ACTION ALERT: Trans-Pacific Partnership: A Tool for a Corporate Coup against Democracy
June 22, 2013
George Washington / ZeroHedge.com & Representative Alan Grayson / US Congress
Analysis: Uncle Sam is receiving information about every phone call that you make (as the NSA concedes), and Uncle Sam has access every other electronic communication of yours, including your e-mails and web browsing and storing it all (which the NSA disputes), then yes, Big Brother is Watching You. I think that it's wrong, and it has to end.
ACTION ALERT: Click here for freedom:
First Congressman Allowed to Read Secret Treaty Says:
"This... Hands the Sovereignty of Our Country Over to Corporate Interests"
George Washington / ZeroHedge.com
(June 19, 2012) -- We reported last year:
Democratic Senator Wyden -- the head of the committee, which is supposed to oversee it -- is so furious about the lack of access that he has introduced legislation to force disclosure.
Republican House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is so upset by it that he has leaked a document on his website to show what's going on.
What is everyone so furious about?
An international treaty being negotiated in secret which would not only crack down on Internet privacy much more than SOPA or ACTA, but would actually destroy the sovereignty of the US and all other signatories.
It is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Wyden is the chairman of the trade committee in the Senate ... the committee which is supposed to have jurisdiction over the TPP.
Wyden is also on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and so he and his staff have high security clearances and are normally able to look at classified documents.
And yet Wyden and his staff have been denied access to the TPP's text.
Indeed, the decision to keep the text of TPP secret was itself classified as secret:
(I have also received a tip from a credible inside source that TPP contains provisions, which would severely harm America's national security. Specifically, like some previous, ill-conceived treaties, TPP would allow foreign companies to buy sensitive American assets which could subject us to terror attacks or economic blackmail.)
Yesterday, Congressman Alan Grayson (who knows how to read legislation ... he was a successful lawyer before he was elected to Congress, and has written and co-sponsored numerous bills himself including the bill to audit the Federal Reserve and -- most recently -- the "Mind Your Own Business Act" to stop NSA spying) announced that he had been allowed to read the text of TPP -- and that it is an anti-American power grab by big corporations:
Last month, 10,000 of us submitted comments to the United States Trade Representative (USTR), in which we objected to new so-called free trade agreements. We asked that the government not sell out our democracy to corporate interests.
[See Rep. Grayson's complete statement below.]
Having seen what I've seen, I would characterize this as a gross abrogation of American sovereignty. And I would further characterize it as a punch in the face to the middle class of America. I think that's fair to say from what I've seen so far. But I'm not allowed to tell you why!
Remember that one of the best definitions of fascism -- the one used by Mussolini -- is the "merger of state and corporate power". Our nation has been moving in that direction for a number of years, where government and giant corporations are becoming more and more intertwined in a malignant, symbiotic relationship. TPP would be the nail in the coffin for free market economics and democracy.
Note to progressives who support public banking: This is a key battle.
Note to those who oppose to what they call "one world government" or a "new world order": This is the big fight.
Uncle Sam = Big Brother?
Hon. Alan Grayson / US House of Representatives
(June 18, 2013) -- In George Orwell's novel 1984, "Big Brother" is the dictator of Oceania. No one knows whether Big Brother is a real person, or simply the personification of the dictatorship. Big Brother spies on every citizen through "telescreens." Everyone is reminded constantly, "Big Brother is Watching You."
Let's compare that to the recent revelations about the Orwellian-named National Security Agency (NSA), an arm of the US Department of Defense. News reports in the Guardian and the Washington Post have uncovered a secret court order dated April 23, 2013, issued to Verizon. Verizon is the largest cell phone company in America.
The court order requires Verizon to give to the NSA "all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata' created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls." "Call detail records" are records of who you called, when you called, and how long you spoke.
The court order in the news reports is classified, and it's marked "Declassify on: April 12, 2038."
There is no reason to think that the NSA singled out Verizon. So that implies that the NSA is collecting records of every telephone call that you and I make, even local telephone calls. In fact, Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who worked at the NSA, told reporters that he could get the records for the calls from the President's own personal cell phone.
The NSA has not denied that it is collecting call records on every America. On the contrary, the NSA sees nothing wrong with it.
I see three fundamental problems with this:
1. This is worse than the proverbial "fishing expedition"; this is like putting the entire ocean through a sieve. It makes a mockery of the Fourth Amendment's requirement that government searches be "particular."
2. This assumes not only that everyone is guilty until proven innocent, but that everyone is guilty. The Fourth Amendment limits searches to cases of "probable cause," meaning that a prudent and cautious person would reasonably believe that the search will yield evidence of a crime. Obviously, most phone records have absolutely nothing to do with the commission of any crime.
3. Providing this information to the Department of Defense violates the fundamental principle that our military does not operate on American soil, against American citizens. That principle has been embodied in law since the 1870s. From this perspective, providing this personal call record information to DoD is no different from providing it to the CIA -- another agency that is not allowed to operate on US soil.
The news reports also reprinted five pages from an NSA PowerPoint presentation about the NSA's "Prism" program. According to that NSA presentation, the NSA collects information "directly from the servers of these US Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple."
"What information?" you may wonder. This information, according to the NSA presentation: "E-mail, Chat-video, voice, Videos, Photos, Stored data, VoIP [Voice over Internet Protocol], File transfers, Video Conferencing, Notifications of target activity -- logins, etc., Online Social Networking details [and] Special Requests."
The PowerPoint presentation in the news reports is classified, and it's marked "Declassify On: 20360901" (Meaning Sept. 1, 2036.)
The plain meaning of this, in the context of the presentation, is that the NSA is pulling unlimited amounts of e-mails from Microsoft's hosted Hotmail accounts, e-mails from Google's hosted Gmail accounts, search records from Google's search servers, private "friend" communications from Facebook's servers, the content of telephone calls from Skype's VoIP service, etc., etc.
Regarding the Prism program, despite what the presentation specifically states, the NSA contends that it cannot actually collect information directly from the servers of all those Internet service providers.
The NSA also has put out that it collects such information (e-mails, photos, call content, etc.) only for foreigners not residing in the United States.
Honestly, I don't know how the NSA could do that in any reliable manner, because Google, Microsoft, Facebook and all the others have no way of knowing your citizenship or your residence. But that's what the NSA is saying.
The bottom line is that the NSA evidently is getting call information on virtually every phone call by virtually every American, it is definitely getting the e-mails and call content of foreigners, and it may or may not be getting the e-mails and call content of Americans.
So is Uncle Sam actually Big Brother? I won't dwell on the convoluted intimate relations that would be necessary to make your uncle also your brother. Rather, as noted above, the essence of Big Brother was that "Big Brother is Watching You."
Uncle Sam isn't physically observing you at all times -- that much is true. But if Uncle Sam is receiving information about every phone call that you make (as the NSA concedes), and Uncle Sam has access every other electronic communication of yours, including your e-mails and web browsing and storing it all (which the NSA disputes), then yes, Big Brother is Watching You.
I think that it's wrong, and it has to end. As do the 13,000 people in 24 hours who signed the petition supporting our legislation at http://MindYourOwnBusinessAct.com/. Because we can't protect our freedom by destroying it.
I understand that there may be some people who see no problem in the Department of Defense monitoring their communications. I also understand that there are some people who have been so traumatized, so terrorized, by terrorism that they are willing to give up all of their freedom -- all of everyone's freedom -- for the promise of some safety. I am not one of those people.
"Ain't the pictures enough, why do you go through so much,
To get the story you need, so you can bury me.
You've got the people confused. You tell the stories you choose.
You try to get me to lose the man I really am.
-- Michael Jackson, "Privacy" (2001).
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