March 2, 2014
The government’s “War on National Security Journalists” increasingly seems to be more than a political slogan and more like an aggressively asserted campaign. Employing Soviet era tactics of surveillance, censorship, and outright oppression, the First Amendment is under attack from a hostile U.S. government that tolerates no opposition.
The latest crack down on free speech in America reached epic proportions, when the creators of “Conrad the Constitution,” Tim and Jay Fox, were strong-armed by the Secret Service for creating a “South Park” like animated series on YouTube. The Season two episode eight season finale that prompted the Secret Service to visit their home as well as their parent’s home is entitled “After a series of unfortunate events, Conrad and Baldy (the eagle) must assassinate Obama to save America.” While the series illustrates the Fox Brothers dark humor, Tim Fox explained the episode was hatched to spark discussion about the shredding of America’s Constitution.
“I guess you could say we knew the episode would provoke discussion,” Fox said sipping his Iced Tea at a local coffee house. What the brothers didn’t expect was a visit from the Secret Service last weekend. “When my dad called and told me the Secret Service wanted to talk to me I thought he was joking.” He wasn’t and Fox would wait hours for the Secret Service to show up at his Los Angeles Valley apartment.
So far the Fox brothers have not been asked to take down the episode in question, but that could be in the works. The strange reaction this reporter received from the Secret Service for placing a follow up call to confirm the story speaks volumes … the Secret Service person who took the call refused to identify himself and cross-examined this reporter. So far the Secret Service has yet to respond, stay tuned…
Of course neither Fox brother endorses violence against President Obama, they simply wanted to mobilize younger Americans into the Constitutional discussion.
Watch the San Diego 6 News TV report here
Publicized by the Stratfor email leaked by Wikileaks – “(John) Brennen (now CIA Director) is behind the hunts of investigative journalists learning information from inside beltway sources” (now 404ed) – and fueled by the rash of attacks on investigative journalists over the last year, including the deaths of Michael Hastings (of Stanley McChrystal fame) via a suspicious car accident, Internet prodigy and Reddit cofounder Aaron Swartz (suicide by hanging after suffering federal prosecution) as well as many documented Department of Justice targets at the Associated Press, New York Times, Fox News, including a litany of smaller, lesser know writers, including Barrett Brown.
In Brown’s case, the journalist is accused of close relations with the notorious hacking organization Anonymous, and was promptly jailed in Texas for his alleged misdeeds. The current war on journalists delivers a powerful prison punch; Brown faces a century behind bars for expressing his First Amendment right to expose an overly aggressive U.S. federal régime. For this the journalist was slapped with a gag order against prior restraint for allegedly planning a massive social media campaign, unfortunately the “government” shut them down.
Government overreach proof came last year when National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden released a torrent of supporting documents that Americans were the targets of a massive surveillance state. And nine months later, the drip, drip of new spying tactics trickles into American and worldwide publications.
The police state gains momentum
A recent Guardian story aptly described just how much Senator Feinstein agreed with the massive brave new surveillance state in America. “The FISA Improvements Act, promoted by Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, would both make permanent a loophole permitting the NSA to search for Americans’ identifying information without a warrant – and, civil libertarians fear, contains an ambiguity that might allow the FBI, the DEA and other law enforcement agencies to do the same thing.”
A surveillance lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union, Michelle Richardson, also told the Guardian, “For the first time, the statute would explicitly allow the government to proactively search through the NSA data troves of information without a warrant.”
Does this sound like America?
But Democrats needn’t worry about being called civil liberty takers, no; it’s really a bipartisan need to protect power among the political elite. Take GOP Rep. Mike Rogers for example, his Iron fist intelligence collection approach calls journalists in sync with Mr. Snowden criminals.
However, politicos are not content to jail Edward Snowden, Chelsea/Bradley Manning or Barrett Brown, they want the organizations that highlight a governments’ misuse of power like WikiLeaks, Project PM and now the millions of NSA documents to be permanently silenced.
The silence even extends to detainees/terrorists residing at the infamous “Gitmo.” The ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of detainees/terrorists who were subjected to rendition tactics by U.S agencies at America’s infamous “black sites” courtesy of the compliant allies.
Defense attorneys for the five detainees accused of the 9/11 attacks argued information obtained from torture administered at CIA black sites is inadmissible in court and therefore the government’s case is not valid. “It’s a way in which the government can hide what it did to these men during the period of detention by the CIA,” Army Capt. Jason Wright, a military appointed attorney for KSM said. “I think we need to bring the truth to the light of day on these issues.” (Link to story here)
However, Brigadier General, Mark Martins, U.S. Army, chief prosecutor at Gitmo said it was up to the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and the government wasn’t in the business of “trials by ambush.” He finished by saying that the government’s work is worthy and justice isn’t a popularity contest.
What about Posse Comitatus?
Presidential power grabs are nothing new, but one law that protects American citizens from those abuses has been around for a while. Lately, many on the right, are screaming about Executive Power abuse by President Obama, but it wasn’t so long ago that Republican President G.W. Bush was tampering with laws on the U.S. books.
During the Katrina crisis, President Bush pressed Congress to review and rewrite a Civil War era federal law that strictly prohibits the U.S. military from conducting law enforcement inside the country. At least Mr. Bush acknowledged the tactics would “require a change in law.” That law is the Posse Comitatus Act, a federal statute that constrains the federal government from using the military as a police force on U.S. soil. The act exposes America’s longstanding distrust of using U.S. armies at home. There is, however, a National Guard that is dispatched to respond to national emergencies, but they do not create an appearance of domestic militarization.
Looking at today’s headlines, it appears the U.S. is completely ignoring Posse Comitatus.
Last week England’s surveillance agency GCHQ was caught working with the National Security Agency (NSA), a Department of Defense organization, in an effort to intercept and electronically keep 1.8 million images taken from Internet consumers who were not suspected of a crime. The users are simply victims of another massive government data collection program operated by the Brits with the ever-so-helpful U.S. NSA.
“GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not,” another Guardian story reveals. “In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.”
The news set off a firestorm from Yahoo management. They claimed to have no knowledge of the joint operation and suggested this latest violation reaches new lows by a government hungry for data.
Is it coincidence or a tip off that positioned a Live Leaks videographer that captured the first scenes of the explosive Michael Hastings accident and that same organization captured the first videos of Russian helicopters invading Ukraine? Or, perhaps, the Stratfor memo that showed-up on the WikiLeaks site (now 404ed) suggests the war on journalists is well underway. (Story link here)
From the big picture, it appears the government’s “War on National Security Journalists” is gaining momentum despite a few recent court decisions seeking to curb secret government tactics (link here). The real concern of the Fox brothers and many Americans is whether the few recent court victories will be sufficient to stem the tide of Democrat Senator Feinstein’s plans for the expansion of draconian police state tactics that minimize individual freedoms in favor of the collective. Sounds like Conrad the Constitution’s third season is ready to be written …
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