America’s Homegrown Assault on Democracy

WikiLeaks’ new dump of CIA documents reveals that when it comes to undermining the Constitution and democracy, U.S. intelligence agencies and their political “overseers” are doing the jump quite nicely, thanks, says Norman Solomon.

By Norman Solomon

For months now, our country has endured the tacit denigration of American ingenuity. Countless statements — from elected officials, activist groups, journalists and many others — have ignored our nation’s superb blend of dazzling high-tech capacities and statecraft mendacities.

CIA seal in lobby of the spy agency’s headquarters. (U.S. government photo)

Fortunately, this week the news about release of illuminating CIA documents by WikiLeaks has begun to give adequate credit where due. And not a moment too soon. For way too long, Russia has been credited with prodigious hacking and undermining of democracy in the United States.

Many Americans have overlooked the U.S. government’s fantastic hacking achievements. This is most unfair and disrespectful to the dedicated men and women of intelligence services like the CIA and NSA. Far from the limelight, they’ve been working diligently to undermine democracy not just overseas but also here at home.

Today, the massive new trove of CIA documents can help to put things in perspective. Maybe now people will grasp that our nation’s undermining of democracy is home-grown and self-actualized. It’s an insult to the ingenious capacities of the United States of America to think that we can’t do it ourselves.

Contrary to all the public relations work that U.S. intelligence agencies have generously done for them, the Russians don’t even rank as peripheral to the obstacles and prospects for American democracy. Rest assured, throughout the long history of the United States, we haven’t needed foreigners to get the job done.

In our current era, can Vladimir Putin take any credit for purging huge numbers of African-Americans, Latinos and other minority citizens from the voter rolls? Of course not.

Did Putin create and maintain the barriers that prevented many low-income people from voting on Nov. 8? Only in his dreams. Can the Kremlin hold a candle to the corporate-owned cable TV channels that gave Donald Trump umpteen free hours of uninterrupted air time for speeches at his campaign rallies? Absolutely not.

Could any Russian operation claim more than a tiny sliver of impact compared to the handiwork of FBI Director James Comey as he boosted Donald Trump’s prospects with a pair of gratuitous announcements about a gratuitously re-opened probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails during the last days of the 2016 campaign? No way. Is Putin anything but a miniscule lightweight in any efforts to manipulate the U.S. electorate compared to “dark money” American billionaires like the Koch brothers? Give us a break.

And how about the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? The Kremlin can only marvel at the way that the CIA, the NSA and the bipartisan leadership in Washington have shredded the Fourth Amendment while claiming to uphold it. To sum up: The CIA’s efforts to tout Russia add up to jaw-dropping false modesty! The humility of “deep state” leaders in Langley is truly awesome.

Let’s get a grip. Overwhelmingly, the achievements of thwarting democracy in America have been do-it-yourself operations. It’s about time that we give adequate credit to the forces perpetuating this country’s self-inflicted wounds to American democracy.

To loosely paraphrase the beloved comic-strip character Pogo, when the subject is grievous damage to democracy at home, “We have met the ingenuity and it is U.S.” But we’re having a terrible time recognizing ourselves.

Norman Solomon is the coordinator of the online activist group RootsAction.org and the executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He is the author of a dozen books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.

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38 comments for “America’s Homegrown Assault on Democracy

  1. victoria
    March 14, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    My husband use to be a big time cheat,and i was curious of getting proofs about it for real then i saw recommendations about this professional online hacker and never hesitated to contact him, He asked me for few information about my husband mobile device, no personal info was asked for also, i provided it all to him and in less than 24 hours i was getting too see my husband text messages, Call logs, Emails, Facebook messenger and as well as Whatsapp messages as they come into his phone, i was able to get good and concrete proof for my Anthony to file a divorce, if you are having similar issues i would advice you contact hotcyberclown@gmail.com tell him Victoria referred you. You can thank me later

  2. fuzzylogix
    March 10, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Rot always comes from within.

  3. delia ruhe
    March 9, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Thank you for this, Norman Solomon. Official Washington has zero talent for self-reflection and will never have a clue how the US is perceived by other countries. To them, every “alien” is jealous of the US and that leads to resentment. Washington has no idea of how tedious that gets.

    I was thinking along these lines when I watched Leon Panetta being interviewed yesterday on PBS. He got some very direct questions but his answer to all of them was “national security”, “catching terrorists”, “keeping Americans safe” — even when he was specifically questioned about constitutionality and the abuse of Americans’ rights and privacy.

    He parroted that line about the great success of the security state in preventing another 9/11 — as if bin Laden or al Qaida or ISIS or any affiliated terrorist organization needed to deliver another 9/11, given that the original succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. In fact, it’s still working.

    Indeed, America is still seriously traumatize and, in response, is still lashing out at several countries in the Greater Middle East. The US is waging war in seven countries and regularly committing drone-murder in god knows how many others. Bin Laden may have died a violent death but he no doubt died a happy man, knowing that he will always be remembered as the guy who permanently terrorized the most powerful country on the planet.

    Trump won the presidency by promising to drain the swamp. Instead, he goes fishing in it for his cabinet members and has proved that, like Shrek, he actually enjoys soaking in it. Don’t worry, America, your struggling billionaires will soon get big tax relief, and all those generals at the Pentagon and those at the NSA, CIA, HLS, and the rest of the alphabet soup will be dreaming about all the additional wars they can wage and additional heads of state whose phones they can hack with those huge budget expansions. “National security,” doncha know.

  4. Sr. Gibbonk
    March 9, 2017 at 1:37 am

    My dear mister Solomon, with regards to your article let me just quote The Simpsons’ very own Mr. Burns: “Excellent”! While I’m at it allow me to quote yet again, this time from Yvor Winters’ 1934 poem Before Disaster: “Fool and scoundrel guide the state, peace is whore to greed and hate”. Oh yes my friends, hang on to your hats and/or any other loose apparel, ’cause we are in for a very bumpy ride.

  5. Keith brooks
    March 8, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    EXCELLENT PIECE !

  6. Akech
    March 8, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    A lot has been written about the “Birther Movement”, which started during 2008 election circle. The trail of the passport breaches that took place during that period and person(s) who may have involved in that passports breaching episode went cold. Some of these people ended up in the administration of the unknown first term Senator who became the POTUS:

    http://www.westernjournalism.com/is-john-brennan-blackmailing-obama/

  7. geoff
    March 8, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    elmer roosevelt bragged that he overthrew the democratically elected govt of iran (1953). he did it on the cheap and im sure his crime bosses praised him. that was the birth of ‘doin it’ to the world and they haven’t stopped yet. who are these criminals that now operate in the good ol’ usa. shhhhhh!! it’s the cia the greatest purveyor of illicit drugs,illegal arms sales and domestic poiltical upheaval. this is your govt and to think you to can join the cia and be a patriotic american. any attempts to negotiate peace with russia or norkor would be the act of sanity and we cant have that. can we???

  8. SteveK9
    March 8, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Sorry Norman but the Wikileaks dumps of DNC and Podesta, although having nothing to do with Russia (just some insiders revolted at the most sinister candidate for President in my lifetime, and that includes Nixon), did a real service for our Democracy.

    The attempt by the ‘Deep State’, joined now by rank and file Democrats, to overthrow the government is the most dangerous threat to our Democracy I have witnessed. The appalling dishonesty of Democrats on such a critical issue (they are accusing the elected President of being a traitor) means that after voting straight Democratic for 45 years, I will be very, very selective in the future.

  9. F. G. Sanford
    March 8, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    For the best, most thorough, accurate and – for the average American – easy to understand synopsis, I seriously suggest going to YouTube and look up:

    OBAMAGATE PART 2: Diamond And Silk Investigate All The Snakes In Obamagate

    Seriously, most Americans need to have it spelled out this clearly in order to understand.

    • Gregory Herr
      March 8, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      “….we gotta get the rats outta the pipes…”

    • Zachary Smith
      March 8, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      You’re right – those two were both funny as hell, and quite educational as well. Well worth a look.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFqjUooZzBk

  10. mike k
    March 8, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Swiftian satire without the bitter edge. Well done Mr. Solomon. Keep ’em coming….

  11. mike k
    March 8, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Bravo! I love it. Thank you for rubbing it in on the pompous idiots who put this stuff out, and the gullible fools who lap it up.

  12. March 8, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Interesting video on our supposed “Democracy” at link below:
    —————————————————————————————
    Mark Levin Proves Obama Wiretapping on President Trump | Full Fox & Friends Interview | 3/5/17

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjToGCWpm-g

  13. March 8, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    I don’t think Norm Solomon’s intent was to analyze the CIA program. He is a social political critic and places this in context of the neverending propaganda given to sheeple who won’t look behind the curtain to see who’s running the land of Oz. We’ll have to see what coverage MSM gives this massive revelation, and so far it seems to be treated as just another piece of news, although it should make the sycophantic press deliverers’ hair stand on end because they are targets, too.

    I think some of us here at CN already know how corrupt this government has been for a long time, and the cyberage has enabled the perpetrators to cook up even deeper levels of duplicity. Hopefully the public discussion of this will escalate to a roar in days to come.

    • D5-5
      March 8, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      Gallup has been polling public trust in the MSM since 1972. A September 2016 survey indicates public trust at its lowest ever, at 32%. I’m no longer posting URLs due the delay from this site’s moderation system, but this is easily found under gallup poll 195542.

  14. Time2WakeUpNow
    March 8, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    ”From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some transatlantic giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe and Asia could not, by force, take a drink from the Ohio River or set a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. If destruction be our lot, we ourselves must be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men, we will live forever, or die by suicide.

    (Abraham Lincoln, address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, IL, January, 1838)”

    Well…then. Given the current state of our declining Imperial Empire: perhaps dying slowly by suicide it is!

  15. D5-5
    March 8, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    The website Quora has an interesting discussion and thread for the question “if the USA decides to shut down the internet, can it?” (Answers mostly from 2014 and 2015).

    One answer indicates it wouldn’t do this (too much business-related) and instead as with China simply surveil and censor.

    • Zachary Smith
      March 8, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      I don’t believe it would be much of a problem – a highly restricted and monitored Internet would still be available. Connections to places like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Google News, etc. would function normally.

      But sites on the Updated PropOrNot list might have a lot of “connection” problems. And repeated attempts to visit them could put you on more “watch” lists than you could imagine in your worst nightmares.

    • geoff
      March 8, 2017 at 8:06 pm

      the capabilities have now reached your living space (and have for a while). so any nightmare you can conjure up becomes your daymare. yes they could censor on many levels in the internet and they already have. do not think that we have ‘rule of law’ that is absurd!!! we live in an inverted totalitarian society and as of now there is minor recognition but just wait……..

  16. Bob Van Noy
    March 8, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Quite simply, I don’t want my phone, car, and TV listening and watching me. This is not freedom…

    • Zachary Smith
      March 8, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      You’re right – it’s not freedom. But in the Real World your only options are to acquire a very old Dumb Phone, an old automobile, and to use lip glue whenever the TV is in use. In the last case, unplugging the TV and disconnecting the wire coming in from the Internet or Cable would reduce – but not totally eliminate that threat.

      Your problems don’t end if you do go “Stone Age” yourself, for you will be around family and friends who carry their “devices”, you’ll surely ride in other people’s vehicles, and you’ll never ever know if your bedside alarm clock or home security system is “calling home”.

      Won’t surprise me a bit if we don’t start seeing police roadblocks where they demand a DNA sample from everybody on the road at that time. Any objections whatever to whatever it is The Authorities are pulling could put you into a hospital bed. Or a coffin.

  17. D5-5
    March 8, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Possibly related aside: lately additional to the security certificate warning the other day on this site, which completely blanked my page and then used red tones across the URL after I insisted on proceeding to Consortium News, I’ve had repeated hassles with RT from a similar security system, that when I press “yes” for want to proceed refuses to accept my decision and continues to flash its warning. I then have to backtrack out, even re-start the machine to try to get around it. Coming at RT from a different aspect of its coverage will sometimes buy me time before this starts in again. I’m not having this happen with Sputnik.

    • March 8, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      To.D5-5
      i had same problem the other day. A message came up censoring Consortium news.

      • geoff
        March 8, 2017 at 8:00 pm

        same here but that wont stop me. i do not care.

  18. March 8, 2017 at 11:32 am

    I believe it is time these “Spymasters” were held to account. Who is ‘Watching” them?
    ————————————————————————–

    We have seen and read the latest revelations of a “democratic” empire spying on its citizens and the whole world. The man who revealed the secret spying of the empire was Edward Snowden. His reward for speaking out and telling the truth about illegal acts is to be vilified in much of the corporate owned media and to be refused asylum for his service to humanity. Some of the countries refusing him asylum are ones who claim to be outraged over the spying on them by a “democratic ally.” What we are seeing is open hypocrisy by the puppets of the empire which are all in lockstep with the dictates of the empire of evil. A globalist, new world order is already in control, and nobody must be allowed to disobey or expose its evil machinations. …
    [much more info at link below]
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2013/07/the-evil-of-empires.html

  19. Joe B
    March 8, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Sorry to repeat this, but it could not be more important:

    From Wikileaks:

    “By the end of 2016, the [see-eye-eh] hacking division… had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other “weaponized” malware…
    “Once a single cyber ‘weapon’ is ‘loose’ it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike…
    “[see-eye-eh] malware and hacking tools are built by EDG (Engineering Development Group)… responsible for … backdoors, exploits, malicious payloads, trojans, viruses and any other kind of malware…
    “As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems … to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations…
    “The [see-eye-eh] Mobile Devices Branch (MDB) … remotely hack and control popular smart phones. Infected phones can be instructed to send the [see-eye-eh] the user’s geolocation, audio and text communications as well as covertly activate the phone’s camera and microphone.
    “These techniques permit the CIA to bypass the encryption of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Wiebo, Confide and Cloackman by hacking the “smart” phones that they run on and collecting audio and message traffic before encryption is applied…
    “The [see-eye-eh] has developed automated multi-platform malware attack and control systems covering Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris, Linux and more, such as EDB’s “HIVE” and the related “Cutthroat” and “Swindle” tools…”

    • D5-5
      March 8, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Joe B, thank you for repeating this information. I too was disappointed, expecting Solomon to tell me something I didn’t know about this revelation, arriving yesterday, instead of ironic commentary, although that does make a point about how gullible the Public is.

  20. Joe B
    March 8, 2017 at 11:23 am

    The attempt to make self-complimentary humor of this is very wrong. The story goes infinitely far beyond an opportunity to ridicule Russia-bashing.

    This revelation by WikiLeaks may be the most important leak of documents in history, on massive see-eye-eh spying on most computers and smartphones and TVs in the world. See wikileaks dot org.

    The see-eye-eh has been using over 5000 engineers to install or plant spyware on all personal electronics, which allows them to use the camera and microphone on your computer and phone even when it is off, sends them all of your personal data and all of your files, defeats every anti-virus program, and sends all of your emails to them, before any encryption. This stuff comes with Windows 10, and is installed easily on all Windows/Apple/Linux devices.

    They have targeted most foreign governments, but their project has no goals of targeting extremists or terrorists. They have perfected the means of making every hack look like it was done by certain foreign countries.

    This material is worth study by every journalist and activist. It is probably the most important revelation about any government in history. This shows that the secret agencies went ahead even faster despite public horror at what Snowden had revealed.

    There is now a complete totalitarian oligarchy in control of the US.

    • Zachary Smith
      March 8, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      The see-eye-eh has been using over 5000 engineers to install or plant spyware on all personal electronics, which allows them to use the camera and microphone on your computer and phone even when it is off, sends them all of your personal data and all of your files, defeats every anti-virus program, and sends all of your emails to them, before any encryption.

      I believe you underestimate the range of the things they’ve been doing. It’s not just your computer and phone, but also electronic toys and music systems and dishwashers and refrigerators and Lord Only Knows what else. Regarding the encryption, whoever first created the notion that this was even possible with a Smart Phone was surely a genius. A total know-nothing like myself could imagine the input from either microphone or keypad being shunted around the part of the device supposedly doing the “encryption”. The smart-phones are incredibly complicated devices and are more than an equal of 40-year-ago super-computers.

      And few know they don’t need an internet/cable connection. Many years ago it was possible for an operative miles away to tune into the electronic signals of my monitor to read on his screen what I’m typing – and in real time. Even less known is that internet-quality signals can be sent through the electric power lines, and anything you have which plugs into a wall outlet could – in theory- be “calling home” if it has the necessary internal circuitry. Already the spooks have been caught diverting shipments from XXX home address to a special facility which installs any necessary additions to their electronic purchase.

      Can the Kremlin hold a candle to the corporate-owned cable TV channels that gave Donald Trump umpteen free hours of uninterrupted air time for speeches at his campaign rallies? Absolutely not.

      One of the big players was “elevating” Trump for Hillary, because he was the opposition she wanted.

      I liked this essay, but believe it was way too brief.

      • Joe B
        March 8, 2017 at 1:48 pm

        Yes, the essay is clever but tries to trivialize a matter of utmost severity. The technology development is not admirable or clever in any way. It long been a potential problem, but it is not old technology. The older technologies require specialized devices looking at particular nearby targets, an intrusion subject to control via warrants. This new spyware is universal and not dependent upon any equipment location. It is blatantly immoral, and even more destructive of democracy than a major world war.

    • rosemerry
      March 9, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Joe, I am sure Norman Solomon realises the importance, but this method of mockery helps to make the point to many, though I notice that many Americans cannot see irony.

  21. March 8, 2017 at 11:00 am

    I believe “Democracy” died a long time ago:
    ———————————————————

    When war criminals run countries, there are endless wars
    Armies are used as hit men creating carnage and gore
    It doesn’t matter who is elected or attains “democratic” power
    The criminals will still be in control, and will continue to flower

    The masses think a “new day is dawning” but is it really all a façade?
    Is the “new beginning,” just the old in new attire; is it all so very sad?
    The same people that cause all the problems get powerful “new positions”
    This is called “democracy at work” with all its “nice traditions”…
    [more info at link below]
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/01/when-war-criminals-run-countries.html

    • fuzzylogix
      March 10, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      I believe democracy died on the day JFK was assassinated.

  22. March 8, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Could not be said better than this, thank you, Norm Solomon and Consortium News.

    This Wikileaks release ought to be top of the news, but it seems there may be an attempt to underplay it, marginalize it?

    • BART GRUZALSKI PROF. EMERITUS
      March 8, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      Of course, Jessica K.

      That’s why I posted it on FACEBOOK.

      To that I can add, beginning with a quote from Wikileaks:

      “The CIA’s Remote Devices Branch’s UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques ‘stolen’ from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.” With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the “fingerprints” of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from. UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques.

      See my facebook page for the source of the entire quote.

      Dr. Bart Gruzalski, Professor Emeritus, Philosophy, Northeastern University, Boston MA—and pissed off at the Deep State which includes both the FBI and the CIA who are planting these “Russian” footprint evidences about hacks.

    • rosemerry
      March 9, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      I noticed the very skeptical headline in Truthdig about the release, as if the ten years of truthful releases from WikiLeaks were not an indication of probable correct information given to the public, unlike the loudly proclaimed “Russian hacking” evidence-free stories.

  23. BART GRUZALSKI PROF. EMERITUS
    March 8, 2017 at 9:56 am

    NORMAN SOLOMAN,

    An EXCELLENT article! I will immediately post it on FACEBOOK. Well-written, timely, and to the point. Your conclusion merits repetition:

    “”Let’s get a grip. Overwhelmingly, the achievements of thwarting democracy in America have been do-it-yourself operations. It’s about time that we give adequate credit to the forces perpetuating this country’s self-inflicted wounds to American democracy.

    To loosely paraphrase the beloved comic-strip character Pogo, when the subject is grievous damage to democracy at home, “We have met the ingenuity and it is U.S.” But we’re having a terrible time recognizing ourselves.””

    Dr. Bart Gruzalski, Professor Emeritus, Philosophy and Religion, Northeastern University, Boston, MA—the only philosophy Ph.D. I know who supports POTUS Trump and this article fits harmoniously with my recent book on Amazon on the Deep State (mainly intelligence agencies and their prostitute mouth-pieces) versus President Trump

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