The Role of Foreign Policy in Security-State Surveillance

by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation

In the national discussion over the national-security state’s massive surveillance scheme over the American people, it’s imperative that we keep in mind how the national-security state’s foreign policy of empire and interventionism play into how we have ended up with an Orwellian system of national surveillance at the hands of the federal government.

How are statists justifying the NSA’s surveillance over the American people? Not surprisingly, they’re saying it’s all designed to “keep us safe.” The federal monitoring of everyone, they say, enables them to catch a small number of people who are planning terrorist attacks. Never mind, of course, that all that monitoring didn’t prevent the Boston bombing.

A critically important question has to be asked: Why are there people who are initiating terrorist attacks against the United States?

The answer is a simple one: Because the U.S. national-security state is killing, torturing, abusing, humiliating, impoverishing, and destroying people in foreign countries through such policies as coups, support of dictatorships, regime-change operations, interference with internal politics, intervention in foreign disputes, assassinations, torture, rendition, indefinite detention, secret imprisonment, and so forth.

The foreign victims of those policies get angry. A certain percentage of them go on the rampage with acts of anti-American terrorism. That’s in fact what the Boston bombings were all about. And the Ft. Hood killings. And the Detroit and New York City would-be bombers. And 9/11. And the USS Cole. And the attacks on the U.S. embassies in East Africa. And Benghazi.

So, here’s how the national-security system has developed.

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Who Would Trust Them After This?

Judge Andrew Napolitano called the situation “a fishing expedition on the grandest scale we’ve ever seen in American history.” The government is looking for a select group of people, and instead of obeying the Constitution and simply getting a search warrant for their phones, the judge says, “They got a search warrant for a 113 million phones!”

“Who would trust them after this? The Constitution doesn’t trust them!” Napolitano told Shepard Smith.

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What if Laws Applied to Everyone?

What if government officials have written laws that apply only to us and not to them? What if we gave them the power to protect our freedoms and our safety and they used that power to trick and trap some of us? What if government officials broke the laws we hired them to enforce? What if they prosecuted others for breaking the same laws they broke?

What if the government enacted a law making it a crime to provide material assistance to terrorist organizations? What if that law was intended to stop people from giving cash and weapons to organizations that bomb and maim and kill? What if the government looked at that law and claimed it applied to a dentist or a shopkeeper who sold services or goods to a terrorist organization, and not just to financiers and bomb makers?

What if an organization that killed also owned a hospital or a school and the law made it a crime to contribute to the hospital or the school? What if the Supreme Court ruled that the law is so broad that it covers backslapping, advocacy and free speech? What if the court ruled that the law makes it a crime to encourage any terrorist organization to do anything – fix teeth, educate children, save lives or kill people? What if the law makes it a crime to talk to any person known to be a terrorist? What if the law is so broad that it punishes ideas and the free expression of those ideas, even if no one is harmed thereby?

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Crossing the Rubicon?

In 49 B.C., Julius Caesar was leading his army and came upon the Rubicon River. The Provence  on the opposite side of the river had a law that said that no general could lead armies in that province. All armies had to be disbanded and the generals could not be in front. The penalty for disobeying this law was death to the general and death to the soldiers.

Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River leading his army and said, “The die is cast.” – He fought and defeated the local forces and that law was then abolished. Since that time, the phrase” crossing the Rubicon” survived and represents any situation in which there is no turning back. Whatever consequences arise from this decision are accepted.

We citizens of these United States  have “crossed the Rubicon.” We are confronted daily with a federal government that is overreaching and intrusive. Their voracious appetite for power and control has encroached on our very liberty and freedom.

With a heavy hand and an abuse of power, the federal government has sought to run roughshod over the sovereignty of our states, and has insisted on making laws, rules and regulations severely curtailing the freedom, liberty and rights enjoyed by this citizenry.

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Detained Because of the Constitution?

There is a lie being spread that treating disrespectful behavior with open disdain is to disrespect authority — In truth, rebelling against the rule of unjust law in order to oppose tyranny and immorality is by action to show utmost respect for law, order and justice. It is, and always has been, the epitome of human courage.

Question and challenge government all the time — Otherwise they will trample you every time. The idea that we must be patriotic of the State itself, rather than the freedom we hold dear, is a lie.
- Gavin Seim

Seim works as an artist and photographer. Earlier this year, he was traveling with his family along HWY-70E in New Mexico when he drove up on an Department of Homeland Security inland checkpoint near Alamogordo, some 80 miles from the Mexican border.

Gavin stopped his car, video recorder rolling, and when the Border Patrol agent approached, he asked if he was being detained.

“Yes.”

“On what grounds am I being detained?”

“The Constitution.”

Wow.

#fail

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Should Murderers and Rapists Get Food Stamps?

Last week, the Senate accepted by unanimous consent an amendment to the pending farm bill that would ban convicted murderers, rapists, and pedophiles from receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (a.k.a. food stamps). Introduced by Louisiana Republican David Vitter, the amendment has received condemnation from the left and at least one round of applause on the right.

My initial reaction was “A few undesirables will lose a taxpayer-financed handout—so what?” But the more I thought about the amendment, the less I cared for it. For starters, the amendment appears to be politically motivated. Vote against it and a Senator can expect to see a negative campaign add from his or her next opponent. That’s probably why the amendment was agreed to by unanimous consent instead of being formally voted on in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

More importantly, what does it accomplish? In terms of budgetary savings, it probably won’t save taxpayers much money. In addition to doing little to curb the size of government, it does nothing to rein in the federal government’s scope. I believe that it is not a proper role of the federal government to fund and/or administer anti-poverty programs. At most, such concerns should be the domain of state and local governments. Ideally, poverty relief would be completely handled by charities and other private organizations. The Vitter amendment, however, is just another example of the Beltway’s one-size-fits-all mentality. 

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