Thursday, February 9

THIS POST WILL BE SCANNED
BY GOVERNMENT SPIES

As those who read my first post ever may have guessed, I'm just as paranoid as the average suspicious, media-savvy, post-communication-studies student - that is to say: very. I'll gladly buy into any government conspiracy theory you care to throw my way, and pride myself on having had the wool surgically removed from my eyes. Nevertheless, when my friend, who lives directly across from the American Embassy here in Athens, started voicing fears that her phone lines were being tapped, I had to draw the line. "Come on!" I said. "Don't be silly! Why would they want to tap your phones? You're just a radical, anti-American (government), activist-lawyer-type, after all. They couldn't care less about you!!!"
(In my defence: when theory encroaches on reality it's a bit hard to swallow - even for the most jaded among us.)
Well, I am now having to bite my words: flipping through the tube last night I came across a documentary (on MEGA) about government surveillance and the phone tapping of civilians, or something to that effect - I tuned in about half-way through, just in time to hear the interviewer ask: Do you think the American Embassy here in Athens is likely to be monitoring people's cell phone conversations? And the answer? Yes. (sorry I'm paraphrasing, but that was the gist.)
The person being interviewed was Mike Frost, a whistle-blower who worked for Canadian (ha!) intelligence for 34 years (19 in the communications department).
So I guess I'll be calling my friend now to apologise profusely - but you can be sure I won't use the words b***, t********, or A******* G********* in the conversation!

If you're interested in learning more about Mike Frost or ECHELON (the code name for the system they use to spy on us) check out the following links:

An article from the Village Voice
A CBN news report
Two articles, from the London Daily Telegraph and Covert Action Quarterly
And of course the Wikipedia entry on ECHELON

10 comments:

adfjkaj said...

Well, then don't be anti-American and you will be just fine.

People have a tendency to forget very quickly what happened on September 11th, 2001. I do not.

adfjkaj said...

Oh, and I added a comment for you on Emily's last post..

kassandra said...

Scruffy please note I added GOVERNMENT following anti-American. I have nothing against Americans as a people. To do so would be ridiculous, as one can't generalise or stereotype the people of an entire country as diverse as America, and of course I've met more switched on and fantastic Americans than not.
I do, however, reserve the right to be anti the current American government, as well as all the previous American governments that have commited crimes against humanity just as terrible as that which happened on September 11th. We should not forget what happened on that day, but in no way does it exonerate or impact on my opinion of the actions of the American governments before, or even since. These actions were (and are) equally terrible and should be equally remembered, but are not.
Nor do I limit my criticisms to the US gov. - I am critical of any government, or of any people for that matter, who commit such crimes, especially those commited out of greed or the thirst for power - but the fact is that the US, as such a powerful nation (or perhaps because of it), has been able to kill a lot more innocent people than most - and been able to get away with it.
To quote an article that was written following September 11th, that I think was written with great compassion but also great clarity: "the analysis that the U.S. actions have resulted in the deaths of primarily civilians (over 90%) is not unknown to these elites and policy makers. A conservative number for those who have been killed by U.S. terror and military action since World War II is 8,000,000 people." Please note the author goes on to say: "Nothing that I have written is meant to disparage or disrespect those who were victims and those who suffered death or the loss of a loved one during this week's events. It is not meant to "justify" any action by those who bombed the Twin Towers or the Pentagon. It is meant to put it in a context."
If you're interested in reading the whole article, you can find it here. It expresses perfectly what I thought then and still think, better than I ever could. And I found it very moving. I hope you agree.
So, now that we've got that out of the way - unless you are a huge Bush supporter and think that your country's government can do no wrong, meaning that I have now permanently insulted you - friends? :)

adfjkaj said...

Kassy,

I've debated this issue many times with several in our expat group so no sense in doing it all over again. But, I think that the US Govt protects our (US) interests first. Any country would do that. I don't think Greece or any other country conducts it's foreign policy for another country.

Regarding crimes against humanity that the US has committed, I'm a bit hazy on this. Can you reference the U.N. resolution or other official Hague document stating that? I find that highly offensive as the US Government is a big organization that has many arms such as:

- The Peace Corp (you can look it up if you haven't heard of it).

- Cultural exchanges between our country and other countries.

- The Marshall plan which fed millions in Europe after WWII

- The largest percentage of World Aid for any disaster/catastrophe comes from the United States of America

All these are/were supported by the "Big Bad" American government.

Additionally, I am a registered Democrat, but as I've said over the last years that with all the negative comments about Bush and our government just makes me stronger in my commitment to support my government. Although many liberals in America will criticize Bush just as foreigners do, the majority of Americans (who voted for him) support America's war on Terror, as I do. Sure, the liberal media will come up with a Gallop poll that says the American people are growing tired of the war. Yes, maybe many are, but I think the "SILENT MAJORITY" who do not take part in the polls still support America and it's efforts.

Remember, America is not like Spain that will cower in the first signs of attack. If you remember, Spain withdrew it's troops from Iraq almost immediately after the attack in Madrid. America is not weak in that way. You attack the bull and you will get the horns. I agree with a strong Defense as many other Americans do also.

But, I certainly don't believe what many have written about our Government, anymore than some probably don't believe what the Republican party spews in America. That's the great thing about freedom. You can believe what you want. Again, don't forget that the world wide anti-American government media has a way to taint things. Is this jealousy? Think about it. Most poor people always attempt to tear down rich people by making jokes or gossiping about rich people and their problems. Read any Greek magazine... It's no different than a lot of foreign countries who for whatever jealous reason want to tear down our country. I don't buy into it. Sorry!

If it wasn't for the US Government, I believe that Iraq would still be suffering under Sadaam Hussein's repressive regime, and certainly would not be having democratic elections as they are now. No one can deny that Iraq is experiencing freedom. Yes, I agree that the leaders of America (Bush, Powell, etc) were mislead by faulty information regarding the WMD, but they have admitted as such. When's the last time you heard a Russian Premier admit they were wrong?

And, I will not again discuss politics on your blog. I have made a decision awhile ago to answer back once to the people I associate with on these blogs, but not twice because I want to be pleasant, but I would not be true to myself if I did not at least tell you my views on what you have written.

If this offends you, then I will politely refrain from posting again on your blog out of respect for you since most of your posts seem innocuous to me.

The "Scruffy American"

kassandra said...

Hey Scruffy,
Sorry for taking so long to get back to you, but it seems every time I log in the last few days Blogger is down. What’s going on with it!?!
In any case, I just wanted to say that you got one thing right: freedom is the ability to believe whatever you want, and you are welcome to your beliefs, no matter how much I might disagree with them. Nor do your beliefs offend me, or make me want you stop posting on my site, so free to continue with the scruffy comments.
However, I must warn you that I do have very strong feelings about American foreign policy, and will continue to make them known when appropriate, so it’s more a question of whether you will get offended, than I! (Hmm I am rather disturbed by having my posts referred to as innocuous!!! Will have to do something about that.)
Actually I have quite a bit to say in response to your post, but I get the feeling you aren’t ready or willing to hear it, and I’m not one for shoving my opinions down other people’s throats. However, if ever you do get curious about why I think the things I do, I’d be glad to explain it to you – while keeping it as ‘innocuous’ as possible of course!
I will say, however, that my opinions were formed not by reading magazines, but rather by what I studied at university in Canada – a country which, I believe, has little reason to be jealous of the States. So while I’ll try not to belittle your beliefs, please don’t belittle mine. Many of them, such as the benefits of the US invasion of Iraq, may be a matter of opinion, but many others, especially regarding actions taken by the States prior to 50 years ago, are FACTS that even the US government has been bound to make public, though no doubt they’d rather not have had to do so.
I do appreciate your honesty, though, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one and leave it at that.

(However in answer to your direct question, the US was convicted of war crimes in 1984 for the mining of harbours in Nicaragua, which they did to overthrow a democratically elected government and put a dictatorship into place, as well as crimes against peace, and complicity with crimes against humanity and breaches of the Geneva convention as part of their involvement in Lebanon. Read about it here.

adfjkaj said...

I read your link's content but I don't believe this report is any official UN report. It appears to be a group of individuals who simply had an axe to grind with President Reagan, who was one of the best presidents the United States ever had.

In fact, the reason the Soviet Union today is no longer a superpower was because President Reagan's policies regarding Star Wars and other ingenious budgeting basically bankrupt the Soviet Union who just could not keep up with us. And in the end, not a single bullet was dispensed. And isn't it funny that now the United States is quite friendly with Russia, just like all countries we've beat in War (Germany, Japan, etc). The Soviets were not so kind....

And you did not answer my question regarding the Russian Premiers ever admitting they were wrong like President Bush admitted regarding the WMD? Are you ignoring that part?

At any rate, no further answer is required on your part and I'll just read your posts that are non-political and "SHOO" as Flubber says on ones I don't care for.

But, I must say, I'm just glad America is the superpower because I sure could think of some alternative countries that may not think so kindly of you disagreeing with them. At least with America, you can disagree and it's safe. Try that with China and see what happens, who just might be the next superpower. Then you'll really miss the good ole USA.....

And I realize you are from Canada, but it appears even in your country of Canada, the citizens are tired of the liberal view and have voted a conservative into power. So, as I say, "The Silent Majority" sometimes speaks louder than the "vocal minority".. At least in the USA...

With Innocuous, I meant the definition as "non-offensive" and it was a compliment to you.

adfjkaj said...

But, one thing we both agree on I see is you like Cats. (from your Feelee tis gatas link).

I also love Cats and Cats are not judgemental.

My Cat just used to tell me.

"This is my house, you guys just live here".

Larry said...

I have to agree with Scruffy on this one.

1. In 1984 Nicaragua sued the US in the World Court for allegedly mining a harbor on the Caribbean coast. The US said the world Court had no jurisdiction, and therefore they did not participate in the court proceedings. The court ruled against the US, and their ruling being non-binding was ignored by the US.

2. The Brussels "Tribunal" was a Kangaroo show trial put on in 1984 by the "International Progress Organization" (IPO) a socialist group dedicated to the condemnation of all things western, democratic, and capitalistic...in other words the US.

Its enough to know that this show trial had the distinguished Ramsey Clark as its prosecutor against the "crimes of the US". Yes that's right...this is the same Ramsey Clark that is defending Saddam at his trial conducted by the puppets of the eeeevil US government.

The "International Progress Organization" IPO has a distinguished record. For example:

1. They came down on the side of the Libyan bombers of the Pan Am flight that went down over Scotland. They claimed the trial was unfair.

2. They support the right of North Korea and Iran to have nuclear weapons.

3. They call for the US to unilaterally destroy its nuclear weapons as an example of good faith in its negotiations with North Korea.

4. They completely support the Palestinians, and Hamas, and condemn Israel as an occupying power.

5. Somehow they have never condemned Hamas Hezbollah or any of the other suicide bombers or terrorists.

6. They have never condemned Al Qaeda.

7.They were opposed to the first gulf war, and are rabidly against the current Iraq war.

8. They are calling for war crimes trials against the US and Britain for Iraq.

9. They never condemned Saddam's actions against his own people.

10. They did not condemn the attacks of 9/11, but said they were the logical consequence of US foreign policy.

I could go on but what's the point. This is a rabidly anti-american group with a Marxist agenda.

Kassandra, just be careful who you quote because there are quite a few more evil beings in the world besides the American Government.

kassandra said...

Scruffy, look, yes I am ignoring the Russian premier bit because, as I said in the first place, I do not reserve my condemnations for the US alone, but feel SADNESS (not judgemental) at anything that I see is wrong, whomever it is being perpetrated by. So I'm not going to be goaded into defending people whose actions I may or may not agree with either. Nor would I enjoy a worse alternative. But just because I worse alternative exists, should we stop questioning and striving for something better than what we have now?
The US is an obvious place to start because they do have so much power, and they do stick their noses continuously into other people's business - sometimes for good, sometimes for ill - I think more often for ill. I am not the best informed person on these issues. There are other people capable of presenting far better arguments than I, and who know where to find legitimate sources to support their arguments and feelings.
But what it comes down to, for my personal beliefs, is that I don't need to read some official document to know how I feel, to know when something just strikes me as plain WRONG. When I see innocent people and children being hurt and maimed in the name of a freedom they are unlikely to ever experience, when I see democratically elected governments being overthrown because they refuse to play along with the US's game, when I see American corporations taking advantage of the internal corruption of third world countries' governments to force them, through "tied aid" to privatise essential services or cut off people's sources of food, I know what I feel.
What we can and should do about all this is something I spend a lot of time thinking about. If you read my subsequent post, you will realise that I am not a rabid political activist, though maybe I'd like to be.
But one thing I am not trying to be is judgemental. I just see these things and feel the things I do and think that there is so much money and power floating about that if people really had their hearts in the right places and were not questing after more money and power, the world could be a much better place. Is this naive? Given human nature, probably. But that doesn't mean that we should all shrug our shoulders, say "lucky me that I was born on the right side" and forget about it.

adfjkaj said...

Kassy,

You have the right to your opinion as anyone does.

However, I think that the world-wide anti-American media sways people towards "truths" that may not exist in reality.

For example, if you watch Greek TV, you will notice that they never EVER show the American government in a positive light. I have friends of mine who are in IRAQ right now with the United States Air Force and they are telling me of the wonderful works they are doing to repair the Iraqi infrastructure from the horrible neglect that this "Sadaam Hussein" wrecked upon it.

Would this get on Greek TV ? Hell no because it's Pro-American and this stuff never gets to the people. It doesn't sell newspapers. Do you know what sells newspapers? Anti-Americanism. Talking about how horrible the American military is. It gets people upset. But, show them the good that the American government does and that's just BORING and doesn't sell newspapers.

And have you ever noticed that on GREEK TV you never see anything about the Serbs and their war crimes against the Muslims in Bosnia. In most countries this is common knowledge, but the apparent censorship in Greece is just an example of why I believe the MEDIA is the root of all evil. They have a responsibility to inform people of the truth, not the perceived truth of whatever makes them the most profit.

So, I guess we can end this discussion because I am not upset with you and understand you are a caring person.

But, just realize that what you perceive as truth from the media is certainly not the "Whole Truth and nothing but the Truth".