FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Spy Scandal Far Bigger Than Just the NSA

Now that we know that President Bush, through the misuse of secret executive orders, authorized the super-secret National Security Agency to monitor domestic phone and Internet communications without any involvement of the courts, it’s time to recall Admiral Poindexter and his Total Information Awareness project.

Recall that Poindexter, a convicted Iran-Contra felon until he had his conviction overturned on a technicality, had been appointed by Bush to develop a program using Pentagon and NSA supercomputers to monitor all communications and financial transactions in the country.

TIA was officially dumped when word of it leaked out, particularly because of the unsavory history of the man put in charge of it.

But it bears mentioning that in fact, much of the hardware and software for realizing Poindexter’s dark dream already exists. Carnivore–a software program that allows the Feds to scan all Internet communications for certain key words–is already in operation. American companies, in fact, have been honing these skills in products they have developed to help China monitor its Internet and phone systems. Don’t think those fearsome capabilities have gone unnoticed in the White House.

Without calling it TIA, our government too has begun massively snooping on Americans’ private communications.

This is where Bush’s so-called “War on Terror” has been taking us.

Every inch of the way, as new steps towards totalitarian control are proposed or introduced–things like John Ashcroft’s Operation TIPS citizen spy scheme, Poindexter’s TIA, a national ID card, or a chip in everyone’s passport–a cry has gone up from the public, left and right, and the administration has publicly backed off.

But then after the furor dies down, they’ve gone ahead and done it in another, quieter way–a smaller version of TIPS, uniform state drivers licenses that will be a national ID in all but name, and a supposedly less invasive chip in new passports, etc.

The reality is that Bush and Cheney, and all too many of the yes-men and yes-women in Congress, view the Bill of Rights as–to quote our chief executive–“just a goddamned piece of paper.”

These people have no respect for the concept of civil liberties. No respect for privacy. No respect for the rule of law.

What they respect, and what they want is total control.

There is still time to stop this march to dictatorship.

Some members of Congress, sensing the public’s unease, are starting to make a fuss. They’ll do more if the American public starts to really get angry at what is being done to traditional American freedoms by the White House gang, but only if we all start making it clear that we’ve had enough.

The terrorism threat is a sham.

9-11 happened not because the U.S. was a free society, but because the people in charge were either asleep, didn’t want to be bothered, or, more sinisterly, actually wanted for some “Pearl Harbor-like event” to happen.

The real threat to America and to Americans is not some radical religious zealot with a bomb, but a gang of power-hungry politicians bent on making their control in Washington permanent.

That threat will be defeated not by giving up our freedoms, but by defending them all, fiercely and without compromise.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
September 16, 2019
Sam Husseini
Biden Taking Iraq Lies to the Max
Paul Street
Joe Biden’s Answer to Slavery’s Legacy: Phonographs for the Poor
Paul Atwood
Why Mattis is No Hero
Jonathan Cook
Brexit Reveals Jeremy Corbyn to be the True Moderate
Jeff Mackler
Trump, Trade and China
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Democrats and the Climate Crisis
Michael Doliner
Hot Stuff on the Afghan Peace Deal Snafu
Nyla Ali Khan
Spectacles of the Demolition of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh and the Revocation of the Autonomous Status of Kashmir
Stansfield Smith
Celebrating 50 Years of Venceremos Brigade solidarity with the Cuban Revolution
Tim Butterworth
Socialism Made America Great
Nick Licata
Profiles in Courage: the Tories Have It, the Republicans Don’t
Abel Prieto
Cubanness and Cuban Identity: the Importance of Fernando Ortiz
Robert Koehler
Altruists of the World Unite!
Mel Gurtov
Farewell, John Bolton
Weekend Edition
September 13, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
The Age of Constitutional Coups
Rob Urie
Bernie Sanders and the Realignment of the American Left
Anthony DiMaggio
Teaching the “War on Terror”: Lessons for Contemporary Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: They Are the Walrus
T.J. Coles
Jeremy Corbyn: Electoral “Chicken” or Political Mastermind?
Joseph Natoli
The Vox Populi
Sasan Fayazmanesh
The Pirates of Gibraltar
John Feffer
Hong Kong and the Future of China
David Rosen
The Likely End to Roe v. Wade?
Ishmael Reed
When You Mess With Creation Myths, the Knives Come Out
Michael Hudson
Break Up the Democratic Party?
Paul Tritschler
What If This is as Good as It Gets?
Jonah Raskin
Uncensored Tony Serra: Consummate Criminal Defense Lawyer
Ryan Gunderson
Here’s to the Last Philosophes, the Frankfurt School
Michael T. Klare
The Pompeo Doctrine: How to Seize the Arctic’s Resources, Now Accessible Due to Climate Change (Just Don’t Mention Those Words!)
Luke O'Neil
I Would Want To Drink Their Blood: God Will Punish Them
Louis Proyect
The Intellectual Development of Karl Marx
Tom Clifford
How China Sees the World
Kelsey Hawkins-Johnson – Negin Owliaei
Who’s Burning the Amazon?
Yasin Khan
Rideshare Drivers are Employees, Not Contractors
Ralph Nader
Big Business Lies Taught a Watchful Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
The Sacking of John Bolton
Andrea Maki
Wild Love Preserve Founder: Our Path Forward
Jeremy Kuzmarov
The War in Eastern Ukraine May be Coming to an End But Do Any Americans Care?
Tim Davis – Stan Grier
Protect the Sacred Grizzly Bear, Follow Those Who Know Grandmother Earth
Clark T. Scott
Super-Delegated and Relegated
Jim Britell
Lessons From America’s Greatest Grassroots Campaigns 
Howie Hawkins
Workers Need More Rights and Economic Democracy
Ramzy Baroud
‘Justice is Indivisible’: Screams of Israa Ghrayeb Should Be Our Wake-up Call
Jill Richardson
It’s Not About Your Straws and Your Light Bulbs
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail