Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Ship of Fools? July 4th Protest Sets Sail


By Staff Report

Reddit, Mozilla, WordPress, and others plan July 4 protest against NSA surveillance A large coalition of civil rights and privacy groups and potentially thousands of websites will stage protests on the Fourth of July to protest surveillance programs at the U.S. National Security Agency. As part of the Restore the Fourth campaign, many website members of the 30,000-member Internet Defense League plan to display a protest of NSA surveillance and the text of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Websites participating include Reddit, where Restore the Fourth originated, WordPress, 4chan, Mozilla, Fark, and – PCWorld

Dominant Social Theme: Finally, corporate America stands up and cries out for independence.

Free-Market Analysis: PCWorld is owned by IDG, a huge conglomerate that solicits advertising from the entire spectrum of Silicon Valley tech companies. These companies are have been cooperating intimately with US intel for a decade or more.

We are supposed to believe that these same companies plus the organizational entity for this July 4th gathering are going to represent the concerns of US citizens when it comes to privacy?

Mozilla is integrated with Google, which in turn is closely integrated with US intel. Reddit is owned by Condé Nast, which owns Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Condé Nast has never been known for a commitment to individual liberties.

The reason that these protests sprang up so quickly is that they are apparently using the organizational backbone of Occupy Wall Street, in part funded by uber-globalist George Soros.

OWS is best known for its lamentable attempt to pit the "99 percent" against the one percent. (We helped a good deal with the demise of OWS as a credible activist movement by pointing out this was the same sort of strategy that led to the bloody French Revolution.)

The "one percent" – comprising millions of wealthy and semi-wealthy individuals – are NOT responsible for the lamentable state of US freedoms.

It is a system of fiat money and central banking run by a tiny handful of individuals that is the problem. The formulation of the "one percent" was an attempt to direct attention away from this system of monopoly money and privilege. It was a deliberate and false paradigm and remains so.

But this is the group, nonetheless, that is organizing the protests, from what we can tell. No doubt organizers hope to derive additional or renewed credibility by hitching OWS's divisive message to more credible July 4th protests.

Here's more:

Organizers of Restore the Fourth are ... planning live protests in dozens of U.S. cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Houston and Atlanta.

"How long do we expect rational people to accept using terrorism to justify and excuse endless executive and state power?" actor John Cusack said during a press conference announcing the protests. "Why are so many in our government, our press, our intellectual class afraid of an informed public?"

Representatives of the NSA and the U.S. Office of Director of National Intelligence didn't immediately respond to requests for comments on the planned protests. The protests come after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information about widespread NSA surveillance of U.S. residents and other people to media outlets, with the first details published last month.

... Cusack, a board member of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, complained that many defenders of the NSA surveillance programs are focusing on supposed character flaws of Snowden and the journalists who broke the story instead of on the surveillance itself and questions about its legality.

The spotlight on Snowden is a "big distraction to avoid focusing on the invasions that have actually been occurring," added Harvey Anderson, senior vice president business and legal affairs at Mozilla. The lack of transparency about the surveillance programs "undermines the openness of the Internet," he added. Efforts to downplay the surveillance and suggest that the U.S. public doesn't care won't work, added Craig Aaron, president and CEO of digital rights group Free Press.

Wikipedia tells us about the Freedom of the Press Foundation:

The Freedom of the Press Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 2012 to fund and support free speech and freedom of the press. The organization is headed by both mainstream and alternative journalists such as Daniel Ellsberg and Xeni Jardin as well as activists, celebrities, and filmmakers.

The mission is to help "promote and fund aggressive, public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government", and it offers a way to crowd-source funding for WikiLeaks and independent journalistic organizations. Supported organizations includes WikiLeaks, MuckRock News, the National Security Archive, The UpTake, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the Center for Public Integrity and Truthout.

Many of these names have ties to mainstream journalism, or mainstream funding, and constitute a kind of controlled opposition. Even the goals of the July 4th protest are depressingly modest:

1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;

2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;

3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.

The July 4th demonstrations seek to demand an end to the unconstitutional surveillance methods employed by the U.S. government and to ensure that all future government surveillance is constitutional, limited, and clearly defined.

These protests are being sponsored in part by the same technologists that have a history of cooperating with US intel, have been badly intimidated or have generated considerable wealth from their cooperation.

They are being organized by OWS, which is funded in part by George Soros and which has tried to create the conditions for a kind of second French Revolution in the US. The goals of the protest are to reform the unconstitutional PATRIOT Act (instead of doing away with it) and to "define and limit" further surveillance.

But ... change will not come via protests organized by a controlled opposition. Change will come as individuals begin to rediscover the freedoms on which the US (confederation) was initially based and take appropriate individual action to change their OWN circumstances.

Petitioning the US Congress will likely have little or no effect. There is a reason the US Congress has a favorability rating of about 10 percent ...

Change is hard. Protests are easy, especially violent ones.

Conclusion: They take us for fools?


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