“Secret blanket surveillance,” “Obscenely outrageous” Al Gore, former USA Vice President
Following the brutal interruption, I was forced to spend many hours in salvation works. Instead of concentrating in that mindless task, I planned the next article to be published.
Was something missing in It is not Terror if We do It? Its having triggered State-violence showed it wasn’t too bad. Yet, since writing it, something kept nagging me. It was impossible to ignore that the civil reality created by the American Government in recent years was reminiscent of another extraordinary aspect of the American society, the only one where it is the undisputed “Numero 1.”
Former USA Vice President Al Gore was one of the first to react appropriately defining the illegitimate surveillance of main technology* and phone companies** as “secret blanket surveillance,” and “obscenely outrageous.” Yet, he didn’t elaborate enough.
Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire Amazon Review: “In the prison business, all roads lead to Texas. A pioneer in criminal justice severity—from assembly-line executions to supermax isolation, from mandatory sentencing to prison privatization—Texas is the most locked-down state in the most incarcerated country in the world. Texas Tough, a sweeping history of American imprisonment from the days of slavery to the present, explains how a plantation-based penal system once dismissed as barbaric became a template for the nation. Drawing on the individual stories as well as authoritative research, Texas Tough reveals the true origins of America’s prison juggernaut and points toward a more just and humane future.”
The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison Amazon Review: “If you care about our Government’s complicity in these illegal and horrific acts then this book provides the evidence.’
In their minimalistic style, Western mainstream media news are misleading. One never gets the wide picture. Tiny items disconnected from the reality surrounding them. Incomplete sentences forming partial paragraphs, which sum up to massive misinformation.
This is intentional. In such a way, governments allow publishing almost everything knowing that the integration of the news into a coherent picture is almost impossible.
Interlude: USA is #1
The numbers are amazing. The USA leads the World Prison Population List with over two million prisoners. It has the highest prison population rate in the world, some 686 per 100,000 of the national population (according to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics). In comparison, China—a country often targeted upon human rights issues by the American media—has just 111 prisoners for every hundred thousand people, just 16% of the American ratio. The Police State of Israel has just 153 prisoners for every hundred thousand people, worse than China but vastly better than the USA. It is so amazing that I want to repeat the data: the USA approaches 700 people imprisoned for every 100,000 inhabitants.
This rate is about seven times the 1980 figure; African American males are jailed at about six times the rate of white males and three times the rate of Hispanic males. Yet the American record is not perfect; worldwide, it rates only fifth in its number of executions, following China, Iran, North Korea, and Yemen. Formal statistics do not include the Drones Terror as executions; thus their reports are biased. Let’s give the USA a honorific #1 also in this category.
Strangely enough, American politicians are quiet about this. Moreover, the American electorate does not care, maybe because most of them ignore the facts. The American media doesn’t comment upon them while attacking Chinese human rights issues. Yet, they claim to be balanced.
What is the explanation of this horror? If the American judiciary system claims that nothing is wrong and that they are just doing their job, then that implies something is intrinsically wrong with the American people. Do American judges claim that Americans are Natural Born Criminals? Or do they claim that the American educational system leads to a life of crime? This is as ridiculous as claiming that the judiciary system of all other countries is inefficient. America is truly Number 1—Numero Uno—leading over Mexico, Ecuador and even Grenada. Indeed, Land of the Free. Cayman Islands fall short behind the US, with just 664 prisoners for every hundred thousand people. Watch out America the Beautiful, you may soon be only second in this list!
If these are not the reasons behind the mass-imprisonment of Americans by their own government, then what’s going on? Is something wrong in the American courts? Does the USA keep the Separation of Powers that is essential to the proper function of a state? The very obvious classification of American judges upon partisan lines tells us that not. The American judiciary system is an extension of its political system and subordinated to it; its judges have been degraded to mere politruks—Soviet political officers—cleansing society from undesired opinions.
On December 12, 2000, the landmark United States Supreme Court decision on the case Bush v. Gore resolved the USA 2000 Presidential Elections in favor of George W. Bush. It was the fourth election in which the electoral vote winner did not also receive a plurality of the popular vote. The decision was taken by a judge appointed by the would-be-president’s father, who was also a president. It is hard to see here democracy in action (we all remember the ridiculous recounting process in Florida) or even justice in action. In America’s questionable legal system, nepotic politruks run the scene.
America’s Prison Empire
I visited the USA in four different occasions, accumulating there over eight months, and visiting 10 different states, from Florida to California. It was not the first foreign country I visited. War zones, cities with extremely high violence rate, and police states were among my previous destinations. None of them prepared me to what I met in the USA.
I have described it in further detail elsewhere, here just let me mention a few representative issues. I met strict street surveillance, which beyond static cameras, included mobile ones. Many of the buses I boarded had at least three inner cameras, with an additional one pointing outwards at the street. Scary signs warned of concealed microphones.
The City of Long Beach featured permanent curfew signs, and “no cruising” signs for vehicles. Most cities were blanketed with “no loitering” signs. Except for a few libraries, there was no anonymous access to the internet; in contrast, most shopping malls in Hong Kong—as abundant as drops of water in an ocean—offer free internet stations. Yet, Western media likes to comment on Chinese restrictions on human rights. This is even before commenting on the obscenely outrageous racial profiling at the airports, the TSA systemic violations, and a plethora of similar issues.
The scariest state described in It is not Terror if We do It led me to conclude that many actions of the American Government are illegitimate and violate the People. If we add to the blanket communications surveillance the blanket street surveillance, there is no choice but the obscenely outrageous conclusion that the USA is not a police state, but the world largest prison, Prison America.
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“It doesn’t matter, I got a serious discount on my ipod!”—Joe Smith, New Hyrax, State of New Alabama
* Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Paltalk, YouTube, AOL, Skype, and Apple. See “NSA slides explain the PRISM data-collection program.” The Washington Post. June 6, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/prism-collection-documents/
** Verizon. See “NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily.” The Guardian. June 5, 2013. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order