Skip to main content

The most annoying thing about the way Snowden saga has been treated is the hyperbole:  

The government is recording all your phone calls! (It's collecting the numbers and duration.)
The government is copying all your mail!
(The Post Office is taking pictures of the front of the envelopes.  The story of how this was used to find the woman who sent the Ricin to Obama and Bloomberg is rather interesting and revealing about how you manage to use trillions of bytes of data.)

I'm from Texas, so I tend to forget what the third one is.

But, for everyone who thinks these freakouts help should check out what a surveillance state actually looks like.  Our selection today comes fromVenezuela, the country that has offered Snowden asylum.  The story starts out like this (below the rotationally symmetric doodle):

In 2009, a private call placed from the US by Isabel Lara to her mother was broadcast on Venezuelan state TV. Secretly taped calls are routinely used there to disgrace political enemies—or worse. To locals, the South American surveillance state is an odd place for government transparency advocate and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to end up.
Isabel Lara has dual citizenship in the United States and Venezuela.  Her mother, Maruja Tarre, was an outspoken critic of the Chavez government.  So the government recorded a call from Lara in the United States to Tarre.  Not the phone number and duration of the call, the actual conversation.  And then, after editing it, they played it on TV, with a pro-government talk show host analyzing it over and over (the irony is that being pro-government didn't stop the government from recording his phone conversation and playing it on TV).

But Venezuela doesn't stop there:

Recently, high-profile opposition congresswoman Maria Corina Machado had a conversation at another opposition leader's home—not a phone call this time, a face to face conversation—that lasted some hours, and was secretly recorded. It was edited down to a few minutes and broadcast on TV. The presenters described the recording as "proof that the opposition went to the State Department to plot a coup against the Venezuelan government." There is even a possibility that Maria Corina could go on trial for "treason to her homeland." All based on the "evidence" on the illegally obtained and highly edited tape.
So, to go after opposition leaders, they will record conversations made at a private home, and then edit them before broadcasting them on television.  I'm sure what they are doing is stochastic terrorism:  Someone kills Machado but the government can say "We didn't do it."

I definitely think we need to have a conversation and a decision on what everyone should expect for privacy.  I would love to have the FISA court be monitored more and the War On Terror ended.  But a police state?  A blog like this would not exist in a police state.  Just ask China.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site