Saturday, May 13, 2006


All these thought-police whispers here have me thinking in a creepy film noir vein these days, a state further catalyzed by the Catch-22 tactics of the NSA in the US, where:

"The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers security clearance." You can't investigate us because we don't give you permission to do so. The KGB was every bit as democratic.

A recent NEWSWEEK poll on domestic surveillance shows that “53 percent of Americans think the NSA’s surveillance program ‘goes too far in invading people’s privacy,’ while 41 percent see it as a necessary tool to combat terrorism.”

So all those Americans don't mind the government listening in and recording their phone calls for storage in "the largest database ever assembled in the world." I guess that in their phone conversations they didn't talk about TAXES or their JOBS or INVESTMENTS, POLITICS, BUSINESS PLANS, FAMILY SECRETS, AFFILIATIONS or such things, anything someone might someday be able to use against them in any way... If they did talk about such things, they'll always be talking about them, in all those stored files; you never know who might very much want to listen in, if the American equivalent of the Reichstag should ever go up in flames...

Told you it was film noir...


Other aspects:

"For instance, would a journalist covering national security be regarded as an 'ordinary American'? What about a political opponent or an anti-war activist who has criticized administration policies in the Middle East? Such 'unordinary' people might number in the tens of thousands, but perhaps not into the millions.

Also, isn’t it reasonable to suspect that the [...] administration would be tempted to tap into its huge database to, say, check on who might have been calling reporters [link added later; it's coming true] at the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker – or now USA Today – where significant national security stories have been published?

Or during Campaign 2004, wouldn’t the White House political apparatchiks have been eager to know whether, say, Sen. John Kerry had been in touch with foreign officials who might have confided that they were worried about Bush gaining a second term?

Or what about calls to and from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald while he investigates a White House leak of the identity of Valerie Plame, the CIA officer married to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, an Iraq War critic?

What if one of these 'unordinary' Americans had placed a lot of calls to an illicit lover or a psychiatrist? Wouldn’t Bush’s aggressive political operatives know just how to make the most of such information?"

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