My comments and links are in italics. I have paraphrased the talk and moved a few items around from the actual order he gave the information, but I have tried to make a fair representation. Also, I apologize because I get all the different intelligence and defense agencies confused. Oh, and for being a horrible writer.
Talk given by retired Erie County judge and retired Major General Mike Dunlavey to the Jefferson Educational Society on September 26,2013. During the entire talk, he had behind him Ben Franklin’s quote “Those who sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither.” (He was an early commander at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba camp as used for war on terror detention and interrogation. Here is his statement regarding treatment of detainees. Here is another viewpoint, specifically regarding torture of detainees. And this.)
(It’s difficult to find a comprehensive resume for Dunlavey.) He went into the Army , immediately into intelligence. He mentioned interviewing POWs in Vietnam. (There are references to several different posts he held within the intelligence community, including Deputy Director of NSA, that can be found online. After retiring from the Army, he worked as an attorney in Erie, and then was elected judge, just recently retiring from that position. He must be about 68, but he seems much younger than that.)
He began his talk by showing a clip of Julius Caesar, the “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears” speech. By a very young Marlon Brando. The important takeaways from that speech are the repetition of “honorable man” in reference to someone doing some very dishonorable stuff, and the final quote of a bystander, “I fear what comes after him.”
This talk was about the data that the NSA is gathering on all Americans. MD noted that when PRISM was first introduced at the NSA, 3 top officials resigned in protest and went public with the information. The media did not register this at all, at the time. MD recommends the book “Hitlerland,” which describes capture of the media. Snowden is no hero but the conversation needed to happen. People have probably died as a result of the documents released by Snowden.
NSA chief is an honorable man. But the program is basically the same thing that was going on with Watergate.
MD gave the Don’t Talk To Cops speech! (I love it!! A lot like this one. Only shorter. :))
Discussion of the investigation of reporter James Rosen. How the (not sure which) intelligence people wanted to get a FISA approval, so they put on the warrant that he was collaborating with terrorists and other lies. The FISA court was skeptical and said they would not approve it unless Eric Holder signed it. Which he did. Later he testified to congress that he knew the allegations were lies. In addition, his wife, parents, and children were all investigated also. (WTF!!!) But Holder is an honorable man. Besides, he is USA’s top prosecutor. Who prosecutes him?
Director of National Intelligence Clapper testified earlier this year that no information was being gathered on millions of Americans. NSA director made the same statement last year. We now know that this has been going on during both those times. 3 NSA employees had already resigned and gone public but were ignored. Clapper later stated that he responded in the least untruthful way that he could. Compared this to Clinton trying to redefine sex. Defies common sense. But Clapper is an honorable man.
As a result of the spying on Americans associated with the Watergate scandal, the FBI was prohibited from sharing information with the department of defense intelligence. This was to prevent a Gestapo-like law enforcement – military – investigative kind of bureaucracy from forming, or continuing. Then 9/11 happened, and the Patriot act undid all of that. Now we see investigations of reporters, not just Rosen, but 50 AP reporters, etc. Treasury secretary has admitted investigating private interest groups.
Comments regarding FISA court. These are judges pulled out of other courtrooms, who serve short terms, appointed by SCOTUS Chief Justice Roberts. They do this in addition to their normal duties. They do not receive any special training regarding intelligence or anything else about this special job. They frequently refuse to rule on warrants, instead asking for more information. This is why it seems like they approve nearly all requests. They don’t, but they also don’t necessarily directly deny them.
Dunlavey also noted that under Obamacare, all of our health records will now be kept by the IRS. And the IRS director just this year took the 5th in congressional testimony. He handed out a copy of the FISA court order requiring Verizon to release phone records, which came from the ACLU website. (Ironically, the ACLU got this document from Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian, published June 6, which means it was very likely from Snowden).
MD described how the Ben Franklin quote, which has been widely disseminated in slightly different forms, really applied at the time of the revolution, because King George was saying, hey, those soldiers are there to protect you guys from the French and Indians, not to forcibly collect taxes, or break into your homes and search you and live in your house.
Also mentioned Animal Farm and 1984. (MD needs to publish a reading list online someplace.)
This is the point where we should fear what comes next.
Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. All the conference calls that the NAACP leadership had with each other were wiretapped by the FBI. The warrant was signed by Bobby Kennedy. He also had a guy at the Lincoln Memorial for MLK’s I Have A Dream speech ready to cut all the power to everything if the speech got subversive.
Dunlavey wrote over 700 letters recommending over 350 Guantanamo Bay prisoners be released. ALL of those letters “disappeared.” Just this year a reporter from Der Spiegel called him and had a copy of the letter he had written about a German national recommending his release. The reporter faxed the letter to MD. He had gotten it by making an FOIA (German equivalent) request to the German government, and they gave it to him.
Dunlavey recommends that everyone should make an FOIA request to the FBI to get a copy of their own folder. (What a cool idea!! I CANNOT WAIT to see what they have on my mom!!! She is such a troublemaker!!)
About Guantanamo Bay. Most of those prisoners were guns for hire, not committed idealists. However, anyone put into a closed community like that must assimilate. So anyone who was there for any length of time was a committed idealist (terrorist) by the time they were let out. It happens in any US prison (inmate will become gang member) and another good example was the prison the British set up in Northern Ireland, which produced lots and lots of extra terrorists.
There were changes to the Patriot Act in 2009 (under Obama). These changes are what has allowed this NSA data gathering to accelerate. But Obama is an honorable man.
Is all this surveillance preventing terror attacks? The most scary and difficult attack to defend against is the one from inside the US. So that might be a good reason to do this. But what about the Boston bombers? Not only did that NOT occur only within the US (older brother went to a terrorist training camp in Chechnya) but we got a DIRECT warning from the Russians. Plus we now know that these guys visited MANY websites that maybe should have set off alarm bells.
Also the terrorist cell in Buffalo. Was found out about because of info from a foreigner.
So what, exactly, is the value of all this information?
And what, exactly, are the risks and possible costs? Even (or especially) if it is all being conducted by “honorable men”?