Those following TrapWire revelations closely online felt a temporary wave of relief when The New York Times finally covered the explosive story. But in the eyes of many, the Times did a disservice to readers by significantly downplaying the scope, moral dangers and real-world implications of such a warrantless surveillance network.
Their piece defined TrapWire as “antiterrorist software,” which is a strong way of stacking the deck right out of the gate. (A leaked email between Stratfor execs, for example, states: “they [San Francisco] need something like TrapWire more for threats from activists than from terror threats. Both are useful, but activists are ever-present around here.” Not exactly set to antiterrorist mode.)
Think about that! They need this warrantless surveillance program for activists. Are they really putting peaceful protesters and political activists in even the same damn ballpark as “terror threats”?! Well, apparently, yes.
I highly suggest – even politely demand – every single one of my readers check out this piece published by a site called Occupy Savvy. The article there, desperately entitled “Deconstructing The New York Times #TrapWire WhiteWash – PLEASE REBLOG!,” does just that in exhaustive depth.
God, this is all so chilling. The Guardian has a piece by Charles Arthur, their technology editor, that tells readers about TrapWire in a way that is simple, yet accurate – it isn’t a PR piece, it’s a news story. Free press in the UK? Check.
And in Australia, ZDNet Australia reports that a Senator there is already demanding serious answers: “Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam will ask the Senate to force the Australian Government to come clean on what it knows about the controversial video-surveillance system TrapWire and its use locally.” Free press Down Under? Check. (Although somewhat ominously, a piece about TrapWire published in the Sydney Morning Herald has since been pulled from their site, or is inaccessible for another reason.)
Yet here in the United States our “paper of record,” The New York Times, hands this massively important story off to a writer who – not joking – just last month penned a piece in their Sunday Review entitled “The Moral Case for Drones.”
The final paragraph of that particular article sets the bar for moral human conduct rather low: “‘Look at the firebombing of Dresden, and compare what we’re doing today,’ Mr. Crumpton said. ‘The public’s expectations have been raised dramatically around the world, and that’s good news.'”
Wonderful. Warrantless wiretapping, spy camera networks and killing American citizens or others via drone without trial or due process are not as bad as the firebombing of Dresden, Germany… therefore these things are OK? Was this an op-ed penned by Bane and the League of Shadows?
Australia has politicians who are outraged about TrapWire’s potential influence within their borders, which is great, but where are OUR politicians demanding immediate answers in Congress? Investigations? Inquiries? And where are OUR cable news networks bringing in experts and former TrapWire engineers to determine the legitimacy – or not – of the claims swirling around the Internet, which are based on the Wikileaks emails.
This is truly unacceptable. I didn’t want to be the one to write an article like this at 4:19 in the morning – it distracts from my upcoming campaign for U.S. Congress against one of the biggest supporters of failed Internet censorship bill SOPA. I’ll need to save up my energy and anger for that one.
But this conversation is long overdue. We’re a nation of 312 million. We should all be speaking up and demanding an end to the egregious, transpartisan, never-ending erosion of our rights in the name of “keeping us safe” from terror threats, and San Francisco activists, or whatever.
It doesn’t make us any safer. But it does enrich those who sell these tools and services to the government and private corporations.
To end on a positive note, I was on Current TV’s The Young Turks w/ Cenk Uygur earlier tonight as a guest. Their substantial coverage on TrapWire (not including the part with me – also good, though!) was so well-informed, so adequately outraged, that it’s enough to make you want to immediately run out to Best Buy, buy a damn satellite dish, and subscribe to whatever news package includes Current.
Part of the segment is embedded below, but for more, head over to Current.com. And please, speak up. We should not live in fear of our government, nor in fear of those stupid little “dark globe” cameras popping up all over the country. Big Brother may be watching, but so am I.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.