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Totalitarianism Watch

Organized by Nan Stefanik

Group Info

Sharing news & links on US torture policy, indefinite detention, warrantless surveillance, dronage, etc.

This group is Public


Privacy sure ain't what it used to be!

If you're like me, you're sick of hearing people say "well, if you have nothing to hide..."  GRRRRRR....

Howzabout we serve as witnesses here?

Please share relevant links and news - maybe more will pay attention if the patterns are more clear?

Latest Posts

FBI Forensics Flawed In Almost All Trials

Cameras Everywhere, Always

Hertz is installing cameras into their rental vehicles.

License plate reader data is being collected, and in some cases sold. (Information about where you drive is earning someone else some money!)

TV's with microphones are being sold. Data from the ambient audio in your house is being sold, too. 

Smile, you're on not-candid camera!


Militarized Police Bonus

It appears that if you are a police officer and kill an unarmed black man in a high profile case, you can quickly have a million dollars. ($500k for a tv interview and $500k from people who cheer you on for your actions.)

My favorite Fergison photo - the one of armed millitray-style police walking through the streets under the holiday banner of lights reading "Season's Greetings". Yes, season's greetings. Good holiday cheer. Goodwill to man. Peace on Earth.

Change of Name?

With all the recent news of unrest and police actions, perhaps this should be renamed Totalitarianism Today.

I read that Amnesty International is sending a team to the US for the first time, to Ferguson.

One year later --- impact of Snowden whistle-blowing

Via a dispatch at The Intercept yesterday, Glenn Greenwald broadened my perspective re the practical ramifications of the exposure of the extent of US Government surveillance as a result of Edward Snowden's whistle-blowing:

Can't Know About Civilians Killed by Drones

The Senate has decided to remove requirements that civilians killed by drones be identified. Not by name, just the number.

Knowing how many people we've killed by flying robots is not something the people paying for the work are allowed to know, it seems.

For Totalitarian Watchers


Don't mean to sound corny but my heart swells with gratefulness that we have such a watchdog as Marcy Wheeler in our national midst. Today, she chronicled the legal underpinnings of the 'phone dragnet":


While on legal matters, I admit to disappointment that Senator Leahy hasn't mustered the leadership within the Judiciary Committee to do more to restore the rule of law post-43rd US Administration.  Check out the behavior of US Department of JUSTICE lawyers:


NSA Surveillance Lawsuit Tracker

Just ran across this excellent ProPublica resource - tracking all the NSA surveillance lawsuits:


CIA obfuscation on US torture to DOJ & Senate

Fab young journalist Kevin Gostzola who blogs at The Dissenter/Firedoglake looks at what is going on between Senate Intelligence committee & CIA re two torture documents that are being kept from the public:



Looks like CIA lied to DOJ about frequency of torture during the Bush-Cheney admin, Brennan misled Senate intelligence committee about CIA's internal review, and of course, Diane Feinstein & President Obama are tremendous obfuscators by not releasing the committee's report on torture - which cost something like $40million of taxpayer money.

War crimes, anyone?

Snowden's testimony before EU Parliament



Trans-Pacific Partnership

For anyone who hasn’t heard, secret talks are going on between the US and about a dozen other
countries to create a HUGE free trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP). Members of Congress and journalists not allowed, and of
course not the public. This will be NAFTA on steroids.


Some links:



Do No Evil

Google's just added another reason to stop supporting them - military robotics.

Google just bought the company making the most advanced military robots.  This comes on the heels of news that they have their own fighter jet, you know, just to go have some sushi in Tokyo for lunch, I'm sure.

Hard To Keep Up

It's been hard to keep up with all the recent revelations of spying, but to summarize a few things from the last couple of months.

- The government considers citizens adversaries and spies on all email, phone, and postal mail. The goal is total awareness of everything.

- The phone companies have given the NSA backdoor access to the internet backbone, allowing the NSA to impersonate legitimate sites.

- The NSA has weakened security of encryption, damaging business and the Internet.

- The NSA is collecting all other business records, such as medical records, power use, travel, and now any data entered in the Affordable Care Exchange.

- The NSA is tracking where you are.

long article, but well worth reading

Totalitarianism Today

First, an article today from McClatchy news about Obama's "Insider Threat Program" to have federal workers look for suspicious activity in their coworkers. Being depressed at work can trigger investigations. Leaking anything is equivalent to beng a spy for another country. Obama's program was started just after Bradley Manning leaked information.

And here's a great summary of how much spying is going on, called "Do You Have ANY IDEA How Wdespread Government Spyning Really Is?

Was It Undeclared Marshall Law in Boston/Watertown?

I've heard and seen some discussion on Facebook and Alternet that perhaps the lockdown in Boston was undeclared marshall law.


I'm on the fence a bit about that. At the start of the day Friday I had a worry that that might be the case. As the day went on and restrictions began to relax inward toward Watertown, it seemed that the response was a very local and measured reaction to the threat as more information came in. In other words, the government's reaction looked apprpriate to me. Some commentators clearly disagree and feel the response was an overreaction.

Drug Testing

The 4/22 issue of The Nation has an article called "The GOP's Drug Test Dragnet" about the encroachment of drug testing on various areas of life such as the workplace and school. Not surprisingly the latest proposals in some states are to require applicants for welfare and/or unemployment compensation to pass drug tests, adding them to the increasing list of people who are subject to drug testing, such as prisoners and parolees.  Follow the money and, guess what? Big Pharma stands to gain as they aggressively market drug testing kits.

IRS Reads Your Mail

It appears the IRS is reading your private emails without a warrant.

The ACLU did some freedom of information requests and found that it is likely the IRS is reading private emails without a warrant, despite a ruling in US vs. Warshak that requires warrants for emails.

The IRS's manual says they can, according to this story:

“Investigators can obtain everything in an account except for unopened e-mail or voice mail stored with a provider for 180 days or less using a [relevant-and-material-standard] court order” ...

Read the full story at TechDirt.

Obama' Brain Mapping Initiative and DARPA

This week, President Obama announced his new brain mapping initiative -- $100 million to get started on a large-scale project to map the entirety of the human brain, $50 million of which is reportedly going to DARPA.  What is DARPA? Why the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of course.  The government is touting this as a way to combat Alzheimer's but since when does the American military care about that?  According to DARPA, it's in the national security interest to know exactly how the brain works.  Some worry -- including some neuroscientists -- that the actual goal is mind control.  

Here are some links:



I recently read Drift by Rachel Maddow. It's an excellent history of militarism in the US, and shows how we got to the point where the Executive Branch has essentially usurped Congress' Constitutionally granted power to declare war. The fact that Congress no longer declares war is a major contributor to the problems being tracked in this group. There is no check on the power of the Executive Branch to send troops wherever it wants. 

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