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Warrantless Surveillance: al-Qaeda Calling
by Kurt Nimmo    Another Day in the Empire
Entered into the database on Thursday, August 24th, 2006 @ 12:59:36 MST


Untitled Document

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and thus clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. —H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

“Presidential adviser Karl Rove criticized a federal judge’s order for an immediate end to the government’s warrantless surveillance program, saying Wednesday such a program might have prevented the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,” reports the Associated Press. “Rove said the government should be free to listen if al-Qaida is calling someone within the U.S.”

Never mind the mountain of evidence demonstrating nine eleven was an inside job, Rove expects us to believe the phantom al-Qaeda is so stupid, even though it managed to have the U.S. military stand-down, that its operatives would make traceable phone calls to its sleeper cells in the United States. Of course, this is irrelevant, as the NSA has monitored international (and indeed domestic) phone calls for decades. In effect, Bush’s Brain is simply adding yet more spin to the neocon plan to erect a super-snoop apparatus in the United States and make lame apologies for this system by draping the specter of al-Qaeda on it. After all, who can complain about surrendering a few liberties when the end result is nipping al-Qaeda in the bud?

Meanwhile, we learn that whistleblowing the details of the snoop apparatus can be deadly. “Two whistleblowers—one in Italy, one in Greece—uncovered a secret bugging system installed in cell phones around the world. Both met with untimely ends. The resultant scandals have received little press in the United States, despite the profound implications for American critics of the Bush administration,” writes blogger Joseph Cannon. “Last month, Italian telecommunications security expert Adamo Bove either lept or was pushed from a freeway overpass; he left no note and had no history of depression. Last year (March, 2005), Greek telecommunications expert Costas Tsalikidis met with a similarly enigmatic end. Both had uncovered American attempts to eavesdrop on government officials, anti-war activists, and private businessmen.”

Telecom Italia, Bove revealed prior to his “suicide,” had installed illegal spyware on Italy’s largest communications system. As well, Bove “helped to uncover the unsettling relationship between SISMI chief Marco Mancini and Telecom Italia head Giuliano Tavaroli.” SISMI (Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare) is the military intelligence agency of Italy. In addition to proffering the absurd yellowcake forgery, snatched up by the neocon “cherry-picking” operation (i.e., a factory devised to manufacture lies) at work inside the Office of Special Plans in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion, the proto-fascist SISMI, in collaboration with NATO, unleashed Operation Gladio in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. According to General Gerardo Serravalle, commander of Gladio during the 1970s, the idea was to blow up train stations and engage in terrorism in order to “[f]ill the streets, creating a situation of such tension as to require military intervention” (see Martin A. Lee, The Beast Reawakens: Fascism’s Resurgence from Hitler’s Spymasters to Today’s Neo-Nazi Groups and Right-Wing Extremists, p. 206). Bove’s outing of Mancini and Tavaroli was enough to get him suicided.

As well, Costas Tsalikidis, an engineer for Vodaphone, Greece’s top telecommunications firm, had discovered “an extraordinarily sophisticated piece of spyware” installed on the Vodaphone network. “The Prime Minister and other top officials were targeted, along with Greek military officers, anti-war activists, various business figures,” writes Cannon. According to investigative journalists Paolo Pontoniere and Jeffrey Klein, cited by Cannon, the Vodaphone “eavesdropping was transmitted in real time via four antennae located near the U.S. embassy in Athens, according to an 11-month Greek government investigation. Some of these transmissions were sent to a phone in Laurel, Md., near America’s National Security Agency.” For the crime of revealing this information, Tsalikidis was found hanged in his apartment. His family does not accept the official explanation of suicide.

“The NSA is now tapping into the heart of the nation’s telephone network through direct access to key telecommunications switches that carry many of America’s daily phone calls and e-mail messages,” writes James Risen (State of War: the Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration). “Several government officials who know about the NSA operation have come forward to talk about it because they are deeply troubled by it, and they believe that by keeping silent they would become complicit in it. They strongly believe that the president’s secret order is in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable searches, and some of them believe that an investigation should be launched into the way the Bush administration has turned the intelligence community’s most powerful tools against the American people.”

Of course, this is nothing new, as the NSA has electronically snooped on Americans for decades, with more than a little help from telecoms. “Even before President Harry Truman established the NSA in a Cold War era directive in 1952, government cryptologists jumped in the domestic spy hunt with Operation Shamrock,” writes Earl Ofari Hutchinson.

That was a super secret operation that forced private telegraphic companies to turn over the telegraphic correspondence of Americans to the government. The NSA kicked its spy campaign into high gear in the 1960s. The FBI demanded that the NSA monitor antiwar activists, civil rights leaders, and drug peddlers. The Senate Select Committee that investigated government domestic spying in 1976 pried open a tiny public window into the scope of NSA spying. But the agency slammed the window shut fast when it refused to cough up documents to the committee that would tell more about its surveillance of Americans. The NSA claimed that disclosure would compromise national security. The few feeble Congressional attempts over the years to probe NSA domestic spying have gone nowhere. Even though rumors swirled that NSA eyes were riveted on more than a few Americans, Congressional investigators showed no stomach to fight the NSA’s entrenched code of silence.

So the question is, if the NSA has successfully maintained an “entrenched code of silence” for all these years, why are we learning details of the current program, supposedly unrivaled in its scope and application? Why is Rove commenting on the program, raising the admittedly lame and facile specter of Muslim cave dwellers (who, after all, may be using spyware cell phones) and the insistence the NSA listen in on their calls, leading at least some of us to conclude that if this is so, al-Qaeda is so clueless that a couple underpaid detectives in Cleveland, Ohio, would be able to track them down and bust them?

Because the state wants you to know it is watching, listening, and compiling a dossier, including the most mundane and pedestrian aspects of your life.

In Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, posters of Big Brother, “so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move,” are everywhere, sending a puissant and inescapable message—the state is all-knowing down to seemingly meaningless minutia. In Bushzarro world, mirroring Orwell’s imagined social dungeon, political thought crime renders one an enemy of the state, or more specifically, a terrorist, a minion and fellow traveler (or, as senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina characterizes it, a fifth columnist) of al-Qaeda and the dark forces of the axis of never ending evil at odds with our very way of life, our freedoms, as described and delineated by the state and sold by the multinational corporations dominating our social, cultural, and political existence.

The spyware in your Ericcsion cell phone is an extension of that corporate, in essence fascist, domination and control.


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