NSA Spying and Two Framing the Debate

The Bush Administration is spying. Spying big-time. Not just on foreign calls, not just on suspected terrorists. They are spying on us. All of us.

This story has been developing for years. It began with Iran-Contra luminary John Poindexter and his Total Information Awareness program. The TIA was initiated shortly after 9/11 and it was designed to create a massive, cross-referenced database of all sorts of information–financial transactions, phone calls, bank accounts, internet searches and usage–compiled on Americans. Eventually, it would include medical records and, once the data was collected, genetic information. It was Big Brother on steroids.

Congress didn’t like that…so TIA was officially “ended.” Sort of.

It was broken up and farmed out to private companies in bits and pieces. It lives on.

Then there is TALON, the Pentagon’s other spying program which has been monitoring radical terrorists like The American Friends Service Committee, a.k.a. the Quakers, PETA and various peace groups and organizations. This program included human intel…spies going to meetings and collecting license plate numbers, for example. Just imagine how much info on terrorists the Pentagon can get from a meeting of Quakers!

But the Pentagon did have a seemingly successful monitoring and data mining operation called Able Danger. That effort was actually tracking Mohammed Atta and a couple other hijackers before 9/11. But that program got derailed. Derailed before 9/11 and before it could stop Atta and his flying circus. Funny that.

So, when we hear that millions of phone records were handed over to the NSA…it shouldn’t come as a surprise. They…the proverbial “THEY”…want to have as much information on us as they can.

Why? To find terrorists?


But the obvious conclusion is that they want to know what we are up to. The whos and whys and whens and that help THEM understand the population they govern. The population they need to…want to…control and manipulate. To identify “enemies.” Not necessarily of the terrorist kind, either. As Brian Ross of ABC just found out, they want to find out who the enemies of their polices are…the people fighting their exercise of control and power. They want to shut up dissenters. Within the government and, based on TALON, those within the civilian population who disagree with them. Perhaps “stop” is too harsh a word vis-à-vis the TALON program. More like…keep tabs. Keep tabs on the arguments made and activates of dissenters.

This could come in handy for targeted efforts to infiltrate, to harass…to create election strategies. To undermine dissent.

But when it came to actually stopping Atta? Well, Able Danger had the plug pulled. But not the domestic spying on ordinary citizens. That is something we need to keep doing. Something the Administration has lied about, and now tries to justify.

Polls and polls and more polls pop up on this NSA thing. People may be uncomfortable, but the cache of stopping another 9/11 has quite a few American accepting the previously unacceptable.

In fact, the lingering fear from 9/11 has allowed the Administration and their minions in Congress to push through quite a bit. A couple versions of the Patriot Act. The accepted use of torture and of holding American citizens, among others, indefinitely without trial. The invasion of a country that posed no threat. Massive budget deficits that are, essentially, a wealth transfer from taxpayers to Bush-Cheney-Rummy buddies in the Military-Industrial Complex.

All to protect us.

It’s all about protection. Just like the spying is, most likely, so they can protect themselves from the growing dissatisfaction with the strange road they are driving us down…using $3 a gallon gas to fuel their other buddies in Saudi Arabia and the oil industry.

Just like the $5 million windfall Rummy made off of Tami-Flu…selling his stock in Gilead after the Administration, in and effort to protect us, ordered an orgy of Tami-flu purchases.

Catastrophes are big business. And fear of catastrophe means big bucks and a level of compliance from the governed.

So the governed look at the NSA spying revelations and, according to those aforementioned polls, say, “Hey, I’ve got nothing to hide. If they want to hear me talk to my friends and family…fine. So long as it stops another 9/11”

There is a certain logic in this line of thinking. What can THEY do with tedious information on people who are innocent of terrorism? The “I’ve got nothing to hide” argument is a strong one.

Except when it is reversed. When there is something to hide. When hiding leads to suspicion.

Which brings us to the release of the Pentagon-9/11 “video” yesterday. Video that, according to newsreaders, disproves “wild conspiracy theories” about 9/11. Video that isn’t actually video. It is two frames added to the three frames previously released from one of many video cameras that caught the attack on the Pentagon. It took years and lawsuits to give us those two frames. Two frames that show little more than we saw before.

So, I ask all those Americans comfortable with the NSA spying…what is the Administration hiding? Why not give us the complete video? Not frames, but video we can watch and render comprehensible with slow-motion. Video we know they have.

And what about the video from the Sheraton Hotel or the Pentagon’s gas station or from the Virginia Dept. of Transportation cameras that would’ve shown the plane flying over the highway before impact?

Why, if we have nothing to fear from letting Uncle Big Brother Sam monitor our calls, don’t we ask for the video on the same grounds?

The timing of this release indicates that they are fearful…the THEY…not the American people. Because people are asking questions. Because Charlie Sheen, despite his messy divorce, asked good questions. Because there are films like Loose Change using simple science, photos, anomalies and basic questions to illustrate that something is being hidden.


The spying and the failure of Able Danger and the obvious lies about WMDs–yes, lies…just do the reading and you’ll see that the lying is clear–all these oddities have people scratching their heads about this Administration and their agenda. They seem to be running wild and telling us things that don’t pan out…don’t make sense. They seem to like hiding stuff…energy policies, who leaked Valerie Plame’s name, reclassifying declassified documents.

They keep on hiding.

And people are finally waking up to the fact that they are being manipulated.

They…yes, that THEY…have something to hide. They are afraid. That fear led them to release two frames…framing the debate and allowing media cowards to debunk, use epithets and, generally, obfuscate a clear problem. Fear has THEM monitoring millions of phone calls and tracking the activities of peace groups. Fear has them hiding what they are doing.

But don’t expect media cowards to ask the obvious question: What are THEY hiding?

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'NSA Spying and Two Framing the Debate' have 5 comments

  1. June 12, 2013 @ 3:34 pm The Frankendata Monster : Newsvandal

    […] TIA was exactly what it sounded like—an omnipresent database containing as much information as it could possibly collect. In addition […]

  2. June 13, 2013 @ 8:58 am Security Industrial Complex

    […] TIA was exactly what it sounded like—an omnipresent database containing as much information as it could possibly collect. In addition […]

  3. June 14, 2013 @ 12:59 am The Frankendata Monster » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

    […] TIA was exactly what it sounded like—an omnipresent database containing as much information as it could possibly collect. In addition […]

  4. June 14, 2013 @ 1:08 am The Frankendata Monster

    […] TIA was exactly what it sounded like—an omnipresent database containing as much information as it could possibly collect. In addition […]

  5. June 19, 2013 @ 8:08 pm The Frankendata Monster | Isenberg Institute of Strategic Satire

    […] TIA was exactly what it sounded like—an omnipresent database containing as much information as it could possibly collect. In addition […]

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