US spying is institutionalized – on anyone, anywhere for any reason or none at all.
Invented national security threats, targeting dissent and whistleblowers, along with challenging press freedom undermine fundamental rights.
In Palko v. Connecticut (1937), the Supreme Court called
“(f)reedom of thought the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom.”
In Texas v. Johnson (1989), Justice William Brennan, writing for the majority, said
“if there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable.”
“Thomas Jefferson said “(w)hat country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance.” Free speech and other fundamental rights “cannot be limited without being lost.”
Former US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall stressed
“(a)bove all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression (regardless of its) ideas…subject matter (or) content….Our people are guaranteed the right to express any thought, free from government censorship” – along with having all other constitutional protections.
Unaccountable spying on Americans reflects police state rule, operating lawlessly, watching everyone to assure unchallenged control, wanting unacceptable ideas suppressed.
On March 20, intelligence expert James Bamford discussed a “multibillion-dollar US spy agency you haven’t heard of,” saying:
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is located on a “heavily protected military base some 15 miles south of Washington.”
Few Americans know about its “massive headquarters,” larger than the CIA’s or US Capitol.
“Completed in 2011 at a cost of $1.4 billion, the main building measures four football fields long and covers as much ground as two aircraft carriers,” Bamford explained.
“In 2016, the agency purchased 99 acres in St. Louis to construct additional buildings at a cost of $1.75 billion to accommodate the growing workforce, with 3,000 employees already in the city.”
Early in his administration, Obama didn’t know NGA existed. Bamford calls it “by far the most shadowy” of US spy agencies – subverting constitutional protections to keep America safe for privileged interests at the expense of all others.
NGA allegedly confined its spying overseas. According to Bamford, “there’s reason to believe” Trump will expand its mandate to spy as freely domestically as abroad – including secretive overhead surveillance by satellites and drones.
Concern is growing that technology focused on spying abroad “may soon be (used) on (US) citizens,” said Bamford.
As of 2015, no federal statutory limitations existed to control aerial spying domestically. In 2016, Baltimore police began using drones to conduct secretive spy-in-the-sky surveillance of area residents.
Technology can track everything stationary or moving over an area up to 15-square miles at a time. According to Bamford, two high-tech drones hovering over Manhattan can “observe and follow all outdoor human activity, night and day,” round-the-clock, every day.
Objects “as small as a stick of butter on a plate” can be zoomed in and watched. Technology being developed will “enable drones to remain aloft for years at a time.”
Big Brother-in-the-sky is ominously real, along with its ability to monitor virtually all phone and online communications.
Police states dream of being able to monitor and track everyone in all ways, at all times, giving them control over our lives, freedoms and welfare – in ways Orwell never imagined.
The shocking reality should terrify everyone. Few Americans realize the dangers they face. Public awareness of what’s most important doesn’t exist.
US-style “democracy” serves its privileged class exclusively, at the expense of everyone else, destroying fundamental rights in the process.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Copyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2017