U.S. Law Enforcement asks Congress for Permission to Spy on citizens years after doing so illegally

State and local law enforcement groups want wireless providers to store detailed information about your SMS messages for at least two years — in case they’re needed for future criminal investigations.

By DECLAN McCULLAGH | CNET.com | DECEMBER 4, 2012

AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and other wireless providers would be required to record and store information about Americans’ private text messages for at least two years, according to a proposal that police have submitted to the U.S. Congress.

CNET has learned a constellation of law enforcement groups has asked the U.S. Senate to require that wireless companies retain that information, warning that the lack of a current federal requirement “can hinder law enforcement investigations.”

They want an SMS retention requirement to be “considered” during congressional discussions over updating a 1986 privacy law for the cloud computing era — a move that could complicate debate over the measure and erode support for it among civil libertarians.

As the popularity of text messages has exploded in recent years, so has their use in criminal investigations and civil lawsuits. They have been introduced as evidence in armed robbery, cocaine distribution, and wire fraud prosecutions. In one 2009 case in Michigan, wireless provider SkyTel turned over the contents of 626,638 SMS messages, a figure described by a federal judge as “staggering.”

Chuck DeWitt, a spokesman for the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, which represents the 63 largest U.S. police forces including New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago, said “all such records should be retained for two years.” Some providers, like Verizon, retain the contents of SMS messages for a brief period of time, while others like T-Mobile do not store them at all.

Along with the police association, other law enforcement groups making the request to the Senate include the National District Attorneys’ Association, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, DeWitt said.

“This issue is not addressed in the current proposal before the committee and yet it will become even more important in the future,” the groups warn.

That’s a reference to the Senate Judiciary committee, which approved sweeping amendments to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act last week. Unlike earlier drafts, the latest one veers in a very privacy-protective direction by requiring police to obtain a warrant to read the contents of e-mail messages; the SMS push by law enforcement appears to be a way to make sure it includes one of their priorities too.

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The United Nations Plan to Disarm You and Arm itself

This is the Treaty that no citizen of any country should allow public servants to introduce, adopt or vote in favor of; neither in part nor in full.

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | JULY 20, 2012

Everyone knows the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or at least has heard about some of the most important rights that it contains. There are, however, two articles I’d like to concentrate on as a preamble to the main topic of this article. Those articles are number 28 and number 29. So let’s cite them here in full and try to understand their implications.

Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads as follows:

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Please understand that the United Nations was created back in 1945, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was officially adopted on December 10, 1948 in Paris France. That is just three years after the creation of the United Nations itself. Now, please call me a conspiracy theorist if you want, but does not article 28 resemble a lot the type of speech the politicians of the world and the main stream media have been filling airtime with for the past three to five years? What article 28 basically says is that we are all entitled to a World Order. If this term is new to you, please do your own research and get yourself familiar with it. An international social order is what Bankers, Politicians and main stream media outlets have been claiming for more strongly in the past 24 months.

Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is closely related to the next article; number 29. In essence, article 28 says that we are entitled to having an international social order in which the content set on the declaration is fully realized. So, let’s tie it to the following article in order to understand the magnitude of their meaning before we move on.

Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads as follows:

“Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”

The complete article 29 has serious implications, but it is especially the last sentence, together with article 28, what should make anyone who the most minimum sense of self-preservation fall off their chair. What the last sentence of article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights means is that all of the rights supposedly given to any person under that declaration are void, should such rights are exercised in a manner that opposes the principles that govern the United Nations. So, on one side we have an organization that specifically intends to create a world order, and on the other it affirms their intention to limit or eliminate a human’s rights if it considers that those rights infringe its own existence.

If this connection between articles 28 and 29 are not serious enough to get you moving, let me add another caveat. The United Nations as an organization possesses the legal standing of a person. Although it sounds paradoxical, it is exactly as it is written. The UN is an organization conceived by monopoly men that is legally understood as being a person.

Please keep the information presented up to this point when reading further.

A few years ago, rumors about how the United Nations was considering some kind of non-binding agreement or treaty that would ask member nations to adopt tighter arms controls saw the day of light. At that point, it all seemed unclear and mere speculation. Then, the supposed idea for the creation of a non-binding agreement got a name. Today, it is publicly being identified as the Arms Trade Treaty. Although its name suggests that this may be a kind of plan to limit, control or prohibit the sale of arms as a way to avoid so-called illegal arms trade, — of the kind of Fast&Furious — it is not so.

As the title of this article describes it, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), is the beginning of the United Nations’ plan to carry out a globe wide disarmament of every nation on the planet, and with it the effective disarmament of each and every single person who lives in those nations. As expected, the warnings regarding the repercussions that such a treaty would have on the right to keep and bear arms, which exists in many countries, began immediately. Most of those warnings are sounding in countries like the United States, where 130 Congressmen wrote to Barack Obama voicing their concerns:

“We write to express our concerns regarding the negotiation of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the text of which is expected to be finalized at a conference to be held in New York during the month of July…. The U.S. must not accept an ATT that infringes on our constitutional rights, particularly the fundamental, individual right to keep and to bear arms that is protected by the Second Amendment.”

In addition to Congress, the National Riffle Association (NRA) also sounded the alarms on June 29, warning about the threat that the ATT poses to the rights of the citizens, which it believes, would be violated if the United States were to adopt or accept such a treaty:

“… the Senate has final say on treaties, and stating their unequivocal opposition to any treaty that would affect civilian ownership of firearms, challenge the authority of Congress to regulate firearms within the United States, or call for an international gun registry.”

Although most of the text of the treaty now being discussed in New York has been kept off the public eyes, some very revealing portions were made available which help us understand what this treaty intends to achieve. Take a look at the following sentence: “United Nations agencies have come across many situations in which various types of conventional weapons have been … misused by lawful owners”. That is why the UN is now proposing that a new Arms Trade Treaty be created to “regulate in ways that would … minimize the risk of misuse of legally owned weapons.” So the ATT is meant to regulate those people who right now own fire arms because the UN thinks that some owners have, or may in the future misuse the existing laws that govern over the purchase, sale and possession of fire arms in each country.

As explained by Larry Greenly in his article Oppose Signing and Ratification of the UN Arms Treaty, the United Nations considers gun ownership a failure and is proposing an arms treaty in order to curtail such a ‘failure’. Mr. Greenly correctly states that “the U.N. regards gun ownership — even under national constitutional protection and for lawful activities — as a cultural failure that it needs to redress and that it has no patience at all with the idea that self-defense is an inherent right.”

Remember that idea that the treaty was not going to be binding? Well, the tides have changed and now the UN is talking about a completely binding resolution for all of the signing member states. What reason does the UN and its supporting institutions provide to agree on and enact an arms treaty? “It has been estimated that approximately three quarters of a million people are killed each year in armed violence. Millions more lives are blighted through injury, displacement and destroyed livelihoods,” said UN Foreign Office Minister, Alistair Burt. At this point it is important to bring up the fact that during the 20th century, governments murdered between 260,000,000 and 350,000,000 people. Doesn’t it make more sense then to create a treaty that did away with violent forms of government if all we want is to protect people from dangerous, irresponsible use of arms?

Despite Congress and the NRA showing their concern about the ATT, there are still people, especially in the blogosphere and forums who say that, even if approved, the treaty wouldn’t have any impact, because this kind of agreements cannot overwrite the Constitution. That is exactly what everyone thought before the National Defense Authorization Act was approved, before the Patriot Act was passed, before Barack Obama said he would govern by issuing executive orders if he had to, before he and Leon Panetta said that the Pentagon did not need permission from Congress to carry out wars abroad, if the UN authorized them. If that type of discourse is not clear enough to understand that the UN and the corporations that founded it are in charge, then these bloggers and forum participants are missing a screw.

The Arms Trade Treaty is also underestimated because some of its details resemble or originate from ideas contained in the 1961 Freedom from War document signed by John Kennedy. Let’s see what that document says. Among its objectives and goals, the text says that nation-states adhere to common standards of justice and international conduct. This is reinforced by the principles established in the document, which say that “As states relinquish their arms, the United Nations must be progressively strengthened”. The disarmament of all nations is scheduled in three stages. In stage 2, the plan is the “establishment of a permanent international peace force within the United Nations.” In other words, the Freedom from War treaty is a United Nations strengthening, nation-state weakening tool, which would be further empowered by the new Arms Trade Treaty, which would give a global reach to the powers already vested upon the UN.

An interesting point to make about the Freedom from War document and the new United Nations Arms Trade Treaty is that in both cases the language used to describe the goals, stages, requirements and so on are so vague, that it simply invites any interpretation that the people that get the power desire to adopt. That right there is the most dangerous part of the whole issue. Vagueness invites abuse and abuse brings about repression.

When it comes to learning our lessons, especially the ones related to tyranny, there isn’t a better way to do so than by looking back to history. In this case, we will look at the history of the United Nations preparation for the period of time we are entering into right now, and that period is the one where the UN will make a strong push to disarm all nations and its citizens. One reference for the analysis of recent history takes us to the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. Another reference is a document called Removing Military Weapons from Civilian Hands.

When describing the use of small weapons by citizens or civilians, the above cited document says that “such weapons make it increasingly difficult for society to rebuild itself following a period of conflict… … This reality makes it more difficult for the State to regain the monopoly of force“. The United Nations believes that the government monopoly of force should be the standard state of affairs. As explained and sourced earlier, we all know by studying history, what a government monopoly of force resulted in last century. So, why would the UN be advocating for a step back in the direction of the mass murder of hundreds of millions of people?

The reason why the UN promotes a monopoly of force in the hands of the States is because while this organization is working hard on disarming individuals, it is also working even harder to become the sole policing power of the planet. It will be in complete power of the most dangerous weapons that exist today, if nations decide to go along the propaganda put out by the UN to “live free from war” which would turn the UN in the unique administrator of all weapons, small and large. What advantages would exist if people were completely disarmed?

For starters, “it would make it hard for anyone to lobby for the maintenance of the people’s right to keep and bear arms,” says the document, because the UN’s initiative would be seen as an effort offer people safety from guns. This view of what the right to keep and bear arms means comes from the idea that people owning guns is about them being able to go hunting whenever they please. Well, in reality the constitutional right to keep and bear arms is not about hunting, but about the right of the people to defend themselves from the oppression of the government and those who carry out its deeds.

The right to keep and bear arms is a legitimate right, because it was constitutionally adopted and it is written on the document that countries use as the base to conduct business in many parts of the world. That brings us to ask, where does the UN get its legitimacy? For that we need to go back to the founding of the United Nations. Who is the founder of this organization? The key proponent of the UN was Alger Hiss, an American lawyer and communist spy for the Stalin regime, as testified in Congress under oath by Whittaker Chambers, a former Communist Party member. Other founders of the UN include the Rockefeller family, and some other 30 or 40 members of the Council on Foreign Relations members, among others. Rockefeller himself donated the land on which the UN building sits today. Many people will say, ‘well, but all those countries agreed to create the UN and signed the document that legitimized its creation’. I wouldn’t characterize their actions in legitimizing the UN to more than participating in the signing of the text that Hiss, the Rockefellers and the other globalists had written. In other words, the UN has no legitimacy to be the international body that it is today, since the founders of such a body were not the nations of the world, but Mr. Hiss, the Rockefellers and the other members of the CFR.

Having addressed the issue of legitimacy, let’s continue analysing recent history of the UN attempts to disarm us all. A 2011 document written by Sarah Parker and titled “Improving the Effectiveness of the Programme of Action on Small Arms“, hosted on the website of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, gives us another insight into what the United Nations has in stake. The main goal of this document is to shed more light on the UN initiative to limit and later eliminate the possession of small arms by civilians. In order to achieve their goal, the globalists behind the UN want to implement policies of marking and tracing firearms, as well as creating a digital registration database of all arms in the hands of civilians. The UN also wants to “dispose and destroy” all arms that it collects from individuals and governments, establish “moratorium on the manufacture of small firearms”, which is what Obama has announced he will do in his second term as president of the United States and what New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has begun to do.

Under the guidelines of the above mentioned Programme of Action, the UN is calling for more regulation of firearms ownership. “Greater controls for firearms owners is required”. The document also describes how the UN lacks the financial support to create an electronic record of who owns what, and how the nations should chip in to create a fund that would enable the UN to be able to trace all firearms. What the UN is proposing then, is that each country creates a national gun registration database, whose oversight can be transferred to the UN so that it does not cost a penny to the globalists behind the organization.

There is a need to “train law enforcement providers in weapons collection and destruction:. Remember what happened to New Orleans residents after hurricane Katrina? In case you are not aware, the US National Guard took to the streets of New Orleans to illegally confiscate firearms from its legal owners. Members of the Guard kicked down doors, beat homeowners and confiscated all kinds of firearms to “keep people safe” from them. “Training is needed in modern methods of destruction,” continues to describe the document.

Under the section labeled as Public Awareness, the Programme of Action says that it is necessary to enhance the UN’s campaign to get rid of all firearms and that this campaign needs to have an extensive social reach. It also says that such campaigns should include ways to pacify the people who are against surrendering their guns for fear of becoming helpless should any governmental abuse take place, which the document calls false perceptions. Really? After 350,000,000 deaths the UN sees mistrust of governments use of force as a false perception?

Of course, the failure of the UN to end with such perception requires to carry out illegal arms trade — such as Fast & Furious — in order to manufacture the need to have an Arms Trade Treaty. And as if the existence of illegal arms trade wasn’t enough of a fake excuse to bring about the regulation of the individual right to keep and bear arms to defend oneself from oppressive governments and your standard criminal, the UN also cites the fact that the creation of a binding agreement would globally legitimize their attempt to limit ownership of firearms.

To sum up, an illegitimate organization created by globalists and bankers in 1945 has found a way to request the complete disarmament of every country in the world and every citizen in those countries under the excuse that a more peaceful world can be achieved in that organization alone becomes the sole owner of all weaponry that exists on the surface of the planet, in space and under the ground. That same organization, in its Universal declaration of Human Rights states that we all have rights which can be exercised, unless the UN decides the exercise of those rights infringes its existence. Under the UN plans, there needs to be only one POLICE that secures peace and prevents conflict by imposing force over anyone who dares challenge its reign over all nations and individuals. This organization by all known as the United Nations has also lovingly provided us with the right to live under a centralized social world order which it itself will command.

How is that for a peek into the future of our lives under the reign of the banker, globalist run United Nations and its Arms Trade Treaty?

Intelligence Thugs using social networks to influence masses

RT
April 2011

Wayne Madsen has written about intelligence in America for decades, having transitioned from a Naval officer to journalist, specializing in investigative reporting.

In the past he’s written about the FBI’s Carnivore Internet monitoring program, but now, he says, the government isn’t watching what we do online, but is using the web, rather, to tell us how to do it.

Using the media for propaganda purposes is nothing new for the CIA, says Madsen. He cites the 1960s pirate station Radio Swan as an example of the American government’s attempt to discretely influence the public over 50 years ago, broadcasting messages in favor of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Now, says Madsen, the government is taking to Twitter and Facebook to get their point across—but isn’t being clear at all on how it’s doing it.

What is happening today, says Madsen, is just the latest example of psychological operations perpetrated by the government to influence the public. Madsen attests that online messages claiming to be from US fronts overseas are actually from Americans—not the Libyans and their neighbors who we are led to believe are sending the tweets.

“I think the US is probably behind these Twitter feeds. We don’t know if they came from Libya,” he says. Madsen even suggest that the microblog messages could easily be constructed from military bases in America by our own officials—not war-ravaged and rebellious Libyans.

Madsen notes that Internet availability in Libya has barely saturated the country, with only five percent of the population having access to the web. It would make sense, then, that the tweets, blogs and status updates chronicling the drama in North Africa are being orchestrated by the US government as a means of making their message heard, even if it’s done through surreptitious means.

While these actions would jeopardize the ethics of the CIA, the organization has been sneaky before in its usage of conduits. The Agency would plant stories in foreign newspapers, which would then be picked up overseas and, from there, indirectly carried by US outlets.

Madsen also sites that relationships between the US government and major technology and communication corporations, such as AT&T and Google, as long-standing and apparent across the board.

Regardless of whether or not the CIA is covertly casting these tweets, Madsen says that US and NATO involvement in Libya has brought the situation to a stalemate and is thus one propaganda program that has furiously failed.

Finding the ‘Cure’ for the ‘Cyber Epidemic’

By Tom Burghardt

As the “War on Terror” morphs into a multiyear, multitrillion dollar blood-soaked adventure to secure advantage over imperialism’s geopolitical rivals (and steal other people’s resources in the process), hitting the corporate “sweet spot,” now as during the golden days of the Cold War, is as American as a preemptive war and the “pack of lies” that launch them.

Always inventive when it comes to ginning-up a profitable panic, U.S. defense and security grifters have rolled-out a product line guaranteed to scare the bejesus out of everyone: a “cyber epidemic”!

This one has it all: hordes of crazed “communist” Chinese hackers poised to bring down the power grid; swarthy armies of al-Qaeda fanatics who “hate us for our freedom;” “trusted insiders” who do us harm by leaking “sensitive information,” i.e. bringing evidence of war crimes and corporate malfeasance to light by spilling the beans to secrecy-shredding web sites like WikiLeaks, Public Intelligence and Cryptome.

And to combat this latest threat to public order, the Pentagon’s geek squad, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have launched several new initiatives.

Armed with catchy acronyms like SMITE, for “Suspected Malicious Insider Threat Elimination,” and a related program, CINDER, for “Cyber Insider Threat,” the agency’s masters hope to “greatly increase the accuracy, rate and speed with which insider threats are detected and impede the ability of adversaries to operate undetected within government and military interest networks.”

Just another day in our collapsing American Empire!

During an Executive Leadership Conference last week in Williamsburg, Virginia, deep in the heart of the Military-Industrial-Security corridor, Bob Dix, vice president for U.S. government and critical infrastructure protection for Juniper Networks cautioned that the United States is facing a “cyber epidemic.”

According to Government Computer News, Dix told the contract-hungry hordes gathered at the American Council for Technology/Industry Advisory Council’s (ACT-IAC) conclave that “overall cyber defense isn’t strong enough.”

All the more reason then for the secret state to weaken encryption standards that might help protect individual users and critical infrastructure from malicious hacks and network intrusions, as the Obama administration will soon propose.

As I reported earlier this month, along with watering-down those standards, the administration is seeking authority from Congress that would force telecommunication companies to redesign their networks to more easily facilitate internet spying.

Add to the mix the recent “Memorandum of Agreement” between the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security that will usher in a “synchronization of current operational cybersecurity efforts,” and it’s a sure bet as I averred, that the Pentagon has come out on top in the intramural tussle within the security apparat.

During the ACT-IAC conference, greedily or lovingly sponsored (you make the call!) by “Platinum” angels AT&T, CACI, HP, Harris Corp. and Lockheed Martin, Sherri Ramsay, the director of NSA’s Threat Operations Center, told the crowd: “Right now, we’re a soft target, we’re very easy.”

Dix chimed in: “Nothing we’re talking about today is new. What’s new is the threat is more severe.”

Music to the ears of all concerned I’m sure, considering the “cumulative market valued at $55 billion” over the next five years and the 6.2% annual growth rate in the “U.S. Federal Cybersecurity Market” that Market Research Media told us about.

Never mind that the number of “incidents of malicious cyber activity” targeting the Defense Department has actually decreased in 2010, as security journalist Noah Shachtman reported in Wired.

If we were inclined to believe Pentagon claims or those of “former intelligence officials” (we’re not) that the United States faces an “unprecedented threat” from imperial rivals, hackers and terrorists, then perhaps (just for the sake of argument, mind you) their overwrought assertions and fulsome pronouncements might have some merit.

After all, didn’t NSA and U.S. Cyber Command director, General Keith Alexander tell the U.S. Senate during confirmation hearings in April that he was “alarmed by the increase, especially this year” in the number of breaches of military networks?

And didn’t former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, currently a top executive with the spooky Booz Allen Hamilton firm, whose cyber portfolio is well-watered with taxpayer dollars, pen an alarmist screed in The Washington Post claiming that “the United States is fighting a cyber-war today, and we are losing”?

Not to be outdone in the panic department, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn warned in a recent piece in the Council On Foreign Relations flagship publication, Foreign Affairs, that “the frequency and sophistication of intrusions into U.S. military networks have increased exponentially,” and that “a rogue program operating silently, [is] poised to deliver operational plans into the hands of an unknown adversary.”

Oh my!

However, as Shachtman points out, “according to statistics compiled by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission … the commission notes in a draft report on China and the internet, ‘2010 could be the first year in a decade in which the quantity of logged events declines’.”

Better hush that up quick or else those government contractors “specializing in the most attractive niche segments of the market” as Washington Technology averred earlier this month, might see the all-important price per share drop, a real national crisis!

Panic sells however, and once the terms of the debate have been set by interested parties out to feather their nests well, it’s off to the races!

After all as Defense Systems reported, “as cyberspace gains momentum the military must adjust its approach in order to take on an increasingly high-tech adversary.”

Indeed, Major General Ed Bolton, the Air Force point man heading up cyber and space operations thundered during a recent meet-and-greet organized by the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association at the Sheraton Premier in McClean, Virginia that “we are a nation at war, and cyberspace is a warfighting domain.”

Along these lines the Air Force and CYBERCOM are working out “the policy, doctrine and strategies” that will enable our high-tech warriors to integrate cyber “in combat, operation plans and exercises,” Bolton explained.

And according to Brigadier General Ian Dickinson, Space Command’s CIO, industry will “help the military take on an evolving war strategy–and [close] a gap between traditional and cyber-era defense,” Defense Systems informed us.

“That’s something we worry about,” Space Command’s Col. Kim Crider told AFCEA, perhaps over squab and a lobster tail or two, “integrating our non-kinetic capabilities with space operations.”

“We think it’s a good opportunity to partner with industry to develop and integrate these capabilities,” Crider said, contemplating perhaps his employment opportunities after retiring from national service.

And why not, considering that AFCEA’s board of directors are chock-a-block with executives from cyberfightin’ firms like Booz Allen, SAIC, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and General Dynamics.

Perhaps too, the generals and full bird colonels on the Sheraton dais need reminding that “integrating our non-kinetic capabilities with space operations,” has already been a matter of considerable import to U.S. Strategic Command’s Gen. Kevin Chilton.

In 2009, the STRATCOM commander informed us that “the White House retains the option to respond with physical force–potentially even using nuclear weapons–if a foreign entity conducts a disabling cyber attack against U.S. computer networks.”

That would certainly up the ante a notch or two!

Chilton said, “I think you don’t take any response options off the table from an attack on the United States of America,” Global Security Newswire reported. “Why would we constrain ourselves on how we respond?”

Judging by the way the U.S. imperial war machine conducts itself in Iraq and Afghanistan, there’s no reason that the general’s bellicose rhetoric shouldn’t be taken seriously.

“I think that’s been our policy on any attack on the United States of America,” Chilton said. “And I don’t see any reason to treat cyber any differently. I mean, why would we tie the president’s hands? I can’t. It’s up to the president to decide.”

Even short of nuclear war a full-on cyber attack on an adversary’s infrastructure could have unintended consequences that would boomerang on anyone foolish enough to unleash military-grade computer worms and viruses.

All the more reason then to classify everything and move towards transforming the internet and electronic communications in general into a “warfighting domain” lorded-over by the Pentagon and America’s alphabet-soup intelligence agencies.

As The Washington Post reported on September 29, the secret state announced that “it had spent $80.1 billion on intelligence activities over the past 12 months.”

According to the Post, the “National Intelligence Program, run by the CIA and other agencies that report to the Director of National Intelligence, cost $53.1 billion in fiscal 2010, which ended Sept. 30, while the Military Intelligence Program cost an additional $27 billion.”

By comparison, the total spent by America’s shadow warriors exceeds Russia’s entire military budget.

Despite releasing the budget figures, the Office of Director and National Intelligence and Defense Department officials refused to disclose any program details.

What percentage goes towards National Security Agency “black” programs, including those illegally targeting the communications of the American people are, like torture and assassination operations, closely guarded state secrets.

And with calls for more cash to “inoculate” the American body politic against a looming “cyber epidemic,” the right to privacy, civil liberties and dissent, are soon destined to be little more than quaint relics of our former republic.

As security expert Bruce Schneier points out “we surely need to improve cybersecurity.” However, “words have meaning, and metaphors matter.”

“If we frame the debate in terms of war” Schneier writes, “we reinforce the notion that we’re helpless–what person or organization can defend itself in a war?–and others need to protect us. We invite the military to take over security, and to ignore the limits on power that often get jettisoned during wartime.”

As well, using catchy disease metaphors like “epidemic” to describe challenges posed by high-tech espionage and cyber crime evoke disturbing parallels to totalitarian states of the past.

Such formulas are all the more dangerous when the “antibodies” proposed by powerful military and corporate centers of power will be deployed with little in the way of democratic oversight and control and are concealed from the public behind veils of “national security” and “proprietary business information.”

“Unregulated Greed has Destroyed the Capitalist System”

Paul Craig Roberts

I write about major problems: the collapsing US economy, wars based on lies and deception, the police state based on “the war on terror” and other fabrications such as those orchestrated by corrupt police and prosecutors, who boost their performance reports by convicting the innocent, and so on. America is a very distressing place. The fact that so many Americans are taken in by the lies told by “their” government makes America all the more depressing.

Often, however, it is small annoyances that waste Americans’ time and drive up blood pressures. One of the worst things that ever happened to Americans was the breakup of the AT&T telephone monopoly. As Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury in 1981, if 150 percent of my time and energy had not been required to cure stagflation in the face of opposition from Wall Street and Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, I might have been able to prevent the destruction of the best communications service in the world, and one that was very inexpensive to customers.

The assistant attorney general in charge of the “anti-trust case” against AT&T called me to ask if Treasury had an interest in how the case was resolved. I went to Treasury Secretary Don Regan and told him that although my conservative and libertarian friends thought that the breakup of At&T was a great idea, their opinion was based entirely in ideology and that the practical effect would not be good for widows and orphans who had a blue chip stock to see them through life or for communications customers as deregulated communications would give the multiple communications corporations different interests than those of the customers. Under the regulated regime, AT&T was allowed a reasonable rate of return on its investment, and to stay out of trouble with regulators AT&T provided excellent and inexpensive service.

Secretary Regan reminded me of my memo to him detailing that Treasury was going to have a hard time getting President Reagan’s economic program, directed at curing the stagflation that had wrecked President Carter’s presidency, out of the Reagan administration. The budget director, David Stockman, and his chief economist, Larry Kudlow, had lined up against it following the wishes of Wall Street, and the White House Chief of Staff James Baker and his deputy Richard Darman were representatives of VP George H.W. Bush and did not want s substantial Reagan success that would again threaten the Republican Establishment’s hold over the party. Baker and Darman wanted to be sure that George H. W. Bush, and not Jack Kemp, succeeded Ronald Reagan, and that required a muted Reagan success that they could claim as theirs for moderating an “extremist” program.

I told Secretary Regan that if I had another deputy assistant secretary, I could reach a reasonable conclusion whether the breakup of AT&T was sensible. He replied that he was sure that was the case, but that once I had three deputies the headlines in the Washington Post and New York Times, Business Week, Newsweek, and so on, would be: “Supply-sider builds empire at Treasury.” He said it would sink me and that without me he could not get the President’s economic program out of the President’s administration. “Which do you want to do,” he asked, “save AT&T or cure stagflation?”

Curing stagflation gave America twenty more years. Ironically, the good times started to erode when Reagan’s other goal was accomplished and the Soviet Union dissolved in 1990. “The end of history” resulted in India and China opening their labor markets to American capitalists, who began producing offshore with foreign labor the products that they sold to Americans. The labor costs savings pushed up corporate profits, shareholders’ returns, and managerial bonuses. But it deprived Americans of middle class incomes and wrecked the balance of trade. The US income distribution and the trade deficit worsened.

Many progressives blame the worsening income distribution on the Reagan tax rate reductions, but the real cause is the offshoring of manufacturing, industrial, and professional service jobs, such as software engineering.

None of us in the Reagan administration foresaw jobs offshoring as the consequence of Soviet collapse. We had no idea that by bringing down the Soviet Union we would be bringing down America. During the Reagan years India was socialist and would not allow foreign corporations, had they been interested, to touch their labor force. China was communist and no foreign capital could enter the country.

However, once the Soviet Union was gone from the earth, the remaining socialist and communist regimes decided to go with the winners. They opened to Western corporations and sucked jobs out of the developed West.

But this is a different story. To get back to deregulation, nothing has worked for the consumer since deregulation. Deregulation permitted corporations to impose their costs of operation on customers without having to send them a bill. For example, corporations use voice recognition technology to keep customers from salaried customer representatives. I remember when a customer with a problem could call a utility company or bank and have the problem immediately corrected.

No more. There was an error in my phone bill today, which I had corrected without result on two previous occasions. As everyone knows by now, it takes 10-15 minutes, usually, to get a live person who can actually fix the problem. After listening to sales pitches for 12 minutes, I got a live person. Once the problem was understood, it was pronounced to be an upper level problem out of his hands. I waited another 10 minutes while he tried to reach a superior who had the code to fix the problem that the phone company had produced in my account. The entire time I listened to product advertisements.

How many times has this happened to you?

Whoever invented these artificial voice capabilities is the enemy of mankind. Whomever a customer calls–utilities, credit card companies, banks, whatever, the customer gets a voice machine. Some voice machines never tell the customer how to get a live person who can, on occasion, actually fix the problem.

In my opinion, the strategy behind the endless delays is to cause the customers to give up, slam the telephone down and play the higher incorrect bill as it is cheaper in time and frustration to correcting the problem and being billed in the correct amount. These ripoffs of the customer are produced by Wall Street pressures for higher earnings.

The frustrations, of course, multiply when one reaches an offshored service somewhere in the Third World. The incentive is to hang up and to pay the excessive bill so that phone, internet, or credit card services are not cut off

Had Don Regan and I known that the high speed Internet was in our future and that American corporations would use it to destroy the jobs traditionally filled by US university graduates, possibly we would have decided to save the regulated telephone monopoly and to deliver the economy over to stagflation.

The reason is that sooner or later something would have been done about stagflation, but nothing whatsoever has been done about offshoring. Saving the economy from offshoring would have been a greater achievement than saving the economy from stagflation. However, in my time stagflation, not offshoring, was the problem.

I regret that I did not have a crystal ball.

Deregulation proponents will say that the breakup of AT&T gave us cell phones and broadband, as if foreign regulated communication companies and state monopolies do not provide cell phone service or high speed Internet connections. I can remember attending corporate board meetings years ago at which the European members had digital cell phones with which they could call most anywhere on earth, while we Americans with our analogue cell phones could hardly connect down the street.

What deregulation did was to permit Wall Street to push the deregulated industries– phone service, airlines, trucking, and later Wall Street itself– to focus on profits and not on service. Profits were increased by curtailing service, by pushing up prices and by Wall Street creating fraudulent financial instruments, which the banksters used America’s reputation to market to the gullible at home and abroad.

Consider air travel. Admit it, if you are my age you hate it. The deterioration in service over my lifetime is phenomenal. Studies in favor of airline deregulation focused on short flights between A and B and concluded that small airlines serving high density areas were more efficient because they were not regulated. What was left out of the analysis is that regulated airlines served low density areas and permitted free stopovers. For example, if one was flying from the US to Athens, Greece, the traveler could stopover in London, Paris, and Rome without additional charges. Moreover, passengers were fed hot meals even in tourist class. In those halcyon days, it was even possible to travel more comfortably in tourist class than in first class, because flights were not scheduled in keeping with full capacity. Several rows of seats might be unoccupied. It was possible to push up the arm rests on three or four center aisle seats, lay down and go to sleep.

Perhaps the best benefit of regulated air travel for passengers was that airlines had spare airliners. If one airplane had mechanical problems that could not be fixed within a reasonable time, a standby airliner was rolled out to enable passengers to meet their connections and designations. With deregulation, customer service is not important. The bottom line has eliminated spare airliners.

With deregulated airlines, Wall Street calls the tune. If your flight has a mechanical problem, you are stuck where you are unless you have some sort of privileged status that can bump passengers from later fully booked flights. “Studies” that focus only on discounted ticket price omit major costs of deregulation and thereby wrongly conclude that deregulation has benefited the consumer.

When trucking was regulated, truckers would stop to provide roadside assistant to stranded travelers. Today, with deregulated trucking, every minute counts toward the bottom line. Not only do truckers no longer stop to aid stranded travelers, they travel at excessive speeds that endanger automobile drivers. Trucks have expanded in size, weight and speed. Trucks raise the stress level on interstate highway drivers and destroy, at taxpayers expense, the roads on which they travel.

Conservatives and especially libertarians romanticize “free market unregulated capitalism.” They regard it as the best of all economic orders. However, with deregulated capitalism, every decision is a bottom-line decision that screws everyone except the shareholders and management.

In America today there is no longer a connection between profits and the welfare of the people. Unregulated greed has destroyed the capitalist system, which now distributes excessive rewards to the few at the expense of the many.

If Marx and Lenin were alive today, the extraordinary greed with which Wall Street has infected capitalism would provide Marx and Lenin with a better case than they had in the 19th and early 20th centuries.