Wednesday, February 25, 2015

American Values Slump, Even by Engaging in Criminality like NSA’s Theft of Encryption Keys

The Great Sim Heist, an Intercept article by Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley, reveals the extent to which the National Security Agency (NSA) will go to acquire cell phone records. Secret documents provided to the Intercept by whistleblower Edward Snowden detail how NSA and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) hacked Gemalto, the largest maker of SIM cards, and stole the encryption keys used to protect the privacy of mobile communications.

It’s just one more example of where the United States has failed to live up to its values.

Like other criminal activity by the Bush administration and the CIA, legal action will never be taken on what is NSA’s unquestionably criminal behavior.

The United States does not act in ways that support its American exceptionalism claim. At home and abroad we allow torture; we deny many citizens and non-citizens civil rights; we allow the proliferation of guns to the extent that police have become highly militarized paramilitary forces; we sanction justifiable killings and the brutal excessive use of police force; we carry out a state of perpetual war; we condone extrajudicial killings of American citizens; we assassinate and terrorize with the indiscriminate use of drones; we snoop on private conversations and continue to impinge on liberty. To many nations, we are the greatest threat to world peace.

Moreover, The United States Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling has essentially given permission for rich corporations to take inordinate control over our government and the electoral process.

We have a government oligarchy focused on special interests that in essence buy Congressional legislation and policy they want. In many instances, they even write the legislation.

Plutocrats and politicians sell Americans a bill of goods that have convinced a majority of us that we will benefit from their wealth. But the free enterprise system that America holds so dear benefits the plutocracy, not middle-class Americans.

Congressional Democrats, as well as democratic and a majority of independent voters are melding into what was once moderate republican ideology. There is a likelihood that America will elect a Republican President in 2016. It is bad news for the Affordable Care Act, Social Security, and government benefit programs that support the majority of middle-class workers, and the indigent.

None of us should accept America as it is today. But nothing will change as long as there is acquiescent acceptance that we cannot change the world.

Original article posted on February 23, 2015

 Image credit: Mykotronx MYK-78T ("Clipper") Escrowed Encryption Chip By Matt Blaze on Flckr

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