How The Government Defines Privacy

As the telcos immunity games continue to roll along, the Bush administration has apparently decided to change course…instead of using the usual deceptions, lies and fear-mongering, they’ve reportedly moved on to deciding that it’s time people in the United States changed their definition of privacy…so said a top ‘intelligence’ official in a comment made during a recent speech (PDF).

Donald Kerr, Deputy Director of National Intelligence, thinks privacy can no longer mean anonymity and that government and businesses should properly safeguard people’s private communications and financial information. (Mike McConnell is the Director of National Intelligence, and he has a bad habit of lying to Congress under oath and using scare tactics to try to coerce submission).

Kerr’s epiphany comes while Congress takes a second look at renewing a hastily changed extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, while the debate over the contentious issue regarding retroactive immunity for telecoms involved in civil lawsuits for their aiding the government rages on.

President Bush has promised to veto any bill that doesn’t grant immunity to the telcos and everyone else involved in the governments inept, illegal data-mining operations. The current extension will expire on February 1, 2008.

Kerr Finds Privacy Concerns Odd

Kerr reportedly says he finds concerns that the government may be listening in odd when people are “perfectly willing for a green-card holder at an (Internet service provider) who may or may have not have been an illegal entrant to the United States to handle their data.”

Kerr also noted that government employees face up to five years in prison and $100,000 in fines if convicted of misusing private information. With the government’s past track at losing personal sensitive data involving millions of people and the way Bush’s cronies constantly shatter laws and get away with it, it’s impossible to believe anyone will be held responsible when your personal data is misused.

Kerr argues that millions of people in this country — particularly young people — have already surrendered anonymity to social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, as well as internet commerce, saying these sites reveal to the public, government and corporations what was once closely guarded information. Kerr claims protecting anonymity is a fight that can’t be won.

Kerr Ignores Privacy Laws and American History

Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says Kerr’s argument ignores both privacy laws and American history. “Anonymity has been important since the Federalist Papers were written under pseudonyms” he said, noting that the government has tremendous power: the police power, the ability to arrest, detain or take away rights. “Tying together that someone has spoken out on an issue with their identity is a far more dangerous thing if it is the government that is trying to tie it together.”

Also noted by Opsahl is the fact that Kerr ignores the distinction between sacrificing protection from an intrusive government and voluntarily disclosing information in exchange for a service, and the people shouldn’t have to make a choice between taking advantage of modern communications tools and sacrificing their privacy.

Contrary to Kerr’s attempts and onesided, twisted reasoning, it’s not a case of “trust us, we’re the government.” With the previous track record of this administrations’ lies and deceptions, the last thing American citizens do is trust the government. This is just another pathetic attempt to cover up apparently extremely illegal acts performed by pathetically incompetent leadership.

Links to More Information

As usual, links to the above information as well as a lot more can be found below:

Government seeks to redefine privacy article from Yahoo! News and The Associated Press

Definition Changing for People’s Privacy article from The Guardian UK

Spy Official Calling Anonymity Dead Simply Summarizing Gov Spying Powers article from Wired.com

Soldiers Say Army Ignores, Punishes Mental Anguish article from NPR

GOP House Speaker: “I’ll Sell My Soul to the Devil” article from AlterNet:

“Do you think Republican politicians take $100 bills to sell out their constituents’ interests? Or do you think that’s too crass and exaggerated and the bribery is more subtle? If you tapped on door #1, you’d be the winner– although not of the $100 bills. According to today’s Washington Post they all went to Alaska politicians last year when they were in Juneau setting taxes– or lack there of– for the oil industry.

Ted Stevens tries real hard to portray himself as the slightly whacky old uncle who brings home lots of goodies. He does bring home lots of goodies–and some even make their way down the chain to benefit normal Alaskans. Most however go no further than the homes of his family and closest associates–and to those, like oil services executive Bill Allen, who have spent untold amounts bribing him and Congressman Don Young over the years. And although Stevens and Young may be the senior crooks in Alaska politics, you would be hard put to find an Alaska Republican politician who wasn’t on the take–and on tape being on the take.

The FBI has some great tapes. And with the Writers Guild strike looking like it may last a long time, we may have to depend on them for entertainment. In fact only the most creative– in a childish kind of way– would come up with lines like these Republican legislators. Pete Kott, the former Speaker of Alaska’s House of Representatives bragged to Stevens’ Veco pal Allen (as Allen was counting out the cash), “I had to cheat, steal, beg, borrow and lie. Exxon’s happy. BP’s happy. I’ll sell my soul to the devil.” Yes, we know; that’s a basic tenet of the contemporary Republican Party “philosophy” but what the rest of us are worried about is that crooked Republican pols are selling out our children and grandchildren for their self-enrichment. When FBI agents broke into Speaker Kott’s home they found tens of thousands of dollars– in neatly stacked hundred dollar bills. They also have tapes of him complaining he mixed up the viagra and pain killers– drugs– that were part of his package of bribes.”

Toxic gas pervasive in FEMA units, tests show article from MSNBC News

America begins slide into third world status article from OpEdNews

Freedom Is Not Free – And Americans Are Poised To Lose Everything, Part 1 article from OpEdNews

(Well worth the highly disturbing, informative read)

15,000 want off the U.S. terror watch list article from USA Today News

Retired pilot on government’s No-Fly List article from Colorado’s 9News.com

Problems plague No-Fly List and its fix article from Colorado’s 9News.com

Study: 1 out of 4 homeless are veterans article from Yahoo! News

Returning Reservists Find Their Jobs MIA article from CBSNews – DOD Survey Finds 44% Unhappy With How Government Helps Protect Their Rights

Talking Points Memo: Civil Rights Groups Seek to Stop Florida Voter Purge Law article from TPMmuckraker:

“Hans von Spakovsky, whose nomination for the Federal Election Commission is currently stalled in the Senate, may have left the Justice Department in 2005, but his influence remains. A prime example is in Florida, where the state legislature, evidently following von Spakovsky’s advice, passed a law that could disenfranchise tens of thousands of legitimate voters. Now civil rights groups are trying to stop the law before it affects the 2008 elections.

The law, scheduled to go in effect in January, would require the state to reject voter registrations if the state cannot match the information on registration applications to driver’s license or Social Security records. Because such records tend to be riddled with errors, tens of thousands of “perfectly eligible voters” will be knocked off the rolls, the NAACP and other groups charged in a lawsuit this September, resulting in “disenfranchisement-by-bureaucracy.” Compounding the problem, the law shortened the number of days that rejected voters have to present evidence that they’re a legitimate voter from three to two days.

Florida was just one of a number of states that adopted such a law after von Spakovsky, then a lawyer with the Civil Rights Division, issued a letter to Maryland’s attorney general in 2003 advising that the Help American Vote Act required states to reject voter registrations that did not match databases.”

Politics – US: Cheney Tried to Stifle Dissent in Iran NIE article from The Inter Press Service:

“WASHINGTON, Nov 8 (IPS) – A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran has been held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear programme, and thus make the document more supportive of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s militarily aggressive policy toward Iran, according to accounts of the process provided by participants to two former Central Intelligence Agency officers.

But this pressure on intelligence analysts, obviously instigated by Cheney himself, has not produced a draft estimate without those dissenting views, these sources say. The White House has now apparently decided to release the unsatisfactory draft NIE, but without making its key findings public.

A former CIA intelligence officer who has asked not to be identified told IPS that an official involved in the NIE process says the Iran estimate was ready to be published a year ago but has been delayed because the director of national intelligence wanted a draft reflecting a consensus on key conclusions — particularly on Iran’s nuclear programme.

The NIE coordinates the judgments of 16 intelligence agencies on a specific country or issue.”

The Bush Administration Plans to Blame You for Iraq article from AlterNet

Feinstein backs legal immunity for telecom firms in wiretap cases article from The San Francisco Chronicle

Senator Feinstein backed the nomination of the new Attorney General as well. Now she’s wanting to screw her constituents even more by granting telcos immunity. I don’t know if she’s being blackmailed by King George due to all the illegal surveillance activities or if she just enjoys making her husband wealthy at taxpayers expense. Can Senators be recalled?

Government’s 9/11 Investigators Were ALSO Lead OKC Bombing Investigators article from Prison Planet

Review of ‘A New Standard For Deception: The NIST WTC Report

Cena: Steroids? Absolutely not article and videos from the official site of World Wrestling Entertainment:

CNN bills themselves as the most trusted source of news…caught in yet another unethical smear campaign:

“In a country in which the news media is highly suspect, and the quality of unbiased reporting has been thrown into the trash can, CNN has stooped to new depths. Notwithstanding the fairness, or lack therein, of CNN’s recent piece entitled “Death Grip: Inside Pro Wrestling,” perhaps the best example of how CNN misrepresents and unfairly presents their biased, if not illegal, point of view is the comparison of WWE’s unedited video above to CNN’s edited version. CNN’s depiction of John Cena as it relates to steroids is not only professionally and morally wrong, but damaging to his character.”

Talking Points Memo – AT&T Whistleblower: Telecom Immunity Is A Cover-Up article from TPMmuckraker

The Cancer From Within article from TruthDig:

“I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  …”
-Oath of Office

“Our mission is to educate, train, and inspire men and women to become officers of character motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to our nation.”
-Air Force Academy mission statement

“We will not lie, steal, or cheat. …”
-Air Force Academy honor code

“Military professionals must remember that religious choice is a matter of individual conscience. Professionals, and especially commanders, must not take it upon themselves to change or coercively influence the religious views of subordinates.”
-Religious Toleration (Air Force Code of Ethics, 1997)

I no longer recognize the Air Force Academy as the institution I attended almost four decades earlier.  At that point, I had no idea how invasive this extreme evangelical “cancer” had become throughout the entire military, that what I had witnessed was far from an isolated case of a few religious zealots.”

Out of uniform and on the street article from MSNBC.com: Military Affairs – Study finds that veterans constitute a quarter of American’s homeless

The United States Attorneys Scandal Comes To Mississippi article from AfterDowningStreet

Gangster Giuliani: The GOP’s Worst article from AlterNet:

“If a potential Giuliani presidency in any way resembles a Giuliani mayoralty, then the country would be in for a truly awful time.

It is a supreme irony that Rudolph Giuliani became mayor of New York City because his opponent and predecessor, David Dinkins, is a black man. The myth of the always liberal white New Yorker was proven to be just that on election day in 1993. White voters deserted Dinkins in droves and elected a Republican mayor for the first time in 30 years.

Giuliani, a former prosecutor, took office and immediately began treating New Yorkers, particularly black New Yorkers, like criminals. He specialized in pleasing white people by beating up black people. Under his leadership the police were unleashed and given the right to arrest for petty offenses and even to kill when they felt the urge to do so.”

How Blackwater Sniper Fire Felled 3 Iraqi Guards article from The Washington Post: Witnesses Call Shooting From Justice Ministry Unprovoked, But State Dept. Cleared Its Security Team After a Brief Probe

Blair ‘knew Iraq had no WMD’ article from The Times Online UK:

“TONY BLAIR privately conceded two weeks before the Iraq war that Saddam Hussein did not have any usable weapons of mass destruction, Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary, reveals today.

John Scarlett, chairman of the joint intelligence committee (JIC), also “assented” that Saddam had no such weapons, says Cook.

His revelations, taken from a diary that he kept as a senior minister during the months leading up to war, are published today in The Sunday Times. They shatter the case for war put forward by the government that Iraq presented “a real and present danger” to Britain.

Cook, who resigned shortly before the invasion of Iraq, also reveals there was a near mutiny in the cabinet, triggered by David Blunkett, the home secretary, when it first discussed military action against Iraq.

The prime minister ignored the “large number of ministers who spoke up against the war”, according to Cook. He also “deliberately crafted a suggestive phrasing” to mislead the public into thinking there was a link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda, and he did not want United Nations weapons inspections to be successful, writes the former cabinet minister.”

NFL Star Considered 9/11 a False Flag From Day One article from Prison Planet

FEMA to workers: Stay out of trailers article from Yahoo! News and The Associated Press

McClatchy: Texas County Sheriff Got 10 Years For Waterboarding A Suspect, And Bush, As Governor, Did Not Pardon Him article from CorrenteWire:

“Which is pretty funny, since as President, Bush seems to have pre-approved pardons for every war criminal with a Republican party card. McClatchy’s Joe Galloway has the money quote:

When George W. Bush was the governor of Texas, the state investigated, indicted, convicted and sentenced to prison for 10 years a county sheriff who, with his deputies, had waterboarded a criminal suspect. That sheriff got no pardon from Gov. Bush.

Of course waterboarding’s illegal. And that would make Bush a war criminal. No wonder Mukasey crawfished on torture-he didn’t want his boss to ever have to go before a tribunal. The only wonder, if it is, indeed, a wonder, is that Senate Judiciary members DiFi and Upchuck sold out Leahy and Feingold, and let Mukasey’s nomination proceed.”

Marine: Pentagon Blocked His Testimony article from The Associated Press

The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush article from Vanity Fair

Cheneys betting on bad news? article from MoneyCentral MSN.com: A look at the president and vice president’s financial disclosure forms

Rudy Giuliani: Resolute Bipedalism In The Face of Disaster article from Daily Kos:

“Can I ask a quick little something, since it just came up on CNN yet again? Where on earth is this idea that Rudy Giuliani has “strong national security credentials” coming from?

Rudy Giuliani has essentially no national security credentials to speak of. He was mayor of New York before and during 9/11, yes. Before that day, he was responsible for two critical screwups that greatly hindered the city’s disaster response: the incompatibility of emergency responders’ radios, and the decision to place the city’s emergency response command center in the World Trade Center, one of the highest-profile targets in New York, and one already known to be a terrorist target. During that day, his grand accomplishment was to walk around at the scene of the disaster, making sure he appeared before every television camera that presented itself. And after 9/11, he was placed as a member of the Iraq Study Group, where never attended even one meeting and left after two months in order to more freely pursue his presidential campaign.

So Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s primary “national security credentials” would appear to be his capability for simple bipedal motion in televised news footage. That seems a low bar — although admittedly at the time it may have been more impressive, since when George W. Bush was told of the same attacks on camera, he didn’t even leave the chair he was sitting in.”

How Cheney took control of Bush’s foreign policy article from Salon News

Let Sibel Edmonds Speak: Sibel Edmonds Case: the untellable story of AIPAC article

Condi’s Albright Moment article from Wake Up From Your Slumber

A Day in the Life of an Unwilling “Federal Agent” article from The Future of Freedom Foundation:

“In essence, I am to be not only suspicious but wary of virtually everyone with whom I do business. Obviously, the government’s position is this: Everyone is a terrorist or terrorist supporter until proven innocent, and I am the government’s conscripted agent. And if I don’t accept this as fact, I am liable. Yes, this is as ludicrous as it sounds, but it is reality. This behavior is Orwellian and then some.

The paranoid drive within federal officials grew exponentially immediately following September 11, 2001, and now is in full gear and advancing. At this time nothing is sacred, nothing is private. Natural rights are all but gone. The answer to all this lies in the hearts and souls of individuals. Instead of allowing our lives and property to be continuously monitored and restricted by government, we should instead reverse the trend and restore our rights and freedoms by restricting the powers of government. Since “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” the government and its agents should be on our watch lists, not the other way around.”

Iraqi fighters ‘grilled for evidence on Iran’ article from The Guardian Unlimited UK:

“Interrogator says US military seeks evidence incriminating Tehran:

US military officials are putting huge pressure on interrogators who question Iraqi insurgents to find incriminating evidence pointing to Iran, it was claimed last night.

Micah Brose, a privately contracted interrogator working for American forces in Iraq, near the Iranian border, told The Observer that information on Iran is ‘gold’. The claim comes after Washington imposed sanctions on Iran last month, citing both its nuclear ambitions and its Revolutionary Guards’ alleged support of Shia insurgents in Iraq. Last week the US military freed nine Iranians held in Iraq, including two it had accused of links to the Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force.

Brose, 30, who extracts information from detainees in Iraq, said: ‘They push a lot for us to establish a link with Iran. They have pre-categories for us to go through, and by the sheer volume of categories there’s clearly a lot more for Iran than there is for other stuff. Of all the recent requests I’ve had, I’d say 60 to 70 per cent are about Iran.

‘It feels a lot like, if you get something and Iran’s not involved, it’s a let down.’ He added: ‘I’ve had people say to me, “They’re really pushing the Iran thing. It’s like, shit, you know.”

The Coup at Home article from The New York Times

How US helped Iraq build deadly arsenal article from The TimesOnline UK:

“DONALD RUMSFELD, the US Defence Secretary and one of the most strident critics of Saddam Hussein, met the Iraqi President in 1983 to ease the way for US companies to sell Baghdad biological and chemical weapons components, including anthrax and bubonic plague cultures, according to newly declassified US Government documents.

Mr Rumsfeld’s 90-minute meeting with Saddam, preceded by a warm handshake which was captured on film, heralded a US policy under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr of courting the Iraqi leader as an ally throughout the 1980s.

The strategy, seen as a bulwark against the Islamic fundamentalism of Iran, was so obsessively pursued that Washington stepped up arms supplies and diplomatic activity even after the Iraqis had gassed Kurds in northern Iraq in March 1988, according to the records.

A National Security Directive of November 1983 stated that the US would do “whatever was necessary and legal” to prevent Iraq from losing its war with Iran.”

Bolton Smears ElBaradei As Iran Apologist, Says ‘Even A Stopped Clock Is Right Twice A Day’ article and video from Think Progress:

Consider the source:

“Two weeks ago, Mohamed ElBaradei, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said on CNN that an attack on Iran would “lead absolutely to disaster.” He added that there is no evidence of a “concrete, active nuclear weapon program” going on inside Iran.

Today on CNN’s Late Edition, neconservative warhawk John Bolton responded by smearing ElBaradei as “an apologist for Iran” and said the United States is “paying the price” for not opposing him more vociferously.

When host Wolf Blitzer reminded Bolton that ElBaradei correctly warned prior the Iraq war that there was no evidence of a nuclear weapons program, Bolton derisively dismissed his warnings by claiming “even a stopped clock is right twice a day”

Letter from Washington: Bush and what army? Iran war a pipe dream article from The Internation Herald Tribune

Veterans’ Suicides: an Unseen Cost of Iraq and Afghanistan Wars article from AlterNet

Abdicate and Capitulate article from The New York Times:

“It is extraordinary how President Bush has streamlined the Senate confirmation process. As we have seen most recently with the vote to confirm Michael Mukasey as attorney general, about all that is left of “advice and consent” is the “consent” part.

Once upon a time, the confirmation of major presidential appointments played out on several levels — starting, of course, with politics. It was assumed that a president would choose like-minded people as cabinet members and for other jobs requiring Senate approval. There was a presumption that he should be allowed his choices, all other things being equal.

Before George W. Bush’s presidency, those other things actually counted. Was the nominee truly qualified, with a professional background worthy of the job? Would he discharge his duties fairly and honorably, upholding his oath to protect the Constitution? Even though she answers to the president, would the nominee represent all Americans? Would he or she respect the power of Congress to supervise the executive branch, and the power of the courts to enforce the rule of law?

In less than seven years, Mr. Bush has managed to boil that list down to its least common denominator: the president should get his choices. At first, Mr. Bush was abetted by a slavish Republican majority that balked at only one major appointment — Harriet Miers for Supreme Court justice, and then only because of doubts that she was far enough to the right.”

Those Nuclear Flashpoints Are Made in Pakistan article from The Washington Post:

“George W. Bush is hardly the first U.S. president to forgive sins against democracy by a Pakistani leader. Like his predecessors from Jimmy Carter onward, Bush has tolerated bad behavior in hopes that Pakistan might do Washington’s bidding on some urgent U.S. priority — in this case, a crackdown on al-Qaeda. But the scariest legacy of Bush’s failed bargain with Gen. Pervez Musharraf isn’t the rise of another U.S.-backed dictatorship in a strategic Muslim nation, or even the establishment of a new al-Qaeda haven along Pakistan’s lawless border. It’s the leniency we’ve shown toward the most dangerous nuclear-trafficking operation in history — an operation masterminded by one man, Abdul Qadeer Khan.

For nearly four years, under the banner of the “war on terror,” Bush has refused to demand access to Khan, the ultranationalist Pakistani scientist who created a vast network that has spread nuclear know-how to North Korea, Iran and Libya. Indeed, Bush has never seriously squeezed Musharraf over Khan, who remains a national hero for bringing Pakistan the Promethean fire it can use to compete with its nuclear-armed nemesis, India. Khan has remained under house arrest in Islamabad since 2004, outside the reach of the CIA and investigators from the International Atomic Energy Agency, who are desperate to unlock the secrets he carries. Bush should be equally adamant about getting to the bottom of Khan’s activities.”

PBS Frontline: Extraordinary Rendition article and video from Crooks and Liars

White House Cites ‘Executive Privilege’ To Block Inquiry On ‘Eviscerated’ Global Warming Testimony article and video from Think Progress

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