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[liberationtech] NSA, FBI, Verizon caught red handed spying on US citizens in the US

Douglas Lucas dal at riseup.net
Wed Jun 26 22:24:15 PDT 2013


Resurrecting an old thread here to make a point about the question, To
what extent are US GOV foreign policy decision-makers monolithic or
fractured?

Sometimes history offers a good window into thinking about these things.
For example, JFK losing control over Vietnam policy, just as he was
almost drawn into Cuba via the CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs machinations.

>From the book JFK and the Unspeakable by James W. Douglass, p. 192 of my
paperback copy... CAVEAT: Douglass apotheosizes JFK a bit too much, but hey.

===
Kennedy was losing control of his government. In early September [1963],
he discovered that another key decision related to a coup [in South
Vietnam] had been made without his knowledge.

A White House meeting with the president was discussing whether or not
to cut off the Commodity Import Program that propped up South Vietnam's
economy. It was a far-reaching decision. For the United States to
withdraw the AID program could prompt a coup against Diem.

David Bell, head of AID, made a casual comment that stopped the
discussion. He said, "There's no point in talking about cutting off
commodity aid. I've already cut it off."

"You've done what?" said John Kennedy.

"Cut off commodity aid," said Bell.

"Who the hell told you to do that?" asked the president.

"No one," said Bell. "It's an automatic policy. We do it whenever we
have differences with a client government.

Kennedy shook his head in dismay.

"My God, do you know what you've done?" said the president.

He was staring at David Bell, but seeing a deeper reality. Kennedy knew
Bell's agency, AID, functioned as a CIA front. AID administrator David
Bell would not have carried out his "automatic" cutoff without CIA
approval. "We do it whenever we have differences with a client
government" could serve as a statement of CIA policy. By cutting South
Vietnam's purse strings, the CIA was sending a message to its upstart
client ruler, Diem, as well as the plotting generals waiting in the
wings for such a signal. Most of all, the message was meant for the man
staring at David Bell in disbelief. He was being told who was in
control. It was not the president.
===

Maybe the question of monolithic vs fractured is also a relative
one...depends where you're sitting and what your aims are.

Can't resist plugging myself: in a week or two WhoWhatWhy.com will be
publishing Part 1 of a 3-part series I'm writing using the WikiLeaks
cache of Stratfor memos -- the series will show some quarreling over
foreign policy between a US agency and the NSC.

Douglas
Twitter: @douglaslucas


On 06/06/2013 12:48 PM, Kyle Maxwell wrote:
> No, it's really not - there are parts of the US gov (and VZ - I work
> there and I feel the same way about all this as anyone here) that
> oppose this type of blanket surveillance of an entire society. And if
> you think everyone in the government is monolithic about foreign
> policy, well, then there's a lot more reading you should probably do.
> I wish it were a little *more* fractured, personally, to avoid some of
> the more egregious bits we've seen over the last couple of centuries,
> but just because a side "wins" doesn't mean everyone is on board.
> 
> On Thu, Jun 6, 2013 at 12:40 PM, Andrés Leopoldo Pacheco Sanfuentes
> <alps6085 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Well, of course!
>>
>> I couldn't agree more with the underlying beliefs of Shava Nerad.
>>
>> BUT
>>
>> Government IS MONOLITHIC when it comes to FOREIGN POLICY ACTIONS, and
>> INTERNAL SURVEILLANCE OF ITS OWN CITIZENS.
>>
>> There's no "grey" area in a WAR, there's no grey area in the FISA memo
>> leaked, there's no grey area in the NSA and FBI's "Directives" from
>> the "Executive Branch." The US Buck stops at Obama, Obama is to blame
>> for this crap, in the same fashion, for example, that the Turkish PM
>> is to blame for the repressive atrocities in response to peaceful
>> protests by "turkuaz" people.
>>
>> That doesn't stop "the rest of us" to celebrate "FESTIVUS" and keep on
>> pounding at all those individuals and then some more that Shava Nerad
>> points out.
>> Best Regards | Cordiales Saludos | Grato,
>>
>> Andrés L. Pacheco Sanfuentes
>> <alps at acm.org>
>> +1 (817) 271-9619
>>
>>
>> On Thu, Jun 6, 2013 at 10:15 AM, Shava Nerad <shava23 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> The US government -- nor most any government, I imagine (certainly any
>>> democracy) -- is not monolithic.  It represents a great struggle of policy
>>> arguments and internally is more like a mass of mating snakes than a
>>> monolithic front.
>>>
>>> To say that because the NSA is spying on citizens invalidates any voice the
>>> US may have is a bit odd.
>>>
>>> Jake and I are US citizens, activists, and I am a former State Democratic
>>> Committee member. Jake's day job is partly government funded by parts of
>>> .gov that are in fact in open conflict with DHS policies domestically.
>>>
>>> It's no secret that there are conflicts between the policies set by
>>> different branches of the US government.  WE ARE NOT A DICTATORSHIP. Yet.
>>>
>>> Someone last week told me with some heat that my former position as a
>>> Democratic Party "operative" means I am the sort of person (contrary to the
>>> evidence of his senses) who does not talk to him because it makes me a
>>> right-leaning (!) ruling elite! (My father was a wobbly organizer as a young
>>> man, my grandfather a syndicalist -- let's say I am not terribly right
>>> wing?)
>>>
>>> I think I will frame that one...
>>>
>>> My point being, in a democratic society, we all have power to exert
>>> influence into the process at various levels, and I expect everyone here is
>>> on this list because they do or aspire to.
>>>
>>> So the first step might be to abandon the model that "the government"
>>> exists, any more than a school of herring exists.  They tend to move as a
>>> whole, eh?  But there is no solid thing.
>>>
>>> In fact, government is less whole than a school of fish, because a school of
>>> fish is coded in DNA and neurotransmitters and instinct.  Not so,
>>> government.
>>>
>>> Government is a slow stubborn thing because it is so large and powerful
>>> viewed as the "forest" -- huge inertia!  But the trees are not so hard.
>>> Elected officials, staff, policies, laws, courts, communications channels,
>>> media, regulations, contractors, bureaucrats, elections, political parties,
>>> everywhere there's a place to communicate, exchange influence/money, you can
>>> insert yourself into the system.
>>>
>>> It is not monolithic.
>>>
>>> In a democracy, by its nature, the citizenry are the rightful rulers.  When
>>> they aren't cruising kittens on youtube, amiright? ;)
>>>
>>> So I post this story on G+ and most of my fellow citizens won't give a damn
>>> because they've been sold on the idea that:
>>>
>>> ---
>>> Government is monolithic, what could I do anyway?
>>>
>>> Politics is dirty.  Only bad people get involved.  I  would not want to be a
>>> politician, activist, or hactivist, those are all bad, dangerous people.
>>>
>>> I click on internet petitions.  I never have to leave the comfort and safety
>>> of my ergonomic chair to save the world.  My karma is good and I give money
>>> to various liberal or conervative appeals and sleep well at night.
>>>
>>> People who ask me to be politically active seem frustrated and uncool.  They
>>> should take more soma.
>>>
>>> Kittens are kwai!
>>>
>>> ---
>>> Yes, we are working on it here.  That these documents are leaked and
>>> published is evidence of that, if you think about it, rather than just
>>> reacting to it.
>>>
>>> Yrs,
>>> ----
>>>
>>> Shava Nerad
>>> shava23 at gmail.com
>>>
>>> On Jun 6, 2013 8:36 AM, "Andrés Leopoldo Pacheco Sanfuentes"
>>> <alps6085 at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> OK, so the US government has no business, or rather no moral authority,
>>>> chiding other countries about freedom of speech!
>>>>
>>>> On Jun 6, 2013 6:10 AM, "Jacob Appelbaum" <jacob at appelbaum.net> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> Dear Libtech,
>>>>>
>>>>> We've waited a long time for this kind of FISA court document to leak -
>>>>> we see clearly evidence that there is still dragnet surveillance that is
>>>>> ongoing - the current order leaked is still valid as of today, it will
>>>>> continue to be valid until the middle of July.
>>>>>
>>>>> This specifically includes Americans without any international or even
>>>>> inter-city connections!
>>>>>
>>>>> To quote:
>>>>> "wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls"
>>>>>
>>>>> It specifically says a lot more:
>>>>>
>>>>> TOP SECRET//SI//NOFORN
>>>>> Declassify on: 12 April 2038
>>>>>
>>>>> ...
>>>>>
>>>>> IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that, the Custodian of Records shall produce to the
>>>>> National Security Agency (NSA) upon service of this Order, and continue
>>>>> production on an ongoing daily basis thereafter for the duration of this
>>>>> Order, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, an electronic copy of the
>>>>> following tangible things: all call detail records or "telephony
>>>>> metadata" created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United
>>>>> States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including
>>>>> local telephone calls. This Order does not require Verizon to produce
>>>>> telephony metadata for communications wholly originating and terminating
>>>>> in foreign countries. Telephony metadata includes comprehensive
>>>>> communications routing information,. including but not limited to
>>>>> session identifying information (e.g., originating and
>>>>> terminating telephone number, International Mobile Subscriber Identity
>>>>> (IMSI) number, International Mobile station Equipment Identity (IMEI)
>>>>> number, etc.), trunk identifier, telephone calling card numbers, and
>>>>> time and duration of call. Telephony metadata does not include the
>>>>> substantive content of any communication, as defined by 18 U.S.C.
>>>>> § 2510(8), or the name, address, or financial information of a
>>>>> subscriber or customer.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> The leaked order is here:
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/709012/verizon.pdf
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> The writeup by Glenn Greenwald is worth reading as he broke the story:
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order
>>>>>
>>>>> This pretty much settles the dragnet surveillance debate - the FBI, the
>>>>> NSA, the FISA courts are aware of it - all the way to the top. Thus it
>>>>> is likely the DoJ are all in on it. This is madness and it is exactly
>>>>> proof of what we have been saying for years. This time it is undeniable
>>>>> as it is signed by a FISA judge and it is *currently* happening.
>>>>>
>>>>> I look forward to the FISA order for full content or the FISA for
>>>>> targeted based on patterns to leak next!
>>>>>
>>>>> All the best,
>>>>> Jacob
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>>>>
>>>>
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