Monday, June 24, 2013

Obama's Crackdown on “Insider Threats”


The Obama administration has been one of the most secretive administrations in history, filing Espionage Act charges against eight whistle-blowers thus far during his presidency – more than double all previous presidents combined. The fact of the matter is that the Espionage Act does not cover the act of “blowing the whistle” on government crimes and abuse. The Act covers the following:

The part of the act dealing specifically with espionage contained standard clauses criminalizing "obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information to be obtained is to be used to the injury of the United States" or obtaining such things as code books, signal books, sketches, photographs, photographic negatives, and blue prints with the intention of passing them on to the enemy. While more comprehensive, these passages were not much different than what had been in previous laws against spying and espionage.

But the Espionage Act went further. It deemed a criminal anyone who, "when the United States is at war, shall willfully make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies and whoever when the United States is at war, shall willfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or shall willfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, to the injury of the service or of the United States." The act said such individuals would "be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years or both." The act also declared that any mailing that violated the above provision of the act was illegal, and it also banned any mailings advocating or urging Treason, insurrection, or forcible resistance to any law of the United States. Finally, the act declared it unlawful for any person in time of war to publish any information that the president, in his judgment, declared to be "of such character that it is or might be useful to the enemy."

The 1918 amendment to the act, also called the Sedition Act, went further. The act made it illegal to do the following:

"To make or convey false reports, or false statements, or say or do anything except by way of bona fide and not disloyal advice to an investor … with intent to obstruct the sale by the United States of bonds … or the making of loans by or to the United States, or whoever, when the United States is at war";

To "cause … or incite … insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States";

To "utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag … or the uniform of the Army or Navy of the United States, or any language intended to bring the form of government … or the Constitution … or the military or naval forces … or the flag … of the United States into contempt, scorn, contumely, or disrepute";

To "willfully display the flag of a foreign enemy";

To "urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of production in this country of any thing or things … necessary or essential to the prosecution of the war."

First of all, many of these laws are clearly a violation of the Constitution by violating the freedom of speech to merely criticize the government or their armed forces. Second, as you can see the Espionage Act specifically covers information that might cause “injury of the United States” […] “with the intention of passing” that information “to the enemy.”

No whistle-blower has ever passed information to any enemies, only journalists, such as Wikileaks in the case of Bradley Manning, and The Guardian in the case of Edward Snowden. None of the information that has been published was of any use to any enemies; it mostly dealt with the domestic spying apparatus and did not reveal methods or any real details at all. These are merely trumped up charges because these leaks embarrass the government and their veil of secrecy that they want to throw over every action they take. Unfortunately, that is not what a democracy is!

The government's argument that the terrorists have already begun to change the way they communicate is likely bullshit. If you're plotting death and destruction I'm sure those people were already being careful about their communications and not using Facebook, Google, and being sure to use encryption on their phones to talk with their partners in crime. These claims will only fool an idiot, and I guess the government thinks we're all idiots (though I'm sure many people are; I've spoken to several).

Now that I've said all this, I'd like to get to the real purpose of my post. These new revelations by McClatchy are doubly frightening. The climate of suspicion and spying on your co-workers is a terrible path to take. It will cause governmental agencies to implode and stifle their ability to work because they're worried that they will be pegged as a “whistle-blower” and harassed, their personal belongings seized and rifled through, and possibly be fired or arrested.

The secrecy, the dishonesty, the mistrust, and the backstabbing.... the U.S. government is beginning to sound like that of Stalin’s Russia!

I hope all who have read these recent postings of mine get something through their heads. I've been warning on my blog for years about the unprecedented overreach by the U.S. government and to be weary of blindly trusting authority. I'm sure many people thought I was just some nutcase with a tiny blog on the corner of the internet, but everything I've said has come to pass. The government has wildly overstepped its bounds and has acted unconstitutionally and illegally with these programs. Will you stand up and demand your privacy and rights back, or will you cower like a scared puppy with its tail between it's legs? The choice is yours what kind of world you want to live in, but we had better act fast before it gets any worse than it already is.

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