Empire of Secrets

2013 ,    »  -   43 Comments
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Ratings: 8.27/10 from 45 users.
Storyline
Empire of Secrets

Wiretaps without warrants. Surveillance of everyone. Who's in charge and who's watching the watchers? Will anything change? And does this massive spending actually make America more secure? In the next hour we'll venture into a world of dark secrets and dirty wars, and reveal the ultimate secret of secrets in a democracy forced to choose between rights and security.

In 2013, Edward Snowden revealed that America's National Security Agency was listening in on, well, everybody. Everyone was shocked, deeply shocked. In 1971 America was in the midst of the war in Vietnam. The Pentagon Papers revealed that presidents from four administrations, the generals and intelligence services had all been lying about the Vietnam War. Everyone was deeply shocked.

More stories about the CIA and FBI spilled out of Watergate. Three separate investigations were launched. They discovered FBI agents in the Post Office steaming open letters without warrants, infiltrating civil rights and antiwar groups, destructing them using blackmail. The women's movement became the target of political surveillance. The United States army had used more than 1,000 personnel to engage in domestic spying in the United States.

The CIA was also very active, operating inside the country, which was not permitted, going around the world conspiring to assassinate foreign leaders, and even enlisting the Mafia to kill Fidel Castro. The NSA was running Operation SHAMROCK, listening in on every electronic communication into and out of the United States without warrants and had been doing so for 30 years.

Many Americans who were not even suspected of crimes were not only spied upon, but they were harassed, they were discredited, and at times, endangered. Every day they'd get a whole computer disc, carry that down, physically down, to the NSA and they would listen to it and check out all the calls.

The NSA said they'd shut SHAMROCK down, but they hadn't. Not really. In 1988, Duncan Campbell revealed that the NSA listening force had risen into the sky. They were now satellite-based, and they had a new name, ECHELON. Before anyone could get too shocked, 9/11 happened, and that prompt the president stepped forward to tell America, "I vow to do everything in my power to prevent another attack on our nation."

The Bush administration seized the opportunity to reject all restraints and let slip the dogs of snooping. The head of the pack himself promised that, "Everything that NSA does is lawful and very carefully done." For carefully, read secretly. No courts, no warrants, nothing to slow down the action. Anything's lawful if no one knows about it. ECHELON was given a new lease of life and a new name, SOLAR WIND.

The Bush administration decided unilaterally it could engage in whatever electronic surveillance it wanted to. In 2007, Bush's Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, claimed the program had been discontinued. People might not have really believed him, but it didn't seem to matter because the next year America elected a new President with a completely "different" attitude to his predecessor.

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43 Comments / User Reviews

  1. truthhuntergeneral

    any body else not happy with the way this world is going? hell i understand we need surveillance cameras, and i even understand the need for the secrets, but these low lifes who are in charge of these systems are abusing the power we gave them.
    the bottom line is that they dont give a dam about preventing crime because crime is there business and with out it they will go bust, so why dose big money continue to invest in more and more on new surveillance tech? because that is exactly what it is to them, an investment!, and i for one, am not feeling that it is an investment in my safety either, if any government any where in the world could guarantee me and my family's safety through the use of surveillance, eves dropping, and internet snooping then i would be moving to that country in a heart beat, but they cant, they wont, and they never will because the bottom line is this, all they are interested in is data mining ,and storage of that data ,so that at some point in the future they may figure out a way to use the vast sways infomation they have gatherd on us to either make money off of us, or lock us up and use us as cheap labour, i know that sounds a bit paranoid and tin foil hat ,but what are the alternative's? there isnt any, if these people want to protect our futre then they should be looking at preventing the chinese from steeling the wests new consumer tech and then mass producing it cheaper than we can, on the back of the poor wages they pay to there slave nation,! how do you think our lifes are gona change when china is in charge of the world economy like america is now? and that is going to happen in the next 8-10 years if we dont stop then stealing what ever they want from us.

  2. Bob Trees

    Thank you Al Jazerra for yet another well made and much needed doc. So sad seeing the progression this administration has taken. They had the world's admiration and hopes for a brighter future. The more they are in office now, the more they look like the last administration. They have totally lost the support of the world.

  3. Terry Beaton

    C'mon people, do you think if Obama was really the person we were led to believe he was, that he would have been allowed to become President? I don't have facts to support this, but a close look at things is enough to tell anyone who's honest with themselves that Obama is not a civil rights champion, (he subscribed to DOMA until the middle class out grew it) and he's done zero about Black poverty or Black Incarceration. Even Obama-care was a Republican idea. The majority of voters wanted Single Payer Canadian style Healthcare when he was running for President, and he did absolutely nothing to help it come about. But then he wouldn't have been allowed to be the President if he went down that path. I think he knew that when Harry Reid punched his ticket. He believes nothing in the way of an open and free society. The criminal use of Drones, the endless detaining of people without charges, and all the secret spying on Americans is simply what the fellows at the very top feel is needed to protect their bloated interests. And it seems he's definitely been the guy to got to bat for them on that. Bill Clinton was not the first Black President, and neither was Barack Obama. For so many years they've all been puppets and I suspect it will remain so until we see the first Woman, Gay, Muslim, Jewish, Atheist or whatever President. As long as they say all the right things, (and look the part) we'll buy their soap. And stand in the rain all day to vote for them. "If voting made the least bit of difference to anything, they wouldn't let us do it." - Mark Twain.

  4. henrymart81

    Everyone was shocked? No, at least I wasn't, and I know I'm not alone. He just said what many people have long suspected. In my opinion Snowden threw his life away for nothing, barring some fame in the form of news and a Wikipedia page.

  5. tomregit

    Sadly, I have come to a similar conclusion regarding Obama. Change has occurred, some for the better, and as much or more, for the worse. He was just the lesser of evils both times.

    Although the president had nothing to do with it, and it's off topic, I believe that the recent striking down of section four of the voting rights act will ultimately lead to the same Jim Crow law problems in some states, and further that there is no political will for any new legislation.

  6. Fisnik Kelmendi

    This is °Modern Dictatorial Leadership° and you are proud and happy °Modern Slave°. -Wakeup-

  7. StevenLJones

    The real danger is when we have to face economic collapse because our system doesn't work. Competition exists to get rid of the competition and the existence of 1% is proof of this. Couple the sputtering economic system with it's victim the environment and we face an economic and environmental collapse at some point. The Club of Rome puts this around 2030. I believe the powers that be know this and the police state is their solution. Control is the extent of their imagination on solving the problems the world faces.

  8. Lenny

    Anti-American propaganda

  9. wald0

    Its getting where i can guess who made the doc by the name, and I'm right every time when i check to see. Al Jazeera obviously has an agenda, just as those they critique.

  10. oQ

    Is unveiling an agenga?
    i hope the unveiling goes all the way to unveiling the women in the Muslim world.
    1i

  11. petescag

    I do not agree, but I am willing to learn. What news organizations do you listen to/read? Please enlighten me.

  12. kellycanuck

    I am Canadian. Please enlighten me as to what you mean by "single payer Canadian healthcare ". Do you even know how our health care system works over here?

  13. Rocky Racoon

    This surveillance isn't' there to prevent another 9/11. It is there to keep the identity of the perpetrator's in the USA secret. Anyone who blows the whistle on Cheney Bush Inc. is dead meat.
    RR

  14. terrasodium

    May I try a guess , single payer= taxpayer, I sense that this would be as advertized to the rest of the world .
    p.s. edit
    Have you read the masters thesis of " father of Canadian healthcare system" Tommy Douglas , a pro-eugenics presentment "The problem with the subnormal family"

  15. kellycanuck

    No I haven't to be honest. But anyone over 50 like myself knows exactly who Douglas is. But thank you for the link.

  16. Pysmythe

    Does that even matter? I think the point was that a majority, or very nearly so, of our citizens were seriously willing to entertain the idea of a single-payer system, and a DEFINITE majority of those who voted for Obama wanted it to happen. The President had a mandate and a majority in the House and Senate, and he didn't make it happen.

  17. pwndecaf

    Obama folded faster than Superman on laundry day.

    Medicare for all, I say.

  18. Pysmythe

    And yet, a trillion spent every year for the goddamned war machine that it makes half the people of this country sick to even think about. I think 3 words probably sum up well enough what went down - Lobbyists/Insurance Companies.

  19. Rational Man

    well you have the real news, the young turks, amy goodman, NPR, anything that is independent frm corporate interest. but watch out for conspiracy nuts, like alex jones/prison planet and its kinds

  20. Vicki_in_Greece

    Thank you Top Documentary, Marwin Bishara is always well worth a listen.

  21. phyongpp

    "It is now revealed that the USA government has also been reading all our confidential letters sent by ordinary post. These letters include love letters or worse still business letters containing private offers of any particular business deals. They also include all discussions of negotiations between legal firms in a litigation. In short the government has free access to every ongoing business negotiation communicated by both ordinary post as well as electronic mail."

    The above may sound shocking, but with the NSA Act in force we can never be sure that it has not already been done.

    There is no more privacy in our life anymore.

    Sigh, sigh.

  22. Vicki_in_Greece

    oh no, ordinary post in't our last refuge.
    The only way to protect ourselves is to develop cybersecurity devices and strategies for our communication (personal security for email, mobile phones, etc) to ensure privacy. Some bright inventors could make lots of money. But how to stop the letters, etc. from being read . . . not sure except to close the NSA and other spying agencies. they bring nothing but trouble having nothing of value to offer

  23. Vicki_in_Greece

    This is not anti-american, but anti-imperialism - that would be fair to say

  24. petescag

    NPR is pro-Israel with limited coverage of Palestinian spokesmen and does not give a critical prospective. (read Mondoweiss). Amy Goodman limits her coverage to gender, minority, political and world issues with the exception of also not giving a platform for a Palestinian point of view and providing a critical prospective. I've only viewed Young Turks a few times.

    I suggest you try these sites before your try to educate everyone about Al Jazeera which I think is one of the best sites anywhere.

    Russia Today - Breaking the Set
    Xinhua - China News
    Haaretz - Israel (Read this paper, then read the NY Times and see how the news gets distorted when they sanitize the articles).

    Google "Alternate News Sources" and see what the world thinks, but again I will offer you the same advise that you noted: there is also propaganda being offered there as well.

  25. Vinnie Chavez

    What can a man say wow hmmmmm!!

  26. Rational Man

    just like al jazeera , russia today is also biased (it would be good to read from all of these to get a unbiased clear perspective), i dont know haaretz, but if its balanced ill look it up, i forgot to mention the real news! theyr emy main source of news, also TYT and to some extend al jazeera, also a good news source is the AP. it still hard to determine what is factual, but if you read from all of these i think you can get a pretty factual view, only drawback it takes a while to read them all

  27. petescag

    You only accuse those of being biased because they do not present the reality that you agree with. If you truly follow the NYT then I know you are missing the "point".
    The "point" is do "they" present the "whole" story. Get the facts as best you can, then you will "see" . I was where you are at now, about 4 years ago, then I followed the stories. I am retired and have the "time".
    Again go to "Mondowiess" and get more info.

  28. Rational Man

    hey pete i said TYT (the young turks) not the NYT ( i know they're very pro neocapitalism) , and the reality which i agree with at least how i see it is based on humanism, i dont care for religion or petty politics or capitalistic goals, humanism ,fairness and science to all. no need to be condescending ;)

  29. Freemon Sandlewould

    and now that Obama is in charge of the spying no liberals complaining? Nothing but crickets do I hear.

  30. Vicki_in_Greece

    perhaps your definition of liberals or faulty . . or perhaps you need a hearing aid

    I'd say enjoy the crickets

  31. systems1000

    The tea party cults like most philosophers present just a lot of big ideas that have no practical applications/ and or long trem solutions other then perhaps that we deserve more just because we say.

  32. John C. Tripp

    Fauxbama. He let us down.

  33. John C. Tripp

    Excellent suggestions, thank you.

  34. John C. Tripp

    in the end it's all biased, it's bound to be. the only truth is that which you construct, and that is also untenable.

  35. PaulBraveheart

    Democracy Dies Behind Closed Doors! How about Died....

  36. armchair sociologist

    No privacy, no freedom of speech, the NDAA...we're finished.

  37. UBK

    Everyone is terrified of telling the obvious truth. 9/11 was perpetrated by the Zionists in collusion with the Pentagon, using Osama bin Laden as a scapegoat in order to wage a never ending war on Islam. AIPAC will destroy anyone who says a word against Israel whose politicians have stated openly they will behave as a rabid dog. Straight out of O.T metality ! AMERICA is the mad dog threat to the whole world, goaded by Israel. The leaders of both countries are homicidal maniacs whose goal of world hegemony will destroy us all if not the entire planet with the weapons at there disposal.
    With nothing to lose - they can do nothing to shut me up !

  38. UBK

    The whole world now knows exactly who they are. But the mega rich psychos are too well protected by a judiciary they have put into place and the best trained, best armed psycho thugs who would kill their own families if ordered.

  39. UBK

    Jones has the right ideas, wrong approach.; The Corbett Report and Boiling Frogs with Sibil Edmonds both hit closer to the bulls eye, as does RT.

  40. UBK

    Amy Goodman toned down after the death of Helen Thomas who wasn't afraid to stand up against AIPAC. You are right as to the distorted propaganda coming from unexpected sources - we must all be careful to sift the wheat from the chaff very carefully, to get at anything near the true facts of any news item these days..

  41. UBK

    Watch any of the mainstream media news outlets - then think the diametrically opposite of what you've been told. Then you'll be pretty close to the real facts. Any of us old 'uns who aren't cynical can't have been paying attention throughout their lives !

  42. whats up

    it must be questioned on the basis of freedom of speech , democracy ,..like Edward snowden did ....

    not on religious basis especially Islamist and orthodoxxx christen doing by supporting conspiracy to show how our Holy s*it is right and compatible with democracy by ignoring how there religious morality is bulls*it in 21 st century and ignoring what they committed in the name of there faith which is totally Man made .........

  43. Lita

    Creepy that they are spying. But the fact that they didn't know about Castro, North Korea, Cambodia, and other events cited, especially 9/11, was NOT because they didn't know, but did know or welcomed them. And evidence has shown that it wasn't Al Queda who wasn't behind 9/11, why did WTC seven fall, and the other four WTC buildings? And what happened to well over a million tons of debris? If it was implosions, debris would have been strewn right up to midtown.

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