Monday, June 17, 2013

NSA, Surveillance, Secrets 1: Why Should We Trust the Government?

My theory is that the brouhaha about the NSA and surveillance is only partially about the NSA and surveillance.    It is about two other things as well: (a) Americans do not know anything about how their government works and (b) Americans do not trust their government.  I think that the former is regrettable and that latter is a fair judgment, the government has proven to not be trustworthy on many occasions.

There have been many occasions in the last 40 years when the US Government explained events or actions in ways that have not held up to scrutiny.     Exactly why certain things happened may or may not point to conspiracy to defraud the American people, I very much doubt that it is any one conspiracy given the wide range of actors and policies.   These are not subtle matters at the fringe of American life, these are matters of central importance.   It may be that there are explanations for each of them, but I have looked, and for the most part, they are not obvious.   Some like the Gulf of Tonkin may indeed have a degree of screw up to them instead of malicious intent.   But the fact is that most people in America do not believe the Warren Commission, whatever the truth may be.  Whatever happened with COINTELPRO, gross violations of American law by the FBI and their paid informers were never brought to justice.   Leonard Peltier is still in jail and he will die in jail for a crime we all know he did not commit.   The supreme court pissed on the constitution in public when they put G. W. Bush in power in 2000.    There were no WMD's in Iraq.    Each of these are different events with different causes and different factions and the only generalization that I am drawing from them is this: the American people have been given ample reasons to be skeptical about what their government tells them about any given matter.   Any given explanation should probably not be taken at face value if the issue is of importance to you, and further study is warranted.  That is certainly the case with the recent NSA brouhaha which I personally think is not even close to what most people think it is.

Nevertheless, I think that people are right to look closer and try to understand it and not take the government at their word.

Think of these recent disclosures as part of a giant civics lesson: you now have an opportunity to learn how your government works.   I don't think you are going to like it.

How do I know this stuff, you may ask.  Years of dedicated study, wasted years that will do me no good and only alienate me from my fellow biped who does not know this stuff and does not want to know.    A tremendous amount of this information is public even when the details of specific operations aren't.

So I am going to outline a basic introduction on how and why certain types of Intelligence matters are handled in this country, specifically NSA.   Using public sources, of course, what else?  But at the end of the day, if you do not trust the government, and if you do not believe that I know anything about this, then it won't make any difference.

I also realize that I am held in complete contempt by my friends who do not believe that I could possibly know anything about this stuff.   This has been made extremely clear to me in the last few days.   Be that way, see if I care.

Part 2:

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