Thursday, June 20, 2013

Anything You Don't Say Can Be Used Against You

You no longer have the absolute right to remain silent in Police State USA.

That is the unbelievable gist of a Supreme Court decision issued on Monday. If the cops don't Mirandize you prior to conducting an informal, friendly chat, and you clam up at some point in the voluntary interview, your very silence may now be legally construed as a prima facie indicator of your guilt. You must verbally self-invoke your right against self-incrimination, because passive-aggressive sullenness won't cut it. Even nervous tics can be used as evidence against you.

So as the chip, chip, chipping away at the Bill of Rights continues apace, we can now add the Fifth Amendment to the First and Fourth as optional suggestions no longer engraved in stone. It's all part of the brave new world of checks and balances of the Terror Triad formerly known as the three separate branches of government. The spy state not only has the right to vacuum up all your data, it has given itself the right to use your refusal to speak to them about it as a weapon against you. This, my friends, also applies to the "US Persons" whom the president insists are not spied upon by their own government.

Monday's decision stems from a Texas (where else?) case in which a man named Genevevo Salinas appealed his murder conviction based on claims that his refusal to talk to police during informal questioning were later used against him at trial. Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog lays it out:
He (Salinas) had voluntarily gone to a police station with officers to talk about the murder of two brothers in 1992.  He was not under arrest, and was not in custody, so he had no right to “Miranda warnings” telling him that he had a right to silence.
He answered almost all of the officers’ questions, but simply sat silent when the officers asked him if shotgun casings found at the scene would match his gun.  He acted very nervous in response, but said nothing.  Prosecutors used the fact that he said nothing to help convince the jury that he was guilty.  He was convicted and is serving a twenty-year sentence.
The Court rejected the argument by Salinas’s attorney that, since he was not in custody at the time and had not been given warnings about his rights, that he did not have to explicitly claim the protection of the Fifth Amendment when he did not want to answer the police questions about the shotgun casings.   The Court had previously said, in a number of other contexts, that one had to invoke the right for it to take effect, but it had never done so in the setting of a voluntary encounter of an individual with officers at a police station.
The conservative majority of the Court ruled that if you voluntarily talk to police, the Miranda Rule does not apply. They only have to inform you of your right to remain silent if they're holding you against your will.
He answered most of the officers’ questions, but simply remained silent when they asked him whether shotgun casings found at the scene of the murders would match his gun.   He shifted his feet, and others acted nervously, but did not say anything.   Later, at his trial, prosecutors told jurors that his silence in the face of that question showed that he was guilty, that he knew that the shotgun used to kill the victims was his. 
 His lawyer wanted the Supreme Court to rule that the simple fact of silence during police questioning, when an individual was not under arrest, could not be used against that person at a criminal trial.   The Court did not rule on that issue.  Instead, it said that Salinas had no complaint about the use of his silence, because in order to claim the Fifth Amendment right to say nothing that might be damaging, he had to explicitly say something that showed his silence was a claim of that right.  Since he did not do so, the Amendment did not protect him, according to the decision.
As Slate's Brandon L. Garrett points out, this "terrible decision" will make false confessions a lot more likely:
 Salinas may very well have been guilty of the two murders. But in many cases, as in this one, there are no eyewitnesses and not much other evidence of guilt: That is why the police may desperately need a confession. And that makes it crucial for them to handle interrogations and confessions with the utmost care. The court appreciated none of the pressures police face, and how they can squeeze an innocent suspect. Alito and the other conservatives were not troubled that there was no video to confirm that Salinas was in fact uncomfortable as well as silent. If Salinas had answered the question by exclaiming that he was innocent, could police have reported that he sounded desperate and like a liar? The court’s new ruling puts the “defendant in an impossible predicament. He must either answer the question or remain silent,” Justice Stephen Breyer said in dissent (joined by the other three liberal-moderates). “If he answers the question, he may well reveal, for example, prejudicial facts, disreputable associates, or suspicious circumstances—even if he is innocent.” But if he doesn’t answer, at trial, police and prosecutors can now take advantage of his silence, or perhaps even of just pausing or fidgeting.
 We're sure to see an epidemic of those friendly, exhausting, totally voluntary all-night chats conducted by seasoned interrogators. Youthful suspects not well-versed in Constitutional law, along with immigrants not well-versed in the English language ,will be prime targets for the new Silence is Not Golden ruling. Belching, nodding off to sleep, grimaces, yawns.... all can be used against you now. The private prison profiteers must be salivating. The school-to-prison pipeline just widened by a mile. 

We already have the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world, and this new decision making criminal convictions as easy as pie can only make it grow. One in a hundred "US Persons" is behind bars not because our crime rate is so high, but because we punish poor people for non-violent offenses, such as drug use. Incarcerated people tend to lack a high school diploma. People lacking a high school diploma tend to not be able to tell you the meaning of the Fifth Amendment.

Slam, bam.


annenigma said...

Now I really do want to get wasted. Colorado here I come!

I know I would be simply dumbstruck with fear if I was brought in for interrogation. Wow, so now I'd be Guilty by Silence.

Pass me the bong please.

Jay - Ottawa said...

He doth protest too little.

Anonymous said...

Great post on a terrifying topic, Karen.

I'd suggest this part warrants further consideration:

"People lacking a high school diploma tend to not be able to tell you the meaning of the Fifth Amendment."

Despite having attended some of the better schools and universities, I probably couldn't have applied my knowledge of the fifth if I were to be interrogated. There's a difference between knowing one's rights, and how much pressure and fear can be applied in an interrogation.

Ironically, "high school dropout bad kids", who have already interacted with the blunt end of the penal system, may have understood how to conduct themselves better under interrogation.

This is a point made by Sarah Burns in her investigative work on "The Central Park Five". The five black teens sent to prison in that case were innocent kids, and their very naivete about the process made them vulnerable during the interrogation. Burns claims that "bad kids" would have understood the implications of both the fifth, AND of the total false promises of NYPD investigators.

Suzan said...

Come onnnnn.

Police state don't like hippies.

Hippies: anyone who knows about Constitutional rights.

Love ya,


Denis Neville said...

The Un-Miranda Rights: "You don't have the right to remain silent. Anything you don't say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You must understand constitutional law to benefit from the Constitution. If you lack a law degree or an equivalent legal education, or do not speak or understand English very well, or suffer from a mental illness, or perhaps are under the influence of alcohol, you are likely to be in a world of shit!”

“We have before us no allegation that petitioner’s failure to assert the privilege was involuntary, and it would have been a simple matter for him to say that he was not answering the officer’s question on Fifth Amendment grounds. Because he failed to do so, the prosecution’s use of his noncustodial silence did not violate the Fifth Amendment.” – Justice Alito

Invoking the right to remain silent can no longer be invoked by remaining silent!

“When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean. Neither more nor less.” ― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There

Words – or the lack of words - mean whatever the conservative Supreme Court Justices deem them to mean at the time, and can be changed back again whenever it best serves their purposes.

A victory for all those who disdain Miranda.

James F Traynor said...

Oh, for Christ's sake! What the hell is going on? I've said
again and again that the country's falling apart - but it's beginning to look like it actually is. In big chunks that keep getting bigger

Pearl said...

During the middle of the last century, if you took the Fifth
Amendment which was completely legal, during the McCarthy years in response
to the House Un-American Activities Committee's activities, you were most
often let go from your job, and also not hired if you refused to sign a Loyalty Oath. You would be harassed by intelligence agencies listening to your phone calls, checking your mail (before e-mails), knocking on your door to 'interview' you involving threats, talk to your neighbors and relatives and friends and employers twisting facts to get information, asked to 'name names', ad infinitum.
You were also considered guilty since you said nothing which proved you had
something to hide.

The more things change the more they remain the same and there is nothing
new under the sun.

Denis Neville said...

Krugman today writes about “the widening disconnect between profits and production,” i.e., the Masters of the Universe

Karen, as always, cuts to the chase: “The corrupt house they've built with the aid of their political puppets is collapsing under its own top-heavy weight. And we're all being crushed in the process.”

The Masters of the Universe accept without conscience the sacrifice of untold numbers of human beings who, for their sake, are simply reduced to humans of no value.

“Their fundamental belief simply has to be that society must not exist for society's sake, but only as the foundation and scaffolding on which the best type of being is able to raise itself to its higher task and to a higher state of being." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Masters of the Universe!

"As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport." - Shakespeare, King Lear

“The vast majority of the race, whether savage or civilized, are secretly kind-hearted and shrink from inflicting pain, but in the presence of the aggressive and pitiless minority, they don't dare to assert themselves.” - Mark Twain

annenigma said...

I noticed something else different about our justice system yesterday on the local news.

Jodie Arias was brought into court in Phoenix for a sentencing hearing and she was guarded by five heavily armed police. When the press asked who/what they were doing there and why, they were told those were the 'Court SWAT' team and that anyone who has been convicted of a violent crime would now be guarded that way - obviously a new policy. When they asked further questions about it, they were told it was secret. Secret? Everything is getting to be a big secret these days.

Where is this coming from and where is it leading? Can't tell you - Top Secret.

'For What It's Worth'
Buffalo Springfield

There's somethin' happenin' here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Tellin' me, I got to beware

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down

There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speakin' their minds
Gettin' so much resistance from behind

I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down

What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side

It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

We better stop, hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down

Karen Garcia said...

For those of you who can't or won't click onto the Times, here's my Krugman comment (thanks for the shout-out, Denis:

From the AFL-CIO come these CEO-to-worker salary ratios:

1982 -- 42:1
1992 -- 201:1
2002 -- 281:1
2012 -- 354:1

The CEOs are fighting like mad against Dodd-Frank rules requiring them to divulge both their own compensation and that of their employees. The idea is that if they get too greedy, they will (gasp!) lose their tax breaks.

Of course, this is only on paper. Dodd-Frank is still only one-third operative, and is being whittled away by the minute. Since it's been left up to the SEC to write the reporting rules, and since Chairperson Mary Jo White comes to her job straight from protecting and defending the predatory financial class, we should not hold our breaths. And guess what her dithering predecessor, Mary Schapiro, is up to? She's lobbying Mary Jo White on behalf of General Electric, which pays zero corporate taxes, and wants to keep it that way.

Back in the day, what was good for General Motors was good for America. And with a CEO-worker pay ratio of 18:1, it's still better than most.

Today, what's good for Apple is only good for Apple. GM workers, unlike the FoxConn wage slaves and the $9/hr Apple retail store drones, can at least afford to buy the product that they manufacture and sell.

Today's class of corporate CEOs are pathological hoarders in dire need of an intervention (taxes, taxes, taxes). The corrupt house they've built with the aid of their political puppets is collapsing under its own top-heavy weight. And we're all being crushed in the process.

Anonymous said...

Do you think it's possible that what you're seeing in the new "Court SWAT team" in the sentencing of Arias is in response to what we can reasonably assume was the sheer number of death threats Arias received after the media orgy that descended upon that case? (Why should the media act responsibly when there are ratings to consider?)
Having said that, it'd my guess that if it isn't in response to that case's high publicity, the "Court SWAT team" was the brainchild not of lawyers, but of the fantastically powerful police lobby.

annenigma said...

I have an idea for anyone who wants to rattle the cage of the Powers-That-Be. Go to your local elected rep's office and ask for a dozen or so copies of the Constitution (free pamphlet). You could tell them it's for a study group if they want to know why you want more than one.

I actually did that this morning because I am in a study group at the local college titled 'The Second American Revolution, Yet To Come'.

At Senator McCain's office I had to be buzzed in through the security door, then was asked to leave my purse out in the hall. When I refused they let me keep it, but told me to put it away from me by the door. So then I stood there with my hands in the air like I was under arrest while I asked for copies of the Constitution.

That was my bit of political theater for the morning. By the way, the class is very inspiring!

me again said...

This is rich. Breaking news: The UK's spy agency GCHQ collects info 'only' on foreigners. The US's NSA spy agency collects info 'only' on foreigners. Then they swap all their info. Sounds like a criminal conspiracy to me.

The Empire is alive and well. The Worldwide United Kingdom of America.

James F Traynor said...

Yeah, those loyalty oaths, Pearl mentioned. I don't know how many I've signed - they've been that many. The last was a few years ago when I taught a course in the local college. It always pissed me off no end, but I signed them. I always raised my eyebrows, accompanied by a wry expression, and the people always looked apologetic or shrugged their shoulders, but I signed. Shit.

Jay - Ottawa said...

@me again
The same arrangement exists with (ahem) another country close to the US.

LOL. Depending on the views the professor, you're due either for an A+ or an F. You should teach the course next semester, or at least run the segment on field work. I'll enroll if you can put the course on line.

Denis Neville said...

The Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade

“When fellow administrative officers expressed astonishment at Colornel Cathcart’s choice of Major Major, Captain Black muttered that there was something funny going on...when they remarked that Major Major was somewhat odd, Captain Black announced that he was a Communist.

“...I’m going to do something about it. From now on I’m going to make every son of a bitch who comes to my intelligence tent sign a loyalty oath. And I’m not going to let that bastard Major Major sign one even if he wants to.”

“Almost overnight the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was in full flower...All the enlisted men and officers on combat duty had to sign a loyalty oath to get their map cases from the intelligence tent, a second loyalty oath to receive their flak suits and parachutes from the parachute tent, a third loyalty oath for Lieutenant Balkington, the motor vehicle officer, to be allowed to ride from the squadron to the airfield in one of the trucks. Every time they turned around there was another loyalty oath to be signed. They signed a loyalty oath to get their pay from the finance officer, to obtain their PX supplies, to have their hair cut by the Italian barbers... He would stand second to none in his devotion to country. When other officers had followed his urging and introduced loyalty oaths of their own, he went them one better by making every son of a bitch who came to his intelligence tent sign two loyalty oaths, then three, then four...

“Without realizing how it had come about, the combat men in the squadron discovered themselves dominated by the administrators appointed to serve them. They were bullied, insulted, harassed and shoved about all day long by one after the other. When they voiced objection, Captain Black replied that people who were loyal would not mind signing all the loyalty oaths they had to. To anyone who questioned the effectiveness of the loyalty oaths, he replied that people who really did owe allegiance to their country would be proud to pledge it as often as he forced them to...The more loyalty oaths a person signed, the more loyal he was; to Captain Black it was as simple as that, and he had Corporal Kolodny sign hundreds with his name each day so that he could always prove he was more loyal than anyone else...

“To Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren, the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade was a glorious pain in the ass, since it complicated their task of organizing the crews for each combat mission. Men were tied up all over the squadron signing, pledging and singing, and the missions took hours longer to get under way. Effective emergency action became impossible, but Captain Piltchard and Captain Wren were both too timid to raise any outcry against Captain Black, who scrupulously enforced each day the doctrine of “Continual Reaffirmation” that he had originated, a doctrine designed to trap all those men who had become disloyal since the last time they had signed a loyalty oath the day before...

“National defense is everybody’s job,” Captain Black replied to Milo’s objection...The men don’t have to sign Piltchard and Wren’s loyalty oath if they don’t want to. But we need you to starve them to death if they don’t. It’s just like Catch-22. Don’t you get it? You’re not against Catch-22, are you?”...

“Give everybody eat!” roared Major —— de Coverley.

“Give everybody eat!” Milo echoed with joyful relief, and the Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade came to an end…

“Seeing everyone in the squadron he didn’t like afraid once again throughout the appalling, interminable Great Big Siege of Bologna reminded Colonel Black nostalgically of the good old days of his Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade when he had been a man of real consequence, and when even big shots like Milo Minderbinder, Doc Daneeka and Piltchard and Wren had trembled at his approach and groveled at his feet.” – Joseph Heller, Catch-22

Pearl said...

Re: loyalty oaths you referred to Jim that you are signing. The history of
loyalty oaths in the U.S. is very interesting to peruse in Wikipedia. The
problems occur when phrases such as swearing to not advocate the overthrow
of the government or swearing that you never have done so or aided others,
etc. etc. etc. and this problem has caused difficulties during the years
with objections often from University organizations, UCLA questions, etc.
The unconstitutionality of those phrases has gone through various state
courts and so far voted down. And these questions are still around. I wonder
what was in the oath you signed. If it is only supporting the laws and
constitution of the nation (which is what seems to be happening in Canada,
except that people object to including the Queen in it ) especially when
obtaining citizenship, it seems acceptable. What was your comment on this
about, Jay?

The reason that there is objection to the phrases about overthrowing the
government, etc. is that if people are suspected of being a danger to the
country because of their legal political leanings and believed to advocate
such measures they can be accused of perjury in signing such oaths which is
the problem with taking the Fifth Amendment involving political accusations
which are a biased judgment by the accusers, often by the right wing
accusers. It is of course a way of frightening and warning people to not
make trouble for the government, especially among academics who might be teaching 'dangerous concepts' to their students. (like questioning whether democracy is being destroyed in our country for example!).

There are students now who report teachers and professors whose opinions they feel are unpatriotic or possible treasonable which creates censorship in the classroom. It is sad to think this is going on again as in McCarthy times.

When my husband was offered a position at the U. of Miami in the l950's, his contract was cancelled because of pressure from the supporters of the University (supposedly) who stated that they didn't want their students to
be dangerously influenced by him. Since he was a Professor of Physics and mathematics, we wondered how in the world he could possibly poison the minds of students? He also was not the accused person involved in the McCarthy-FBI accusations but refused to name names and denounce members of his family who were caught in that ugly net which was enough to infuriate the crazies of the time. Their progeny are now in full bloom once again, stronger and more dangerous.

The intelligence snoops went to any university he was being considered for employment with the same ugly stories and although he was told by the faculty they believed in his integrity, they had no choice as it would have been made public affecting donations, etc. Many people we knew went through terrible times as well and some sued the perpetrators and eventually got their names cleared but it was a costly, stressful legal procedure.

All this is a warning about what is happening now, although most of you are fully aware of the threat especially with all the information being exposed by courageous whistleblowers.

Recent articles in the N.Y.Times, especially about the privacy invasion
issues, have been surprisingly candid and critical. Most of all, the
comments from readers have been on a very high level of knowledge. Also, a
recent article by Roger Cohen criticizing the whole Israeli agenda had tremendous support by Jewish readers from the U.S. There seems to be a change in the wind which I hope will blow stronger. And Karen, you are doing a fantastic job in your comments to Krugman, et al. You are such an inspiration to so many people - thank you.

CitiZen said...

I realize now why cell phones are not allowed to be used on airliners - the NSA probably can't electronically capture their data. So it has had nothing to do with the supposed interference with the electronics of the airliner at all. Interference with snooping capability is more like it.

When they figure out how to do tap into all those communications, they will allow phones to be used.

anonymous said...

The 8th Espionage Act charge made today by King George III is an epic event. Mark this historic day on your calendars. It is a turning point.

Neil Gillespie said...

re: "the chip, chip, chipping away at the Bill of Rights continues"

Yes, Salinas v Texas is an important decision. And glad to read "We already have the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world". This fact needs repeating more often,

But the general practice of "chip, chip, chipping away" goes on regularly, often in seemingly mundane changes to rules and laws that mostly only the attorneys involved are aware. The public as not been too attentive.

Once in awhile someone like Edward Snowden pulls the fire alarm, and people take note.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

@Karen: great comment on Krugman's latest column.


Since you have so carelessly shared the name of your local college class as well as the name of your senator, we of the PARANOIA Corp (Plutocratic Anti-Revolutionary Anti-Negativity Orwellian Inquisition Agency) now know where we can find and arrest you. We may have to arrest the entire class, but as our BBB (no, not Better Business Bureau, though we are closely allied with business), Big Brother Barack, has clearly indicated by his actions, and his appointees and their actions, it is far, far better to "take out" ten innocent people than to let a single opponent go free. When your "show trial" begins under the watchful eye of our complicit judges ever-ready to babble nonsense judicial rationalizations for neo-fascism, you will be an enigma no more!


Older Stuff:

@Zee, and @Anonymous:

Earlier this week I was offline (at home) due to technical difficulties for more than 24 hours, so I didn't see and couldn't join in to comments re my suppositions about Snowden (in my June 17 comment to Karen's June 13 "The Unbearable Rightness of Being Certain" thread. Then I had to catch up on some things, so further delay with regard to adding my two cents at Sardonicky.

(By the way, when the phone company technician rang me to tell me that my landline and internet connections had been restored, I couldn't resist wondering out-loud whether the outage was due to the NSA. Was that a knowing chuckle I thought I heard in his reply?! Oh, and did anyone catch the recent characterization of a cellphone as "a tracking device that incidentally happens to make telephone calls"?!)

Anyway, back to the (older) issue at hand. Thanks, @Zee, for correctly understanding (and explaining) that I was looking at the perception by the system that a person with less formal education in the humanities, etc. would be less likely to harbor subversive thoughts.

@Anonymous: Your "Chinese Civil Servant examinations of centuries past" analogy is a good one, and your point is well-taken that not only does modern higher education not guarantee the needed consciousness to transcend societal dronal indoctrination, in fact such education all too often is part and parcel of obedience training (and vice-versa). Add the huge cost of college nowadays, and graduates' actions aren't just limited by ignorance and channeled by indoctrination, they are further constrained by crushing debts. I've just recently finished reading Chris Hedges "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle", which has been mentioned and quoted from on several occasions here at Sardonicky by Denis Neville and Zee, and perhaps others. It has a chapter on higher education that gets into those issues. I've also recently finished Chomsky's "Power Systems", which, based as it is on a series of interviews, is more informal, and also has a section on education. Both books are very much worth reading in their entireties.

Fred drumlevitch said...

One point that Hedges makes: that all too often, higher education --- even the humanities --- has tended to become increasingly specialized and arcane in its scholarship, focusing on meaningless minutiae. I wonder if that isn't understandable (using ecological analogies) as niche partitioning, or the concept known as "ideal free distribution". Many fields are overcrowded and very competitive, so the practitioners find they can "feed" better in less crowded areas. Goran Arnqvist recently wrote a one-page commentary (focused on scientific publishing, but I think broadly applicable) titled "Editorial rejects? Novelty, schnovelty!" in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution.

Note in particular one sentence, so nicely put: "... because editorial machineries and authors ‘co-evolve’, the novelty criterion has led to many authors desperately striving to delineate their own unique corner of the scientific territory, sometimes reminiscent of a second rate circus act proudly declaring that it is the first time ever that someone is juggling three clubs while standing on one leg in a bucket of water, simultaneously yodeling Auld Lang Syne."

And one different but somewhat-related example regarding ignorance of the broader world that I remember from a few years ago: In a discussion with more than a dozen UofA Molecular and Cellular Biology upper-division students, I was surprised that only one knew who Chinua Achebe was. And further surprised that it was the person I least expected of the group.

The irony of higher education becoming so high-priced in the U.S. is that in the future, a substantial segment of the population seeking education (in the broadest sense of the word, not just "job training") may devote a considerable amount of time to becoming educated by methods relatively non-traditional in recent decades --- for instance, a "great books" curriculum pursued on their own or in groups. (However, the specific authors/works chosen may differ from the historical selections of previous times). Of course, the internet has the power to greatly extend the reach of such study and some great discussions based upon it. All that won't be the fastest or most efficient method of becoming educated, but for most --- those without full or nearly-full scholarships --- it will be the most affordable, and may well be much more genuinely and thoroughly educating.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

Back to Snowden, and other surveillance:

An interesting page with info about some old Snowden online postings:

Also from Arstechnica, some less-known examples of surveillance:

And via Bruce Schneier's site, more interesting info:

Finally, to increase your chances of avoiding surveillance:

Jay - Ottawa said...

I don’t understand the question you directed at me. I was not into the chat about loyalty oaths, although I well remember that period and signed a few myself. Back then I had nothing to hide but my ignorance – much the same as now.

I was simply adding to what “me again” had posted. The UK spies on the communications of foreigners, like Americans. The US spies on foreigners, like Brits, while trying not to – inadvertently blah, blah, blah, oops – spy on Americans. The way for the NSA to get around not spying on American citizens is simply to let another nation do the spying. Then exchange the US briefcase on Brits for the UK briefcase on Yanks. Their stash for our stash. Neither country is spying on its own citizens. No laws are broken. Obama’s reassurances are not lies.

Days ago Greenwald in one of his posts (or someone commenting on a post) pointed out that the US and Canada also carry on a similar exchange of data. Spying on the homeland by the homeland, which is illegal (more or less), is essentially being subcontracted to allies. No law, for whatever that’s worth nowadays, has expressly forbidden allies from scratching each other’s back in this manner.

Look into the future with me. Not only do we need that one big multi-billion dollar digital repository in Utah to store communications that the NSA sucks up day after day, we shall now have to build many more lesser repositories: one to store what the UK hands off to us; one for what Canada turns over to us; one for …. You get the idea.

A thousand years from now, tourists from Antarctica (the only place truly habitable after global warming fries the other continents) will tour the desert that once was America. They will gaze in awe at the massive complexes in Utah the way tourists now look at the great pyramids of Egypt. There will be repositories for what the NSA archived from around the world and many formidable but lesser piles to warehouse the data submitted by each of our allies.

"Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Denis Neville said...

@Pearl – An excellent warning, based on your husband’s experience, about what is happening now.

“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.” - William O. Douglas, Supreme Court Justice

"Judicial Treatment of Nonconformists,” The Court Years 1939-1975: The Autobiography of William O. Douglas, excerpt:

“The constitutional theory, expounded by Jefferson and Madison, was to let the people believe what they choose and to talk as they like, putting reliance on public debate to expose the fallacy of ideas and to correct errors. Government has no rightful concern with interfering except and unless beliefs and ideas break out into violent acts. Under that view, Communists would not be driven underground. They would have the hustings, the printing press, advocacy, propaganda and all the tools which other publicists enjoy.

“That course is the constitutional standard; and it does presuppose a mature people. It turned out that we as a nation were as intolerant of this opposed ideology as Russia is to advocacy of free enterprise. We keep a wider part of the spectrum open for discussion than does Russia, but where the clash of ideas is clear and vivid, we follow the Soviet pattern.

“The radical has never fared well in American life, whether he was dubbed anarchist, socialist, Bolshevik or Communist. Public passions have always run high against him; and that feeling has radiated from judges as well as from newspapers and the people on Main Street.

“Loyalty oaths are an old familiar means of hounding unpopular people…The very presence of an oath requiring one official to swear he is a true believer puts pressure on all to take the oath lest they too be persecuted as ideological strays…The loyalty oath has a special and severe impact on teachers. It is wholly inconsistent with the ideal of the university…a university is a place that is established and will function for the benefit of society, provided it is a center of independent thought. It is a center of independent thought and criticism that is created in the interest of the progress of society, and the one reason that we know that every totalitarian government must fail is that no totalitarian government is prepared to face the consequences of creating free universities. It is important for this purpose to attract into the institution men of the greatest capacity, and to encourage them to exercise their independent judgment…

“With the passage of the loyalty security programs, university environments did not relax; rather they hardened. The lessons of conformity and the rewards it brought became subtle influences in academic circles. Faculties walked more and more in goose step to the tunes of the Establishment. Universities were no longer places of ferment but became more and more institutions dispensing information on how to get ahead and sedatives that made students less and less responsive to the mighty forces of rebellion that were making the nation seethe.

"A campus without disruption is polluted, like a river without fish or a defoliated forest along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. . . The campus is now like the compulsory ghetto."

Fred Drumlevitch said...

Jay - Ottawa said...

There you go again, Fred: so stealthily didactic:-)

Anyway, the real hero of the piece, the true democrat, the one who shows how to put a gummint SOB in his place is that little dog. With a bark AND A BITE. What heart! What tenacity! What an example to the zombies in the street.

Pearl said...

Neil: I hope the lawyer you heard from who was disbarred from the ABA could find refuge in more liberal organizations such as the National Lawyer's Guild. If being disbarred from the official bar association prevents him from practicing law I hope he can sue them. There are other decent bar associations listed that he can hopefully join. I wonder how many other lawyers as well as other professionals are "shunned" when attacking the system, be it legal, medical, academic, political, etc.

Gold On Runescape said...

Oh yea, regarding Christ's reason! What the heck is happening? We have stated repeatedly the state's fallling - yet it's beginning to look like it certainly is. Within huge bits that retain obtaining bigger

Gold On Runescape
Dioblo 3 Gold Kaufen