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Surveillance State

Uncle Sam's Databases of Suspicion

Hina Shamsi | Posted 11.06.2014 | Politics
Hina Shamsi

At a fundamental level, suspicious activity reporting, as well as the digital and physical infrastructure of networked computer servers and fusion centers built around it, depends on what the government defines as suspicious. As it happens, this turns out to include innocuous, First Amendment-protected behavior.

Should We Just Follow Orders? Rules of Engagement for Resisting the Police State

John W. Whitehead | Posted 12.07.2014 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

To begin with, and most importantly, Americans need to know their rights when it comes to interactions with the police, bearing in mind that many law enforcement officials are largely ignorant of the law themselves.

14 Reasons Why Captain America: The Winter Soldier Is the Best Pop Movie of the Year

William Bradley | Posted 09.27.2014 | Entertainment
William Bradley

The release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier this month on disc and download reminds of what a terrific film it is. With some competition from its delightful Marvel Studios sibling, Guardians of the Galaxy, it's the best pop movie of the year.

Letters from Men in Prison: The Call for Accessible Entrepreneurship Education

Steve Mariotti | Posted 09.14.2014 | Crime
Steve Mariotti

Forty years in, the war on drugs has done almost nothing to prevent drugs from being sold or used, but it has nonetheless created a little-known surve...

Does Uncle Sam Have a God Complex?

Norman Solomon | Posted 09.13.2014 | Politics
Norman Solomon

As a matter of faith, some people believe that God can see and hear everything. But as a matter of fact, the U.S. government now has the kind of surveillance powers formerly attributed only to a supreme being.

Superman, Where Are You?

Carine Fabius | Posted 08.17.2014 | Politics
Carine Fabius

This country is being held hostage by a group of monsters masquerading as members of congress and senators from the Republican Party. Nothing is too big to destroy if it is spearheaded by Barack Obama; and that goes double for America.

Uncle Sam Doesn’t Want You -- He Already Has You

William J. Astore | Posted 08.12.2014 | Politics
William J. Astore

You've been drafted into the American national security state. That much is evident from Edward Snowden's revelations. Your smartphone? It's a perfect tracking device if the government needs to find you. Your computer? Hackable and trackable. Your server? It's at their service, not yours.

What's in a Name? Captain America: The Winter Soldier

William Bradley | Posted 05.30.2014 | Entertainment
William Bradley

Reviewers are wondering about the film's title, pointing out that the titular 'Winter Soldier' doesn't figure as prominently as the title might suggest. Au contraire. I'll explain what the 'Winter Soldier' of the title really means.

Obama: Good Talk, Loose Talk in Summiteering on Loose Nukes, Uptight Russia, the Asia-Pacific Pivot, and America's Problematic Image

William Bradley | Posted 05.25.2014 | Politics
William Bradley

It's one thing to acknowledge, as Obama did from the beginning, that his goal of nuclear abolition was very blue sky, something that would not be accomplished in his lifetime. Frankly, I'd bet that it never happens. That it seems unrealistic does not mean that it is not a righteous goal.

Snowden's Lawyer: Forget About Orwell, Worry About Kafka

Michael Winship | Posted 05.12.2014 | Politics
Michael Winship

"All of this stuff was classified. Not just classified; it was classified at the highest level. These were the secrets that the government said were most critical to keep. But what kind of democracy would we be if the public had never learned of this information?"

Why Amazon's Collaboration With the CIA Is So Ominous -- and Vulnerable

Norman Solomon | Posted 04.22.2014 | Politics
Norman Solomon

Few people have direct contact with outfits like Booz Allen Hamilton or Lockheed Martin. But every day, Amazon is depending on millions of customers to go online and buy products from its sites. As more people learn about its CIA ties, Amazon could -- and should -- suffer the consequences.

Cut Off the NSA's Juice

Norman Solomon | Posted 03.29.2014 | Politics
Norman Solomon

The NSA depends on huge computers that guzzle electricity in the service of the surveillance state. For the NSA's top executives, maintaining a vast flow of juice is essential -- and any interference with that flow is unthinkable. But interference isn't unthinkable. And in fact, it may be doable.

Why the Washington Post's New Ties to the CIA Are So Ominous

Norman Solomon | Posted 03.15.2014 | Politics
Norman Solomon

The Post is supposed to expose CIA secrets. But Amazon is under contract to keep them. Amazon has a new $600 million "cloud" computing deal with the CIA. The situation is unprecedented.

Lessons in Censorship We Already Knew

Daniel M. Cofall | Posted 02.22.2014 | Politics
Daniel M. Cofall

In a truly free society, the only censorship we really need to worry about is governmental censorship that is bound with legal ramifications. Certainly, the Holy Grail here is the First Amendment.

Real Journalism vs. Global Big Brother

Norman Solomon | Posted 02.04.2014 | Politics
Norman Solomon

For journalists, and for the rest of us, silence is not neutrality; it ends up as acceptance of autocratic rule, a present festooned with pretty-sounding names like "anti-terrorism" and "national security."

Welcome to the Memory Hole

Peter Van Buren | Posted 02.02.2014 | Politics
Peter Van Buren

What if Edward Snowden was made to disappear? No, I'm not suggesting some future CIA rendition effort or a who-killed-Snowden conspiracy theory of a disappearance, but a more ominous kind.

The Etiquette of War and Surveillance

Tom Engelhardt | Posted 01.23.2014 | Politics
Tom Engelhardt

We've called on an old and knowledgeable friend, Colonel Manners (ret.). His assignment: to answer letters from Americans puzzled by the etiquette, manners, and language of the arcane national security world of Washington.

Surveillance 101

Tom Engelhardt | Posted 12.08.2013 | Politics
Tom Engelhardt

Sometimes, the world sends you back to school. These last months have offered us a crash course in how Washington, enveloped in a penumbra of extreme secrecy, went to work creating a global surveillance state on a scale almost beyond the imagination.

The X-Files Moment Comes Again (XF at 20)

William Bradley | Posted 11.16.2013 | Politics
William Bradley

The X-Files, like the conspiracy thrillers of the '70s, worked because there was a general atmosphere of paranoia and mistrust engendered by real-world events. What should be obvious now is that we live in a culture in which a show like The X-Files would flourish once again.

White House Lies Underscore the NSA's Indefensibility

Jason Ditz | Posted 10.22.2013 | Politics
Jason Ditz

Despite repeated leaks showing the NSA programs routinely violated the privacy of ordinary Americans, including a series of revelations Wednesday that confirmed the practice was even broader than anyone had previously suggested, the White House is sticking to its story.

What Would Chal Think?

Tom Engelhardt | Posted 10.22.2013 | Politics
Tom Engelhardt

"Chal" was Chalmers Johnson, who died in November 2010. I've regularly wished that I could just pick up the phone and get his mordant take on the vast global surveillance state Washington is building, another instance of what he called "military Keynesianism" run amok.

Presidential Pardon for Bradley Manning? | An Interview with Jill Stein

Dennis Trainor | Posted 10.07.2013 | Politics
Dennis Trainor

The Green Shadow Cabinet calls on President Obama to pardon Bradley Manning for his courageous work exposing U.S. war crimes and State Department deception

Despite Multiple Crises, Obama's Asia-Pacific Moves Roll On

William Bradley | Posted 09.21.2013 | Politics
William Bradley

The crises just keep on coming for the Obama Administration. Egypt, Syria, Snowden, Russia, Afghanistan, boom boom boom. But the Asia-Pacific Pivot -- from over-engagement with the Islamic world of the Middle East and Central Asia to the rising Asia-Pacific region -- keeps moving forward.

Surveillance Blowback

Alfred W. McCoy | Posted 09.13.2013 | Politics
Alfred W. McCoy

The technology used is state of the art; the impulse, it turns out, is nothing new. For well over a century, what might be called "surveillance blowback" from America's wars has ensured the creation of an ever more massive and omnipresent internal security and surveillance apparatus.

Welcome Proto-Skynet

William Bradley | Posted 09.11.2013 | Politics
William Bradley

How do Americans feel about the fast-emerging world of which the Snowden revelations -- involving overly busy human analysts who might look at their personal data -- are only a part? Hard to say. After all, few know about it yet.