Monday, August 5, 2013

Terrornado Week

Let's just assume for a moment that the American government's answer to Sharknado has nothing to with deflecting attention from the fact that our government is spying on us, and everything to do with some actual nefarious "chatter" among the folks who hate us for our freedoms.

Let's assume that there are, indeed, plans afoot to blow some Mid-East embassies to smithereens.

If that is the case, then we must acknowledge that the so-called terrorist folks have every right to be irate. Any plot they might be hatching would be in the realm of counter-terrorism. Take your pick of atrocities:

Drone strikes are increasing, Obama's impassioned public promise to taper them down notwithstanding. People are still being obliterated. In the days immediately preceding the Terror Alert, the State Department blithely proclaimed: "In no way would we ever deprive ourselves of a tool to fight a threat if it arises.”

So, Obama will continue to bomb the residents in "tribal regions", where marginalized populations risk death for simply failing to pledge allegiance to any of the nations under American control and for occasionally allowing "militants" to camp out in their neighborhoods because hospitality is an integral part of their culture. (See: Yemen, Waziristan, Somalia). It is therefore very easy to envision the relatives of the "collateral damage"  chattering up a storm in between bouts of crushing grief for their crushed children.

In the days immediately preceding the Terror Alert, the Center for Investigative Journalism reported  that the CIA was actually targeting rescue personnel ("double-tapping") in the aftermath of drone fatalities as recently as two years ago. This is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. The people who hate us for our freedoms are very much aware of the fact that past and current administrations are never prosecuted for war crimes. I imagine that the deliberate killing of medical personnel by Predator drone caused quite a bit of renewed chatter in the tribal regions.

The continued operation of Guantanamo Bay. It's still there. Inmates are still being force-fed, in violation of both their civil rights and religious beliefs during this holy season of Ramadan. It's a violation of internationally recognized medical ethics. It's torture. Outraged chatter has been busting out all over.

Revelations that Benghazi was the site of a secret CIA operation keep coming. The Susan Rice "talking points" scandal might have been a double contrivance -- both in the lies she told about possible motivations, and in the wrong reasons for Republican outrage and ensuing investigation. If Benghazi was an illegal black site prison, as David Petraeus's mistress once alleged, look for the GOP to shut up about it forthwith. When it comes to endless war, they will protect President Obama. Impeachment will be off the table. Domestic chatter will cease as partisan mouths clamp shut in solidarity.

There have been a series of apparently coordinated prison breaks, including from the infamous Abu Ghraib in Iraq, scene of inmate torture by the American military. I imagine those newly-freed inmates are chattering up a storm, especially if they were locked up for political reasons, at the behest of the American security apparatus.

So, although I'm leaning toward the theory that the surveillance state bureaucrats announced a new terror plot simply because they're terrified that their lucrative operations are about to be defunded by Congress, there may be some truth in it. If there's a plot, it was provoked by our own government. And very possibly aided and abetted and even orchestrated by our own government in order to keep us compliant and quiet. In other words, they are operating on the conventional wisdom that any terror attack represents an ensuing cash cow for the security state. A little human collateral damage in the name of disaster capitalism has never stood in their way before. Their cynicism has always been beyond breathtaking.

 Just look at how President Obama himself cynically spent his weekend. He played golf and partied hearty with a "This Is Your Life" cast of characters from the last 52 years of his storied existence. He was not "huddled" in the Situation Room with his national security team.

The fact that CNN pre-empted its regular programming to dust off the terror graphics and 9/11 doomsday music to broadcast a marathon special report consisting of vague threats is another huge hint that the alleged threat is a wholly fictionalized, Homeland Security theater production. Did you notice how all their paid defense industry and ex-CIA consultants magically appeared in the studio, all at once, to parrot identical government talking points? It reeked of pre-arrangement. Wolf Blitzer is still around to cry Wolf.

Meanwhile, Congress  unconcernedly flew home in their unsequestered jets to raise money and hide from their constituents, getting richly rewarded for fake gridlock. They're also falling all over themselves to preen before the TV cameras, moaning about how many ways Russia and Putin and Snowden are physically inconveniencing them. Chuck Schumer (D-Wall Street) has been poked right in his beady little eyes! Paul Ryan (R-Gerontophobia) complains of being both slapped in the face and stabbed in the back. It's a good thing these gold-plated government leeches won't have to shop on the ObamaCare exchanges to get taxpayer care for their myriad wounds and maladies. The co-pays for the treatment of Putin poisoning alone would bankrupt them otherwise.

If these people were truly in panic mode, they'd be hunkered down in undisclosed locations. But they're right out there in the open, jaws flapping, freely chattering and scarifying and looking rather clownish while doing so.  So, as far as I can tell, the only thing we have to fear is fear-mongering itself.

But Since Terror Sells, They'll Never Shut Up



7 comments:

Pearl said...

Alexander Reed Kelly: Truthdigger of the Week: Bradley Manning -
Truthdigger of the Week - Truthdig:
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/truthdigger_of_the_week_bradley_manning_20130803/#.Uf-aZrKvMkU.twitter
> via @truthdig

Fred Drumlevitch said...

Of course, the terror meme and the governmental abuses of power all fit together. And as @Karen wrote, "Since Terror Sells, They'll Never Shut Up".

Re the yet newly-revealed DEA/prosecutorial abuses derived from NSA surveillance:

(The Moon of Alabama link currently from the Sardonicky sidebar, but I'm repeating it here within a comment to keep it visible despite sidebar updating. And though Zee in the previous thread included a link to the Reuters story at yahoo news, I'm here including link to the original at Reuters (I didn't compare them to see whether the Yahoo version is complete or condensed).

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2013/08/nsa-snooping-used-but-hidden-by-dea.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/05/us-dea-sod-idUSBRE97409R20130805

These should be essential reading for all. Beyond the systemic attempts by "law enforcement" to pervert the concept of probable cause for investigations and warrants, all this shows yet again how the U.S. mass media, including even the New York Times, too often misses the salient details (let alone the greater abuses, and their implications). Yet no shortage of column-inches for the latest terror warning.

Anyone with a basic knowledge of history, and whose head is not buried in the sand (or up his/her own ass), should understand the similarities to the historical perversion of the legal system in Nazi Germany. And as described by the well-known --- but unfortunately, not well-enough known, or understood --- Niemöller quote, the system here similarly starts by going after the criminals, the "degenerates", the political and social "agitators", the terrorists and other "threats to the homeland" --- such targets for the power of the state being perversely rationalizable and less likely to provoke widespread popular self-identification and outcry.

Throw in the propaganda apparatus of the plutocracy and its mass-media lackeys, all so much more sophisticated than Goebbels probably ever dreamed of, and too many Americans scared of their own shadow, and how can the fascists miss?

All historically-proven steps to successfully establishing a full-blown totalitarianism.

Jay - Ottawa said...

For nasty chatterers interested in making a point, August is such an inviting month. August 6 and 9 are unhappy anniversaries. As President Truman tried to explain at the time, "Having found the bomb we have used it." The US keeps pushing people around the globe to find things and use them.

Extend this worry period into September. The 11th would be an occasion for a repeat surprise, pure bravado by the terrorists.

As for all other days of the year, they still belong to a certain winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Whether playing with golf balls or drones, he's sure to smile and call out "Fore.....!" before he whacks you.

Zee said...

It appears that not all of our Congresscritters are prepared to credit the NSA surveillance program with “thwarting” what yet may turn out to be a trumped up “terror threat” designed to persuade American citizens that we need to surrender yet more of our right to privacy so that NSA can keep us “safe.”

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/315435-terror-threat-opens-new-front-in-nsa-debate

From the article,

“There's no indication, unless I'm proved wrong later, that that program which collects vast amounts of … domestic telephone data contributed to information about this particular plot,” Rep. Adam Schiff (R-Calif.), a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN's “State of the Union.”

In The Hill article, there a link to a Greenwald piece which shows just how much Congress is kept in the dark about the NSA program, too:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/04/congress-nsa-denied-access

'Two House members, GOP Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia and Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida, have provided the Guardian with numerous letters and emails documenting their persistent, and unsuccessful, efforts to learn about NSA programs and relevant FISA court rulings.

"If I can't get basic information about these programs, then I'm not able to do my job", Rep. Griffith told me. A practicing lawyer before being elected to Congress, he said that his job includes "making decisions about whether these programs should be funded, but also an oath to safeguard the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which includes the Fourth Amendment."

Rep. Griffith requested information about the NSA from the House Intelligence Committee six weeks ago, on June 25. He asked for "access to the classified FISA court order(s) referenced on Meet the Press this past weekend": a reference to my raising with host David Gregory the still-secret 2011 86-page ruling from the FISA court that found substantial parts of NSA domestic spying to be in violation of the Fourth Amendment as well as governing surveillance statutes.

In that same June 25 letter, Rep. Griffith also requested the semi-annual FISC "reviews and critiques" of the NSA. He stated the rationale for his request: "I took an oath to uphold the United States Constitution, and I intend to do so."

Almost three weeks later, on July 12, Rep. Griffith requested additional information from the Intelligence Committee based on press accounts he had read about Yahoo's unsuccessful efforts in court to resist joining the NSA's PRISM program. He specifically wanted to review the arguments made by Yahoo and the DOJ, as well as the FISC's ruling requiring Yahoo to participate in PRISM.

On July 22, he wrote another letter to the Committee seeking information. This time, it was prompted by press reports that that the FISA court had renewed its order compelling Verizon to turn over all phone records to the NSA. Rep. Griffith requested access to that court ruling.

The Congressman received no response to any of his requests. With a House vote looming on whether to defund the NSA's bulk collection program - it was scheduled for July 25 - he felt he needed the information more urgently than ever. He recounted his thinking to me: "How can I responsibly vote on a program I know very little about?"

On July 23, he wrote another letter to the Committee, noting that it had been four weeks since his original request, and several weeks since his subsequent ones. To date, six weeks since he first asked, he still has received no response to any of his requests...'


How, indeed, can Congress vote responsibly on programs about which they know nothing at all?

(Although, I have observed, Congress often votes on bills that they haven't even read!)

Zee said...

Interesting and worrisome...The Washington Post--a paper that I generally trust--sold to the founder and CEO of Amazon.com:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/washington-post-to-be-sold-to-jeff-bezos/2013/08/05/ca537c9e-fe0c-11e2-9711-3708310f6f4d_story.html

Another nail in the coffin of real journalism?

Zee said...

Oh, well--

I suppose it could be worse. We could all live in Zimbabwe, with 5-term, "President-for-Life" Robert Mugabe.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/2013/0805/Mugabe-s-Zimbabwe-election-victory-a-mandate-to-grab-foreign-banks-minister

'"There is evidence that retribution against those who backed the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) has begun. At the MDC's downtown headquarters on Sunday night, some 15 party activists gathered for safety after allegedly being driven out of one of the city's oldest townships by Zanu PF supporters.

Outside Harvest House, the MDC headquarters, riot police with helmets, shields and batons sat in a flatbed truck monitoring the situation.

"The Zanu PF guys came to our houses chanting their slogans and said we should all go or they would kill us," said Steven Mutsipa, a party worker.

"They have guns, machetes and sticks," said his friend, who gave his name only as Simon. "The police won't help us because they're Zanu PF. We've been beaten so many times before, so we just go."'


Some of us here in the good ol' US of A are still armed, ourselves, for whatever good that will do us.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

Yet another example of "boiling the frog", acclimating the American people to totalitarian-style surveillance, searches, and a militarized police presence:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/06/us/tsa-expands-duties-beyond-airport-security.html

http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/748026/vipr-documents.pdf