Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Monday, October 28, 2013

ASSORTED UNVARNISHED NEWS

NSA data collection center in Utah

  • The Utah Data Center, also known as the Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center, is a storage facility for the US Intelligence Community that is designed to store extremely large amounts of data.  The megaproject was recently completed at a cost of $1.5 billion despite ongoing controversy over the NSA's involvement in the practice of mass surveillance in the United States.  The data center is able to process all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Internet searches, as well as all types of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital 'pocket litter'.
  • James Bamford, author of The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, said the public had yet to grasp the significance of Utah's data-mining. "It's basically a hard-drive. It's also a cloud, a warehouse. It'll be storing not just text and audio but pictures and video. There's a lackadaisical attitude to this. People pay no attention until it's too late." Bamford wrote a cover story about the centre for Wired last year
  • It's fascinating to watch the politicians in Washington try to scurry as the spotlight gets brighter on the NSA global surveillance program.  To deny or make excuses as they are exposed for spying on hundreds of millions of people worldwide just reveals the contempt that "our leaders" have for the truth, civil liberties, and real democracy.  This is a huge story and mainstream media should be digging like hell to learn more about this but they appear to be content to read the headlines as Edward Snowden's leaks are bouncing around the globe.
  • There is growing evidence that Libertarians are seeking common ground on these civil liberties issues with people on the left.  This will become a powerful alliance and we should all welcome such a conjunction of interests with open arms.  We don't have to agree on every issue in order to stand together to protect our fundamental rights to privacy, free speech, free assembly and more.
  • I taped another edition of This Issue this morning and my guest this time was Dr. Julie Pease from Brunswick.  We talked about the controversy around Obamacare and the need for a single-payer health care program - Medicare for all.   She was a good guest and did a great job explaining how that law is a corporate insurance industry program.  The massive administrative duplication that comes from the thousands of insurance companies, over $450 billion a year, is enough in itself to make one object to the present system.  That wasted money alone could cover the bill to pay for health care for the whole nation. 
  • I was contacted early this morning by Voice of Russia wanting my comment on the groundbreaking ceremony for the Aegis Ashore "missile defense" (MD) system at Deveselu military base in southern Romania. The base will be operational in 2015 giving the Pentagon one more dramatic military tool in their quiver against Russia.  They are taking the successful Aegis Destroyer based MD system (known as SM-3) and putting it on ground-based launchers as well.  The program is being tested on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.  Sold to the public as protection against Iran and North Korea, the MD system is actually being used to surround Russia and China giving the US military the ability to take out their retaliatory capability after a first-strike attack.  Very destabilizing stuff.

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