The United States government – a wholly-owned subsidiary of the tiny US capitalist class, whose top 450 or so members own over 50% of US wealth – likes to pose as a benevolent government dedicated to the “freedom of the press”. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The US Government has opposed a free press since the 1798 passage of the infamous “Alien and Sedition Acts” – signed into law by “Founding Father” John Adams and used by both Adams and Jefferson to gag those in the US news media of the day who dared to “defame” them in the pages of their newspapers.
Back then, in the early days of the formation of the US Government, there was a much more lively left opposition bourgeois press dedicated to “Republican” principles than their is today. Today’s bourgeois press fully supports the rule of the US capitalist aristocracy – from Fox News to the New York Times, they all, in the last analysis, are loyal defenders of the class rule of the US capitalist class.
The latest revelations of the true nature of the “openness” and “freedom” of the US capitalist political system – provided by an employee of a subcontractor working for the Orwellian nightmare National Security Agency (NSA) , Edward Snowden – is proving, once again, that when it comes to defending even the most revolting behavior of the US capitalist class and its government agents, the US bourgeois press stands second to none. Though it has become obligatory for the editorial boards of every US news media outlet to “condemn” the massive domestic and international spying operations being carried out by the NSA, this criticism has been of the “loyal opposition” type. The pro-capitalist news media are united in their defense of the “right” of the US Government to spy on the “enemies of the state” – foreign and domestic – so long as that spying is being “monitored” by the elected representatives of “the people” and members of the supposedly “objective” judiciary. The vast foreign and domestic spying operations of the US Government “are necessary” in order to “defend” the US from “terrorists”, they all opine.
Still, the NSA wants to make sure that these fawning, slavish “knights of the pen” in the capitalist media stay “on message” as the NSA seeks to derail any accidental development of any political movement by a rogue Congressman to timidly file down the razor-sharp teeth and fangs of the US “intelligence community”. In spite of the long-running spectacle of the entire US news media tripping over their own tongues in an obsequious effort to prove their undying loyalty to the US capitalist class – even when it appears unmasked in the guise of a 21st-century version of the Spanish Inquisition – the NSA is going the extra distance it believes to be necessary in order to ensure that no virulently anti-police state journalism obtains a foothold in any dark corner of a newsroom anywhere. To that end it has helpfully produced a series of “talking points” memos and distributed them throughout the editorial offices of the land so that all the bootlicking defenders of the US police state can stay “en pointe”.
The pro-capitalist reformist liberals at Techdirt – who are apparently “shocked, SHOCKED!” at the very idea that the massive spying operations of “their” US Government should be directed at THEM! – have attempted to keep the NSA’s feet to the tepid breath of the US news media by releasing two of the NSA’s “talking points” memos.
They (the memos, that is) are quite interesting and even amusing.
“What is everyone so worked up about”? asks the NSA, donning grandma’s bedclothes. “There’s nothing illegal going on – everything we’ve done has been lawfully conducted under the FISA act, which was signed into law by the very same Democratic and Republican Senators and Congressmen who today pretend to be shocked at what we’re doing!” True enough.
The Democrats – caught presiding over a domestic spying operation every bit as intrusive as that which they once hypocritically reviled in the East German workers state… one that would make Richard Nixon blush – are now lining up to defend “their” police state, claiming that it’s “necessary” in order to fight the terrorist groups that fellow Democrat Jimmy Carter unleashed on the world in order to combat the communist menace. The truly hideous Dianne Feinstein, long-serving Democratic Senator from “liberal” San Francisco, California and Chairman of the hilariously misnamed “Senate Intelligence Committee” makes no bones about it:
““A primary mission of the U.S. intelligence community is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, and Congress works closely with the executive branch to ensure that the authorities necessary to keep our country safe are in place. One of these authorities is the ‘business records’ provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act under which the executive branch is authorized to collect ‘metadata’ concerning telephone calls, such as a telephone number or the length of a call. This law does not allow the government to listen in on the content of a phone call.
“The executive branch’s use of this authority has been briefed extensively to the Senate and House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, and detailed information has been made available to all members of Congress prior to each congressional reauthorization of this law.
“Ensuring security, however, must be consistent with respect for the constitutional rights of all Americans. The alleged FISA Court order contained in the Guardian article does not give the government authority to listen in on anyone’s telephone call, nor does it provide the government with the content of any communication or the name of any subscriber. As with other FISA authorities, all information the government may receive under such an order would be subject to strict limitations. While our courts have consistently recognized that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in this type of metadata information and thus no search warrant is required to obtain it, any subsequent effort to obtain the content of an American’s communications would require a specific order from the FISA Court.
“The intelligence community has successfully used FISA authorities to identify terrorists and those with whom they communicate, and this intelligence has helped protect the nation. The threat from terrorism remains very real and these lawful intelligence activities must continue, with the careful oversight of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.”
[Source: http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/press/record.cfm?id=343993 , “Feinstein, Chambliss Statement on NSA Phone Records Program”, 6 June, 2013 dredged from sewer of Feinstein’s Senate website]
This is what voting for the “lesser of two evils” gets you. It is interesting to note that while Feinstein – who has been one of the principal architects of the US police state ‘lo these many years – claims that the NSA’s continual monitoring of every form of telecommunication carried out by every US citizen capable of using the Internet has “identified terrorists” and “helped protect the nation” she does not mention a single verifiable instance of such ever happening, while the NSA claims that it has, by collecting every email, blog post and phone call in the US, actually stopped “at least one” terrorist attack. Of course, they won’t give any details to back up that assertion, either, because if they told the world about it, then they’d have to have the CIA kill us all.
Workers of the World, Unite!
Independent Workers Party of Chicago