It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick.
May 15, 2006 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Federal Source to ABC News: We Know Who You're Calling
posted by EarBucket (200 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
"One former official was asked to sign a document stating he was not a confidential source for New York Times reporter James Risen."

Does anyone else feel like the more things like this happen the greater the likelihood things will be corrected after the November elections?
posted by null terminated at 8:15 AM on May 15, 2006


Does anyone else feel like the more things like this happen the greater the likelihood we won't be allowed to conduct the November elections? (much less 08)
posted by Balisong at 8:20 AM on May 15, 2006


I'm surprised that this hadn't occurred to me in the recent hoo-ha over wiretapping and data mining. What better way to get a handle on sources?

It must be horrible for US citizens, feeling so powerless while all this is going on in the country. It's pretty horrible feeling powerless about ID cards etc. in the UK but this is chilling. And I guess that's the point.
posted by bouncebounce at 8:22 AM on May 15, 2006


Just one example of how this data can be misused. I wish I'd known that ABC News were teh terrorists!
posted by wpbinder at 8:26 AM on May 15, 2006


Powerless is a relative word when you have a population as well armed as the American public. Isn't there something in that constitution that actually REQUIRES you to take up arms against a goverment that violates your constitutional rights? So, get cracking. It's not like the US military is anything to be afraid of, from what we've seen the last few years.
posted by slatternus at 8:28 AM on May 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Does anyone else feel like the more things like this happen the greater the likelihood Diebold will fix the election again.
posted by pwb503 at 8:28 AM on May 15, 2006


Don't you people understand that this is the Global War on Terrorism??? If ABC News is harboring terrorists and actually dialing terrorists leakers, then Our Fearless Leader has no choice but to find out who they're talking to and what they're saying so that our government can continue the proud, time-honored tradition of blackmailing these scoundrels ala Dr. Martin Luther King.
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:29 AM on May 15, 2006


Remember Remember the Ides of May. May? Things really have gotten bad.
posted by tiamat at 8:31 AM on May 15, 2006


Wow, you mean Cheney's comprehensive ramping up of phone record data mining is being used for purposes *other* than tracking terrorist communications?

Golly. Who'da thunk it.
posted by mediareport at 8:33 AM on May 15, 2006


Powerless is a relative word when you have a population as well armed as the American public.

And this "well armed population" would do... what? Turn the place into Iraq?
posted by Artw at 8:34 AM on May 15, 2006


So.. these warrantless wiretaps... on journalists perhaps?
posted by Artw at 8:35 AM on May 15, 2006


OK. Now this shit is really getting outta hand. An executive branch with no checks, a lapdog judiciary, a legislature with no balls, the military and its corporate henchmen being put in charge of intelligence, secret courts and prisons, unaccountable elections, an attack on the (constitutionally independent) fourth estate. What more do people need to see to know that we are going batshitinsane?

I'm beyond pissed - I'm starting to fear for the future of our country. Pogo was right- "We have met the enemy and He is Us." If we don't make a serious u-turn in November, we will deserve what we get.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:38 AM on May 15, 2006


Hopefully the source didn't call via their usual phone number.
posted by gsteff at 8:38 AM on May 15, 2006


So.. these warrantless wiretaps... on journalists perhaps?

Don't be ridiculous! I'm offended that you would even suggest such a thing!

*report released confirming NSA is wiretapping reporters*

How dare you question the President? This is necessary for national security! Constitutional gray area! 9-11! Clinton did it too!
posted by EarBucket at 8:39 AM on May 15, 2006


Aren't you frogs boiled yet?
posted by Hogshead at 8:47 AM on May 15, 2006 [2 favorites]


So what's ABC going to do?

Are they going to roll over and take it, or are they going to do something about it?

At this point, if they (any news organiztion) submit, they are making themselves wholly the property and subject of the administration. 0wned.

If they cannot speak confidentially to sources, they have nothing. They can either give up any institutional autonomy or they can make every effort to undercut this initiative on the part of the government.

I don't see any other options. The news is rooted.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:48 AM on May 15, 2006


So, get cracking. It's not like the US military is anything to be afraid of, from what we've seen the last few years.

We're just waiting for the National Guard to become preoccupied with somethi--- hey, wait a second!
posted by NationalKato at 8:48 AM on May 15, 2006


An executive branch with no checks, a lapdog judiciary, a legislature with no balls, the military and its corporate henchmen being put in charge of intelligence, secret courts and prisons, unaccountable elections, an attack on the (constitutionally independent) fourth estate.

You forgot a citizenry where the majority can't be bothered to vote, and a substantial vocal minority that believes the president is god's appointed ruler.
posted by bitmage at 8:56 AM on May 15, 2006


Nah nah nah nah nah nah Leader!
posted by ninjew at 9:01 AM on May 15, 2006


I've wondered allowed what would happen if it were revealed that the Bush admin were spying on members of the press and maybe congress.

It's one thing to wrap this up as "data mining" and sell it to the public as "keeping us safe" - it's another to go on a witch hunt against the press.

On the upside this type of shit sinks presidencies.
posted by wfrgms at 9:05 AM on May 15, 2006


Bush can easily advertise this illegal activity as "keeping us safe" if he claims he is using the information to go after leaks in the espionage community. I don't think he is targeting the press, per se. Not yet, anyway.
posted by Mr. Six at 9:12 AM on May 15, 2006


The US has gone down 20 places in the Press Freedom Index in one year. Downward spiral indeed. Let's see how you do in '06.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:12 AM on May 15, 2006


It's time now for the journalists to adapt the intelligence offices protocols reflecting agent/reporter info:

No company intranet or printed phone lists, only your supervisor can call you or look up your number.

Cell phones issued to the news outlet, not to a name, and new numbers every 3 months.

Code names for reporters, and stories.
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 9:13 AM on May 15, 2006


Again, remember this?
posted by bhance at 9:15 AM on May 15, 2006


I don't think he is targeting the press, per se. Not yet, anyway.

On what evidence do you dispute this, Mr. Six? Frankly, I myself have had a bizarre series of noises audible on one of my phone lines ever since I interviewed... well, someone tangentially related to the NSA program. It's gotten so bad that my editor, after a conversation that was interrupted several times by the sound of a modem "dialing into" my line, insisted that I have someone from the phone company come by and check it out. I did. They found nothing. The noises persist.
posted by digaman at 9:18 AM on May 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Here's the thing. Bush has stated he gets to choose the laws he follows. He has stated he is illegally wiretapping calls. He has stated that he is illegally data-mining phone records. He has lied, without hesitation, to the American people about matters of life and death (see, Iraq war, 2003-). He's been elected twice (once via a narrow win and once via a loss) that had electoral shenanigans in more than one locale. He has Karl Rove, one of the most despicable characters in politics, as his main brain. He hires Iran-Contra criminals and Nikon criminals into his administration with glee.

Given the available information, it's essentially a certainty that Bush is tapping: journalists; political opponents; critics. COINTELPRO was fucking child's play compared to what Bush has been doing.

To anyone out there that supports the Bush administration at this point: you are massively and dangerously deluded.
posted by teece at 9:20 AM on May 15, 2006


Besides, what was PlameGate but "targeting the press," writ large?
posted by digaman at 9:20 AM on May 15, 2006


The next step is to mobilize the National Guard to "protect Americas borders from illegal immigrants" ...then one day, when Americans are complacently used to seeing these soldiers out and about, an order will come down telling the soldiers to about-face, and the military will no longer be facing outwards, but inwards. That is when the fun starts in my fantastically speculative imagination. Wheeee!
posted by furtive at 9:21 AM on May 15, 2006


This post is hurting America.
posted by disclaimer at 9:24 AM on May 15, 2006


Er, Nixon criminals.
posted by teece at 9:25 AM on May 15, 2006


Who needs the National Guard to enforce martial law in the US, when you have Blackwater functioning as a secret police force, tested on the streets of New Orleans?
posted by digaman at 9:26 AM on May 15, 2006


So what's ABC going to do?

So far? Nothing. There is absolutely nothing about this on their front page.

Apparently, it isn't "breaking news" for them...I assume they've known all along that they've been spied on, and they just don't care.

Welcome to the USSA.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 9:26 AM on May 15, 2006


fantastically speculative
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:27 AM on May 15, 2006


Gosh, how soon until the NSA knows that I voted for Bucky Covington

*drumroll*
posted by sswiller at 9:27 AM on May 15, 2006


Amusing how Bush couldn't "find" the Plame leaker, then.

I wonder if this little tidbit just give Fitzgerald some ideas for subpeonas.

Remember: The NSA is looking for talented computer scientists and mathematicians to help in the defense of the United States. If you think you have the chops, call your mother and ask for an interview.
posted by eriko at 9:30 AM on May 15, 2006


They are really just wiping their ass with the constitution now, huh?
posted by dead_ at 9:31 AM on May 15, 2006


It seems like every day something happens that pushes me closer and closer to arming myself and taking to the streets. Somebody help me: What can I do short of that?
posted by PhatLobley at 9:33 AM on May 15, 2006


yes but this is all irrelevant -- the gays want to adopt children, you know. also, terrorists want to harm America. and Nancy Pelosi looks weird, and she'll impeach the President, giving a victory to America's enemies.

these are the important issues. anything else -- Iraq, domestic spying, torture, deficit spending, health care -- it's just liberal media obfuscation.
posted by matteo at 9:37 AM on May 15, 2006


Besides, what was PlameGate but "targeting the press," writ large?

Outing Valerie Plame had nothing to do with targeting the press. Joe Wilson is not and has never been a journalist, to my knowledge. It was an act of treason first, agreed, but it reminded the intelligence community of the cost for letting family members voice politically unpopular facts in the public arena. If anything, it was just another example of the GOP using the conservative mainstream media to go after anyone left-of-right who was critical of the war effort — only here, a CIA agent's covert identity was compromised for political gain, instead of the usual career assasination.
posted by Mr. Six at 9:40 AM on May 15, 2006


So what's ABC going to do?

So far? Nothing. There is absolutely nothing about this on their front page.


Seems to be there now. It is one of the rotating top five stories, along with something about tanning bed addicts.
posted by marxchivist at 9:46 AM on May 15, 2006


Time to start using this to talk to "sources".
posted by SirOmega at 9:46 AM on May 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Real charming comments on that linked article.
posted by furiousthought at 9:47 AM on May 15, 2006


Furiousthought, I just read some of the comments...

Holy fuck.
I'm so, so sorry for your country.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:51 AM on May 15, 2006


Most of the comments on the ABC blog are strongly supportive of the government monitoring. Maybe some of you American MeFi types who disagree with the monitoring should leave comments. ABC might decide that the national mood really is 'shoot seditionist reporters.'
posted by leftoverboy at 9:54 AM on May 15, 2006


The great nation of prisoners, guards and the owners. We are putting walls up on the southern border, watch the northern one is next. You need to show ID and be approved to get in and out.

fuck the president
posted by edgeways at 9:54 AM on May 15, 2006


Note that one comment on the ABC blog states:

You do realize people are being paid by the Bush administration to attack the press publically on comment pages like this. I personally was offered a job doing it.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:56 AM on May 15, 2006


So much for just monitoring the terrorists. This spying thing is way fucking out of control.
posted by kuatto at 9:56 AM on May 15, 2006


The official who warned ABC News said there was no indication our phones were being tapped so the content of the conversation could be recorded.

Even in reporting that the government is watching who they call and who calls them, ABC goes and lays the ground work for an excuse. The fact that the calls aren't tapped is immaterial to the situation. Just recording that they happened has the same chilling effect. The Administration isn't trying to build a legal case, as they've shown over and over again, they have no interest in the rule of law. They're just trying to find out who has leaked and punish them, thereby sending a message to all other potential leakers.

On another note, did anyone read the comments to that blog entry? There may be only 29 percent of the country still buying this nonsense, but hearing them spew thier fascism still disturbs me deeply.
posted by clubfoote at 9:58 AM on May 15, 2006


GOD BLESS AMEЯIКA

(except for California)
posted by mazola at 9:59 AM on May 15, 2006


Aren't we now supposed to get a visit from a Bush apologist, explaining how this isn't so bad because none of us say anything interesting on the phone anyway, how everything changed on 9/11, and how the POTUS has always had Constitutional authority to intimidate the press this way, how we can't trust the liberal media in the first place, and asking us why we hate America?
posted by Western Infidels at 10:04 AM on May 15, 2006


If there's another terrorist attack in 2006 or 2008, there will never be another election in the United States.

Get out while you can.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 10:05 AM on May 15, 2006


The US has gone down 20 places in the Press Freedom Index in one year. Downward spiral indeed. Let's see how you do in '06.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:12 AM PST on May 15


Wow, worse than Italy under Berlusconi. That's fucking scary.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:05 AM on May 15, 2006


Aren't we now supposed to get a visit from a Bush apologist, explaining how this isn't so bad because none of us say anything interesting on the phone anyway, how everything changed on 9/11, and how the POTUS has always had Constitutional authority to intimidate the press this way, how we can't trust the liberal media in the first place, and asking us why we hate America?
posted by Western Infidels at 10:04 AM PST on May 15


I think he's golfing today.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:06 AM on May 15, 2006


On the upside this type of shit sinks presidencies.
posted by wfrgms


Yeah that's true, and it's also something that gives a dictatorship great strength.
posted by any major dude at 10:07 AM on May 15, 2006


It's like no one has ever heard of traffic analysis. Give me a couple months with unfettered access to the Daytona Database and I would be able to clean up on Wall Street.
posted by Freen at 10:08 AM on May 15, 2006


Dear America,

If you put up a wall on the northern border, could you please line it with lead? We're concerned your impending civil war may go nuclear.

Thanks in advance,

Canada
posted by fleetmouse at 10:08 AM on May 15, 2006 [2 favorites]


Treason is wiretapping news organizations without, I presume, a warrant. Treason is setting members of the government above the laws they enact for everyone else. Treason is deliberately leaking CIA operative names. Treason is... well treason is this administration personified. Treason is not exposing questionable activates of the government. For those who claim they have nothing to hide, may we install cameras in every room of your house, a GPS transponder in your car and under your skin? We are presumed innocent until proven guilty, the administration presumes a level of guilt for everyone and seeks to confirm it.
posted by edgeways at 10:09 AM on May 15, 2006


If there's another terrorist attack in 2006 or 2008, there will never be another election in the United States.

The scary part is the small scale of the attack that would be needed to implement a fascist dictatorship in this country.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:09 AM on May 15, 2006


Yes, the posts after that article are more frightening than the article itself, which is really saying something.
posted by Outlawyr at 10:10 AM on May 15, 2006


The scary part is the small scale of the attack that would be needed to implement a fascist dictatorship in this country.

If I were running things, and I wanted an excuse to suspend elections, there'd be a nuclear attack on Washington on a day I was out of town, killing most of Congress and the Supreme Court. Boom--no legislative or judicial branch to provide any inconvenient checks on power, and it'd scare the shit out of the country, rallying them behind a strong leader willing to protect them. Elections would be cancelled until the crisis would be over. . .which would be never.

President for life, baby.
posted by EarBucket at 10:13 AM on May 15, 2006


Why does the Administration hate America?
posted by psmealey at 10:13 AM on May 15, 2006


You do realize people are being paid by the Bush administration to attack the press publically on comment pages like this. I personally was offered a job doing it.

You realize that it's the economy, don't you? Just the other day I saw a guy on the freeway off-ramp with a sign that said, "Will shit on the constitution for food."
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:14 AM on May 15, 2006


Aren't we now supposed to get a visit from a Bush apologist, explaining how this isn't so bad because none of us say anything interesting on the phone anyway, how everything changed on 9/11, and how the POTUS has always had Constitutional authority to intimidate the press this way, how we can't trust the liberal media in the first place, and asking us why we hate America?
posted by Western Infidels at 10:04 AM PST on May 15

Notice how they never show up to try and defend the indefensible, only to decry the fact that we are talking about it?
posted by Freen at 10:15 AM on May 15, 2006


I presume that there have always been elements in the upper echelons of power that have consistently wanted a greater degree of control over the media and the public at large, but the question keeps coming up in my own mind: what such a drive for this now? Totalitarian or near-totalitarian regimes are more expensive to maintain, and tend not to be as long-lived as open societies.

Not to feed my own paranoia, but why do they want this? What do they know that we don't? Is it just the unchecked desire for more power, or is it because they (the Admin and its enablers) feel that there is some coming apocalypse (economic depression, climate calamity, etc.), and this, they feel is the only way to preserve the republic, or what will be left of it?
posted by psmealey at 10:25 AM on May 15, 2006


How easy is it for the government to trace phone card calls? It seems like those would be at least one degree more difficult because they are not phone to phone calls. I know the use of them makes CallerID systems pointless. All of my overseas and long distance calls are by calling card.
posted by JJ86 at 10:25 AM on May 15, 2006


Whatever is necessary to win the war on terror is justifiable, therefore, will be done- right or wrong.

Posted by: skmp | May 15, 2006 12:59:35 PM


When did republicans get to be so afraid?
posted by Freen at 10:25 AM on May 15, 2006


Why do you hate America?

Is it the warmongering, the lies, the abuse of freedoms, the torture, the class warfare, the stolen elections? What?

What makes you "liberals" hate America so much?
posted by eriko at 10:25 AM on May 15, 2006


Time to update the emergency plans.
posted by SaintCynr at 10:26 AM on May 15, 2006


I would love to see an updated equivalent to the '77 and '83/84 editions of _Engineering and Operations in the Bell System_. I bet there'd be an entire chapter on "User Surveilance and Network Monitoring".

(good book(s), btw, if you're a telco nerd like me..)
posted by mrbill at 10:26 AM on May 15, 2006


Personally, as this shit keeps piling up, I only love America more. That is, the abstract concept of America, represented by the flag, the myths of our founding fathers, the Constitution, and so forth... thinking about it will easily make me cry now. I guess it's something about how you don't really appreciate something until it starts being taken away from you.
posted by rxrfrx at 10:27 AM on May 15, 2006


psmealey - I think the chances of this administartion planing ahead for any impending catastrophic events is close to nil, so you can sleep safe at night.
posted by Artw at 10:27 AM on May 15, 2006


Wow, I really am glad that when America turns it's beady little eyes towards Canada, we'll be able to say, "Oh, and by the way, we'd like to introduce you to our two best friends, Russia and China. Gentlemen, please take Captain America out back and teach him a little lesson in manners, won't you"
posted by slatternus at 10:29 AM on May 15, 2006


psmealey writes "some coming apocalypse (economic depression, climate calamity, etc.)"

Or maybe the actual, Christian Apocalypse?
posted by PhatLobley at 10:30 AM on May 15, 2006


Outing Valerie Plame had nothing to do with targeting the press. Joe Wilson is not and has never been a journalist, to my knowledge.

Mr. Six, sorry, but you seem to have missed the beginning of the whole Plame affair. You can catch up now, by reading the document that put a bee in Dick Cheney's bonnet, with marginalia in Cheney's own handwriting.
posted by digaman at 10:30 AM on May 15, 2006


Why do you do it?
Power!
Smell like a beetch!
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 10:33 AM on May 15, 2006


Wow, I really am glad that when America turns it's beady little eyes towards Canada . . .

And I am really glad you guys use those long winters to work on your imaginations. This is a shitty update to a shitty situation, but I'd check under the covers before I got in bed with the Russians and/or Chinese. Now there's a group that knows from Freedom!
posted by yerfatma at 10:37 AM on May 15, 2006


Wow, I really am glad that when America turns it's beady little eyes towards Canada

You're weak and you have a lot of oil. When we need it, we'll take it. And your "two best friends" will look the other way when we offer them a cut.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:45 AM on May 15, 2006


Now that the journos have something at stake, it seems like we should be able to make sure that this story isn't just blown over and obfuscated. Right?

Sounds like a good time for news agencies to start looking into cryptography.
posted by Skwirl at 10:49 AM on May 15, 2006


All Your Call Belong to NSA
posted by Mick at 10:53 AM on May 15, 2006


Mr. Six, sorry, but you seem to have missed the beginning of the whole Plame affair. You can catch up now, by reading the document that put a bee in Dick Cheney's bonnet, with marginalia in Cheney's own handwriting.

Op-ed pieces are not generally works of conventional journalism, let alone make their authors journalists. In this case, it was Joe Wilson's public answer to a private dispute between the intelligence community that finds no evidence of WMDs and the neoconservatives pushing their war agenda.

A cowardly, unpatriotic attack on the Plame family, as treasonous as it is, does not constitute an attack on the press. It's not semantics: In this case, I honestly believe it pays to be careful to note that Bush et al are really going after whistleblowers leaking embarassing intel — the press are just stooges Bush et al can spy on (illegally or otherwise) to catch the leakers.

This is perhaps the larger story: the ongoing purge of thoughtcrime within the CIA and intelligence community, and, for that matter, any other government official who is uncooperative with the neocon agenda.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:53 AM on May 15, 2006


As it always was, really.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:56 AM on May 15, 2006


when America turns it's beady little eyes towards Canada, we'll be able to say, "Oh, and by the way, we'd like to introduce you to our two best friends, Russia and China. Gentlemen, please take Captain America out back and teach him a little lesson in manners, won't you"

And Russia and China would come crying back to Canada, asking why you made them do that. That's the way it is, much as I'd like to believe otherwise.

I have the feeling that if the U.S. really wanted to annex Canada, it would be done within two weeks.
posted by oaf at 11:04 AM on May 15, 2006


Isn't there something in that constitution that actually REQUIRES you to take up arms against a goverment that violates your constitutional rights?

It's in the Declaration of Independence. Technically it isn't a constitutional document, but in practice it often is. Well, until lately.

The scary part is the small scale of the attack that would be needed to implement a fascist dictatorship in this country.

Precisely. At this point, a Volvo filled with explosives parked next to a cornfield would do it.
posted by dhartung at 11:06 AM on May 15, 2006


With what army, oaf? Sure, America might be great at carpet bombing civilians from the air, but you can't even hold onto a desert wasteland the size of puny Texas! Have you looked at a map of Canada lately?
posted by slatternus at 11:06 AM on May 15, 2006


Skwirl: Sounds like a good time for news agencies to start looking into cryptography.

If it's true (and granted, there's little reason to suppose that it is) that the most recently revlealed NSA snooping system is only a traffic-analysis system, then encryption won't help. The fact that a message was sent at all can be revealing enough.

In any case, a journalist is likely to be dealing with sources who are ambivalent about talking to journalists in the first place. Even the slightest barrier to entry ("All you have to do is plug this funny-looking box into the phone system before you call me... Tell your secretary it's an answering machine...") can be a deal-breaker. It's in a journalist's interest to make things very easy for their sources.
posted by Western Infidels at 11:06 AM on May 15, 2006


I have the feeling that if the U.S. really wanted to annex Canada, it would be done within two weeks.

There would be a lot of international blowback. Canada has tied much of its natural resources to foreign investment, particularly with China.
posted by Mr. Six at 11:11 AM on May 15, 2006


dhartung: At this point, a Volvo filled with explosives parked next to a cornfield would do it.

Especially a cowardly, evil, foreign Volvo, parked next to a field filled with heroic American Freedom CornTM.
posted by Western Infidels at 11:15 AM on May 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


This kind of thing used to be an impeachable offense:
[President Nixon] misused the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, and other executive personnel, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens, by directing or authorizing such agencies or personnel to conduct or continue electronic surveillance or other investigations for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; he did direct, authorize, or permit the use of information obtained thereby for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; and he did direct the concealment of certain records made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of electronic surveillance.
As adopted by the House Judiciary Committee in July 1974. President Nixon resigned before the entire House of Representatives voted on impeachment.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:17 AM on May 15, 2006


Precisely. At this point, a Volvo filled with explosives parked next to a cornfield would do it.

Note to self: dhartung has been monitoring my cell phone calls.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:17 AM on May 15, 2006


With what army, oaf? Sure, America might be great at carpet bombing civilians from the air, but you can't even hold onto a desert wasteland the size of puny Texas! Have you looked at a map of Canada lately?

I meant the population centers, without which the government of Canada couldn't really control the rest of the country. It really wouldn't be that difficult to send special forces in and take over (or, at the very least, create anarchy in) Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montréal, and the populated parts of Ontario.

Canada has tied much of its natural resources to foreign investment, particularly with China.

Yes, but realistically, China can't do much to the U.S. if it wants to keep its way of life intact.

It's a really stupid idea, but if the U.S. really wanted to take over Canada, there's not much that anyone else could do about it.
posted by oaf at 11:18 AM on May 15, 2006


Yes, but realistically, China can't do much to the U.S. if it wants to keep its way of life intact.

America no longer manufactures anything of consequence. On China's say-so, the average American's way of life would no longer be subsidized with cheap consumer goods.
posted by Mr. Six at 11:21 AM on May 15, 2006


It really wouldn't be that difficult to send special forces in and take over...Edmonton

Can we at least wait until the playoffs are done?
posted by NationalKato at 11:23 AM on May 15, 2006


I'm still skeptical. It turns out that Bush can only afford to send a few thousand national guard to the southern border, and we'll no doubt be hearing stories in a few weeks about how ill-equipped they are.

On the other hand, Canada has things (water, oil etc) that the US would NEED rather desperately, and that desperation could possibly overcome short term military bankruptcy woes. Hopefully I'll never find myself having to join a resistance er, I mean "terror" cell to resist an American occupation.
posted by slatternus at 11:24 AM on May 15, 2006


Paging Mr. Young, Mr. David Young,
Paging Mr. Krogh, Mr. Egil Krogh
Paging Mr. Liddy, Mr. G. Gordon Liddy,
Paging Mr. Hunt, Mr. E. Howard Hunt,
please pick up a White House Courtesy Phone.
posted by m@ at 11:28 AM on May 15, 2006


Can we at least wait until the playoffs are done?

Sure. :)
And fuck the Sharks fans, or at least the ones who were at the game last night.

America no longer manufactures anything of consequence. On China's say-so, the average American's way of life would no longer be subsidized with cheap consumer goods.

And the average Chinese worker would be unemployed or underemployed.

Hopefully I'll never find myself having to join a resistance er, I mean "terror" cell to resist an American occupation.

You'd better hope that the government legalizes heavier weaponry first.
posted by oaf at 11:40 AM on May 15, 2006


Mr. Six writes "On China's say-so, the average American's way of life would no longer be subsidized with cheap consumer goods."

...and that would be the end of that. Take away our freedom, fine - but threaten our access to cheap electronic playthings and you're in for a world of hurt.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:42 AM on May 15, 2006


Does anyone else feel like the more things like this happen the greater the likelihood we won't be allowed to conduct the November elections? (much less 08)

No no, you'll be allowed to have your elections. That's silly. I mean, we've got all these shiny new Diebold machines, we're not going to just let them go to waste.
posted by Jairus at 11:45 AM on May 15, 2006


"I have the feeling that if the U.S. really wanted to annex Canada, it would be done within two weeks."

Just like they rolled over Iraq in a couple of days....
Yes, I would agree that it would take about 5 times longer.
posted by TheFeatheredMullet at 11:46 AM on May 15, 2006


All this talk of Canada reminds me of something I saw on the war of 1812 in a high-school history textbook the other day at work:

"The War Hawks, however, were confident that conquering Canada was 'a mere matter of marching'. Half a million Canadians would be no match for eight million Americans. Besides, they said, Canadians would welcome Americans as liberators". (Herman Viola, Why We Remember, 1999)

Those who cannot remember the past and all that ...
posted by bcveen at 11:48 AM on May 15, 2006


Yes, I would agree that it would take about 5 times longer.

The other NATO member countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom.

The US would have a very, very difficult time annexing Canada.
posted by Jairus at 11:49 AM on May 15, 2006


Yes, I would agree that it would take about 5 times longer.

Given what? Besides your ability to type in a little box, what evidence to you have to offer? It's frustrating to me that threads like this make me wish this awful administration did have jackbooted thugs to stomp on some necks. Unless, of course, you feel like "America no longer manufactures anything of consequence" is a sensible proposition.
posted by yerfatma at 11:49 AM on May 15, 2006



posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:50 AM on May 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Monju, do you think that this is no big deal? Usually we post giant, humorous images when it's a dumb or unimportant post.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:54 AM on May 15, 2006


I think it's terrifying and horrific; the giant, humorous image is an attempt to sublimate my fear.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:56 AM on May 15, 2006


Big deal or no, that image is awesome.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:01 PM on May 15, 2006


The other NATO member countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom

...would do precisely nothing. I mean, unless they didn't like being alive. A sufficiently psycho administration would take over Canada if they wanted to, and no one would try to stop them.

If China really wanted to take over Taiwan, it would, and we'd stay out unless we were run by masochists.
posted by oaf at 12:12 PM on May 15, 2006


Hey, the man in that picture looks like - oh, I get it.
posted by slatternus at 12:12 PM on May 15, 2006


...would do precisely nothing. I mean, unless they didn't like being alive. A sufficiently psycho administration would take over Canada if they wanted to, and no one would try to stop them.

You're either high or retarded if you think the UK and the Netherlands would sit back and watch Canada be invaded.
posted by Jairus at 12:20 PM on May 15, 2006


Actually, that's unfair. You could be both.
posted by Jairus at 12:24 PM on May 15, 2006


Jarius, I suspect it's not that they wouldn't be pissed, so much as they'd be impotent to stop it. Do you really think the Dutch have any military capacity to deploy to Canada that could stop the US?
posted by nomisxid at 12:27 PM on May 15, 2006


You're either high or retarded if you think the UK and the Netherlands would sit back and watch Canada be invaded.

You're either high or retarded if you think that an administration crazy enough to invade Canada would allow the UK and the Netherlands to exist if they did anything other than sit back and watch.
posted by oaf at 12:34 PM on May 15, 2006


Let me get this straight:

The thread is about the U.S. government tracking the phone numbers that journalists call in an effort to root out confidential sources and you testosterone-driven USAians are turning it into a pissing contest about whether or not we can take over Canada???

For the love of God, leave Canada alone! Some of us may pursue asylum there in the not too distant future.
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:38 PM on May 15, 2006


The Dutch spend almost as much as Canada does, while the UK and France both spend four or five times what Canada does.

A lot of the smaller NATO nations might back down, but Canada has a lot of military goodwill in these countries. Even if we ignore Germany or Italy, I don't think US could take and hold a country as large as Canada, while fighting Dutch, UK and French forces at the same time.
posted by Jairus at 12:40 PM on May 15, 2006


err...spend as much as Canada does on their Militaries, that is.
posted by Jairus at 12:41 PM on May 15, 2006


Tony Blair would be totally okay with any American invasion of Canada. Jesus would tell him it was okay.
posted by Artw at 12:52 PM on May 15, 2006


You're either high or retarded if you think that an administration crazy enough to invade Canada would allow the UK and the Netherlands to exist if they did anything other than sit back and watch.

Let's be fair, now - we'd all be retarded if we were to actually entertain this train of thought for more than half a dozen posts. Oh, wait...

Those in power thank you kindly for missing the point entirely!

Besides your ability to type in a little box, what evidence to you have to offer?

Pass that spliff!
posted by prostyle at 12:52 PM on May 15, 2006


Pass that spliff!

These guys are totally harshing my buzz, man.
posted by Jairus at 12:53 PM on May 15, 2006


Please, the U.S. isn't going to invade Canada... it's simply too useful to have Canada around. We need Vancouver to be out of the country to get around those pesky Hollywood unions so "our" last export industry can keep making money, and we need Quebec to be out of the country because OMG IT'S FULL OF FRENCH PEOPLE, and we need a place to pretend we're from while abroad so everyone doesn't loathe us on sight (it's not like we could pass as Aussies, Brits or Irish).

And besides, people are fleeing the colder parts of the U.S. for the sunny South, or at least the west, in droves. Half the people I know now insist -Michigan- is too cold to live in, they sure as hell ain't going to want to live in or occupy freaking Calgary.

Now say, the nicer vacation parts of Mexico and the caribbean, they might want to look out...
posted by Pufferish at 12:58 PM on May 15, 2006


Ah, monju_bosatsu, I understand! You wish that the oafs in Washington would finally Get Smart and stop fucking around.
posted by mephron at 1:02 PM on May 15, 2006


It's a really stupid idea, but if the U.S. really wanted to take over Canada, there's not much that anyone else could do about it.

Ignoring the fact that just about every nation on the planet would send overwhelming military force to aid us....

We look and sound exactly like Americans, making it absolutely impossible to stop Canadian nationalists from exploding themselves on American elementary school playgrounds at recess.

The US could never hope to win a guerilla war against Canada.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:05 PM on May 15, 2006


Well, as a christian pacifist stay-at-home father, I'm pretty much boned as far as direct action goes, so I guess I'll make a personal telephone call to every single one of my state's federal representatives again. I'm starting to feel pretty stupid bothering but it's the least I can do. The question is, have you fucking humps done the least you can do yet, or do you just like bitching on a website?
posted by nanojath at 1:12 PM on May 15, 2006


this thread is now officially useless
posted by edgeways at 1:12 PM on May 15, 2006


The US could never hope to win a guerilla war against Canada.

You don't say? This thread has been so informative!
posted by prostyle at 1:13 PM on May 15, 2006


Ignoring the fact that just about every nation on the planet would send overwhelming military force to aid us....

You missed the psycho administration and assumption of will to live. If the U.S. really wanted Canada, it's a done deal, if they're willing to destroy anyone who gets in their way (like, the Netherlands).

We look and sound exactly like Americans

You don't; sorry about that.

The US could never hope to win a guerilla war against Canada.

Again, crazy administration. Tit-for-tat would be far worse for Canada's population than for America's.
posted by oaf at 1:13 PM on May 15, 2006


We look and sound exactly like Americans, making it absolutely impossible to stop Canadian nationalists from exploding themselves on American elementary school playgrounds at recess.

The US could never hope to win a guerilla war against Canada.


Et tu, brute? Canadian homicide bombers... what is the world coming to...
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 1:17 PM on May 15, 2006


Seriously, though, there's no real reason for anyone with a grain of rationality to invade Canada, because Canada and the U.S. are inextricably dependent on one another.

And plus, the U.S. can't invade...I kind of want to move there.
posted by oaf at 1:18 PM on May 15, 2006


You missed the psycho administration...

I don't think anyone here is having trouble seeing that, but thanks for the pissing match. It was really exciting!

Tit-for-tat would be far worse for Canada's population than for America's.

I think you've finally hit the nail on the head here oaf; anything America does would be pretty much terrible to the intended target. Sweet fucking REVELATION!
posted by prostyle at 1:18 PM on May 15, 2006


worst. derail. EVAR!

Yeah! Our weapons are the shiniest! You can take off the U.S.S. Enterprise cap there Tom Clancy. Considering our stretched out manpower, the clever gadgets we have remain the only deciding factor.

And we kinda sell those to all the other NATO members, including Canada.

So lets put the ePenis' away for a bit.

kthxbye!
posted by butterstick at 1:20 PM on May 15, 2006


Well, at least I can rest comfortably in knowing that the first absurd statement came from north of the border.
posted by oaf at 1:25 PM on May 15, 2006


"He started it, he started it!!"
posted by IronLizard at 1:25 PM on May 15, 2006


worst. derail. EVAR!
posted by butterstick


No shit. And you wonder why the government gets away with the crap it does?

"The government is illegally tracking phone calls."

"Gee, Dude, that's bad. But we can still kick Canada's ass and there's not a damn thing The Netherlands can do about it!"
posted by leftcoastbob at 1:26 PM on May 15, 2006


The thread is about the U.S. government tracking the phone numbers that journalists call in an effort to root out confidential sources and you testosterone-driven USAians are turning it into a pissing contest about whether or not we can take over Canada???

The subtext was started by Canadians claming that they could not be taken over, or something.

Anyway, please. What could the Netherlands, or even the UK do to prevent a U.S. Takeover? They likely wouldn't do anything other then complain about it at the U.N, the same way every country that opposed our invasion of Iraq did.
posted by delmoi at 1:40 PM on May 15, 2006


The Netherlands weren't liberated in WW2 by Iraq, nor does the UK have a military obligation to defend Iraq.
posted by Jairus at 1:42 PM on May 15, 2006


The Netherlands weren't liberated in WW2 by Iraq, nor does the UK have a military obligation to defend Iraq.

Were the Netherlands liberated in WW2 by Canada, without the United States? This would be a case of two allies, both of whom the Netherlands is obligated to protect fighting.

The fact is, if two NATO countries go to war, things will have gone very far down hill. I mean really, the idea of Canada and the US going to war is about as likely as Oregon going to war with California.

You also have the huge problem of being separated by sea. Assuming that the rest of NATO decided to defend Canada, how are the troupes going to be logistically supported? All they can really do is fling ballistic missiles, which we can send back in much greater number.

Now, if the U.S. tried to conquer Spain or something, they would be in a much better position to defend.

China would use the attack as a pretext to grab Taiwan while we're busy, and use it to further isolate the United States from the rest of the world, while making a play for the rest of the worlds Oil markets.
posted by delmoi at 1:50 PM on May 15, 2006


Were the Netherlands liberated in WW2 by Canada, without the United States?

Yup.
posted by Jairus at 1:51 PM on May 15, 2006


...we also housed their royal family, including converting part of our hospital to Dutch territory for a royal birth. One of their national holidays is a celebration of being liberated by the Canadian army, and they send us 10,000 every May as an annual thank you.
posted by Jairus at 1:53 PM on May 15, 2006


Anyway, please. What could the Netherlands, or even the UK do to prevent a U.S. Takeover?

Yes, yes, nothing can stop the US. US is strongest one there is. US smash! Whatever you want to believe.

(And Oaf, your grasp on reality is tenuous at best. You have fun with that.)
posted by solid-one-love at 1:53 PM on May 15, 2006


I CANNOT TYPE

...send us 10,000 tulips every May.
posted by Jairus at 1:53 PM on May 15, 2006


Slatternus isn't really a Canadian, he was paid by the administration to take your attention from the issue at hand to the improbable invasion of Canada (a hotbed of terrists, doncha know?). While we argue about hypothetical bullshit, freedom of the press is under attack. No wonder the left never gets anywhere. Not that posting in the echo-chamber makes much difference anyway. So, what's for lunch?
posted by IronLizard at 2:02 PM on May 15, 2006


The US has a poor track record of invading Canada, going 0-5. Canada was quite successful in invading the US.

Plus, Canada has a national breakfast meat.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:05 PM on May 15, 2006


You know who else couldn't take over Canada?
...Hitler. That's who. 'Cause he's DEAD.

This wiretapping story floors me. Most Americans are so apathetic about it. Twenty years ago shit like this would have started riots. Yet a bunch of Republican Senators seem to be fired-up to the point of taking on the POTUS - unusually way ahead of the curve. Such a contradiction.

Maybe as it creeps on you see the average guy starting to get a little freaked out.
posted by tkchrist at 2:05 PM on May 15, 2006


Problem is, the average guy still doesn't know the extent of what's going on here.
posted by IronLizard at 2:09 PM on May 15, 2006


I started to write a response about American arrogance, but realized half way through that I was:
a) Feeding a Troll
b) Contributing to a derail

I have chosen to do neither.
Thank you, and goodnight.
posted by TheFeatheredMullet at 2:11 PM on May 15, 2006


O NOES!!12!
posted by ninjew at 2:25 PM on May 15, 2006


"I started to write a response about American arrogance, but realized half way through that I was:
a) Feeding a Troll
b) Contributing to a derail

I have chosen to do neither."


Well, you're half right.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:34 PM on May 15, 2006


We had our warning in 1935.
posted by paulsc at 2:38 PM on May 15, 2006


If this thread is any indication of what Americans are going to do about this issue, we're fucked.
posted by effwerd at 2:45 PM on May 15, 2006


Oh look, a Twinkie!
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 3:05 PM on May 15, 2006


As far as I'm concerned, two weeks is far too long to wait for an American invasion of Canada- I need a real-estate correction in Vancouver *today*!

All kidding aside, what is truly horrific about the state of affairs south of the border is the long history of mefi posts touting the latest scandal and the round of cheers- "Surely *this* is what will bring down the administration!" This administration has more longetivity than the energizer bunny.
posted by simra at 3:23 PM on May 15, 2006


"Gee, Dude, that's bad. But we can still kick Canada's ass and there's not a damn thing The Netherlands can do about it!" -posted by leftcoastbob

*spits orange juice over monitor*
/reminds me of Dana Carey’s bit on his German Shepard humping his wife’s leg “ Ja, dere’s nusthink you can do about it”

As a person who knows a great deal about strategy, tactics and the (somewhat outdated, but relevent) capabilities of both the Candadian and American military forces - I’m not going to add one damned bit of information to that clusterfuck.

...Not that I don’t appreciate it for the sake of pure levity.

Because I’m so pissed about this I can hardly see straight.
When I get past it and the fury goes cold, then I’ll be dangerous. For now, I don’t know what to do. I want heads to roll. Fuck the congressmen at this point, start talking to prosecutors and Atty Generals. Form cells. Do whatever is effective to stop this crap. Hell, I’d start giving money to the communist party if I thought it would help (I don’t, actually - but y’know).

I would agree that viscerally I want to pick up a weapon and pop some heads. But that would be the 100% wrong thing to do at this point. We can speculate as to whatever the response might be to riots, civil disorder or even armed revolution. But it’s basic tactics not to respond when provoked (choose when, where and how yourself or split). This all apart from the fact that there is still the possibility to reverse the damage through channels. Find people close to you that agree on this topic and organize. Build influence. Pick up a book on this stuff. It just take the will to learn it, organize, and manage the system. I’m not a leader, but I’m doing what I can on my end.
We’re many things in the U.S. at this point. Beaten isn’t one of them.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:27 PM on May 15, 2006


SHUT UP ABOUT CANADA.

In other news, Pat Robertson says that warrantless wiretaps are "a tool of oppression."
posted by EarBucket at 3:36 PM on May 15, 2006


Holy cow, Earbucket. That's got to be the first time I've heard someone that far to the right talk about "encroachment on our personal liberties" in any context other than the second amendment.

If we had real elections, this administration, and probably the Republican majority in congress, would be toast. As it is, we'll spit and whine, and when Republicans actually gain seats in massive contradiction of the exit polls, we'll scratch our heads, the media won't press the point and we'll go back to complaining to each other rather than doing anything.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:04 PM on May 15, 2006


I mean really, the idea of Canada and the US going to war is about as likely as Oregon going to war with California.

But we'd totally kick Oregon's ass. Discuss.

The derailing of this thread, I think, is simply indicative of the level of outrage fatigue. It's the brief moment of levity before the inevitable despair, where we collectively sigh and realize there's little left to be said that hasn't already been said.
posted by bcveen at 4:08 PM on May 15, 2006


"That's got to be the first time I've heard someone that far to the right talk about "encroachment on our personal liberties" in any context other than the second amendment."

For what it's worth, lots of righties talk about "encroachment on our personal liberties" with regards to the War On Drugs too. Just sayin'.
posted by Asparagirl at 4:14 PM on May 15, 2006


But we'd totally kick Oregon's ass. Discuss.

Oregon couldn't successfully invade California, but if California tried the reverse they'd find that pretty much everyone in Southern Oregon has a roomful of guns, a VHS copy of Red Dawn and recurring daydreams about being a freedom fighter.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:21 PM on May 15, 2006


Wow! Hundreds of planes landing, and none take off again... those must be some massive terminals you got there.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:34 PM on May 15, 2006


And I had hundreds of tabs open too...
posted by dash_slot- at 4:36 PM on May 15, 2006


Wow! Hundreds of planes landing, and none take off again... those must be some massive terminals you got there.
posted by dash_slot


Among the comments about invading Canada or California, it almost made sense to me for a minute. In a postmodern sorta way.
posted by leftcoastbob at 4:40 PM on May 15, 2006


Mr. Six -

" I don't think he is targeting the press, per se. Not yet, anyway.

Reporters Without Borders accuses US military of deliberately firing at journalists

Memo: Bush wanted Aljazeera bombed

Does any of this ring a bell? The Bush administration does have a problem with the press - the one's who tell the truth, at least.
posted by rougy at 4:57 PM on May 15, 2006


Rougy, corporate media itself is not being targeted with the data collected from illegal wiretapping. Illegal domestic surveillance is being used to target government officials who are revealing the horrifying and embarassing failures of the Bush administration. Journalists are just the "middlemen". I don't dispute the other issues you mention but they don't have any connection to illegal wiretapping. Let's stay on topic.
posted by Mr. Six at 5:04 PM on May 15, 2006


“It used to be very hard and complicated to do this, but it no longer is in the Bush administration,” said a senior federal official.
posted by EarBucket at 5:08 PM on May 15, 2006


This thread has gotten retarded. I'd like to get high. Where's that joint?

In other news: This wiretapping. I watched part of that thing with that dude (I knew what it was before I read this nonsense about taking over Canada and how ten feet of it is really the Netherlands or something) - that news conferencey dealy ma bob and it really got to me when he was all like "It wouldn't be PRACTICAL to spy on EVERYONE." and that was the BEST that he could offer as to why the NSA wasn't doing it.

"Because if we spied on EVERYONE, we'd have to employ like three hundred more guys and provide them all with benefits. And snacks. And those guys get hungry. Next question?"

I mean, almost. It was... oh man. Harshed my buzz.

[NOTE: I am not actually on drugs. Sadly.]
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:36 PM on May 15, 2006


This thread has gotten retarded. I'd like to get high. Where's that joint?
I think I must have accidentally smoked it, 'cos I could have sworn I left a comment in here earlier ...
posted by kaemaril at 5:41 PM on May 15, 2006


In other news, Pat Robertson says that warrantless wiretaps are "a tool of oppression."
posted by EarBucket at 3:36 PM PST on May 15


Whoa whoa whoa. Is this a different dimension now? Is PAT ROBERTSON now to the LEFT of the U.S. GOVERNMENT?

I'll be right back. I need to go check the garage and see if my Ford is now a nuclear-powered hovercar.
posted by ninjew at 6:05 PM on May 15, 2006


"Are there historical precedents for phone companies participating in government eavesdropping?"

Yes...

"President Gerald R. Ford extended executive privilege, which shielded those involved from testifying publicly, to the telecommunications companies on the recommendation of then chief-of-staff Dick Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld"

via cursor.org
posted by jaronson at 6:23 PM on May 15, 2006


What, because caring about civil liberties is leftist?
posted by rxrfrx at 6:23 PM on May 15, 2006


What, because caring about civil liberties is leftist?
Apparently, yes. Unless they're your own, of course, in which case it's very rightist :)
posted by kaemaril at 6:30 PM on May 15, 2006


Actually, I think Robertson just remembered that conservatives are supposed to care about fiscal discipline and limited government intrusion into citizens' private lives. I wouldn't mind seeing more conservatives following that example.

They always complain about "nanny-state liberals"--in my opinion, George W. Bush is the biggest nanny-state President we've ever had.
posted by EarBucket at 6:31 PM on May 15, 2006


Caring about civil liberties is not leftist. However, to stand up for them is to be positioned to the political left of this administration.
posted by ninjew at 6:36 PM on May 15, 2006


It's a sad state of affairs when Pat Robert is positioned to the political left of this administration, ninjew.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:50 PM on May 15, 2006


Er, that's Robertson, son.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:51 PM on May 15, 2006


Actually, I think Robertson just remembered that conservatives are supposed to care about fiscal discipline and limited government intrusion into citizens' private lives.

Either that or he gave a single second's thought to what his phone records would say about who he's connected to, gulped hard, and came out agin it.

When speculating on the motivations of someone like Robertson I wouldn't use "standing on principle" as my starting assumption.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:54 PM on May 15, 2006


Tit-for-tat would be far worse for Canada's population than for America's.

Pah. We have poutine and we are not afraid to use it.

Within months, the Québécois fast food joints will have opened across our combined nations, creating a fad an order of magnitude bigger than that of Krispy Kreme.

A full third of you are obese, and some sixty-odd percent of you are overweight. You will never survive the onslaught of our potatos and cheese curd, never mind the gravy.

You Will Be Doomed.

those who do not eat poutine, such as myself, will survive no problemo. sensible people such as ourselves can surely negotiate a peace.

posted by five fresh fish at 8:01 PM on May 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Let us start a rumour: in order to secure their dominion over the nation, the Administration begins public war actions upon Iran this summer. Then they stage a terrorist attack on the American Homeland, about the same week as the obvious Very Significant Date. The November election will, of course, re-elect Republicans to the majority. The whole ooga-booga fear cycle kicks in anew. The USA defaults on its loans and tells creditor nations to go fuck themselves about it. A few American-supported third-world regimes fall to American rule, as the USA claims its own loans back. A couple more terrorist events in 2008 — and the assistance of Diebold, of course! — ensures the re-election of the Republican party. The President, however, will not be elected by the party: he will be imposed. And it'll be Jeb.

I'm guessing that Americans end up going along with the plan. It'll chafe to be under military law, but they'll go along with it. Just so long as there's TV and the Internet and taking the dog for a walk after supper. Freedom's all relative anyway, y'know?

Hey, spy guys, this is a cynical post about a fictional future. It angers me to think you jackasses at the Three Letter Acronym are reading this. I've doubts you country-thieving bastards to know how to differentiate real shit from made-up shit. Not that it matters now there's no rule of law.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:19 PM on May 15, 2006


fff, the No Such Agency is very interested in your "fictional future" and wishes to offer you a job in their Planning Department.
posted by wendell at 8:27 PM on May 15, 2006


Mr Six -

Let's stay on topic.

I posted two instances of the Bush administration - the Executive himself and his military in the field - targeting the press.

I did not mean to imply that the data mining is aimed specifically and solely at the press. Since, as a Bush opponent in 2004, I was labeled a "terrorist" by some and a "terrorist sympathizer" to others on the right, it's clear to me that this program will be used against any and all of Bush's perceived enemies, local enemies in particular.

Add to that this administration's tendency to be the most secretive government in our nation's history and I think you'll agree that information itself - as well as those who would disseminate that information - is Bush's real enemy.
posted by rougy at 9:22 PM on May 15, 2006


Mr. Six -

From The Nation

Make no mistake: The Bush Administration and its ideological allies are employing every means available to undermine journalists' ability to exercise their First Amendment function to hold power accountable.

(snip)

But the White House and its supporters are doing more than just talking trash--when they talk at all. They are taking aggressive action: preventing journalists from doing their job by withholding routine information; deliberately releasing deceptive information on a regular basis; bribing friendly journalists to report the news in a favorable context; producing their own "news reports" and distributing these free of charge to resource-starved broadcasters; creating and crediting their own political activists as "journalists" working for partisan operations masquerading as news organizations.


*****

And just so we're both on the same page here, regarding the relevance of this post to illegal wiretapping, here's a current event I'm sure you've heard of:

ABC: Feds may be tracking reporters' phone calls
posted by rougy at 9:44 PM on May 15, 2006


I'm not sure we're on the same page. Feds are tracking reporters calls to track down informants within the government. They're not tracking down reporters for the sake of tracking down and threatening reporters. Yet.

It's an important difference that you need to understand because it lets Bush et al. define the discussion on their terms, i.e. "national security".
posted by Mr. Six at 10:16 PM on May 15, 2006


The Recent Revelations About the NSA's Access to Our Phone Records: The Laws that Were Probably Broken, and the Likely Consequences
posted by homunculus at 10:34 PM on May 15, 2006


Feds are tracking reporters calls to track down informants within the government.

Why is your scope so limited?

You have information, informants, and reporters.

A reporter may still report information without an informant.

To say that this is all about finding informants and nothing more is an uneccessarily narrow assessment of the threat.
posted by rougy at 10:37 PM on May 15, 2006


Did you read any part of the link you posted?

Ross and Esposito add that "other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with The New York Times and The Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation."

This has been about purging the CIA of people who don't follow the party line; it's simply not about spying on journalists.

In any case, it'll be easy enough for the Bush administration to yet again use "national security" as a defense because it's clear that people are not paying attention. Instead, Rove wins again because people get too tied up in their ideologies to see the big picture. You will not beat these people by falling into their trap and using the rhetoric they want you to use.
posted by Mr. Six at 10:55 PM on May 15, 2006


Not to feed my own paranoia, but why do they want this? What do they know that we don't? Is it just the unchecked desire for more power, or is it because they (the Admin and its enablers) feel that there is some coming apocalypse (economic depression, climate calamity, etc.), and this, they feel is the only way to preserve the republic, or what will be left of it?
I think they're just doing it because that's what comes next when you escalate warfare into all domains of life. The US intelligence community has been involved in social network mapping systems since the 1980s, starting with the near-mythical PROMIS software which allegedly took semi-structured input from transactional databases it was connected to & turned them into social network diagrams, exposing the latent social networks within the data. It was the first successful attempt to "connect the dots" that I'm aware of. Think of it as TIA's grandfather, a quarter century ahead of its time.

Of course there's an even darker side to it than simply its capabilities. A team of ex-NSA programmers originally wrote it & tried to sell it to the US Justice Dept. to help them manage their caseload (PROsecutor's Management Information System is its full name). Justice screwed them over & started making pirate copies including one that ended up in the hands of the Mossad, who promptly installed a trojan horse into the code & started selling it for $1 million a pop to any government or security organization that wanted one. Eventually the frontman for the operation, British publishing magnate Robert Maxxwell, ran into financial trouble too deep to recover from. Officially he died at sea by falling off his yacht, but there are stories of a Mossad kidon team pulling a Munich-style hit. In any event, Maxxwell ceased to be a problem for them & the PROMIS project moved into the next phase, collecting the data entered on all those pirated copies of PROMIS they'd sold all over the world & analyzing & using it for their own purposes to keep ahead of the competition, which presumably they've been doing ever since to this day with any copies still out there.

It's the biggest compromise of any computer system ever & an intelligence coup that outshines even ENIGMA in World War II. Except we were one of the victims of this one. And I bet almost none of you ever heard of it. It's an insane history alright, but a fitting start for a story that's becoming more insane by the day.
posted by scalefree at 1:37 AM on May 16, 2006


Not to feed my own paranoia, but why do they want this? What do they know that we don't? Is it just the unchecked desire for more power, or is it because they (the Admin and its enablers) feel that there is some coming apocalypse (economic depression, climate calamity, etc.), and this, they feel is the only way to preserve the republic, or what will be left of it?
I think they're just doing it because that's what comes next when you escalate warfare into all domains of life. The US intelligence community has been involved in social network mapping systems since the 1980s, starting with the near-mythical PROMIS software which allegedly took semi-structured input from transactional databases it was connected to & turned them into social network diagrams, exposing the latent social networks within the data. It was the first successful attempt to "connect the dots" that I'm aware of. Think of it as TIA's grandfather, a quarter century ahead of its time.

Of course there's an even darker side to it than simply its capabilities. A team of ex-NSA programmers originally wrote it & tried to sell it to the US Justice Dept. to help them manage their caseload (PROsecutor's Management Information System is its full name). Justice screwed them over & started making pirate copies including one that ended up in the hands of the Mossad, who promptly installed a trojan horse into the code & started selling it for $1 million a pop to any governent or security organization that wanted one. Eventually the frontman for the operation, British publishing magnate Robert Maxxwell, ran into financial trouble too deep to recover from. Officially he died at sea by falling off his yacht, but there are stories of a Mossad kidon team pulling a Munich-style hit. In any event, Maxxwell ceased to be a problem for them & the PROMIS project moved into the next phase, collecting the data entered on all those pirated copies of PROMIS they'd sold all over the world & analyzing & using it for their own purposes to keep ahead of the competition, which presumably they've been doing ever since to this day with any copies still out there.

It's the biggest compromise of any computer system ever & an intelligence coup that outshines even ENIGMA in World War II. Except we were one of the victims of this one. And I bet almost none of you ever heard of it. It's an insane history alright, but a fitting start for a story that's becoming more insane by the day.
posted by scalefree at 1:54 AM on May 16, 2006


Sorry for the double-post, my computer & MeFi teamed up to prevent me from posting. Seriously, MeFi gave me a weird server error when I tried to post. Apparently it got through anyway. Doo dee doo doo...
posted by scalefree at 1:59 AM on May 16, 2006


Any reasonably reliable non-foilhatty backup linkage on all that, scalefree?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:18 AM on May 16, 2006


Is the EFF reputable enough for you?
posted by scalefree at 2:37 AM on May 16, 2006


Sure thing. I wasn't challenging, just askin'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:59 AM on May 16, 2006


Hey, I know how wacky & huge the story is. I think one reason it never got any traction with the public is they just didn't have a reference for understanding it. That plus a shadowy global conspiracy, of course. :)
posted by scalefree at 3:14 AM on May 16, 2006


It occurs to me that this kind of thing takes a very long time and a lot of money to set up. I'm wondering... did they start on this before September 11th, or was that the origin point?

Considering how overtly hostile this Administration has been towards the press it wouldn't surprise me at all if it was a pre-emptive strike, so to speak.
posted by Talanvor at 3:26 AM on May 16, 2006


PROMIS was the prototype that blazed the path for SNA in an intelligence context, it was developed in the early 80s. Almost certainly John Pointdexter's access to it under Reagan was his inspiration for TIA, which he sponsored as soon as he was given the keys to the DARPA store & its lesser-known little brother ARDA. Is that what you mean?
posted by scalefree at 3:40 AM on May 16, 2006


The de-certification of the press is a long-term core strategy of the Conservative movement. Funded think tanks, conservative-friendly media (radio talk shows, magazines & Fox News) are all elements of an effort to create an alternate information stream designed to be subject to their ideology. This effort has been building ever since Watergate.
posted by scalefree at 3:45 AM on May 16, 2006


OK, just to round out the conspiracy theory, both bin Laden & Saddam were rumored to have copies of the trojaned PROMIS. I've not seen anything compelling in favor of that rumor, but it's a part of the myth so I'm putting it out there. I've spent a lot of time sifting for reliable facts in this story, because I recognized the significance of the story several years ago when I figured out that PROMIS was really a prototype SNA tool & saw how powerful an advantage the Israelis had through it. It was an act of pure genius for them, it gave them a literal window into every major & most minor intelligence agency in the world that lasted decades & may still be in place in some locations.
posted by scalefree at 4:10 AM on May 16, 2006


smedleyman: I’m not a leader...
Oh really? That's subject to change, without notice, and you know it. Deal with it.

scalefree: The de-certification of the press is a long-term core strategy of the Conservative movement.

'Conservative'? Please refrain from misuse of this label. Some 'conservatives' really are conservative, and we need them.
posted by Goofyy at 6:44 AM on May 16, 2006


The US could never hope to win a guerilla war against Canada.

Et tu, brute? Canadian homicide bombers... what is the world coming to...
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer


Harrumph. The correct phrase is Eh, Tu, Brute? And the possibility of assimilating the other was discussed in a writeoff over at Epinions a while back.
posted by etaoin at 8:23 AM on May 16, 2006


'Conservative'? Please refrain from misuse of this label. Some 'conservatives' really are conservative, and we need them.

But that's the name the movement itself uses. If you want to be picky about it I could call it Movement Conservatism, that's its proper name I suppose. In any event I made it clear that I'm not speaking out against the ideology but the organization.
posted by scalefree at 9:17 AM on May 16, 2006


GOP Senators block judicial review of NSA program
posted by homunculus at 11:06 AM on May 16, 2006


Mr. Six -

"Did you read any part of the link you posted?"

Okay - I can see this is over with. You win. It's all only about outing CIA informants. That's it. Nothing else to worry about. I'm so relieved.
posted by rougy at 4:12 PM on May 16, 2006


“smedleyman: I’m not a leader...
Oh really? That's subject to change, without notice, and you know it. Deal with it.”

You can trust me with your life, but not your money or your wife. Back here I can pick and choose. (Havoc is my business. I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no nations.)

PROMIS - argh!

Yeah, it’s weird how you carry this stuff around and filter it through and many people have zero context for it. It’s just weird that people don’t know about this. Like Forbes ripping off the V.A. or Kennedy playing grab ass in the White House. It’s like some ingrained history we pick up, but never crosses to the front of our minds as ‘real’.
George Washington chopped down a cherry tree and told the truth about it.
And that’s what’s real, except we know it didn’t happen. Weird.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:38 PM on May 16, 2006


People who are interested in PROMIS can find quite a bit on J. Orlin Grabbe's page.
posted by sonofsamiam at 4:45 PM on May 16, 2006


Scarborough: Phone records and Nixon
posted by homunculus at 8:35 PM on May 16, 2006


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