Tag Archives: Bradley Manning

If You See Something, Say Something

By Jill Dalton

rsz_1photo-28

I’m finding New York City harder and harder to deal with. First, I’m accosted by the “If you see something, say something” signs painted on the steps in the subway stations.  And once I’m on the train there’s the disembodied voice straight out of Orwell’s “1984” warning me, “If you see a suspicious package, we have the right to search all bags and backpacks; if you see something, say something;” and on and on it drones.  

And the other evening, as I exited from the 5th Avenue/Bryant Park stop I came upon two police officers standing by a table with a large sign that read, “We have the right to search your bags.”  I wanted to take a photo, but I was running short on time, and would have needed to situate myself so as to not be detected, so instead, I kept moving.  And then there are the ubiquitous security cameras I see everywhere, including in Central Park.   

It’s really all about fear isn’t it?  Be afraid.  “Be very afraid” is the message the security state wants to convey; because when people are afraid they’ll do anything to feel safe, including giving up their civil liberties.  The Soviets used this fear tactic in the 50’s, and then the Bush Administration incorporated this tactic into their propaganda bag of tricks.  Remember those red/orange/yellow terror alerts?  

And now the kinder, gentler face of American empire, the Obama Administration, uses fear to control us with their pathetic, lame excuses for massive spying on U.S. Citizens.  “Be afraid.  Yes, be very afraid.  After all, the terrorists are coming!  But we’re here to protect you.  We spy on you for your own good.” 

Really?  Is anyone actually buying this anymore? 

Since 9/11 the security state has systematically taken our civil liberties away, and Americans have barely uttered a whimper.  President George W. Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act into law on October 26, 2001. The title of the act is a ten letter bacronym that stands for Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing 

Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.  The act was in response to the September 11th World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.  According to Wikipedia the act,

significantly weakened restrictions on law enforcement agencies’ gathering of intelligence within the United States; expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA PATRIOT Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.

Then Obama extended three key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act on May 26, 2011:

roving wiretaps, searches of business records (“library records provision”), and conducting surveillance of “lone wolves” – individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorists groups.

photo-28After Bush was caught spying, the solution found and implemented was FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act).  But FISA has proved to be a rubber stamp—2,000 or more requests for domestic spying, and all but one was approved.

The NSA (National Security Agency) is caught spying on Americans and to rectify the situation “the senate passes the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) amendments act which overhaul government eves- dropping rules in terrorism and espionage cases, granting immunity to telecom companies that participated in domestic surveillance.  Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) votes for this bill.  — Washington Post

Once FISA was installed many of us assumed the spying had stopped.  Au contraire.  And now, so as not to be outdone, Obama has used the USA PATRIOT Act to illegally spy on Americans as well. 

Top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian illustrate what the FISA court actually does – and does not do – when purporting to engage in “oversight” over the NSA’s domestic spying. That process lacks many of the safeguards that Obama, the House GOP, and various media defenders of the NSA are trying to lead the public to believe exist. 

           No individualized warrants required under 2008 FISA law.

Glenn Greenwald, “FISA court oversight: a look inside a secret and empty process.  Obama and other NSA defenders insist there are robust limitations on surveillance but the documents show otherwise.”

After 9/11 Congress gave the government a blank check, and thus began the surveillance state.  Now 70% of this mass spying is privatized, with little or no government oversight.  They’ve built huge computers in Utah to house all the data.  Several whistleblowers have come forward to report the abuse, which included a spying program called Trailblazer that used $6 billion in taxpayer money and was a total bust.

I guess it’s not enough to have TSA scanners in airports radiate you; if you refuse to be radiated, never fear, some TSA lackey will gladly grope you.  I stopped flying soon after they infringed upon our 4th Amendment right of illegal search and seizure.

In New York we have the Stop and Frisk law, which is used to harass mainly black and Hispanic males anytime the police feel like it without probable cause.  This has resulted in racial profiling, illegal stops, and ignoring of privacy rights.  And guess what?  It’s only a matter of time before this draconian practice moves out into the rest of the population.  The privatized security state marches on, and the only word it knows is, “More!”  You see, to the corporate security state, we’re all potential terrorists.

Recently when Bloomberg was criticized over Stop and Frisk his response was, “ . . . I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. 

And then there’s the drone program, where we learn from The Washington Post: 

The FBI has received clearance from federal aviation officials to conduct drone surveillance operations in the United States on at least four occasions since 2010, according to public records and U.S. officials.

And if that isn’t disturbing enough, according to the same article, “Congress has directed the FAA to open domestic airspace to drones by 2015.”  

The ACLU has this to say about drones on their website: 

U.S. law enforcement is greatly expanding its use of domestic drones for surveillance. Routine aerial surveillance would profoundly change the character of public life in America. Rules must be put in place to ensure that we can enjoy the benefits of this new technology without bringing us closer to a “surveillance society” in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded, and scrutinized by the government. Drone manufacturers are also considering offering police the option of arming these remote-controlled aircraft with (nonlethal for now) weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas.

Numerous states are considering (and some have passed) legislation regulating the use of drones. You can see a chart summarizing the developments around the country here. Congress has ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to change airspace rules to make it much easier for police nationwide to use domestic drones, but the law does not include badly needed privacy protections. 

Turns out drone legislation has been, “proposed in 42 states, enacted in 5 states, and is still active in 29 states.”

 According to the New York Times article, “Rise of Drones in U.S. Drives Efforts to Limit Police Use.” 

A federal law enacted last year paved the way for drones to be used commercially and made it easier for government agencies to obtain them. The Department of Homeland Security offered grants to help local law enforcement buy them. Drone manufacturers began to market small, lightweight devices specifically for policing. Drones are already used to monitor movement on the United States’ borders and by a handful of police departments, and emergency services agencies around the country are just beginning to explore their uses.

Turns out Mayor Bloomberg is all for spying and having drones hovering above New York City.  He’s quoted as saying on his radio program, “Oh, it’s Big Brother; get used to it.”

Amazing how much disdain Mayor Bloomberg, President Obama and most of our elected officials have for civil liberties–other than their own, of course.  Seems they’re just not that into the Constitution.  It makes sense–the corporatists and their criminal buddies, who run the “too big to jail” banks, Wall Street, and the corporations that run our government–need drones to protect their self-interests.

Bloomberg brags, “I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world.”  Actually, they are nowhere near seventh; it’s more like ninety-seventh, but who’s counting?  According to Detective Abad Nieves’ “We are in the business of scaring people–we just want to scare the right people.” The NYPD has been rife with corruption, from rape to intimidation, harassing, pepper spraying, and beating Occupy protestors, as well as gunning down black teens over marijuana.  The NYPD has expanded into the largest police force in the U.S. with surveillance and military capabilities.

In an email published by WikiLeaks, an FBI official joked about how shocked Americans would be if they knew how egregiously the NYPD is stomping all over their civil liberties.

Check out “Nine terrifying facts about America’s biggest police force” by Tana Ganeva and Laura Gottesdiener.

So yes, Big Brother is alive and well, and flourishing in the U.S.  Our freedoms are systematically being stripped from us, our police forces militarized, and the NSA is data-mining every phone call, email and social network site, and all in the name of protecting us from terrorism.  You see, the powers that be know what’s coming.   As the economy gets worse for regular Americans, and climate change brings more disasters, and resources become less available the corporate security state is afraid of mass civil disobedience and unrest.

And if you have the unmitigated gall to actually report abuses of the corporate security state or the military industrial complex (Snowden, Manning, Assange, Drake, Greenwald, Hastings, etc.) you’ll be vilified, demeaned, and hunted down with the full intention of silencing and destroying you.  No one is off limits.  Seems real journalists (investigative reporters) are in the crosshairs as well.

The First Amendment to our Constitution protects freedom of the press.  Our press is supposed to report abuses by our government, but instead these talking heads who pose as reporters on TV are merely sycophants on the corporate tit.  And they not only spew the state’s propaganda, but condemn and openly chastise any reporting by real journalists who have the courage to stand up and speak truth to power.  And because of this new attack on journalists real sources have dried up according to Jane Mayer of The New Yorker.

1016086_203009483187100_2125593125_n

In Greenwald’s interview on Meet the Press, Dick Gregory accuses him of “aiding and abetting” and asks, why shouldn’t he (Greenwald) be charged with a crime?  And then there’s the recent untimely death of Michael Hastings (who wrote the famous Rolling Stone article on General Stanley McChrystal forcing McChrystal’s resignation), was met with much ridicule by many of these actors in the corporate media, calling themselves reporters, yet serving only to protect their overblown salaries and the status quo.

Glenn Greenwald and Snowden have really blown the cover off the whole corporate security surveillance police state that’s been covertly put into place.  And like many whistleblowers and journalists before them, they’re demonized by the security state and the corporate media whores posing as journalists.

And now that the cat’s out of the bag, so to speak, and the American people are outraged our senators cry fowl; “How could this happen?”  It happened because they voted for it and their outcry is merely posturing because they got caught. 

The NSA is not about protecting us from terrorists; it’s about protecting our corrupt security state from us.  And I for one will not go quietly into that good night.  So here’s to those of us who refuse to remain silent. 

Like Greenwald said in his talk to the 2013 Socialism Conference in Chicago 

Courage is contagious. If you take a courageous step as an individual, you will literally change the world because you will affect all sorts of people in your vicinity, and they will affect others, and they will affect others.  Never doubt your ability to change the world.

It doesn’t matter who you are as an individual or how formidable or powerful the institutions you want to challenge are.

He (Snowden) is a person with zero power, zero prestige, zero position, zero privilege, yet he, by himself, has literally changed the world.”

 Indeed, and so have you, Glenn Greenwald.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. —  Margaret Mead

So, to all the whistleblowers, truth tellers, real journalists, occupiers, and individuals who stand up and speak out about the injustices and cruelties being done in our name, I thank you.  I salute you.  I commend you.  I emulate you.  You give me hope.  It’s time to join with these great spirits in truth, justice, and peace.

 Fear not!  Like Greenwald said:

 You don’t need to be afraid.  Stand up to the US government, and be defiant, and exercise your constitutional rights.  Ultimately, we know we have rights we ought to exercise, and the only way they can go away is if we give in to fear.  Do not be afraid.

If you see something, say something.

1011012_548927535171066_886100711_n


 

Glenn Greenwald Speaks Out: Socialism 2013 Conference

Socialism 2013—Glenn Greenwald:  Courage is Contagious + Trnascript

Timeline of electronic surveillance under Bush and Obama from 2001 – 2013.

Michael Jackson:  Somebody’s Watching Me

Sometimes I Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me

Advertisements

Mr. President, I Want A “Divorce.”

By Jill Dalton

IMG_20111005_172946

 

 

I’m not sure when I first became aware of the term sociopath.  I feel like I’ve always known about it but never really knew what the term meant.  A couple of years ago I got curious and checked out The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout, PhD., from my local library.  In the book, Dr. Stout writes a list of the traits of a sociopath with the statement, “Chances are good you’re a sociopath if you possess three out of seven.”

 

 

  1. failure to conform to social norms
  2. 2.  deceitfulness, manipulativeness
  3. impulsivity, failure to plan ahead
  4. irritability, aggressiveness
  5. reckless disregard for the safety of self or others
  6. consistent irresponsibility
  7. lack of remorse after having hurt, mistreated or stolen from another person. 

This list got me to wondering if I knew any sociopaths and it brought me to my own backdoor.  My ex was extremely handsome and charming and could manipulate anyone, including me, to get what he wanted.  I’d long suspected something was off, but being the good girl and dutiful wife, I put him through law school, against my better judgment, only to be ditched, after seventeen years of marriage, as soon as he passed the bar exam.  Turns out he has three of the seven traits of a sociopath.

 Now, I realize I’m not the first woman to be dumped after putting a man through law or medical school.  But it was the way he handled it that shook me to my core.  I won’t bore you with the gory details.  Let’s suffice it to say he’d always had a coldness about him, a lack of empathy, and a strong sense of entitlement.  And then there was the charm.  According to Dr. Stout:

One of the most frequently observed of these traits is a glib and superficial charm that allows the true sociopath to seduce other people, figuratively or literally—a kind of glow or charisma that initially can make the sociopath seem more charming or more interesting than most of the normal people around him. 

Before reading Dr. Stout’s book I’d always thought of a sociopath as someone like Charlie Manson or John Wayne Gacy or a ruthless madman like Hitler, Saddam Hussein, or Idi Amin.  But it turns out there are many gradations of this antisocial personality disorder, beginning at the low end of the spectrum with narcissism.

I guess I ought to be grateful.  At least I didn’t put Ted Bundy through law school.  Once I made the realization regarding my ex, I began to look deeper into this disorder and what I learned is far more disturbing. 

According to Stout one in twenty-five people are sociopaths.  That’s 4% of the population.  Donald W. Black, MD, author of Bad Boys Bad Men, estimates 3-4 1/2% of the population may meet the criteria for this disorder.  We’re talking about one quarter of a billion people on the planet and at least eight and possibly as many as twelve million in the U.S. alone.   That’s a lot of people.  Most of us are not aware such a large number of them walk, live, and work among us.  Turns out they’re everywhere.  Some are in prison, some can’t hold jobs, but many of them are in high places in our society, from CEOs of large corporations to high positions in our government and the military.

2011-04-15 12.29.48

When I read the following statement in Dr. Stout’s book a chill ran down my spine:

 If you are born at the right time, with some access to family fortune, and have a special talent for whipping up other people’s hatred and sense of deprivation, you can arrange to kill large numbers of unsuspecting.  With enough money, you can accomplish this from far away and you can sit back safely and watch in satisfaction.  In fact, terrorism (done from a distance) is the ideal occupation for a person possessed of blood lust and no conscience, because if you do it just right, you may be able to make a whole nation jump.  And if that is not power, what is?

The first image that came to mind was George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the rest of their Murder, Inc. cohorts, conspiring and starting illegal wars based on lies, and with the help of the media banging the drums for war until, finally, the American people cried for revenge, even though Iraq and Saddam Hussein had no connection to 9/11.  Amazing how well their little shell game worked.  Seems people are easily manipulated especially when fear is applied.

But the Bush administration is no longer in charge.  We now have a kinder gentler face of empire.  The velvet glove with the silver tongued president.  Obama came into office promising hope and change and transparency.  He promised to fight the “good” war.  But now five years later he’s expanded the wars.  And according to Jeremy Scahill’s film, “Dirty Wars,” we’re entangled in illegal covert actions across the globe.

We’ve learned Obama enjoys holding his “Terror Tuesdays,” where he decides who will live or die, and without due process.  He is prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner, all in one. And then there’s his fascination with drone warfare, and using the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) as his own private military unit.  According to Scahill, JSOC is currently in one hundred countries where they engage in covert actions and drone strikes, become attached to local forces to hunt individuals, run night raids and who knows what else.  There’s also a program called Find, Fix and Finish where they target, fix their pattern, and finish them off.  Obama is deeply involved in the third F, or Finish.

Here we have a commander-in-chief who has never served in the armed forces, never served his country on the battlefield, but yet is filled with blood lust.  He has a private “kill list” and has ordered the assassination of four American citizens (that we know of) without due process.  In fact, after ordering the assassination of the American cleric Anwar Awlaki, he then ordered the assassination of his 15-year-old son who hadn’t seen his father in years, Obama ordered him killed for who he might become.  This makes the Thought Police from Orwell’s 1984 look like good Samaritans.

Stout asks, “Why do we allow leaders who are motivated by self-interest, or by their own psychological issues from the past, to fan bitterness and political crisis into armed confrontation and war?”

Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report refers to Obama as the “more effective evil.”  I have to agree with that assessment.  Obama has neutered the anti-war movement, the faux liberals, and the African American community.  If a Republican president were doing these things there’d be a huge outcry, but now there’s barely a whimper from anyone.  Obama has managed to make this form of murder acceptable and assassination without evidence normal.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want innocent civilians murdered in my name nor do I wish to live in a surveillance police state.  And now thanks to Edward Snowden, the jig is up and Obama’s been caught with his proverbial pants down, so to speak, and he’s trying to Gaslight the American people.  We ought to be discussing these draconian unconstitutional practices not obsessing over where Snowden is.

FascismSymbal

After 9/11 Congress gave the government a blank check, and thus began the surveillance state.  Now 70% of this mass spying is privatized, with little or no government oversight.  They’ve built huge computers in Utah to house all the data.  Several whistleblowers have come forward to report the abuse, which included a spying program called Trailblazer that used $6 billion in taxpayer money and was a total bust.

Top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian illustrate what the Fisa court actually does – and does not do – when purporting to engage in “oversight” over the NSA’s domestic spying. That process lacks many of the safeguards that Obama, the House GOP, and various media defenders of the NSA are trying to lead the public to believe exist. 

No individualized warrants required under 2008 Fisa law.

Glenn Greenwald, “Fisa court oversight: a look inside a secret and empty process.  Obama and other NSA defenders insist there are robust limitations on surveillance but the documents show otherwise.”

And woe be unto the person who dares to stand up to the lies, hypocrisy, abuse, waste, and illegal activity of our government or the military industrial complex.  Obama has prosecuted twice as many whistleblowers under the 1917 Espionage Act as all other presidents combined.  Just take a look at what happens to those who have the courage to speak truth to power.  Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake, Michael Hastings, Abdulelah Haider Shaye, to name a few, are under attack, on the run, in prison, or dead.

And what about the unbridled assault on our civil liberties?  Obama, made it legal to use the U.S. military on its own citizens, signed the NDAA into law, and now any American can be tossed into a gulag, indefinitely, without due process.

Look, it ain’t easy but I finally cut my losses and divorced my narcissist of a husband and it’s time for the American people to “divorce” Obama.  I know we all love our bad boys, but how much longer will we allow his lying, hypocrisy, mass murder, assassinations of U.S. citizens, and siphoning off our civil liberties, all in the name of protecting us from the “boogieman?”  Seems to me the real enemy is sitting in the Oval office playing God, and needs to be stopped.

Like any addiction, it will be painful at first, but believe me; once the fog clears we’ll feel a whole lot better.  You’ll thank yourself or me for this intervention.  And our children and grand children will thank us and the world will breathe a collective sigh of relief.

But first we must stop with the excuses.  I made excuses for my sociopath of a husband–as well as Obama for the first couple of years he was in office–but after awhile I had to face the facts: if I didn’t get out of the relationship I was going down.  And guess what?  We’re all going down if we don’t do something, and fast.  These guys have no conscience and no empathy and that’s what makes them so dangerous.  Their narcissism only keeps them focused on what’s good for them!

It appears our society not only reveres these sociopaths, we actually celebrate and look up to them and this sick form of hero worship is killing us.  Seems we’ve undergone a sort of mass hypnosis.  Or have Americans just turned into zombies or the walking dead?  I ask you, is this any way to live? 

“We’re seeing an unprecedented epidemic of depression in our society,” says Dr. Andrew Weil.  “More people are being diagnosed with depression than ever, including millions of children.  The latest statistics I’ve seen are that more than one in ten Americans is on prescribed antidepressant medication.”  

By the way, the best antidote for depression is action, but are we so brainwashed and lazy we can no longer think for ourselves?  Are we just boiling frogs?  Will we, like the Germans after WWII, feign, “I didn’t know.”

I also realize Obama’s not really in charge.  He’s merely following orders from his corporate puppet masters, Wall Street, and the military industrial complex.  I also know there’s no two party system; there’s only one party and that’s the corporate party that serves the corporations, the “too big to jail” banks, Wall Street, and the MIC.  So you see, we’re screwed unless we act and act soon.  The noose is tightening.  The time is nigh.  The circumstances are dire.  If not now, then when? 

Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.    George Orwell

Here’s a short (37 minutes) but informative video, Defense Against the Psychopath, on how to spot and deal with psychopaths.

My companion blog, Is Obama the Trojan Horse, a Psychopath, a Bad Boyfriend or all Three?was published on January 6, 2012.

And now a shameless plug.  My eBook, Is It Fascism Yet? is available on Amazon.

LIBERTY_Torch4$ale