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NSA Parody Logo by Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) designer Hugh D'Andrade
With this week’s program, we say goodbye to our Associate Producer and Co-host, Michelle Alimoradi as she prepares to challenge the Big Apple for life’s next stage. Any attempt to calculate the worth of Michelle’s 5-year tenure with TruthToTell would fail in understatement. Both an invaluable associate and an interviewer curious beyond her years, Michelle has been this producer/host’s right arm – and my full-body substitute during crucial periods, especially over the last year. We wish her well in her new adventure– in the hope that adventure best describes her departure for New York City. Everyone around TruthToTell and KFAI, let alone the other media groups she’s been connected with here in the Cities, already miss her. I feel a bit amputated at the right shoulder, while confident new growth will come with the addition of KFAI and broadcast veteran, Siobhan Kierans, whose Irish positivity is bound to infuse itself into our programs and operation. And, so we welcome her as well. Bon Voyage, Michelle.
With the uprisings in the Middle East, Egypt and the Balkans, to name but a few, one is left wondering what revolution in the USA would look like if similar conditions prevailed – that of top-down militarism and anti-constitutional pursuits in the name of national security here.
Wait. Isn’t that what drone strikes, military interventions and a national domestic spying network the envy of a Robert Ludlum novel (including the use of local police as paramilitary troops keeping constitutional dissent suppressed) are all about?
So, where’s the real revolution?
A divided nation, fed by its leaders, moneyed corporations and commercial media, continues to be split – and not by partisan agendas so much as strange bedfellows and both the majority and minority parties at odds with themselves over what constitutes liberty: ceaseless intrusions into the privacy and peace of mind of citizens residing in a true democracy? Or the belief that half or more of the world – including domestic dissenters – are out to dismantle this democracy, thus requiring constant vigilance and unreasonable searches and seizures that defy the 4th Amendment, not to mention longstanding assumptions that we are a free and transparent body politic.
Say what you will about Edward Snowden’s breach of that security and whistleblowing about the intricate apparatus – the National Security Agency (NSA) and its friends in law enforcement – at work to track the lives of every man-jack of us in all our movements and conversations; Mr. Snowden has opened wide the heretofore secret operations that tap phones and track people, labeling their targets with unproven assumptions about what constitutes loyalty to one’s country and one’s governments.
This has all led to a flurry of defenses and lawsuits and proposed legislation to rein in all of it as well as bills to actually expand such “authority” beyond the unfettered use of FISA courts and warrantless wiretaps. And the bills are not coming by partisan divides in the Congress. The two primary bills challenging senators and representatives to stand up and be counted on one side or the other of this notion that we’re either in a perpetual war – even among ourselves – or with unseen enemies abroad or a Constitutional democracy that screams out for compliance with those fundamental tenets as embraced in the Bill of Rights.
The two warring measures now in the Congress are: the USA Freedom Act what supporters are calling a bicameral and bi-partisan effort to curb the excesses of our spy agencies, and sponsored by no less that Wisconsin Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner and Vermont Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy; and the FISA Improvements Act, being pushed by California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, which, although labeled as a reform measure, expanding the NSA’s secret operation and the FISA courts, allowing undefined "law enforcement agencies" to query its foreign intelligence databases, even for U.S. persons, without a warrant.
TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI query just three of the many local and national advocates and organizations in the thick of this legislation and of lawsuits challenging the NSA’s authority as well as the role of corporate media consolidation in buttressing its work.
JOSH LEVY – Internet Campaign Director, Free Press
CHUCK SAMUELSON - Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)-Minnesota
CHRISTOPHER MITCHELL - Director, Telecommunications-as-Commons Initiative, Institute for Local Self-Reliance; Author, Broadband at the Speed of Light
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