by Kyle K. Mann, GonzoToday Editor-in-Chief –
“Law enforcement” officials can see your web browsing activity without a warrant. The bill to restrict that failed in the US Senate by one vote.
The vote to reauthorize and amend the Patriot Act was on May 13, 2020. Google it. There are multiple articles about it, some slanted one way, some another.
But it is undeniable that nine Democrats voted with the Repubs to torpedo the amendment that would have restricted the CIA, the FBI and who knows what other government agencies from fishing in our browser histories.
One of those nine Democrats was California’s Senator Diane Feinstein. In 2014 DiFi complained in a speech on the Senate floor about CIA hacking of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computer. She openly questioned the constitutionality of the CIA spying on the committee, and the deleting of files regarding the investigation into CIA torture sites.
DiFi was head of the committee, properly titled the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Her statement was a remarkable one.
Of course, DiFi had voted for the renewal of the Patriot Act in 2012, so her casting a deciding vote in 2020 is at least consistent.
Then there is Bernie Sanders, who was not present in the Senate for the vote.
I’m a Jimmy Dore fan. He’s released a scorching video that takes Sanders to task for not protecting us from having our web browsing activity spied on without a warrant. More harshly phrased, he cuts Sanders a new one. I love it.
Dore states it bluntly: there is now literally no one to trust in national political office. I agree.
It Starts When You’re Always Afraid
That damn Buffalo Springfield For What it’s Worth song is still timely.
It’s Sunday, May 17, 2020, at 4:30 AM. I sit looking at the above paragraphs with wry disgust, feeling the implications.
The “chilling effect” is perhaps the biggest aspect here, the feeling that when you’re online you are being watched. So you might self-censor if you are interested in “edgy” websites.
The late editor of that website, Justin Raimondo, left behind an article, “The FBI vs. Antiwar.com,” describing the FBI’s investigations into the editors of the website. Those FBI 2004 snooping activities were ruled illegal by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court in 2011.
But instead of protecting American citizens from this type of abuse of power by our government agencies, Congress has dropped the ball. Seriously, think about this. The FBI, etc. can just look at your browsing history. If they don’t like it, for whatever reason, they could secretly try you in front of a secret court. They can even just hold you indefinitely without a trial, thanks to the “indefinite detention” provisions in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by then President Barak Obama.
An owl hoots outside in the Topanga night. Otherwise, it’s extremely quiet, except in my brain, where there is a marching band blasting away.
What a depressing thing to have to write; we are all screwed, whether we know it or not.
Why? Self-censorship can have a negative ripple effect. If someone stays silent, other people won’t be informed and can’t pass on the information.
We will never know things, or we will have an incomplete understanding of them if we are so afraid that we fear to speak out.
Yes, I’m sad about another twist of the screw. Freedom is on the rack, and along with physical torture, there is mental torture.
Until COVID-19, we could protest in the streets. Now, today big street gatherings would probably be broken up quickly in many places, unless you are a white male with an AK-47 entering a state capitol building.
For now, we have to meet by way of the pixels of the internet, our virtual public commons, to discuss the particulars of our dilemma. It’s all we have left.
What we need are leaders who will protect the digital commons from officious, self righteous creepy peepers. We won’t get it from either political party.
Dawn lights up the oaks outside. The varied shades of green cheer me.
Sitting here thinking about James Clapper, the former NSA head that lied to Congress. Clapper stated that Americans weren’t being spied on, but they were, it turned out. Why were there no consequences for the lie, and for the spying?
What has the intelligence community got on Congress? Are they being threatened or blackmailed?
For that matter, when will Edward Snowden be allowed his freedom to return to the USA as a free man? Senator Feinstein, and others, call him a traitor for exposing the 24/7 collection of data about our lives. Not in my book, baby, it’s quite the opposite for me. Snowden is a hero. There are others, like Julian Assange of WikiLeaks. What’s happening to him in the UK is criminal.
I’m getting outrage fatigue.
So, thank you for reading GonzoToday. Your visit here has been logged by the NSA and the fact of this visit is permanently accessible to any “law enforcement” agency that requests them.
I wish there was something I could do about that, but there just isn’t. And that really has me pissed off.
Kyle K. Mann
May 17, 2020