Back in 1987 I graduated from a night school course in digital electronics from the DeVry Institute of Technology which had a campus in Lombard, IL at the time. While attending night school in the two years prior I had a chance to talk with a couple of technicians who worked for AT&T at the time. They were continuing their education which was being paid for by their company because technology back at the time was in a state of flux and they needed to keep up with the latest as AT&T was transitioning from old relay style switches to digital circuitry. Seems they're always transitioning from something to something newer.
I had occasion at the time, perhaps as early as 1985, to discuss with these gentlemen some of the more interesting aspects of their jobs. On at least one occasion that I can remember I was told of a switching room in the Oakbrook facility where one of the federal alphabet agencies kept some equipment. I was told this equipment could listen in on any phone conversation passing through that facility, and that facility handled millions of calls at least monthly, if not weekly or daily. They might not have called it PRISM back then, but the idea was very similar. At the time, I didn't think much about it. I thought it was strange that the feds might want to cast such a wide net, but I had other things to worry about. I was a new father trying to take care of a family and was on my way to getting a good paying job in the lucrative field of circuit board repair. I didn't give much thought to the implications of what I heard for myself or my children or the future of this nation.
Think about that for a second. It was 1987 at the latest. Ronald Reagan was still president. The Internet was not yet available to the general public. PCs were just barely making inroads into the marketplace. There were very few in private homes. Cutting edge technology at the time would have been something like a 10 megabyte hard drive and 250K RAM. Running computer programs often times meant swapping out floppy disks quite often. Windows 3.1 hadn't even hit the market yet. People were still complaining about DOS. 9/11 was years away. Waco and Ruby Ridge were just small dots on the map no one had ever heard of. Already, 26 years ago, the seeds for the current police state were being planted.
There I was, nobody special, just some guy looking to make a better life for myself, and I'm exposed by circumstance to a story that would some 26 years later become one of the most talked about stories of the day. I have to wonder, why wouldn't some reporter have heard about this? I knew about it and I was just a classmate with some low level technician. It seems to me that some reporter somewhere was friends with someone higher up at AT&T who should have known about this. How has this remained so quiet for so long? Why wasn't this broadcast far and wide decades ago?
People talk. The alphabet agencies install their equipment in a private company and people have to know. They have to tell the people who repair the equipment to leave it alone. They have to warn the low level technicians not to touch anything that belongs to them. Those people aren't going to remain silent. They have lives. They go out drinking with their buddies on the weekends. They talk to their spouses at night and let them know how their day went. They tell people what they know. They aren't out to leak government secrets. They aren't trying to expose government wrong doing or abuse of power. They are simply explaining an aspect of their work that they have to deal with. It has never been a huge secret. It seems to me that just about everyone has known for a very long time now that the government has been listening, that they've been overreaching. Why did they wait so long to report it and to bring the debate to the public square?
One might wonder what would have happened if this had been seriously reported on 26 years ago. Would that have stymied the oppressive surveillance state? Would there have been arrests made and precedent setting court rulings? Would our privacy have been honored by government agencies? Would we be safer now and feel more secure that our rights were being respected, or would terrorists have managed to hatch secret plots that would have killed most of us? It's all just speculation because it wasn't reported on enough to bring it to the forefront of American consciousness all those years ago.
So why now? Because Edward Snowden publicly spoke out? Who is Edward Snowden anyway? Is he any more credible than my classmate who told me all those years ago about what he'd seen? Could my classmate be more credible since he was not involved with a government spying agency, he was talking to someone who was not involved (at the time) with any news organization and he had no way of knowing his revelations would come out in some obscure blog some 26 years later? Blogging wasn't even a remote concept back then. Is this some sort of strange psychological operation put into motion to get the American public to accept NSA spying as a normal fact of life? Are the powers that be desperately trying to gain the ability to openly rule the world instead of having to do it from behind the scenes? Is there something else going on that they don't want us talking about so they bring this to the forefront of our national debate? I don't have the answers to these questions and apparently the mainstream media remains reluctant to investigate such matters, but it seems to me that there's more here than meets the eye.
Perhaps the so called mainstream media has finally started to pay attention to this story because it has finally, for them, come home to roost. It wasn't too long ago that it was revealed the NSA has been spying on news agencies. It has been spying on specific news reporters. It has been intercepting and reading emails and such. Now, suddenly, the news agencies are paying attention. Did they think they were going to be immune to the spying? Did they think that if they kept quiet about it and just went along with what the government wanted they'd be able to keep operating like it was business as usual? Does that sound maybe a bit to conspiratorial to you?
Even in my own experiences I have come to see just how deep this spying goes. In the last half a year or so, I have had trouble with my Internet connection every time I try to publish one of these articles. When I go to add pictures to the article, suddenly I can't access my server and the connection times out. When I called my web hosting service they told me that the server was fine, that the connection was being interrupted somewhere between the server and my computer. I will wait a half hour or so, and suddenly there is no problem. This has yet to prevent me from publishing an article, but who knows what the future holds? Are they watching us? What other conclusion am I supposed to draw? I'm just a small time blogger expressing a freedom oriented opinion. I am peaceful and have never advocated violence. Why should they watch me? I pose no threat to anyone, but they seem to think I do. They are wasting my time and your tax dollars. It needs to end. Our right to privacy needs to be honored.
Well that's nothing compared to Michael Hastings' death. Here was a reporter with a long history of taking on the establishment who had apparently been in touch with some other news sources and was claiming to be pursuing a huge breakthrough story. Strange how he should somehow end up dead not long after, before he could make his huge story public. I wonder what he found. Strange, too, that he should die in such a bizarre manner. Well, I suppose dying in a car accident isn't so strange, but the way in which this car accident took place, it's almost as if they wanted people to believe he was murdered. It's as if someone was sending a message to other journalists, a message like "if you don't want to end up dead, you'd better not stick your nose where it doesn't belong." I know it's just speculation, but it's kind of like the old Soviet Union where reporters would mysteriously die just as they were about to expose some kind of ongoing government misdeeds. Coincidence? I think not. There's been an awful lot of "coincidences" lately that keep moving neocon and new world order agendas forward.
The question that I ask when I hear about something like what happened to Michael Hastings is, "Who benefits?" It's a question that not enough reporters ask anymore. Who benefits from Michael Hastings' death? If the answer is no one, then I would be more inclined to believe that it was, indeed, an accident. If the answer is someone, but that someone didn't have the means or the motivation to create such an accident, then I would still be inclined to believe that it was an accident. If the answer is someone else, and that someone else does have the means and the motivation to create such an accident, then things start to look a little suspicious to me. If what is said about Michael Hastings is true and he was about to break a huge story about spying on Americans, and I have no reason to doubt that it is true, then the intelligence gathering agencies within the United States of America would benefit from his death and had the means and the motivation to create a fatal accident for Michael Hastings.
So yes, I am a little conspiratorial. I'm a little tired of people claiming that conspiracies don't exist. I'm a little tired of hearing people say those who believe in conspiracy theories are crazy nut jobs in tinfoil hats. I'm especially a little tired of people saying conspiracy theories involving government should be treated with derision and not investigated. Of course conspiracies happen, do you really think things like political assassinations, bombings, planes flying into buildings, etc. happen without two or more people plotting them? Do you really think that elements within the government wouldn't plot to increase their power and influence? Does it make someone crazy simply because they ask "who benefits?" Does it make someone crazy because they can see the obvious answer to that question and they point it out even though it might destroy the childlike fantasy we have that government is good and watches over us, or are so called "conspiracy theorists" called crazy simply because so many don't want to face the reality that we've been had by the establishment and we are no longer free and independent as we were meant to be?
The Obama administration has taken to tyrannizing the media. They obviously don't want the truth of what some agencies in the federal government have been doing to come out, especially the spy agencies. They have a war on whistleblowers going on and now they have extended that war to the media. How long before that war is extended even further, to maybe anyone who says anything bad about any federal government agency? How long until we are living in the dystopia that is George Orwell's "1984?" Some would say we're already living it, and I would tend to agree.
This op/ed piece was not approved by the ministry of validated opinions.
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Caged in America: A Collection of Essays Celebrating Freedom. By Szandor Blestman
Ron Paul's Wisdom, A Layman's Perspective. A Collection of Opinion Editorials. By Szandor Blestman
Galaxium. A screenplay By Matthew Ballotti
The Colors of Elberia; book 1 of The Black Blade Trilogy. By Matthew Ballotti
The Legacy of the Tareks; book 2 of The Black Blade Trilogy. By Matthew Ballotti
The Power of the Tech; book 3 of The Black Blade Trilogy. By Matthew Ballotti
The Edge of Sanity. By Matthew Ballotti
The Ouijiers By Matthew Ballotti