The Thought Police and TwitterCrime

The Thought Police (thinkpol in Newspeak) is the secret police of Oceania in George Orwell‘s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

The government attempts to control not only the speech and actions, but also the thoughts of its subjects, labeling unapproved thoughts with the term thoughtcrime, or, in Newspeak, crimethink.

Welcome to 1984 2011. You thought Nixon and Reagan were bad?  Let’s see what the Obama/Holder Department of Justice has been up to while you may have been watching football.  Glenn Greenwald heard and ignored a cautionary tale. He tells it all with the knowledge of present sight.

One of the more eye-opening events for me of 2010 occurred in March, when I first wrote about WikiLeaks and the war the Pentagon was waging on it (as evidenced by its classified 2008 report branding the website an enemy and planning how to destroy it). At the time, few had heard of the group — it was before it had released the video of the Apache helicopter attack — but I nonetheless believed it could perform vitally important functions and thus encouraged readers to donate to it and otherwise support it. In response, there were numerous people — via email, comments, and other means — who expressed a serious fear of doing so: they were worried that donating money to a group so disliked by the government would cause them to be placed on various lists or, worse, incur criminal liability for materially supporting a Terrorist organization.

Will we join the ranks of those the Justice Department consider materially supporting a Terrorist group if Wikileaks is redefined by the Justice Department from whistle blower site to Terrorist group?  Should we all be getting lawyers like those peace activists who were hauled in for sending off old clothes to naked Palenstinians I described in a post called Nostalgic for Nixon?  Better yet should we all line up with confession letters before we get hauled off to Saudi Arabia for extraordinary interviews and held in solitary confinement for extraordinary thought crime?

Better question:  Is this still the USA?

More from Glennzilla who is safely HQ’d in Brazil.

So much of what the U.S. Government has done over the last decade has been devoted to creating and strengthening this climate of fear.  Attacking Iraq under the terrorizing banner of “shock and awe”; disappearing people to secret prisons; abducting them and shipping them to what Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter (when advocating this) euphemistically called “our less squeamish allies”; throwing them in cages for years without charges, dressed in orange jumpsuits and shackles; creating a worldwide torture regime; spying on Americans without warrants and asserting the power to arrest them on U.S. soil without charges:  all of this had one overarching objective.  It was designed to create a climate of repression and intimidation by signaling to the world — and its own citizens — that the U.S. was unconstrained by law, by conventions, by morality, or by anything else:  the government would do whatever it wanted to anyone it wanted, and those thinking about opposing the U.S. in any way, through means legitimate or illegitimate, should (and would) thus think twice, at least.

That a large percentage of those brutalized by this system turned out to be innocentknowingly innocent —  is a feature, not a bug:  that one can end up being subjected to these lawless horrors despite doing nothing wrong only intensifies the fear and makes it more effective.  The power being asserted is not merely unlimited and tyrannical, but arbitrary.  And now, the Obama administration’s citizen-aimed, due-process-free assassination program, its orgies of drone attacks, its defense of radically broad interpretations of “material support” criminal statutes, and its disturbing targeting of American anti-war activists with subpoenas and armed police raids are all part of the same tactic.  Those contemplating meaningful opposition to American action are meant to be frightened.

I hereby confess that I am one of the 635,561 followers of WikiLeaks on Twitter.  So is Sky Dancing.  So is Woman Voter and probably, so are many of our readers, front pagers, casual readers, lurkers, etc.  I’m also one of the 1,516,269 people who “likes” WikiLeaks on FaceBook.   I’m assuming that subpoena comes next.  Twitter already got theirs and I got the tweeted announcement from Twitter and Wikileaks.   DOJ has said that they’re looking at similar information from Facebook and Skype.

I want to point out the main point in Greenwald’s post.  Wikileaks’ volunteer, US citizen Jacob Appelbaum is coming home to the U.S. and will be met at the airport by the ACLU.  Here’s hoping the ACLU in New Orleans has my backside and the ACLU in your town has your backside if you’re among those numbers listed above from Dutch journalist Okke Ornstein’s Confession letter.  Here’s the distressing news from Greenwald.

Jacob Appelbaum was first identified as a WikiLeaks volunteer in the middle of 2010.  Almost immediately thereafter, he was subjected to serious harassment and intimidation when, while re-entering the U.S. from a foreign trip, he was detained and interrogated for hours by Homeland Security agents, and had his laptop and cellphones seized — all without a warrant.  He was told he’d be subjected to the same treatment every time he tried to re-enter the country (and his belongings, months later, have still not been returned).  And he was one of the individuals singled out in the DOJ’s court-issued subpoena to Twitter. Since that airport incident, Appelbaum has been extremely (and understandably) cautious about speaking out publicly on anything having to do with WikiLeaks.  In other words, he passionately believes in the cause of transparency promoted by WikiLeaks, but is afraid to exercise his free speech rights to advocate for that cause.  Two weeks ago, he left the U.S. for the first time since that incident and has talked about the trepidation he feels when returning.

Joe Biden called Julian Assange a high tech terrorist. He was also labeled a high tech terrorist by Mitch McConnell who wants him prosecuted.  Senator Joe Lieberman thinks Assange has violated the Espionage Act.  Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said “sounds good” when Assange was arrested.  AG Eric Holder is obviously upping the ante with a criminal investigation.

No one has been charged with anything.  Not Julian Assange.  Not Bradley Manning. Not Jacob Appelbaum. Not Glenn Greenwald. Not me.  Not yet.

Intimidated yet?

Just remember who voted to extend and expand the Patriot Act and who said no. Also, remember who signed it on March 21st without reforms.

The provisions allow the government, with permission from a special court, to obtain roving wiretaps over multiple communication devices, seize suspects’ records without their knowledge, and conduct surveillance of a so-called “lone wolf,” or someone deemed suspicious but without any known ties to an organized terrorist group.

The Patriot Act drew heavy criticism from Democrats – Obama even once said it needed to be dialed back – during the Bush administration. But experts suggest that a string of foiled terrorist plots over the past year combined with the Democrats’ falling ratings amid the healthcare debate blunted any move to reform the act, which was passed in the wake of 9/11.

Remember that You tube 1984-2008 that drew the image of Hillary as Big Brother?  There’s the link.   I’m not going to post it because the Reality Chickens are coming home to roost.  Aren’t they?


33 Comments on “The Thought Police and TwitterCrime”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Who is Ornstein?

    • dakinikat says:

      A dutch journalist.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Never mind. I figured it out. Great post, Dak. We really do live in a banana republic.

      • dakinikat says:

        Funny how the right wing obsesses on the second amendment and ignores the rest of them.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Oh, well, the Big US Drag Net is a coming and we may meet sooner than later. It reminds me of someone picked up in a Third World, OK Semi Third World country for being close to a protest, and there upon being disappeared. After many a nights searching his brother who was a law student with several professors managed to find him. When the law student found his brother, he naturally had to ask, was he part of the protest, or part of the organizers? To which the very bewildered (four or so days later), simply said; “They picked up the taco vendor, I was buying lunch (((shrugging his shoulders)))!” Soon he was released and the law professors filed for the release of the taco vendor too. He soon, found himself in a far off country hiding until the case was resolved, but he never finished his education. His brother did finish school and is now a judge and a fair minded judge too, having had his own experience with ‘Lack Of Due Process’.

      • Woman Voter says:

        DAK,

        Great Post indeed…a must read for those that believe in Freedom.

      • Dario says:

        Banana republics were hotbeds of dissent until the U.S. decided that dictators were the way to keep the banana plantations working. The U.S. is the exporter of peace.

  2. ralphb says:

    The bananas seem to be rotten in our republic. I would prefer to keep all 10 amendments in tbe Bill of Rights. They come in handy.

  3. Inky says:

    One of the things I love about Sky Dancing is that it shows that a blog can have great affection for Hillary, as Wonk the Vote’s latest post attests, while still admiring Wikileaks and the essential work that Assange is doing. In fact, one thing I enjoyed about Wonk’s post was reading the good humor with which Hillary is handling the embarrassment of the Wikileak revelations. And she should be embarrassed–she may have been merely following the practices and advice of the permanent national security staff and institutions that operate seamlessly regardless of who or which party is in the White House. But that is no longer an acceptable MO. Rather than damaging her politically, wikileaks may have made Hillary a better SoS at a time when our State Department needs the best possible leadership.

    IAC, excellent post, dak!

    • dakinikat says:

      Hillary’s been through a lot. She’s been the target of rage and hate. I can only assume she’s got some higher wisdom on the situation. She called the guy an extremist. She’s also being very gracious about the Wikileaks. I thought the joke about the Apology Tour jackets was an ideal way to fight off the flak! Humor and wit disarm people.

      • ralphb says:

        Absolutely right. Hillary has been through the mill and can handle herself without help from anyone. That’s one of the reasons I so desperately wanted her to be President.

    • WomanVoter says:

      I just realized the bald man was Jared Lee Laughner and he looks to be in full decompensation. Strange, but when they get to that point, someone should call and get help as I often because concerned in trying to communicate when someone is in that state.

      Truly a sad state of affairs when someone gets so ill that they aren’t recognizable and are in an altered state due to their state of mind. Look for a diminished capacity defense in the near future by his attorney.

    • dakinikat says:

      no, that would be consistent with being a miltia/libertarian … no party affiliation… read the homeland security report I linked to yesterday on lone wolf terrorists

      • ralphb says:

        DHS today say they have no evidence of any affiliation between the shooter and any right wing groups. That dog won’t hunt. There are too many local people who know this cretin talking about him now.

        Political rhetoric or imagery didn’t fire this guy’s synapses. In fact, I don’t think we have a big problem with our political culture of violence which hasn’t always been there, just not picked apart before. I’ve heard the same stuff all my life.

        The real problem isn’t with our rhetoric, it’s with the politicization of everything that happens for the cheapest partisan advantage. On both the left and the right, there’s an instant jump that everything has to be explained in the context of what it does for their party. That’s much worse IMHO.

    • dakinikat says:

      Loughner’s rambling Internet missives, says Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, likely come from well known online sources of the radical right. Potok, who studies hate groups and hate speech, has combed Loughner’s sites and says his material on grammar, in particular, likely comes from the writings of the Milwaukee-based, far right activist David Wynn Miller. As Potok explains it, Miller “believes in a ‘truth language’ that can throw off the government. If you use the right combination of colons and hyphens you don’t have to pay taxes. Miller is virtually the only person who pushes these ideas on grammar, it’s a very unusual idea, even on the radical right.”

      http://www.newsweek.com/2011/01/10/jared-lee-loughner-s-mental-state.html

  4. WomanVoter says:

    Twitter’s Response to WikiLeaks Subpoena Should Be the Industry Standard

    ANALYSIS — Twitter introduced a new feature last month without telling anyone about it, and the rest of the tech world should take note and come up with their own version of it.

    Twitter beta-tested a spine.

    On Friday it emerged that the U.S. government recently got a court order demanding that Twitter turn over information about a number of people connected to WikiLeaks, including founder Julian Assange, accused leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning, former WikiLeaks spokeswoman Birgitta Jonsdottir, and WikiLeaks activist Jacob Appelbaum.

    The request was approved by a magistrate judge in Alexandria, Virginia where a federal grand jury is looking into charges against WikiLeaks related to its acquisition and publishing of U.S. government classified information.

    The court order came with a gag order that prevented Twitter from telling anyone, especially the target of the order, about the order’s existence.

    To Twitter’s credit, the company didn’t just open up its database, find the information the feds were seeking (such as the IP and e-mail addresses used by the targets) and quietly continue on with building new features. Instead the company successfully challenged the gag order in court, and then told the targets that their data was being requested, giving them time to try and quash the order themselves.

    Read More here:
    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/01/twitter/

    ‘Bold’ emphasis mine. 🙂

  5. WomanVoter says:

    Off to the Pet Hospital with the dog for stitches (senior citizen dog fell…age).

    • Woman Voter, I hope the visit to the pet hospital went alright and that your furry one is on the mend.

      • WomanVoter says:

        We got the best doc ‘E’ and he underwent surgery, they allowed me in, took photos, and saw the doc remove some tumor (he fell and this tumor came to light as it started to bleed to no end). The doc cauterized the bleeding twice and will do a biopsy on the tumor. He is old, a worker dog, and the doc was all too pleased to hear his work history (very hard to find working dogs, I trained him) and she was so kind as all the other staff (techs, a nurse and front staff).

        The amazing thing, is we were in ‘general surgery’ and believe it or not, they have an ICU and the place is immaculate and high tech…all the monitors, computerized etc. I was expecting an ambulance to roll in, but mainly the transport were very worried pet owners. They also had a com system, and codes to go with it… Our little hospital 9-5 is very little, but glad to know the 24 hour one is TOP RATE.

        We are home and expecting to give him some pain meds and antibiotics.

        Thanks for asking Wonk. 🙂

      • My dog’s pet hospital is really wild… all kinds of animals come in, saw some species from South America last time… lol.

        Good healing wishes to your worker dog, hope the biopsy doesn’t show anything.

  6. Minkoff Minx says:

    Hey Dak, have you seen this?

    Assange: WikiLeaks Losing $600k Per Week, Delaying Bank Doc Dump – EconWatch – CBS News

    Looks like all the obstacles are doing what they were intended to…delay of bank docs being release…