Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – When Libertarians Rule The Earth. "The more information they sweep up, the more they’re going to not be able to process. We see this time and again. They [NSA] keep trying to suck up more data. They weren’t able to stop the Boston bombing in April despite there being warning signs." Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Let’s go to the Dude Maker Hotline and say hello to today’s special guest, our old friend Anthony Gregory. Speaking of civil liberties, one of the things that writers like yourself -- I will admit that I’m a little late to the game. I didn’t get religion until 2008. Nonetheless, I did come around. Writers like yourself, and there are many others, were warning way back in 2001 when the Patriot Act was passed and then when the bride of Frankenstein, the NDAA, was passed, you guys were warning that the intelligence services of the U.S., number one, not enough was known about them, and number two, there was not enough protection in either of those two acts to see to it that the NSA could not do what it is that, thanks to Edward Snowden, we now know they not only did do, but by all accounts, I’m of the opinion that they’re still doing it with impunity. Your comments on that?
Anthony Gregory: Of course they’re doing it with impunity. In 2002, we heard about the Bush administration, along with Poindexter, who was famous for his role in Iran-Contra affair, coming up with this idea of total information awareness. We have the Patriot Act and then in late 2005 we found out that Bush had circumvented even the Patriot Act, even FISA that had been passed in 1978 to restrict surveillance after a lot of Cold War abuses, and he was just asking the NSA directly -- by the way, the NSA is a branch of the military -- he was asking the military to spy on telecommunications. The NSA was instructing all the telecom companies to do so. This caused a little bit of an uproar, mostly among civil libertarians and liberals. In 2007 and 2008, the Democratic congress legalized all of it. In ’08, a senator by the name of Barack Obama voted to legalize it, to immunize those who had done it, including the telecom companies, despite his promises.
Now, fast forward to today. Yeah, these revelations go considerably deeper than the revelations several years ago. This was all somewhat predictable. PRISM, one of the most famous NSA programs, was started at the end of the Bush administration. There’s a total continuity there. I’m convinced that this program would be in place if McCain had won in 2008. It would certainly have been in place if Romney had won last year. It’s a bipartisan surveillance state, and it always has been. The Democrats, the Republicans, they switched off in spying on Americans going back to the progressive era.
It was shocking to me, although in retrospect it was nothing new, how many conservatives were willing to completely abandon the Fourth Amendment and Bill of Rights under the Bush administration. Yet, some of us warned: Hey, a Democrat is going to be in power and they’re just going to expand this. That’s what happened. It will continue to happen until there’s a true public outcry, not this 50 percent of the people saying they oppose it, but people passionately against it, refusing to vote for anybody who’s for it, at a minimum. I wouldn’t even want to have someone in my house if they were for this kind of stuff, let alone vote for them. That’s the degree of outrage that’s warranted. This goes way beyond, if only for technological reasons, what the Stasi was able to do, what the Soviet Union was able to do. This is a totalitarian program, because there is literally nothing that they do not seek to know about you.
Mike: Not only do they seek to know it, but they seek to catalog it and keep it. I tell the audience all the time, [mocking] “Come on, Mike, they’re doing it for our protection and safety. So what? Wal-Mart does it and so does Google.” I don’t like it when they do it either, but there’s a big --
Anthony: I don’t either.
Mike: There’s a big difference. Google doesn’t have legal authority to come to my house and take my life, liberty and property away from me and I might have to seek habeas corpus for what they have gleaned from my browsing habits. The NSA, the CIA, the FBI, they do, don’t they?
Anthony: Yeah, they do. They also have a record of failure. I believe that a lot of these people are very well-intentioned. They just want to defend the country. One problem is, anytime the intelligence community fails, it ends up being an impetus for more funding, more power, more scope in surveillance. 9/11 was the biggest intelligence failure in our lifetime. $40 billion per year -- the FBI had information on Mohamed Atta, Moussaoui. They were tracking these people, they just weren’t coordinated. The more information they sweep up, the more they’re going to not be able to process. We see this time and again. The whole reason the total information awareness idea came about was because in the ‘80s, we have the bombings in Lebanon, for example. These people thought: Why couldn’t we have known about that and preempted it? They keep trying to suck up more data. They weren’t able to stop the Boston bombing in April despite there being warning signs. It’s not just a matter of them having more and more information.
Of course, the root problem here is: Why is there terrorism? I agree with Ron Paul and others who argue that although it, of course, doesn’t justify terrorism, the U.S. constantly being at war all over the world is a major problem. It’s a major motivation. As long as America has this empire, we’re going to have terrorism, and as long as we have terrorism, we’re going to have our rights taken away. This has been the pattern in every empire in world history. It’s also been the method by which our rights have been taken away at home primarily. If you look at the whole history of the republic, it was war that served as the main excuse for the government to really invade our liberties. We need to snap out of this. Under Obama, the U.S. has bombed something like six or seven countries. In a normal country, when your government is at war with half a dozen countries, it’s considered a big deal. For us, it’s considered peacetime to be at war. People think of this as peace. The U.S. has robots flying around Pakistan bombing people. That has a ripple effect.
Mike: Like I like to say, if Pakistan was doing that to us, we would say that’s an act of war. When we do it, we’re keeping the peace. It’s a counterterrorism mission but we’re not at war with Pakistan. If you drop ordnance on a country, especially when you take out civvies that you have no knowledge they were involved in any of this stuff, and then you have people like John Bolton going on television, [mocking] “Well, collateral damage, so what? They should have gotten out of the way. They shouldn’t have been living near those kinds of people.” Really? I don’t know what my next-door neighbor is doing all the time. He or she may be the next Dahmer for all I know. So if the FBI comes to get her and they inadvertently shoot my house up, are my children supposed to go: Well, Dad probably shouldn’t have been living in that kind of a neighborhood. That’s a flimsy justification.
Anthony: That’s right. What they’re saying, basically, is the entire Arab and Muslim world of a billion people are just fair game to just attack. That’s a recipe for perpetual war. The other big problem with this war is there’s no endgame. Even the Cold War ended when the Soviet Union fell, and that took long enough. In this case, what is the end? What’s even the end of the Afghanistan war? What’s the end of the war on terror, when there are no more terrorists? Terrorism, as you know, and I’ve heard you talk about terrorism is just a tactic. It’s asymmetric warfare basically. It’s when people without militaries attack -- it’s wrong, it’s mass murder, but it’s existed for thousands of years, and unfortunately will probably exist so long as people are flawed human beings, which is as far ahead as I can see.
The U.S. can do things to discourage terrorism. The U.S. can do a lot of things. They can refrain from doing things that encourage terrorism. All the time these terrorists in court, when they’re testifying and talking about why they attacked the United States, they usually say, at least in part, it’s revenge, reprisal for what the U.S. does abroad. The media just wants us to ignore that and just think these people hate us for our freedoms. At what point are they going to stop hating us? They sure are taking away our freedoms in this war on terror. If we abolish all of our privacy, all of our freedom, all of our security against unjust imprisonment, will the terrorists then declare victory? If indeed they hate us for our freedoms, they can’t take a freedom away, the terrorists. They can kill and devastate and hurt, and of course there’s no way to minimize the importance of that, but when it comes to our liberty, only the government can take that away. Unfortunately, that’s what it’s doing.
Mike: That is exactly what it’s doing. That’s a brilliant rundown, my friend.
End Mike Church Show Transcript