Prism Schism

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Postby zooidal » Sat Jun 15, 2013 11:29 pm

The DHS was created to eliminate intelligence silos deemed responsible in part for 9/11. Though this solution is constitutionally appropriate regarding foreign intelligence, when applied to American citizens on American soil it is not. There's not one argument in favor of the NSA's Prism program, as deployed within an environment of DOJ and NSA information-sharing, which does not imply a de facto suspension of habeas corpus. Since a notorious advertisement of 4th Amendment suspension has not occurred, Prism as implemented is patently unconstitutional.

Assurances of the "proper handling" of mass communications using secretly developed protocols and secret courts are not only undermined by that secrecy, they're beside the point. Gathering personal conversations and messages traceable to individuals is not merely recording crowd noise. Saying 'Google does it' is also beside the point. Google doesn't tax you at gunpoint. Google is not the US government. The mass-gathering of domestic communications by the US government, even if left unexamined, is a 4th Amendment violation; secret warrants or not, it turns the entire US population into un-indicted criminal suspects.

99.99% of Americans are not involved in plots to destroy the US. The same cannot be said regarding common misdemeanors. Potential DOJ and IRS access to NSA-gathered data is one result of the creation of the DHS. We're effectively having the contents of our mailboxes and intimate conversations piped directly to people claiming to wear blind-folds and ear-plugs, but are somehow able to categorize these communications anyway. The government agent and apologist explanation that computer algorithm-based searches are hands-free, and therefore inappropriate personal searches are not happening en mass, does not explain away the initial material acquisition absent an explicit warrant. The 4th Amendment refers to search AND seizure. Logical hoops provide intellectual exercise and political cover for those wishing away the Constitution in their zeal to go after the "bad guys". The fact is there's not one among us who's not a 'bad guy' from time to time. It's been said that we all commit at least one crime serious enough to risk possible arrest each day.

If you've been politically active and happen to disagree with the current administration, you may have noticed what can happen when the IRS gets involved. Imagine it's the FBI or ATF. For a while now they've rained negative consequences down on those living near or having a street address similar to that of a targeted drug dealer. Innocent people have frequently been assaulted and had their pets killed by overzealous drug warriors. Prism makes it possible for those living nowhere near crack houses to be assaulted by paramilitary-style cops with zero tolerance towards the general population. In the meantime, others with their own beefs against society are constructing bombs in basements without the help of Facebook or cell phones. The Boston bombing, the Underwear and Times Square bombers, and Nidal Hassan were all dealt with by the police or self-interested bystanders. It's hard to see how the NSA could've stopped these guys or the next ones, but it's easy to see false alarms happening down the road.

Is this really how we want to live in the US - constantly looking over our collective shoulder, not for terrorist attacks less likely than death by lightning - but for government snoopers? I know I don't.

It's a hell of a thing when China starts looking like attractive option for relocation. They have nowhere to go but up, while we're going down. This is true concerning issues apart from civil liberties. They're shooting for the Moon while our government's using us for target practice.
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