MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘NSA Surveillance’

The Primary Mechanism Of Your Oppression Is Not Hidden At All – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on February 3, 2020

…we see not public accountability, nor demands for sweeping systemic changes to prevent such malfeasance from reoccurring, but a bunch of narrative management from the political/media class.

This narrative management is used to shift attention away from the information that was revealed and onto the fact that the person who revealed it broke the law or misbehaved in some way. It’s used to convince people that the revelations aren’t actually a big deal, or that it was already basically public knowledge anyway.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/02/02/the-primary-mechanism-of-your-oppression-is-not-hidden-at-all/

I write a lot about government secrecy and the importance of whistleblowers, leakers and leak publishers, and for good reason: governments which can hide their wicked deeds from public accountability will do so whenever possible. It’s impossible for the public to use democracy for ensuring their government behaves in the way they desire if they aren’t allowed to be informed about what that behavior even is.

These things get lots of attention in conspiracy circles and dissident political factions. Quite a few eyes are fixed on the veil of government opacity and the persecution of those brave souls who try to shed light on what’s going on behind it. Not enough eyes, but quite a few.

What gets less attention, much to our detriment, is the fact that the primary mechanism of our oppression and exploitation is happening right out in front of our faces.

The nonstop campaign by bought politicians, owned news outlets, and manipulated social media platforms to control the dominant narratives about what’s going on in the world contribute vastly more to the sickness of our society than government secrecy does. We know this from experience: any time a whistleblower exposes secret information about the malfeasance of powerful governments like NSA surveillance or Collateral Murder, we see not public accountability, nor demands for sweeping systemic changes to prevent such malfeasance from reoccurring, but a bunch of narrative management from the political/media class.

This narrative management is used to shift attention away from the information that was revealed and onto the fact that the person who revealed it broke the law or misbehaved in some way. It’s used to convince people that the revelations aren’t actually a big deal, or that it was already basically public knowledge anyway. And it’s used to manipulate public attention on to the next hot story of the day and memory hole it underneath the white noise of the media news churn. And nothing changes.

We’ve seen it happening over and over and over again. The narrative management machine has gotten so effective and efficient that it’s been able to completely ignore the recent revelation that the US, UK and France almost certainly bombed Syria in 2018 for a completely false reason. A few half-assed Bellingcat spin jobs and an otherwise total media blackout, and it’s like the whole thing never happened.

What this tells us is that our first and foremost problem is not the fact that conspiracies are happening behind a curtain of government secrecy, but that the way people think, act and vote is being actively manipulated right out in the open. Government secrecy is indeed one aspect of establishment narrative control, but controlling the public’s access to information is only one aspect. The bigger part of it is controlling how the public thinks about information.

The reason people never use the power of their superior numbers to force real change, even though they’re being exploited and oppressed in myriad ways by the ruling class, is because they’ve been propagandized into accepting the status quo as desirable (or at least normal). The propaganda of the political/media class is therefore the establishment’s front line of defense. Its most powerful, and essential, weapon.

This is important for dissidents of all stripes to understand, because it means we’re not just passively waiting around for another Manning or Snowden or an Ian Henderson to give us information which we can use to fight the oppression machine. Those individuals have done a great public service, but the battle to awaken human consciousness to what’s really going on in our world is in no way limited to leakers and whistleblowers. It is not at the mercy of government secrecy.

If you are engaged in any type of media, you are engaging the narrative matrix which keeps the public asleep and complacent. It doesn’t matter if you have a Twitter account, a Youtube account, some flyers or a can of spray paint: if you are capable of getting any kind of message out there, you are able to directly influence the mechanism of your oppression. You are able to inform people that they are being lied to, you are able to explain why, and you are able to point them to where they can find more information.

This is extremely empowering. You do not need to wait around hoping that some bombshell piece of information makes it past all the various security checks and spinmeisters and triggers a real social awakening. You can be that information. You can become a catalyst for that awakening.

The key to turning this ship around does not lie hidden somewhere behind a veil of government opacity. It lies in you. It lies in all of us. We can begin awakening our fellow humans right now by attacking the narrative management of the propaganda machine that sits right in front of us, unarmored and unhidden.

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RAY McGOVERN: The Pitfalls of a Pit Bull Russophobe – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on November 25, 2019

Casey openly told the president and other cabinet officials: “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”  Were Casey still alive, he would be very pleased and proud of Hill’s performance.

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/11/22/ray-mcgovern-the-pitfalls-of-a-pit-bull-russophobe/

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News

Fiona Hill’s “Russian-expert” testimony Thursday and her deposition on Oct. 14 to the impeachment inquiry showed that her antennae are acutely tuned to what Russian intelligence services may be up to but, sadly, also displayed a striking naiveté about the machinations of U.S. intelligence.

Hill’s education on Russia came at the knee of the late Professor Richard Pipes, her Harvard mentor and archdeacon of Russophobia. I do not dispute her sincerity in attributing all manner of evil to what President Ronald Reagan called the “Evil Empire.”  But, like so many other glib “Russia experts” with access to Establishment media, she seems three decades out of date.

I have been studying the U.S.S.R. and Russia for twice as long as Hill, was chief of CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch during the 1970s, and watched the “Evil Empire” fall apart.  She seems to have missed the falling apart part.

Selective Suspicion

Are the Russian intelligence services still very active? Of course. But there is no evidence — other than Hill’s bias — for her extraordinary claim that they were behind the infamous “Steele Dossier,” for example, or that they were the prime mover of Ukraine-gate in an attempt to shift the blame for Russian “meddling” in the 2016 U.S. election onto Ukraine. In recent weeks U.S. intelligence officials were spreading this same tale, lapped up  and faithfully reported Friday by The New York Times.

Hill has been conditioned to believe Russian President Vladimir Putin and especially his security services are capable of anything, and thus sees a Russian under every rock — as we used to say of smart know-nothings like former CIA Director William Casey and the malleable “Soviet experts” who bubbled up to the top during his reign (1981 – 1987).  Recall that at the very first meeting of Reagan’s cabinet, Casey openly told the president and other cabinet officials: “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”  Were Casey still alive, he would be very pleased and proud of Hill’s performance.

Beyond Dispute?

On Thursday Hill testified:

“The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies, confirmed in bipartisan Congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified.” [Emphasis added.]

Ah, yes.  “The public conclusion of our intelligence agencies”: the same ones who reported that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union would never surrender power peaceably; the same ones who told Secretary of State Colin Powell he could assure the UN Security Council that the WMD evidence given him by our intelligence agencies was “irrefutable and undeniable.”  Only Richard-Pipeline-type Russophobia can account for the blinders on someone as smart as Hill and prompt her to take as gospel “the public conclusions of our intelligence agencies.”

A modicum of intellectual curiosity and rudimentary due diligence would have prompted her to look into who was in charge of preparing the (misnomered) “Intelligence Community Assessment” published on Jan. 6, 2017, which provided the lusted-after fodder for the “mainstream” media and others wanting to blame Hillary Clinton’s defeat on the Russians.

Jim, Do a Job on the Russians

President Barack Obama gave the task to his National Intelligence Director James Clapper, whom he had allowed to stay in that job for three and a half years after he had to apologize to Congress for what he later admitted was a “clearly erroneous” response, under oath, to a question from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens. And when Clapper published his memoir last year, Hill would have learned that, as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s handpicked appointee to run satellite imagery analysis, Clapper places the blame for the consequential “failure” to find the (non-existent) WMD “where it belongs — squarely on the shoulders of the administration members who were pushing a narrative of a rogue WMD program in Iraq and on the intelligence officers, including me, who were so eager to help that we found what wasn’t really there.” [Emphasis added.]

But for Hill, Clapper was a kindred soul: Just eight weeks after she joined the National Security Council staff, Clapper, during an NBC interview on May 28, 2017, recalled “the historical practices of the Russians, who typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique.” Later he added, “It’s in their DNA.” Clapper has claimed that “what the Russians did had a profound impact on the outcome of the election.”

As for the “Intelligence Community Assessment,” the banner headline atop The New York Times on Jan. 7, 2017 set the tone for the next couple of years: “Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says.” During my career as a CIA analyst, as deputy national intelligence officer chairing National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), and working on the Intelligence Production Review Board, I had not seen so shabby a piece of faux analysis as the ICA. The writers themselves seemed to be holding their noses.  They saw fit to embed in the ICA itself this derriere-covering note: “High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong.”

Not a Problem

With the help of the Establishment media, Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan,  were able to pretend that the ICA had been approved by “all 17 intelligence agencies” (as first claimed by Clinton, with Rep. Jim Himes, D-CT, repeating that canard Thursday, alas “without objection).”  Himes, too should do his homework.  The bogus “all 17 intelligence agencies” claim lasted only a few months before Clapper decided to fess up. With striking naiveté, Clapper asserted that ICA preparers were “handpicked analysts” from only the FBI, CIA and NSA. The criteria Clapper et al. used are not hard to divine. In government as in industry, when you can handpick the analysts, you can handpick the conclusions.

Maybe a Problem After All

“According to several current and former intelligence officers who must remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue,” as the Times says when it prints made-up stuff, there were only two “handpicked analysts.”  Clapper picked Brennan; and Brennan picked Clapper.  That would help explain the grossly subpar quality of the ICA.

If U.S. Attorney John Durham is allowed to do his job probing the origins of Russiagate, and succeeds in getting access to the “handpicked analysts” — whether there were just two, or more — Hill’s faith in “our intelligence agencies,” may well be dented if not altogether shattered.

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There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odor of mendacity…You can smell it. It smells like death.

 

 

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Ron Wyden: James Clapper ‘Lying,’ Was Sent NSA Surveillance Question Before Testimony

Posted by M. C. on March 7, 2019

The Erie County PA bar association brought Clapper in for a special event. They love this guy.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/03/06/ron-wyden-james-clapper-lying-was-sent-nsa-surveillance-question-before-testimony/

by Joshua Caplan

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on Wednesday slammed former National Intelligence Director James Clapper for claiming he did not purposely lie to Congress when asked about an NSA mass surveillance program in March 2013, saying he sent the longtime intelligence official the question ahead of the hearing.

“James Clapper needs to stop making excuses for lying to the American people about mass surveillance. To be clear: I sent him the question in advance. I asked him to correct the record afterward. He chose to let the lie stand,” the Oregon Democrat responded to Clapper’s excuse in a tweet.

“When intelligence leaders mislead the public about surveillance, they fuel the cynicism and mistrust of government that lets wannabe authoritarians gain power,” the lawmaker added.

On Tuesday, Clapper denied making false statements to Congress on whether the National Security Agency (NSA) used to spy on American citizens’ phone records, claiming he bungled his answer because he did not understand the surveillance program Wyden quizzed him about.

Clapper said in an interview with CNN’s New Day host John Berman: Read the rest of this entry »

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