monitored on closed-circuit television, for the authorities to identify antiwar protesters or Tea Party marchers and open dossiers on them, or for officials to track the public movements of ex-lovers or rivals. Mission creep often turns crime-fighting programs into instruments of abuse."

"At the moment, there is little to no regulation or legal oversight of technologies like the Biometric Optical Surveillance System."
-Ginger McCall, Electronic Privacy Information Center, op ed in the New York Times, Aug 28, 2013; Biometric Optical Surveillance System (BOSS) specification summary is on p. 22 of the PDF:

RELATED ABUSE: CONCENTRATION OF INFORMATION. For the most part, local and state law enforcement are required to depend on the giant central FBI apparatus to conduct surveillance on their behalf with their in-plant taps. (Testimony of Valerie E. Caproni before congressional hearing 2010.) The Special Operations Division (SOD) of the DEA concerns itself with worldwide drug trafficking, narco-terrorism, organized crime, and gangs, and maintains a database  called DICE of over 1 trillion records that local and state law enforcement can (or must) query. That the program does not concern national security, yet relies on national security intelligence collected by the NSA, serves to illustrate the expanding reach of NSA to provide tools abusable by police states worldwide, by a future one in the U.S., or by the present police. The present use might be laudable, but the DICE could be re-tasked for any purpose.
(Reuters, 5 Aug 2013 with author's personal comments)see

RELATED ABUSE: EXCESSIVE USE OF CLASSIFICATION by the president to exclude congressional and public knowledge and oversight. It is used to hide government's unconstitutional actions, as we see here, with the bonus that crime, waste, and ineptness can also be covered up. Under a secrets mentality, keeping secrets and punishing leakers becomes the goal in itself rather than a means of prudence. Secrecy keeps important matters out of the public eye. Classification criminalizes honesty and guilelessness. A Public Interest Declassification Board exists, but "the Obama White House appears to be incapable of acting on the recommendations from the Board," according to Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists.

EXCESSIVE PROSECUTION AND IMPRISONMENT and RED-FLAG CRIMES. Terrorism is the label, the excuse, the cause of wildly irrational fears, under which civil rights have been trampled by security forces and law enforcement in the U.S. Less serious but related offenses, including offences by  contacts of the suspect, are lumped with the "red-flag" offense of "terrorism" for purposes of netting more people to feed the irrational fear. Other offenses such as sex crimes, immigration offenses, drug trafficking, and crimes against children are also red-flagged because of exaggerated fears. Red-flag offenses, in my mind, are acts and mind-sets set apart by the public for special disgust. Over-broad labels can be used to include lesser offense under a red-flag heading. As an illustration of focus on a particular subject, the Justice Department has a "Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART)Office."

A large minority of Americans are imprisoned, and for long terms. Many are isolated. Many are kept in prisons in service to contractors whose motives are profit. This trend will continue as an unnecessary oppression.

ZERO-TOLERANCE. The word appeared in print in 1994, after a popular magazine published the broken windows theory of crime in 1982. The word and the practice is now everywhere. It means that there will be no warnings and no mercy from the authorities -- only prosecutions. It often means draconian punishments, even for children, because circumstances will not be examined by the authorities. Zero-tolerance is a prejudice that redefines social problems such as poverty or mental illness in terms of security. Zero-tolerance applies mostly to the dispossessed. It offends a sense of fairness and justice.

THE PRESIDENT KILLING BY REMOTE CONTROL. Already the chief executive of the U.S. can make an individual decision to commit the nation to bombings, invasions, and wars, due to Congress's abandonment of control. The president by individual decision has assumed the duty of bombing, by remote controlled drones, individuals considered threats to the U.S. Although not under the heading of government intrusion of communications, the practice follows the same strand to power accruing to a few.     

RELATED ABUSE: THE MILITARIZATION OF U.S. POLICE AND OF SOCIETY. A creeping battlefield mentality has isolated and alienated American police officers and put them on a collision course with the values of a free society. Since 9/11, a growing fraction of the population been mobilized and credentialed in support of homeland security — whether as law enforcement, first responders, or those who simply "see something and say something ... "What is military and what is civilian is increasingly obscured," Arkin writes. 
(See "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces" by Radley Balko; and; and for a review of William Arkin's book "American Coup")

Lockdowns, now big in America, are emergency protocols to prevent people or information escaping, which usually can only be ordered by someone in command. Having someone in COMMAND keeping people from ESCAPING matches very closely the regimental themes of militarization and imprisonment now well along in our society.

MILITARISM--apart from militarization--does it co-opt us toward a regimented future? Militarism is defined in one source as "the tendency to regard military efficiency as the supreme ideal of the state and to subordinate all other interests to those of the military;" "a strong military spirit or policy;" and "the principle or policy of maintaining a large military establishment." I would not think we in the U.S. in this time of regimentation are much more Spartan than in the past, but it takes militarism to beget militarization. Therefore militaristic attitudes are common.  In my defense-industry and Army-base city of Huntsville, Alabama, it is in employees' interest to cheer on military adventures of every kind.

In the sense of maintaining a large military establishment and a large military manufacturing fraternity  -- in that sense, militarism is our way of life, and it's in the service of U.S. world domination. Domination through militarism is what we're about. We're devoted to that purpose. (We're number one!) Those we try to dominate or destroy do not like the U.S. as a result. They want their enemy to perish. Now I can understand that, but can president Obama? Will the cycle of terrorism to remote-control bombing to terrorism keep going while our well-monitored country becomes regimented and authoritarian, supposedly  to preserve a free country from the possibility of terrorist acts?

The overall effect is subjugation. The biggest danger of most of the surveillance brought to your attention here is loss of privacy. That alone is enough to take away all our freedoms; it was the central nightmare in George Orwell's "1984."

Other government practices mentioned here trend toward central control, regimentation, oppression, indiscriminate imprisonment, and oligarchy. They set the stage for totalitarianism.


Many more Snowden papers are unpublished, so the scope of the scandle exceeds what is reported here. However the government itself is slowly releasing papers.

The U. S. Security State versus Civil Liberties

Part 5: Solutions

Newsletter, 24 September 2013, by Travis Hardin
  the end

Hello friends,
The public has an opportunity -- with a deadline of October 4, 2013 -- to send an email message to none other than the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, i.e., The Spy State or Uncle Peeper. The five panel members -- which includes the principled  Richard Clarke -- may read what you say, even though at the end  I fear General Clapper will put everything through his filter before reporting to president Obama. Nevertheless Americans and foreigners will have plenty to say.

See this official site of
the Director of National Intelligence for instructions:

Also see the Electronic Frontier Foundation comments at

This last essay consists of the rather polite letter I wrote and sent today to the group, with a copy to EFF, and it went as follows:

The overall effect of massive surveillance is subjugation of all the people. The American people's biggest loss is loss of privacy. That alone is enough to take away all our freedoms; it was the central nightmare in George Orwell's "1984." It is my nightmare.

There is an overeager and irrational exuberance by intelligence and police agencies to oppress ordinary people.  Other government tendencies -- some aided by overactive intelligence gathering -- are central control, militarization of the police; criminalization of social problems; and long-term imprisonment for petty crimes with solitary confinement often in private prisons. These trend toward regimentation, oppression,  and oligarchy. They set the stage for totalitarianism. The machinery now in place for central collection of signal intelligence is a stage set for a totalitarian leader to enter.

I present two corrective themes: Redefine the mandate. Respect privacy.

Congress should narrow the mandate, redefine national intelligence goals, and redefine terrorism. To prevent every act of foreign political violence on American soil is impossible, because it requires more than monitoring all communications--it requires knowing the mind of potential adversaries. The same is true of home-grown random violence.

Given the above, the revised mandate should be to gather intelligence on the most dangerous jihadists and terrorists likely to inflict major damage and major deaths -- some arbitrary number of deaths per incident such as 10 or 50. A smaller number of deaths can be seen as the price of a U. S. society that is free and unmonitored -- a price that will be paid in any case and in any Western country. Anything else that accepts some risk as a tradeoff for more privacy and freedom for the people is a more rational and less maniacal goal.

The authority of the fourth amendment must be restored and the people's privacy returned to them. Though signal intelligence and face-recognitions  may be continuously gathered and stored (we citizens are not going to be powerful enough to dismantle the machine), it should not be accessed except "upon probable cause" -- tips from citizens and informers -- and after a search warrant by a court for a particular thing or person. Decline to prosecute Americans by using the collection -- it is the only way Americans will feel safe from monitoring.

It should be understood by the Administration and by the people that the machine's purpose is anti-terrorism only -- not for collecting Americans' private conversations to be mined for their own incrimination. Especially the machine should not be used to enforce made-up crimes (mala prohibita) like drug laws. Keep the DEA separated from the collected material. 

Gather intelligence close to the source. "If you want to understand how a human being thinks, you need a human informant next to them...You can't beat a human informant," says a 25-year veteran of the CIA and FBI, Philip Mudd, author of Takedown: Inside the Hunt for Al Queda. (Colbert Report, Comedy Central, Sep 12, 2013) Consider this advice and put people on the ground near the suspects rather than monitor all the world's communication.    

Respect the privacy and fourth amendment rights of Americans, and require the same of foreign partners. Come out of the shadows and de-classify, de-classify.

The solutions to restore privacy are political. However engineering geniuses may re-engineer the internet or hardware or software so that citizens can rightfully stay a step ahead of the government spies. Technical innovations by others are self-preserving measures and should not be disallowed by the government, nor can they be -- not all of them.

Travis Hardin
Huntsville, Alabama, USA
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