We are a little confused. Are all laws to be bent for the American Government and all Americans declared immune from international jurisprudence? Can the American Government do and say what they like but others are forbidden to do the same? Where are these new laws actually written and who have been foolish enough to accept them? Angela Merkel is spied up and so are other leaders, the American public is watched, every mode of communication is tapped and the whistle-blowers end up the guilty party. Who are making these laws and are people seriously ready to follow them? Any nation promoting freedoms and rights cannot be violating them. Those nations that violate freedoms and rights should not be given any podium to preach about rights and freedoms leave alone draft UN Resolutions!
Let’s take a recap on law and order according to how the US deems fit
- Iraq is bombed on the pretext of weapons of mass destruction. The promise was to liberate the people and instead a steady flow of US-backed jihadist foreign fighters ensure Iraq is a bloody mess. Scores of IDPs, scores of refugees, Iraqi soil and environment effected by DU and other harmful chemicals – Not a single one is bothered. The UN, its Secretary General or the Human Rights Chief behave like the 3 monkeys – See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil!
- Yugoslavia is broken, Kosovo is created to become a US-NATO military base and drug transit point and Libya is devastated and its leader killed because of a lot more reasons than the US or its paid media would have us know. Little by little the truth is coming out just as we realize that 9/11 is a hoax.
The officials of the Sri Lankan Government are advised to keep in their possession a report titled “With Liberty to Monitor All” which concludes that US surveillance practices are “harming journalism, law and American democracy”. Every time the US envoy or US official tells a lie just read out excerpts from this report and demand answers. This is a start for all our leaders lazy to read and counter American lie-propaganda. Its also good for the local media and others worshipping the West.
The recent complaint made by the US funded workshop on digital journalism is interesting because back home in the US National Security Agency’s dragnet of communications data poses a direct threat to journalism in the digital age by threatening to destroy the confidence between reporter and source. The GOSL must also raise the name of former Washington Post editor Leonard Downie who accused the US Government of clamping down on journalists. Quote the example of the 35-year jail term imposed on Private Chelsea/Bradley Manning – his punishment for being the wikileaks source! That pales in comparison to the 105-year sentence requested for freelance journalist Barrett Brown in a hacking case. Can the Sri Lankan authorities also remember to ask what freedom of media prevailed when the Department of Justice seized the phone records of Associated Press!
The Sri Lankan media in particular those coughing for dollars and pounds might like to be reminded that in October 2013 Free Press delivered 78,000 signatures to the US Attorney General Eric Holder, urging the Department of Justice to end the harassment and intimidation of journalists. When Free Press Journalism and Public Media Campaign Director Josh Stearns made the following statement: “The United States faces a mounting press freedom crisis. Journalists must be able to report freely wherever the story takes them. It is unconscionable that American journalists are afraid to return home for fear of their own safety and the security of their work.” this should get Michelle Sisson all worked up too!
If anyone doesn’t know the name of Glenn Greenwald, they should. He was a journalist who broke the story of National Security Administration whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Greenwald has revealed a list of Americans the US has been spying on. In the land that demands freedom of media, Edward Snowden became a virtual fugitive hunted by the American Government. Does anyone know the name James Clapper? He is the Director of National Intelligence. Clapper insisted that secretly spying on every ordinary American was essential in order to “protect our nation.” Could any other country but the US say the same? If the US has its own presstitutes, Sri Lanka boasts the same and so Snowden became the target of undiluted tirade of media
While the US embassy in Colombo is signing MOUs with Sri Lankan lawyers, sending selected few for overseas training and also selecting journalists and local media to be their co-partners in crime, back home in the US, American journalists and lawyers are having to change the way they do business because not only is the US Government spying on them they are also grabbing online information via Google, Facebook etc. Users of Vodafone may be shocked to know that the company has disclosed its network to 6 countries – no guessing what these countries are-the usual culprits of course!
The next time Michelle Sisson or any other US envoy or official comes out with the mantra on media freedom and people’s rights the following list needs to be read out to them
- US Government spies on us through out computers, phones, cars, buses, streetlights. We are spied upon at airports, on the streets, via mobile scanners and even drones.
- US photographs the outside information on every snail mail
- US can even turn on your camera and microphone while your phone is off. NSA had inserted its code into Androids operating system which led to ¾ of the world’s smartphones being bugged.
- If Google knows every WiFi password you can be assured that the NSA knows it as well!
- Verizon and AT&T had responded to 1.3m NSA requests for cell phone locations & data in 2011.
- NSA can spy through your computers webcam or microphone
- Microsoft has worked hand in hand with NSA and FBI and spies on users of skype, outook and hotmail
- ‘Black boxes’ are said to be installed between 90% to 96% of all new cars and from 2014 all new cars will have black boxes that can track your location.
- Under the Patriot Act, the US has collected records of every phone call made in the US – the US is storing every call made and has the capability to listen to them at any time.
- England’s GCHQ spy agency and NSA are in fact sharing data while Germany, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are also sharing with NSA but Angela Merkel found to her embarrassment that even her phone was tapped by the US – so much for cordial relations!
- What should be alarming to the apologists of the US is that the US Government is collecting and storing virtually every phone call, purchase, email, text, internet search, social media, health information, employment history, travel and student record of every American. Even drones are used across US states to spy on Americans. These drones are equipped with technologies that can identify faces, track people based on their height, age, gender and skin color.
- Those praising American freedom of media and human rights may like to let us know what type of freedom and human rights they are talking about if the Department of Homeland Security is allowed to search laptops and phones based on ‘hunches’! Is this not a violation of the 4th amendment of the US Constitution? India may like to wonder whether it was also on a hunch that the Indian diplomat was cavity searched.
- Any traveler to the US may have experienced how they have had to untie their knotted hair just because authorities have had hunches. Some travelers have had their laptops seized because of hunches and kept for weeks.
- If 9/11 was an inside job then the rest of the regulations that have nicely kept foreign nations and even American citizens in check falls to place while a the real culprits are on a roll looting nations after imploring R2P on them. The American public is too brainwashed by corporate media and prescribed medication to take a stand and with over 2million prisoners not too many would wish to take a stand in the US nowadays especially after watching how law enforcement treated the Occupy Wall Street protesters. So the American Government bulldozes nations with American tax payers money and takes over strategic assets of these nations and hands them over to American and Transnational Corporations and American soldiers have been sacrificed in the process while the same culprits keep arming the Islamic fundamentalists they created and they become the ‘foreign rebels’ fighting proxy wars!
What kind of a country that preaches human rights and freedoms would use drones to spy on its own citizens? The answer is just one word – AMERICA
The American investigative journalist Barrett Brown needs to be mentioned again. The US is prosecuting him because he was investigating links between the US Government and private intelligence industry. He may face a 105 year sentence in prison! Brown has a gag order preventing him and his legal counsel from making any statement to the media regarding his prosecution. Is this not an example of stifling public debate and restrict right under the First Amendment to the publics right to information about the trial. Brown is denied bail. He is even accused of posting an already public URL link. Does this mean people can’t even forward URL links? What kind of freedom is America talking about?
While the US Colombo office is funding workshops on digital journalism the report by Reporters without Borders declares US guilty of attacks on whistle-blowers and digital journalists! US is number 46 out of 180 countries in its press freedom index.
There is no reason for Sri Lanka to feel shy to question the US authorities. The US journalists themselves will be happy because they are now beginning to realize too late that they have been flirting with the devil and now the devil has gagged them. Reporters that covered Supreme Court cases are now barred and not given passes. Organizations requesting freedom have even lost the freedom and credentials they held. Please check out what happened to SCOTUSBlog.com.
The US has made clear that it doesn’t consider press freedom issues in the United States the same way it does abroad. US treats its hunt on whistle-blowers and digital journalists as a separate category which no one can question. The only solace for American journalists is that if foreign nations harass them the American state would come to their rescue but if the American state harasses them it is a matter of national security and no one’s concern. What kind of freedom and rights is the American Government talking about!!!
The pax Americana project is ruining in the world. The Americans have themselves to blame if they have allowed themselves to be subdued and agreed to have their private invaded. There is still time for Americans to wake up. As for the American embassy and its mantra on press freedoms and rights, we are well aware of the usual culprits that are funded for this diabolical exercise. They are just a laughing stock among society but enjoy distributing accolades amongst themselves and sharing a cocktail while conspiring to overthrow the government. Its good for America to look at itself in the mirror for a change.
– by Shenali D Waduge