Tag Archive for Surveillance State

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The Courage from Whistle-blowing

Former National Security Agency official William Binney sitting in the offices of Democracy Now! in New York City. (Photo credit: Jacob Appelbaum)

Exclusive: Courage, like cowardice, can grow when an action by one person influences decisions by others, either toward bravery or fear. Thus, the gutsy whistle-blowing by some NSA officials inspired Edward Snowden to expose mass data collection on all Americans, recalls ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

Global Angst over US Secrecy Fetish

Poster in support of Pvt. Bradley Manning, posted in Washington D.C.'s Metro system.

With the reach of U.S. surveillance now global – and with the U.S. military deployed all over the world – anger at President Obama’s unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers who disclose the U.S. government’s abuses and crimes has gone international, as this Norwegian opinion piece by Victor Wallis shows.

How Technology Kills Democracy

Barack Obama, then President-elect, and President George W. Bush at the White House during the 2008 transition.

In shutting down whistleblowing and investigative journalism on national security issues, the U.S. government can use its technology to determine who is speaking to whom and then use that metadata as evidence of leaks, a chilling new reality that endangers democracy, writes Norman Solomon.

Jeffrey Sterling’s Selective Prosecution

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling.

Exclusive: The leak conviction of ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling exposed a range of double standards, from how the spy agency treats African-Americans to how favored officials like Gen. David Petraeus get a pass while others get prison, an issue now before President Obama, writes Chelsea Gilmour.

CIA and the Drug Business

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Special Report: The corrupt connections between U.S. intelligence and drug enforcement go back more than seven decades as American spies and drug investigators routinely crossed paths and collaborated — with the interests of average citizens never high on the agenda, as author Douglas Valentine describes.

Standing Up for Truth and Ben Franklin

Daniel Ellsberg, Norman Solomon, Jesselyn Radack, Coleen Rowley and Thomas Drake on June 7, 2015, in front of Benjamin Franklin dedication of Kongresshalle in Berlin, Germany. (Photo credit: Johanna Hullar)

Because of the excessive secrecy exercised by the U.S. government, whistleblowing has become a necessity for American democracy, a reality that struck home to former FBI official Coleen Rowley and other whistleblowers as they encountered Benjamin Franklin’s words in Germany.

Hiding Facts to Thwart Democracy

President George W. Bush announcing the start of his invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003.

Over-classification of U.S. government information is a grave threat to the Republic, giving politicians and bureaucrats the power to hide facts that aren’t really sensitive but are vital to a meaningful public debate, such as the IG report on President Bush’s surveillance program, says ex-NSA analyst Kirk Wiebe.

The Oversold ‘USA Freedom Act’

Photo of (left to right) Kirk Wiebe, Coleen Rowley, Raymond McGovern, Daniel Ellsberg, William Binney, Jesselyn Radack, and Thomas Drake by Kathleen McClellan (@McClellanKM) via Twitter

Some civil liberties groups praised the USA Freedom Act for its modest nips at the Surveillance State, but whistleblowers from inside the U.S. government were more skeptical about the law’s very slight accomplishments, writes Norman Solomon.

Journalists Who Hate Whistleblowers

David Gregory, host of NBC's Meet the Press.

A disturbing trend in mainstream U.S. media is how many “star” journalists side with the government in its persecution of whistleblowers – and even disdain fellow reporters who expose secret wrongdoing, an attitude that is destroying what’s left of American democracy, as John Hanrahan explains.

Seeing the Stasi Through NSA Eyes

Former National Security Agency official William Binney (foreground) and other veteran intelligence professionals watching a video feed from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. (Photo credit: Silkie Carlo)

In January when former Western intelligence officials, including from the U.S. National Security Agency, toured the old offices of East Germany’s Stasi, it was a look back into a dystopian past but also a chilling reminder of how far modern surveillance has come in the past quarter century, writes Silkie Carlo.