Roy Tov — roytov.com June 7, 2013
“Secret blanket surveillance,” “Obscenely outrageous” Al Gore, former USA Vice President
Imagine a world in which illogical statements would be automatically nullified and prosecuted. A government would legislate a law saying that an organization – call it corporation, company or municipality – enjoys in the eye of the law the status of a person and … swishhhhh, the Logical Police would appear like Rambo in Vietnam and take the president to jail. What would happen to the American Administration in such a world?
By now, most people would have heard the headlines. Let me summarize them in a few words. On June 6, 2013, the Washington Post* and the Guardian** disclosed details about PRISM, an NSA surveillance program authorized by a court order. PRISM conducts overwhelming surveillance on Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Paltalk, YouTube, AOL , Skype, and Apple. Already in November 2009, I reported on scary Skype surveillance (and stopped using it, see On Iran, Skype and a Fallen Prince) while Facebook connection with Mossad is quite obvious.
The slide presentation states that much of the world’s electronic communications pass through the United States because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the physically most direct route and since the bulk of the world’s internet infrastructure is based in the U.S., then this country works as an electronic hub for most communications. The presentation claims that these facts provide U.S. intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets.
A top secret court order issued in April gave the NSA the power to demand that Verizon, which with more than 100 million subscribers is one of America’s largest phone companies, hand over on an “ongoing, daily basis” information relating to phone calls made by all of its customers. The order includes information on calls made within the US and to parties outside its borders. The massive surveillance project was uncovered when the court order, made by the secret Foreign Intelligence Service Court (Fisa), was obtained by the Guardian. In 2006, a USA Today report claimed that the NSA was secretly collecting phone records of millions of customers of AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth.
The Obtuse (T)Reasoning of Civil Servants
“It is legal, I obtained a Court order,” summarizes the core statement made by Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence James Clapper.
I must give some credit to Mr. Clapper. As the picture below shows, he wasn’t laughing while he uttered this lie. Certain laws and court rulings are illegitimate. A law may pass through all the tedious processes of legislation; still it can be illegitimate, demanding automatic disobedience by the public. No government can pass a law violating Human Rights, which are International Law since 1994. No government operating under the Criminal Law system can legislate laws claiming to prevent a future crime.***
The real crime is accusing someone of “membership in an unidentified organization” and “being a security threat.” I read that time and again in the claims made by the State of Israel in Court, and can understand only one thing: “This man is innocent.” He committed no crime. He is illegitimately persecuted by the authorities.
Oppressive laws designed to benefit the few while violating the many cannot be accepted as legitimate. They are legal in the same way that the Nazi laws were legal, but they are not legitimate.
In the current case, the USA Government is violating three main principles. First, it is violating the Right to Privacy, protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which has become international law in 1994.
Second, it assumes the violated people were about to commit a crime. Under the Criminal Law ruling the American legal system, it is the absolute right of any person to commit a crime (though he would be punished if caught). Then there is the extra-territorial issue; would you accept a Laotian law sentencing Americans chewing bubble-gum in Honduras to death?
The USA Government actions are illegitimate.
“You fool!” would Mr. Clapper utter under his withered moustache if he cared about reading me. “We do not violate privacy because we do not disseminate the material,” would be his next thought.
Wrong again. The mere observation is the crime. The secrecy afterwards is intended to defend the surveillance criminals.
A closely related fact is that governments often rely on the ignorance of their citizens; this ignorance is easily supported by an irrelevant educational system controlled by the same governments. How can they expect the People to obey laws that are not taught? Are we still living in the days of the Roman Empire and its obsolete legal principles? I refer to ignorantia iuris non excusat (a.k.a. ignorantia legis non excusat and ignorantia legis neminem excusat) a legal principle whereby ignorance of a law does not allow one to escape liability. It sounds like the ultimate state-entrapment technique (“I legislated that two minutes ago! You are guilty!” The government said to the citizen who stepped on a cockroach).
The USA Government assumes that it can safely fool the People.
President Obama cannot claim that this is an isolated case perpetrated by an ill-prepared civil servant that stepped out of his legal boundaries. The Obama Codex was disclosed on the evening of February 4, 2013, by Michael Isikoff of NBC News. Issued by the USA Department of Justice, it deals with policies related to the USA drone war, including the government’s justification for killing American citizens. The 16-page memo was given to Congress in June, but is not the final Office of Legal Counsel memo that news organizations have sued to obtain. The Codex claims that high-level administration officials may order the killing of senior operational leaders of al-Qaida or an associated force even without evidence they are actively plotting against the U.S. In order to approve the assassination, the civil servant must determine that the target is an imminent threat, that capture is infeasible and that the operation is “conducted consistent with applicable law of war principles.” In order to undermine the propagandistic definition, let me remind the reader that a third-generation, 16-year-old American citizen was assassinated in such a fashion while sitting in a coffee shop. There is no proof that he was even remotely linked to any wrongdoing.
The Drones Terror is as illegitimate as the current affair. Both are chilling testimonies of the USA Government disregard for all the values presented in its Declaration od Independence. Is the USA a democracy? Is it peaceful? Is it honest and just? Is it better than the Soviets were?
President Obama, you are too busy reading my emails; thus I don’t want to still more from your time with my articles except for reminding you a few words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness….But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government…” (from the Preamble to the United States Declaration of Independence).
“It’s called protecting America,” reacted to the publication Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“It is called violating the People,” a boy answered while pointing at the naked king.
“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11: 14
* “NSA slides explain the PRISM data-collection program.” The Washington Post. June 6, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/prism-collection-documents/
** “NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily.” The Guardian. June 5, 2013. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order
*** Criminal Law, also known as Penal Law, the law pertaining to crimes and punishment. The laws comprising this topic regulate the definition of offences found to have a sufficiently deleterious social impact and impose punishments on them. However, the law does not impose restrictions on society that physically prevents people from committing a crime in the first place.