Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The New Reuters Thing

Not so long ago, Greenwald was spewing his patented form of venom at Reuters for daring to report accurately in English what he said so inartfully in a Spanish language interview for an Argentine publication.

Now Reuters has upstaged his NSA stories in the Guardian with reports of the DEA's use and sharing of intelligence -- some of which is apparently phony, and much of which is secretly funneled/stovepiped to local and state law enforcement -- ostensibly in service to the "War on Drugs" declared so many decades ago, a "war" which can never actually be won -- but which in fact is used for all kinds of criminal prosecutions.

I've been hammering the issue of the many other aspects of domestic surveillance and how the data is being used day in and day out for some time now, mostly to blank stares or outraged catcalls by those who insist that the ONLY important aspect of the domestic surveillance industry to pay attention to is the NSA. "NO. IT. ISN'T." I insist. In fact, to the extent we know anything about it, the NSA is a relatively minor player. So long as the focus is ONLY on the NSA, most of the real story of domestic surveillance and the police state it supports will be missed. And that may well be the objective of those who insist that the entire focus must be solely on the NSA.

Some of the intelligence referred to in the Reuters story is apparently from the NSA, but most of it seems to be generated from other sources, both public and private sector, as well as from informants. How much of it is absolute bullshit is hard to quantify, in part because so many of those who are targeted and accused thanks to these "sources" plead out, never go to trial, and once they are sentenced, they're forgotten. There have long been reports of railroading of the innocent (at least innocent of what they've been convicted of or plead guilty to), but there are very few conclusive reports of how frequently railroading of the innocent occurs, let alone what the consequences are.

But I'm aware of how false and fabricated evidence, often from paid informants and perjured law enforcement testimony, is utilized, especially in federal court, to convict or force guilty pleas from people who have not done what they are accused of, and how nearly impossible it is for defendants to challenge the supposed evidence and testimony. It's really quite appalling and has no relationship to actual justice, but it is the way things have been done for a very long time, and change at this point will require some form of Revolution that's never been tried.

Of course the hazard inherent in the Reuters story is that of the DEA connection and the Existential Threat they are fighting "to keep us safe." Just as our Valiant Anti-Terrorist forces are fighting another battle against yet another Existential Threat to All Mankind.

Because it is DEA doing what they have to do to protect us all from the Drug Lords who decapitate their victims just as the Terrorists do, most Americans are liable to say that what they do, even if of questionable morality/legality, is All Good because they are protecting us from the Decapitators.

The propaganda surrounding all these wars against Existential Threats is powerful. The questions of legality and morality in fighting these many wars against Ultimate Evil hardly enter into it. How can they, when any questioning at all can mean the Terrorists and Decapitators win?

We have to be practical here.

And I suspect the next Threat we'll hear is being thwarted by use of "intelligence sharing" by NSA and all the other surveillance resources at the disposal of law enforcement will be Youth Gangs. Surely they decapitate their victims, too.

And so it will go for the rest of the summer. One Existential Threat thwarted after another, all because of the efficacy of the domestic and international surveillance industry.

Then the story will be over. After Labor Day, it will be essentially forgotten.

Am I cynical about these things? I sure as hell am. Summer Shark and Missing White People Stories are institutionalized in our media. I've said that the NSA Thing is both a Summer Shark story and a Missing White Boy story, which is part of why it has maintained such a high profile through the summer. Comes now the Reuters DEA Thing and it can be interpreted as the Story of the Great Protector Slaying Dragons and Saving Us All.

I dread to think what's planned for after Labor Day.

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