People Before Big Brother

This post was written and performed on radio for DayPage – a daily radio program I do wherein I provide a capsule of the day’s news…

The following rush transcript probably contains errors and/or omissions…

Earth to NSA: Give It Up

DayPage – weekend edition. I’m Rex Latchford on Radio InfoWeb.

It’s the weekend, and time for reflection on the week’s events. The NSA scandal initiated by Edward Snowden’s leaked documents has been going on for over a month now.

In some ways, Friday was yet another seismic event with the release of the NSA’s own documents in the Washington Post, showing that the NSA’s overreach and proneness to error is self-documented. Thousands of violations of it’s own rules, in many cases self-made, occur every day at the agency, by it’s own admission in the documents. The troubling aspect which isn’t clearly mentioned is: what they SAY about their own infractions is completely different. In other words, they are liars. And yet, the Obama administration still scrambles to defend the NSA with it’s bulk data collection programs and domestic spying.

And hey – how about them folks in other countries? You don’t think they want privacy too? Of course they do.

As inarguable as that would seem in the face of the release of the release of the NSA’s own documents — it seems to be arguable! And still, folks who are part of the Washington machine provide a knee-jerk defense of the NSA! Dianne Feinstein, prominent and chronic apologist for the NSA called the NSA’s documents “reports” as if they came from some fringe lunatic who was simply out-to-get the NSA and could hardly be believed. No, Dianne – sorry – these are NSA documents, not “wild reports”.

Last night, I watched a PBS interview in which the interviewee clearly had less grasp of the facts than the interviewer, who soldiered on. The interviewee went on to split hairs and equivocate on when domestic spying might be OK. Sorry. It isn’t. The question isn’t whether such folks, especially President Obama, are going to somehow forceably make us “more comfortable” with bulk domestic spying. The question is, how are we going to bring it to an end?

That, my friends, is a VERY big question.

Today’s Washington Post — the paper that revealed the NSA’s self-audit Friday — carried an interesting letter-to-the-editor entitled:

NSA: Follow International Law

Regarding the Aug. 16 front-page article “Audit: NSA repeatedly broke privacy rules”:

In defending its mistakes, the National Security Agency (NSA) said that the number is insignificant, but we don’t have a complete picture of how many mistakes were made as the audit only encompassed information from a limited number of agency offices. Additionally, the NSA said that the people who work at the agency are human and make mistakes.

[The writer goes on to say…] That’s not good enough. That is why the NSA surveillance practice should be compliant with international legal standards that protect people from unlawful surveillance. Compliance would involve setting up a system to ensure that mistakes are identified and corrected before someone’s rights have been violated.

Widney Brown, New York
The writer is senior director of international law at Amnesty International.

So yes, this is a very big thing indeed. Not only do we need to bring domestic spying and bulk-data collection to an end, we need to bring it to an end outside our borders as well. The same applies to the Snooping and Spying agencies of other countries. Human rights – the rights of people, not any particular government, need to be respected. The human race has come far enough — now — that we no longer need rule by fear and intimidation. At last, we can have the human rights that Martin Luther King dreamed of. Not only for one minority — but for all the people of planet Earth.

That’s DayPage for this weekend edition. Find all the DayPages at DayPage dot net. A production of Radio InfoWeb.