Originally published December 8 2007
Big Brother U.S. Government Subpoenaed Amazon.com to Obtain Book Purchasing Records of Customers
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
(NaturalNews) Newly unsealed court records have revealed that the U.S. government issued a subpoena to Amazon.com seeking to obtain the identities of customers purchasing books through the Amazon marketplace. The snooping attempt was blocked by U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker who wrote in a recently-unsealed ruling, "Well-founded or not, rumors of an Orwellian federal criminal investigation into the reading habits of Amazon's customers could frighten countless potential customers into canceling planned online book purchases."
Is the U.S. government trying to profile the psychology of its citizens by secretly data mining their book purchasing habits? Since 9/11 and the passage of the ill-designed Patriot Act (which, if anything, is traitorous, not patriotic), it seems that the U.S. government is aggressively expanding its powers to search records, tap phones and surveil electronic messages, all in an effort to conduct Gestapo-like profiling operations on its own citizens. It is now a well-known fact, for example, that domestic phone calls and e-mails are now tracked and recorded by the U.S. government, then mined for "dangerous" words which are linked back to those callers.
"The subpoena is troubling because it permits the government to peek into the reading habits of specific individuals without their knowledge or permission," Judge Crocker wrote in his ruling. "It is an unsettling and un-American scenario to envision federal agents nosing through the reading lists of law-abiding citizens while hunting for evidence against somebody else."
Welcome to Police State AmerikaThis News.com story by Declan McCullagh documents how AT&T opened up its massive telecommunications network to U.S. government security agents who used it to profile the telecomm behaviors of AT&T customers. Curiously, the Bush Administration jumped in and classified key AT&T documents, preventing them from being presented in federal court (so we'll never know what they really said).
For years, the FBI has been operating its ultra-secret Carnivore program that surveils emails, capturing keywords in e-mail communications across the internet. You can read about it on this Wikipedia page. There's also the Total Information Awareness program from DARPA which sought to create a massive domestic surveillance system that would keep tabs on virtually every electronic transaction made by Americans. Congress defunded the project once its existence was made known by a New York Times reporter. In response, the Feds simply renamed it, refunded it from other "shadow" funding sources, and continued to build the project. It is now up and running behind the scenes here in America. (You can keep tabs on this program and other shadow government operations at the ultra-popular www.Rense.com website, which posts daily headlines on this topic.)
Increasingly, the U.S. government is operating in secret, using greatly expanded police state power to spy on its own citizens. This attempt at acquiring Amazon.com book records is just the latest round in an ongoing campaign of secret police tactics being used against the American people by its own government... a government that was once created "Of the People, By the People and For the People" but now seems a lot more interested in terrorizing the people through fear-based politics and war mongering propaganda.
This is no conspiracy theory, it's present-day AmerikaNone of this is "fringe" information or conspiracy theory guesswork. Every statement made in this article is a matter of fact that's easily verified through publicly-available records and news reports (not to mention common sense observation skills of what's really happening). It's not even a secret anymore: The U.S. government openly admits it is spying on U.S. citizens through various programs, but claims it's all necessary to protect the public from "terrorism." Remarkably, most U.S. citizens actually agree with the government on these points, and they happily surrender their privacy and freedoms in exchange for the (empty) promise of security.
These people claim, "If you haven't done anything wrong, there is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to domestic surveillance." In doing so, they firmly establish themselves as the reincarnated ghosts of Nazi Germany war criminals, who used the same distorted logic to justify police state laws and round-em-up policies that eventually led to the mass murder of millions of innocent civilians.
Why governments are more dangerous than terroristsSpeaking from historical fact, there is no entity more dangerous to the safety of human beings than a government. More people have been murdered, tortured and imprisoned by governments than by any other definable group (including those involved in the religious crusades). This is precisely why the founding fathers of the United States of America were careful to place the People in charge, establishing a system where the government answered to the People, and where power was never centralized in any single government office or department.
Examine this list of the worst genocides in the 20th century, and you'll notice one fact that stands out: Almost all of them were committed by governments against their own people! Even more importantly, these were all committed by governments where power became too centralized and the People were stripped of their freedoms, rights and privacies.
Do you notice the pattern throughout history, and do you see where the U.S. is logically headed?
The stripping away of the power of the People is, historically, a consistent prelude to mass genocide. That's why keeping power distributed throughout society was crucial to the engineers of the original United States of America. Shared power is safe power. A government with checks and balances that actually work is a much safer government than one where the President, for example, can bypass the legislative process by issued Executive Orders. (How many executive orders has Bush issued? Click here to see the list yourself.) Concentrated power is almost universally dangerous, and the use of executive orders to bypass Congress and create whatever laws one person wants to create is a dangerous sign of a growing dictatorship. Shared power is essential in any free society.
But today's U.S. federal government has long since abandoned any ideas of shared power. Today, it steamrolls over the People of this country, tapping their phone lines without warrants, searching them without probable cause, arresting and imprisoning them but not charging them with any crime, arbitrarily adding their names to "no fly" lists used by commercial airlines, and engaging in other serious transgressions. This example of the U.S. government attempting to acquire customer records from Amazon.com is not any real deviation from the consistent behavior of the U.S. government today: It wants to gather information on the People, surveilling everyone and then selectively declaring who is a "criminal" and who isn't.
Could it really be true?Many people, when faced with these facts about domestic surveillance and the dangers of a police state society, simply cannot believe any of it is true. They naively think their government would never violate their rights. The U.S. government is here to protect the People, right?
It's an incredibly naive belief. To get the facts on how the U.S. government really treats its people, step back a few decades and look at the U.S. Civil Rights movement. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as local government police and law enforcement personnel, repeatedly engaged in heinous crimes against the "Black Power" leaders of the day. They planned and carried out literally hundreds of attacks, bombings and executions of black leaders. (This is not conjecture: It's all on-the-record testimony from former FBI agents.) And when the Freedom Riders boarded buses and drove through the American South to protest the accelerating violence against the black people, law enforcement personnel took part in the beatings, shootings and violence perpetrated against these innocents. And the FBI? It said that it would do nothing to protect the rights of these black civilians against racial violence, but that if black people were actually killed in the attacks, it would "investigate."
The history of the Civil Rights movement is a damning indictment of the State. It shows, in gruesome detail, the way in which the U.S. government protected itself at the expense of the freedoms of its people. Even U.S. Congresspeople, Senators and Presidents stood by and did nothing while blacks were being shot, stabbed, beaten and bombed all across the nation. For decades, the U.S. government passed empty laws making racism illegal then did absolutely nothing to enforce those laws. (Read more gruesome historical details in the eye-opening book A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn.)
Can a government really treat people in this way? The answer is a resounding YES! And it's not just any government, it's the American government. Today, the U.S. government stands as the only first world government on the planet that openly condones the kidnapping and torturing of civilians from other nations, neither charging them with crimes nor declaring them war criminals under which they would be protected by the Geneva Convention (which the U.S. openly ignores). Today, Guantanamo Bay holds prisoners who have been held for six years and never charged with a crime! It is a violation of both domestic and international law, and that's why the Bush Administration chose to kidnap and imprison these people on non-U.S. land -- it was a way to attempt to avoid adhering to U.S. laws establishing the basic rights of those charged with criminal acts. (Yes, even criminals have basic rights, like the right to legal representation and the right to know what crime they're being charged with.) The behavior of the U.S. in these matters is very much like Nazi Germany and is nothing less than a series of war crimes being perpetrated against not just men from Middle Eastern nations, but also U.S. citizens.
The U.S. government is also the only government in the world to have ever dropped nuclear weapons on predominantly civilian populations (Japan, World War II), and today, the U.S. government is openly engaged in the widespread use of weapons of mass destruction against civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan through the use of depleted uranium shells. They will irradiate the Iraqi soils for generations to come, destroying the genetic code of an entire race. This is a case of mass genocide against civilians being carried out right now by the U.S. government, with the full awareness of the President, the Congress and the mainstream media. The long sought-after Weapons of Mass Destruction have finally been found: They're being used by the U.S. military!
Heard enough? We've barely scratched the surface. As far as the crimes of the U.S. federal government go, tapping into Amazon.com's records is little more than a drop in the bucket. It's just a tiny glimpse of the outright betrayal of the U.S. Constitution and the American People that's going on every day in our nation's capitol.
So what can we do about it?As citizens we have both the right and the responsibility to take our power and freedoms back from the hands of the corrupt, pro-war, fear-mongering tyrants who now operate it. I have consistently advocated non-violent protests and grassroots action campaigns that can work towards a better future for all Americans.
I believe that we must do everything in our power -- in a non-violent way -- to take back our freedoms, our privacy and our power. And we must do it NOW, before the United States of America collapses into a bankrupt police state, drowning in a worthless U.S. dollar, with rampant hyperinflation and a massive expansion of police powers.
There is only one Presidential candidate who even has a shot at delivering this, and his name is Ron Paul. It doesn't matter if you're a Republican, a Democrat, a Green Party member, a Libertarian or Independent: If you believe that power should be returned to the People, and that America should cease to be an imperialist, police state nation, then there is only one candidate in the running right now that can even come close to delivering the kind of changes that matter to you. That's Ron Paul.
In fact, I will offer a prediction right here: If Ron Paul is not elected President in 2008, the United States of America will self destruct by 2025, having suffocated under terminal debt, its currency worthless, its international reputation in shambles, its people impoverished and starving, and its leaders fleeing indictment for their crimes against their own people. It may self-destruct anyway, even if Paul is elected, because much of what has been set in motion is not easily reversible. Read articles by Paul Craig Roberts to learn more...
We have one last desperate effort to turn this around, and that's the ballot box. It is our last hope to save this nation from near-certain collapse. It is also the last way to avoid the inevitable violence and crimes against humanity that will sadly emerge from the economic and political turmoil that's almost certainly in our future if something doesn't radically change for the better. We CAN create a better future for ourselves and our children, but not if we keep electing tyrants and ignoring the increasingly thunderous march of government-sponsored tyranny that seems to set the tone in Washington today.
The signs of economic collapse can no longer be ignoredSkeptical of all this? Look around you. The U.S. dollar is collapsing faster than a skyscraper packed with demolition charges. China is threatening to dump the U.S. currency and start selling all the debt it has purchased from the wild-party-spending United States government -- a move that would send the dollar into a tailspin. A secret meeting among OPEC members revealed that they, too, are fleeing the dollar and looking to trade oil in Euros.
The collapse of the U.S. dollar means there will be no more buyers in the world for U.S. debt, and that means immediate hyperinflation of the currency as the government tries to bail itself out of endless debt. Hyperinflation will wipe out the savings of every person in the country with money held in banks. Retirement accounts? Gone. Savings? Wiped out. FDIC insurance? Worthless. Real estate? Collapsed into a decades-long depression. (Think the FDIC will save you? Don't be so gullible: The FDIC can only bail out a tiny percentage of failed banks in a massive, national bank run, perhaps 2 to 3 percent.)
Just last week, Citibank itself reached out to the Abu Dhabi government, desperately seeking a loan of cash to bail it out of a house-of-cards debt collapse scenario. It agreed to pay a whopping 11 percent interest on a loan to save it from collapse. That technically makes Citibank a sub-prime borrower itself! (When the largest banks desperately need high interest rate loans to bail themselves out of bankruptcy, you know something is seriously wrong with the debt bubble...)
Oil is now flirting with $100 a barrel, a price level that virtually all economists and politicians thought was laughable just two years ago. But smart-minded economics like Stephen Leeb saw this coming well ahead of the masses. If you want to know what's in the picture for the near future, I recommend Leeb's newest book: The Coming Economic Collapse: How You Can Thrive When Oil Costs $200 a Barrel. You can get it, ironically, at Amazon.com, the very online retailer where the feds were trying to snoop into customer records:
Meanwhile, the Fed is pumping money into the economy in a desperate move to delay the inevitable popping of the massive U.S. debt bubble. It's buying up bad bank debt as fast as it can, much like a group of frantic sailors trying to bail water out of a rapidly sinking ship. Only a financial fool could look at the current situation and have any degree of confidence in the future of the U.S. economy, and much of this has been caused by outrageous national debt spending by our current pro-war president.
Ron Paul cannot reverse all this overnight, but if the People use their voting power to eject all the criminals, hucksters, war mongers and corrupt fat cats that currently run this country, we could begin the economic and political healing processes that, in fifty years or so, might return this country to something resembling an honest society. It will take at least two generations to pay off the national debt, and that's if we radically slash government spending on war and health care right now.
Of course, there is no candidate other than Ron Paul who has any intention of even thinking about paying off the national debt. The issue is simply ignored from one presidency to the next in a great pass-the-buck game that can only end in a sudden a total collapse of the U.S. economy (and its currency). Recent news reports reveal the U.S. debt is now increasing at the rate of $1 million a minute!.
Ron Paul believes in honest currency (having the currency backed by gold, so that savings cannot be stolen from the People through the Fed's planned hyperinflation). He believes in health freedom and in getting the U.S. out of wars in the Middle East. He believes in returning America to its Constitutional roots, where the People don't have to live in fear of the U.S. Gestapo police who wiretap their phones, surveil their e-mails and steal their Amazon.com book purchasing records.
If you believe in freedom at all, there's only one candidate to vote for: Ron Paul.
Sure, Paul has some downsides. He's not up to speed on global warming and the role of governments in aggressively regulating corporations. I don't agree with Paul on everything. But for the core issues -- war, the money supply, taxation, health freedom -- he's so right on that there's simply no other candidate that even comes close.
If you believe in corruption, endless debt, secret police, a collapsing economy and an endless stream of government lies, vote for the popular, mainstream, corporate-backed candidates. But if you believe in returning honesty to government, there is only one sensible choice, and his name is Ron Paul.
The People's SurveillanceThere's also something else happening in society today that might have a chance of helping us all win back our freedoms: People-powered surveillance and the YouTube phenomenon!
YouTube is amazing. That's where regular people can post videos of things they've video recorded in society. The police hate YouTube because it puts them on the record beating innocents, tasering students, and violating people's civil rights.
Watch how the police assault this woman with a taser:
Don't forget the "Don't Tase Me Bro" incident at the University of Florida:
In this next video, Canadian police EXECUTE a Polish man with a taser:
Here's a video about a 78-year-old man being tasered by L.A. cops:
Here's a frightening compilation of numerous police brutality videos:
(Warning: GRAPHIC, contains profanity)
Most of this video was taken by amateurs.
And don't forget these amateur photos taken by idiot U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib:
Video is our secret weapon against the tyrants. That's why authorities hate YouTube so much. Just this week, a group of Canadian health researchers slammed YouTube, claiming it had too many videos from people giving out "false" information about vaccines. (That "false" information, it turned out, was urging parents to avoid vaccinating their children due to the link between mercury in vaccines and autism.)
Keep those videos rollingThere are a lot of good cops out there, and local law enforcement is, of course, a necessary thing. But there are bad cops, bad soldiers and bad tyrants out there, too, and it's the job of reasonable people everywhere to catch these perpetrators on video, post it on YouTube, and share it with the world.
A surveillance society can work both ways, you see. While the tyrants are surveilling the People, the People can also surveil the tyrants. Plus, we've got the internet on our side (because information WANTS to be free!), which gives us the ability to bypass the mainstream media and share information directly with the people.
The internet could be the single most important tool in the regaining of freedom and civil liberties in America and other countries.
So keep those cell phone videos rolling. Keep a compact video camera handy for all occasions. When the authorities step out of line, press the record button and try not to get your ass arrested. Book it back home, upload it to YouTube, and send me the link. We'll spread the word. (You can reach me through our feedback form, see the Contact Us link on our home page.)
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