Just like the crushing of a child’s testicles can be interpreted to be “legal” within the context of the dictatorial power of the unitary executive as former Bush-Cheney lawyer John Yoo once infamously declared but now all of that NSA mass surveillance and data-mining is “legal” now too. In a resounding endorsement of the unconstitutional abuses of the American Stasi the “independent” Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board – which happens to reside within the executive branch and was formed in 2004 after 9/11 or ‘the day when everything changed’ has issued a report that is being touted by defenders of the corrupt US power structure as vindication for the programs that NSA whistleblower revealed. George Orwell was definitely an optimist in that he never could have foreseen his grim visions of a savage totalitarian society so meshed with the circus maximus that is the USA!, USA! USA!
According to a story from The Guardian entitled “Some NSA data collection is ‘legal and effective’, says independent board” , I excerpt the following:
An independent board has declared a set of National Security Agency data collection programs both “legal and effective in protecting national security”, despite expressing concern about “intrusions” into individuals’ privacy.
As the NSA’s troves of ostensibly foreign emails and Americans’ international communications come under heavy scrutiny, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board dealt the NSA a victory on Tuesday night by calling the information reaped “valuable”. It pointedly rejected similar claims for the bulk collection of US call data in a January report.
Under the so-called “702 program” – named after section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act of 2008 – the NSA can harvest large amounts of ostensibly foreign digital information, including Americans’ international communications.
In another vindication for the NSA, the PCLOB assessed that the NSA’s massive amounts of data collected under section 702 is not “bulk” collection, describing itself as “impressed with the rigor” of government surveillance targeting.
The NSA defends its Prism and “upstream” communications troves long after it has accepted divestiture of US phone records. Representatives from the intelligence agencies and the Obama administration sternly defend both the legality and the wisdom of retaining those content and metadata databases as a measure to defend the US against terrorism, espionage and even crime.
The PCLOB is “independent” alright – in the same way that a Tony Soprano ordered internal audit of the Bada Bing Club conducted by Paulie Walnuts and Christopher Moltisanti would be and this is just pure damage control, pails of whitewash being applied to our nearly fully evolved fascist state and indicative of a concerted effort to make all of the NSA bad publicity just go away.
The rogue establishment is riding high too, especially after at least temporarily quashing that much heralded Glenn Greenwald piece, conducting a mafia style knee-capping on the journalist while he was busy doing his victory lap after the Polk Award, the Pulitzer Prize and his best-selling book on the Snowden revelations “No Place to Hide”. There are probably high-fives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Fort Meade NSA Stasi HQ and throughout the national surveillance state, tax-dollar eating great parasite after Greenwald was forced by the government (and likely his billionaire boss Pierre Omidyar whose money funds neo-Nazi atrocities in Ukraine) to pour water over the “fireworks”. The preemption of the Greenwald story is likely going to be a mortal wound to the fledgling website The Intercept as well as his long-term reputation itself. This is a shame because the man had stones in standing up to Uncle Scam and his murderous machine of plunder and oppression but you can really only push things so far if you are working within the establishment.
So the state-corporate media will continue to trumpet the “legal” NSA surveillance just as they covered up the same sort of torture techniques that had members of the Nazi command and the Japanese Empire hanged after war crimes trials at the end of World War II – the end of a bygone era when there was actually some moral clarity in this country.
And the “legalization” comes just in time for those patriotic Fourth of July BBQ’s where Americans will drink beer, ingest Pink Slime laced hamburgers and dance the slow grind to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” as though it were our own equivalent of “The Horst Wessel Song”.
They will also be enjoying the fireworks – too bad that they won’t be the ones that Glenn Greenwald promised.