Spying has a history almost as ancient as humanity itself, but every now and then the rules of the game change. This post-9/11 moment of surveillance is one of those game-changers and the National Security Agency (NSA) has been the deal-breaker and rule-maker. The new rules it brought into existence are simple enough: you — whoever you are and wherever you live on Planet Earth — are a potential target. Get used to it. The most basic ground rule of the new system: no one is exempt from surveillance.
|By: Tom Engelhardt Monday January 20, 2014 6:30 pm|
|By: Tom Engelhardt Monday January 6, 2014 4:19 pm|
In a 1950s civics textbook of mine, I can remember a Martian landing on Main Street, U.S.A., to be instructed in the glories of our political system. You know, our tripartite government, checks and balances, miraculous set of rights, and vibrant democracy. There was, Americans then thought, much to be proud of, and so for that generation of children, many Martians were instructed in the American way of life. These days, I suspect, not so many.
|By: Toby Blome Sunday January 5, 2014 1:59 pm|
Lloyd Gardner’s new book is an in depth historical analysis of President Obama’s foreign policy during his first 5 years in public office. In 2008, many Americans had deep trust that President Obama was going to bring significant change into the White House and guide our country to a place of more “rightful” and lawful foreign policy strategies by putting an end to torture, drawing down the illegal Iraq War, and closing down Guantanamo prison. President Obama promised the American public more transparency and accountability, and adherence to the rule of law, without “looking back”.
|By: Tom Engelhardt Thursday October 3, 2013 7:00 pm|
The Pentagon has spent the last two decades plowing hundreds of millions of tax dollars into military bases in Italy, turning the country into an increasingly important center for U.S. military power. Especially since the start of the Global War on Terror in 2001, the military has been shifting its European center of gravity south from Germany, where the overwhelming majority of U.S. forces in the region have been stationed since the end of World War II. In the process, the Pentagon has turned the Italian peninsula into a launching pad for future wars in Africa, the Middle East, and beyond.
|By: Tom Engelhardt Wednesday September 18, 2013 7:00 pm|
I don’t know who you are or what you do or how old you may be. I just know that you exist somewhere in our future as surely as does tomorrow or next year. You may be young and computer-savvy or a career federal employee well along in years. You might be someone who entered government service filled with idealism or who signed on to “the bureaucracy” just to make a living. You may be a libertarian, a closet left-winger, or as mainstream and down-the-center as it’s possible to be.
|By: DSWright Monday July 29, 2013 10:45 am|
The war on whistleblowers and journalism has destroyed the old model and vindicated a newer, less deferential, news reporting model – the Wikileaks model. A model based on trusting the public and disregarding entirely any government pleas for state secrecy. In essence the absolutists have won, on both sides. The authoritarians inside government have destroyed press oversight and accountability and the anarchists on the outside have validated their anti-hierarchical reporting process as the only workable process.
|By: Tom Engelhardt Tuesday July 16, 2013 3:45 pm|
It’s hard even to know how to take it in. I mean, what’s really happening? An employee of a private contractor working for the National Security Agency makes off with unknown numbers of files about America’s developing global security state on a thumb drive and four laptop computers, and jumps the nearest plane to Hong Kong. His goal: to expose a vast surveillance structure built in the shadows in the post-9/11 years and significantly aimed at Americans.
|By: Tom Engelhardt Saturday July 13, 2013 12:50 pm|
I mean, come on. You knew it had to happen, didn’t you? In a 2010 Department of Homeland Security report, wrested from the bowels of the secrecy/surveillance state (thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation), the Customs and Border Protection agency suggests arming their small fleet of surveillance drones. The purpose: to “immobilize TOIs,” or targets of interest, along the U.S.-Mexican border.
|By: DSWright Wednesday July 10, 2013 6:40 am|
When torturing someone try to respect their religious traditions, it’s the humane thing to do. The kidnapped men being held in Guantanamo Bay, who have yet to be charged with a crime, will continue to be force fed during Ramadan. And here’s the humane part, the force feeding will be synchronized with Ramadan fasting.
|By: Tom Engelhardt Tuesday July 9, 2013 7:00 pm|
Since 9/11, American law enforcement has taken a disproportionate interest in American Muslims across the country, seeing a whole community as a national security threat, particularly in California and New York City. But here’s the thing: the facts that have been piling up ever since that date don’t support such suspicion. Not at all.