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8391NEWS -- 2014.01.22.Wednesday

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  • James Martin
    Jan 22, 2014
      1) Obama’s Lies, NSA Spies, and the Sons of Liberty: Will You Choose Dangerous Freedom or Peaceful Slavery?
      2) Former NSA whistleblowers plead for chance to brief Obama on agency abuses
      3) Snowden to ask Russian police for protection after US threats – lawyer
      4) Dallas First Baptist Pastor: Obama not the Antichrist – he's just clearing the way
       
       
      Extra Credit
      Chris Hedges, Truthdig
       
       
      1)
      The only thing that George Orwell was wrong about was the number of the year. --->
       

      Obama’s Lies, NSA Spies, and the Sons of Liberty: Will You Choose Dangerous Freedom or Peaceful Slavery?

      By John W. Whitehead

      “All governments are run by liars.”—Independent journalist I.F. “Izzy” Stone

      January 21, 2014 "Information Clearing House - President Obama has managed, with singular assistance from Congress and the courts, to mangle the Constitution through repeated abuses, attacks and evasions.

      This is nothing new, as I’ve documented in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. However, with his recent speech on the National Security Agency—a heady cocktail of lies, obfuscations, contradictions and Orwellian doublespeak—Obama has also managed to pervert and propagandize our nation’s history, starting with Paul Revere and the Sons of Liberty, likening their efforts to secure our freedoms to NSA phone surveillance. Frankly, George Orwell’s Winston Smith, rewriting news stories for Big Brother and the Ministry of Truth, couldn’t have done a better job of revising history to suit the party line.

      While it didn’t bode well for what was to follow, here’s how Obama opened his speech:

      “At the dawn of our Republic, a small, secret surveillance committee borne out of the ‘The Sons of Liberty’ was established in Boston. And the group’s members included Paul Revere. At night, they would patrol the streets, reporting back any signs that the British were preparing raids against America’s early Patriots. Throughout American history, intelligence has helped secure our country and our freedoms.”

      Obama’s inference is clear: rather than condemning the NSA for encroaching on our privacy rights, we should be commending them for helping to “secure our country and our freedoms.” Never mind that the Sons of Liberty were actually working against the British government, to undermine what they perceived as a repressive regime guilty of perpetrating a host of abuses against the colonists.

      After such a 1984-esque send-up, it doesn’t even really matter what else Obama had to say in his speech about NSA reforms and the like. Rest assured, it was largely a pack of lies. Mind you, Obama said it eloquently enough and interspersed it with all the appropriately glib patriotic remarks about individual freedom and the need to defend the Constitution and securing the life of our nation while preserving our liberties. After all, Obama has proven to be very good at saying one thing and doing another, whether it’s insisting that “you can keep your health care plan,” that he’ll close Guantanamo, or that his administration’s controversial drone strikes only target terrorists and not civilians.

      When it comes to the NSA, Obama has been lying to the American people for quite some time now. There was the time he claimed the secret FISA court is “transparent.” Then he insisted that “we don’t have a domestic spying program.” And then, to top it all off, he actually insisted there was no evidence the NSA was “actually abusing” its power. As David Sirota writes for Salon: “it has now become almost silly to insinuate or assume that the president hasn’t also been lying. Why? Because if that’s true — if indeed he hasn’t been deliberately lying — then it means he has been dangerously, irresponsibly and negligently ignorant of not only the government he runs, but also of the news breaking around him.”

      Sirota continues:

      I, of course, don’t buy that at all. I don’t buy that a constitutional lawyer and legal scholar didn’t know that the FISA court is secret — aka the opposite of “transparent.” I don’t buy that he simply didn’t see any of the news showing that spying is happening in the United States. And I don’t buy that he didn’t know that there is evidence — both public and inside his own administration — of the NSA “actually abusing” its power.

      I don’t buy any of that because, to say the least, it makes no sense. I just don’t buy that he’s so unaware of the world around him that he made such statements from a position of pure ignorance. On top of that, he has a motive. Yes, Obama has an obvious political interest in trying to hide as much of his administration’s potentially illegal behavior as possible, which means he has an incentive to calculatedly lie. For all of these reasons, it seems safe to suggest that when it comes to the NSA situation, the president seems to be lying.

      So in terms of Obama’s latest speech on the NSA, if you read between the lines—or just ignore the president’s words and pay attention to his actions—it’s clear that nothing is going to change. The NSA will continue to abuse its power by spying on Americans’ phone calls and emails. They will continue to collect metadata on our various communications and activities. And they will continue to carry out their surveillance in secret, with no attempts at transparency or accountability.

      The NSA will do so, no matter what Obama claims to the contrary, because this black ops-funded agency whose very existence is abhorrent to the Constitution has become a power unto itself. They no longer work for us or for the president, for that matter. He works for them.

      Remember, Obama is the chief executive of a super secretive surveillance state whose overarching purpose is to remain in power by any means available. As such, he and his surveillance state cohorts have far more in common with King George and the British government of his day than with the American colonists who worked hard to foment a rebellion and overthrow a despotic regime.

      Indeed, Obama and his speechwriters would do well to brush up on their history. In doing so, they will find that the Sons of Liberty, the “small, secret surveillance committee” they conveniently liken to the NSA, was in fact an underground, revolutionary movement that fought the established government of its day, whose members were considered agitators, traitors and terrorists not unlike Edward Snowden.

      In much the same way that the U.S. government under the leadership of Barack Obama is today going after whistleblowers and activists who oppose their tactics, the British government went after the Sons of Liberty. These people were neither career politicians nor government bureaucrats. Instead, they were mechanics, merchants, artisans and the like—ordinary people groaning under the weight of Britain’s oppressive rule—who, having reached a breaking point, had decided that enough was enough. Through the use of Committees of Correspondence, they alerted the colonists to the abuses being meted out by the British crown by way of pamphlets, speeches and resolutions, inciting them to actively resist the acts of oppression, and conspiring with them to revolt.

      The colonists’ treatment at the hands of the British was not much different from the abuses meted out to the American people today: they too were taxed on everything from food to labor without any real say in the matter, in addition to which they had their homes invaded, their property seized and searched, their families terrorized, their communications, associations and activities monitored, and their attempts to defend themselves and challenge the government’s abuses dismissed as belligerence, treachery, and sedition.

      Unlike most Americans today, who remain ignorant of the government’s abuses, cheerfully distracted by the entertainment spectacles trotted out before them by a complicit media, readily persuaded that the government has their best interests at heart, and easily cowed by the slightest show of force, the colonists responded to the government’s abuses with outrage, activism and rebellion. They staged boycotts of British goods and organized public protests, mass meetings, parades, bonfires and other demonstrations, culminating with their most famous act of resistance, the Boston Tea Party.

      On the night of December 16, 1773, a group of men dressed as Indians boarded three ships that were carrying tea. Cheered on by a crowd along the shore, they threw 342 chests of tea overboard in protest of a tax on the tea. Many American merchants were aghast at the wanton destruction of property. A town meeting in Bristol, Massachusetts, condemned the action. Ben Franklin even called on his native city to pay for the tea and apologize. But as historian Pauline Maier notes, the Boston Tea Party was a last resort for a group of people who had stated their peaceful demands but were rebuffed by the British: “The tea resistance constituted a model of justified forceful resistance upon traditional criteria.”

      The rest, as they say, is history. Yet it’s a history we cannot afford to forget or allow to be rewritten. The colonists suffered under the weight of countless tyrannies before they finally were emboldened to stand their ground. They attempted to reason with the British crown, to plea their cause, even to negotiate. It was only when these means proved futile that they resorted to outright resistance, civil disobedience and eventually rebellion.

      More than 200 years later, we are once again suffering under a long train of abuses and usurpations. What Americans today must decide is how committed they are to the cause of freedom and how far they’re willing to go to restore what has been lost. Nat Hentoff, one of my dearest friends and a formidable champion of the Constitution, has long advocated for the resurgence of Committees of Correspondence. As Nat noted:

      This resistance to arrant tyranny first became part of our heritage when Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty formed the original Committees of Correspondence, a unifying source of news of British tyranny throughout the colonies that became a precipitating cause of the American Revolution. Where are the Sons of Liberty, the Committees of Correspondence and the insistently courageous city councils now, when they are crucially needed to bring back the Bill of Rights that protect every American against government tyranny worse than King George III’s? Where are the citizens demanding that these doorways to liberty be opened … What are we waiting for?

      What are we waiting for, indeed? As Thomas Jefferson said, “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”

      This article was originally published at Rutherford Institute.

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      My comment ---
      The Rutherford Institute is on the right side of the political divide.  John Whitehead writes some strong stuff.
      Obama needs to wake up. 
      But when he does wake up, Whitehead won't be happy then either.
       
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      and
       
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      2)

      Former NSA whistleblowers plead for chance to brief Obama on agency abuses

      Published time: January 08, 2014
       
      A group of former National Security Agency insiders who went on to become whistleblowers have written a letter to President Barack Obama, requesting a meeting with him to offer “a fuller picture” of the spy agency’s systemic problems.

      The group of four intelligence specialists - William Binney, Thomas Drake, Edward Loomis and Kirk Wiebe - who worked at the NSA for “a total of 144 years, most of them at senior levels” stressed in the letter the need for Obama to address what they’ve seen as abuses that violated Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights and that have made proper, effective intelligence gathering more difficult.

      “What we tell you in this Memorandum is merely the tip of the iceberg,” the group, calling themselves the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), wrote. “We are ready – if you are – for an honest conversation. That NSA’s bulk collection is more hindrance than help in preventing terrorist attacks should be clear by now despite the false claims and dissembling.”

      The group criticized the NSA for its vast data collection policies, which they say bars the agency from effectively tracking actual terror plots in advance, such as the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013.

      The “NSA is drowning in useless data lacking adequate privacy provisions, to the point where it cannot conduct effective terrorist-related surveillance and analysis,” they write. “A recently disclosed internal NSA briefing document corroborates the drowning, with the embarrassing admission, in bureaucratese, that NSA collection has been ‘outpacing’ NSA’s ability to ingest, process, and store data – let alone analyze the take.”

      The letter ridicules current and former intelligence community leaders like Director of National Intelligence James Clapper - for lying to Congress - and current NSA director Keith Alexander and its former chief Michael Hayden for purposely distorting the efficiency and vitality of the agency’s surveillance programs.

      “Surely you intuit that something is askew when NSA Director Keith Alexander testifies to Congress that NSA’s bulk collection has ‘thwarted’ 54 terrorist plots and later, under questioning, is forced to reduce that number to one, which cannot itself withstand close scrutiny. And surely you understand why former NSA Director and CIA Director Michael Hayden protests too much and too often on Fox News and CNN, and why he and House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers publicly suggest that whistleblower Edward Snowden be put on your Kill List.”

      “Does a blind loyalty prevail in your White House to the point where, 40 years after Watergate, there is not a single John Dean to warn you of a “cancer on the presidency?” Have none of your lawyers reminded you that “electronic surveillance of private citizens … subversive of constitutional government” was one of the three Articles of Impeachment against President Richard Nixon approved by a bipartisan 28 to 10 vote of the House Judiciary Committee on July 27, 1974?”

      The VIPS letter indicates the combined insight and expertise of these respected intelligence analysts - all ridiculed and some prosecuted after calling attention to NSA abuses years before anyone had heard of former NSA contractor and leaker Edward Snowden - can be important in the face of an establishment community in Washington seeking to shelter the mass surveillance programs in question.

      “Given the closed circle surrounding you, we are allowing for the possibility that the smell from these rotting red herrings has not yet reached you – even though your own Review Group has found, for example, that NSA’s bulk collection has thwarted exactly zero terrorist plots,” they write, referring to an Obama-appointed panel that was tasked with reviewing NSA procedures."

      “The sadder reality, Mr. President, is that NSA itself had enough information to prevent 9/11, but chose to sit on it rather than share it with the FBI or CIA. We know; we were there. We were witness to the many bureaucratic indignities that made NSA at least as culpable for pre-9/11 failures as are other U.S. intelligence agencies.”

      The VIPS revisit much of the information already reported, including the case of NSA senior executive Drake’s attempts to convince agency heads that a program developed by Binney should have been used for crucial intelligence gathering. THINTHREAD, produced for a relatively small amount of money shortly before the 9/11 attacks, sorted information without violating the Fourth Amendment or NSA’s privacy standards, the VIPS write.

      But instead, then-NSA director Michael Hayden chose a different program, STELLARWIND, produced by defense contractors that cost billions of dollars while violating Fourth Amendment and privacy rights. Drake sounded the alarm, continuing to push for THINTHREAD use even after all its developers left the NSA in October 2011. In his steady support for the discarded program, he found out how much actionable intelligence the NSA had legally gathered that could have thwarted the 9/11 attacks, he says.

      Upon being asked to prepare a report at the request of Congress on the NSA’s knowledge of the 9/11 plot and hijackers before September 11, 2001, Drake says the agency decided to balk at taking any responsibility.

      “After a couple of weeks [SIGINT chief Maureen] Baginski rejected my draft team Statement for the Record report and removed me from the task,” Drake writes. “When I asked her why, she said there was a ‘data integrity problem’ (not further explained) with my draft Statement for the Record. I had come upon additional damaging revelations. For example, NSA had the content of telephone calls between AA-77 hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar in San Diego, CA, and the known al-Qaeda safe house switchboard in Yemen well before 9/11, and had not disseminated that information beyond NSA.”

      “In short, when confronted with the prospect of fessing up, NSA chose instead to obstruct the 9/11 congressional investigation, play dumb, and keep the truth buried, including the fact that it knew about all inbound and outbound calls to the safe house switchboard in Yemen. NSA’s senior leaders took me off the task because they realized – belatedly, for some reason – that I would not take part in covering up the truth about how much NSA knew but did not share.”

      The letter, with the subject line “Input for Your Decisions on NSA,” is timed to coincide with deliberations currently happening in the Obama administration to confront recommended NSA reforms from the panel.

      Last month, the five-person review group, made up of intelligence and administration insiders, assembled by Obama presented the White House with a report suggesting that the NSA consider dozens of recommendations meant to reform some of the operations exposed through leaks supplied by Snowden. After that report was completed but before the president went on vacation in late December, Obama said he’d make a "pretty definitive statement about all of this in January."

      The President is now expected to weigh in on those recommendations publically during the annual State of the Union address scheduled for January 28 in Washington.

      Obama will reportedly hold a closed-door meeting with select officials on this week in advance of the public speech to discuss in private the future of the controversial surveillance operations waged by the NSA.

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      My comment ---
      Obama has completely sold out to the dark side.
       
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      3)

      Snowden to ask Russian police for protection after US threats – lawyer

      Published time: January 21, 2014

      NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, will ask Russian law enforcers to protect him, his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, has said. The former NSA contractor is concerned about his safety after seeing death threats coming from the US.

      Snowden, who is currently living in Moscow under Russia’s temporary asylum, has been following the threats against him in various American media.

      “We are concerned with the situation around Edward. We see the statements made by some US officials containing potential and implicit threats and openly calling for causing him bodily harm,” Kucherena said.

      One such statement published by BuzzFeed quoted a US intelligence officer describing in detail how he would have assassinated Snowden, if he “had the chance.”

      “We would end it very quickly... Just casually walking on the streets of Moscow, coming back from buying his groceries. Going back to his flat and he is casually poked by a passerby. He thinks nothing of it at the time starts to feel a little woozy and thinks it’s a parasite from the local water. He goes home very innocently and next thing you know he dies in the shower,” the chillingly detailed fantasy said.

      Another unnamed Pentagon official told the media he would have simply loved to “put a bullet in his [Snowden’s] head,” were he not “restricted from killing an American.”

      “This is a real death threat and we are concerned about the fact it has prompted no reaction from anybody. That is why we will file a request to the police… We will ask the law enforcers to examine and investigate all such statements,” Kucherena said.

      He stressed that according to Russian law, a death threat carries criminal liability.

      Snowden’s refugee status makes him fully entitled to ask the police for help, the lawyer said.

      Speaking to the Russian TV channel, Vesti 24, Kucherena said Snowden is constantly accompanied by his private guards, but given the threats, this “might not be enough” to ensure his security.

      The lawyer said he will demand that the US authorities look into the threatening statements published in the US media, adding that their authors should be identified.

      “The people who make extremist statements do so while wearing a mask – they do not reveal their identities. We will ask for these people’s masks to come off. We must know who this NSA officer is, who issues orders about ways to eliminate Edward Snowden,” Kucherena stressed.

      The US government “must take note of such statements,” the lawyer added.

      On Sunday, two of the top lawmakers within the United States intelligence community have stepped up pressure on Snowden, claiming he might have been linked to the Russian intelligence agencies. The US Congress is now considering whether any officials in the Russian government influenced the actions of the whistleblower, who carried out the biggest leak in history of US security, exposing the massive surveillance program of the US National Security Agency.

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      See also
      Snowden Seeking Russian Protection After Threats: Lawyer
      By Ilya Arkhipov, Jan 21, 2014
       
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      "One News Now" is far rightwing.
      You just can't make stuff like this up.  --->
       
      4)

      Author: Obama not the Antichrist – he's just clearing the way

      Charlie Butts   (OneNewsNow.com) Wednesday, January 15, 2014
      - See more at: http://onenewsnow.com/church/2014/01/15/author-obama-not-the-antichrist-%E2%80%93-hes-just-clearing-the-way#.Ut3A-_uIbGg
       

      Author: Obama not the Antichrist – he's just clearing the way

      Charlie Butts  (www.OneNewsNow.com) Wednesday, January 15, 2014

      Author: Obama not the Antichrist – he's just clearing the way

      Charlie Butts   (OneNewsNow.com) Wednesday, January 15, 2014
      - See more at: http://onenewsnow.com/church/2014/01/15/author-obama-not-the-antichrist-%E2%80%93-hes-just-clearing-the-way#.Ut3A-_uIbGg

      A prominent evangelical pastor, author, and radio host has a new book – and even though it's not on the bookshelves yet, it's creating a bit of a stir.

      What do you see today as the clearest indicator of the 'spirit' of Antichrist? (Poll Closed)
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      Total Votes: 3,640

      The book Perfect Ending: Why Your Eternal Future Matters Today is written by Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church, Dallas. The book is about the events leading up to the return of Jesus and the period when a dictator – commonly called the Antichrist – will rule over all the nations of the world.

      Jeffress tells OneNewsNow the reason some folks are upset is that he referred to "Barack Obama" and "the Antichrist" in the same sentence. According to an advance copy of the book, he writes:

      "For the first time in history a president of our country has openly proposed altering one of society's (not to mention God's) most fundamental laws: that marriage should be between a man and a woman .... While I am not suggesting that President Obama is the Antichrist, the fact that he was able to propose such a sweeping change in God's law and still win reelection by a comfortable margin illustrates how a future world leader will be able to oppose God's laws without any repercussions."

      Jeffress with book cover

      In talking with OneNewsNow, the pastor explains: "I want to be clear: I'm not at all saying Barack Obama is the Antichrist. In fact, I'm sure he's not – and one reason I know that is the Bible teaches the Antichrist will have higher poll numbers than Barack Obama."


      Jeffress adds that the Bible teaches that this world dictator will usurp people's basic rights like the freedom of speech, worship, and in commerce. "Not only that, he will launch an unprecedented attack against God's people," the pastor continues. "And according to Daniel 7:25, he will seek to change God's most basic moral laws – and he will do all of this without any opposition, at least at the beginning."

      During the Obama administration, Americans have seen attacks on religious liberty, ObamaCare forced on religious organizations and the people, and a major campaign to alter the traditional view of marriage – all in a forceful manner. In his book, Jeffress is saying such actions pave the way for the coming Antichrist.

      Jeffress' book, published by Worthy Publishing, is slated to be released next week (Tuesday, January 21).

      - See more at: http://onenewsnow.com/church/2014/01/15/author-obama-not-the-antichrist-%E2%80%93-hes-just-clearing-the-way#.Ut3A-_uIbGg

      The book Perfect Ending: Why Your Eternal Future Matters Today is written by Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church, Dallas. The book is about the events leading up to the return of Jesus and the period when a dictator – commonly called the Antichrist – will rule over all the nations of the world.

      Jeffress tells OneNewsNow the reason some folks are upset is that he referred to "Barack Obama" and "the Antichrist" in the same sentence. According to an advance copy of the book, he writes:

      "For the first time in history a president of our country has openly proposed altering one of society's (not to mention God's) most fundamental laws: that marriage should be between a man and a woman .... While I am not suggesting that President Obama is the Antichrist, the fact that he was able to propose such a sweeping change in God's law and still win reelection by a comfortable margin illustrates how a future world leader will be able to oppose God's laws without any repercussions."

      In talking with OneNewsNow, the pastor explains: "I want to be clear: I'm not at all saying Barack Obama is the Antichrist. In fact, I'm sure he's not – and one reason I know that is the Bible teaches the Antichrist will have higher poll numbers than Barack Obama."

      Jeffress adds that the Bible teaches that this world dictator will usurp people's basic rights like the freedom of speech, worship, and in commerce. "Not only that, he will launch an unprecedented attack against God's people," the pastor continues. "And according to Daniel 7:25, he will seek to change God's most basic moral laws – and he will do all of this without any opposition, at least at the beginning."

      During the Obama administration, Americans have seen attacks on religious liberty, ObamaCare forced on religious organizations and the people, and a major campaign to alter the traditional view of marriage – all in a forceful manner. In his book, Jeffress is saying such actions pave the way for the coming Antichrist.

      Jeffress' book, published by Worthy Publishing, is slated to be released next week (Tuesday, January 21).

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      My comment ---
      Ogod.
       
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