From the Guardian reporting on Glenn Greenwald’s new book:
One document from the Snowden files, dated 3 October 2012, chillingly underscores the point. It revealed that the agency has been monitoring the online activities of individuals it believes express "radical" ideas and who have a "radicalising" influence on others. The memo discusses six individuals in particular, all Muslims, though it stresses that they are merely "exemplars".
The NSA explicitly states that none of the targeted individuals is a member of a terrorist organisation or involved in any terror plots. Instead, their crime is the views they express, which are deemed "radical", a term that warrants pervasive surveillance and destructive campaigns to "exploit vulnerabilities".
Among the information collected about the individuals, at least one of whom is a "US person", are details of their online sex activities and "online promiscuity" – the porn sites they visit and surreptitious sex chats with women who are not their wives. The agency discusses ways to exploit this information to destroy their reputations and credibility. […]
All of the evidence highlights the implicit bargain that is offered to citizens: pose no challenge and you have nothing to worry about. Mind your own business, and support or at least tolerate what we do, and you'll be fine. Put differently, you must refrain from provoking the authority that wields surveillance powers if you wish to be deemed free of wrongdoing.
This is a deal that invites passivity, obedience and conformity. The safest course, the way to ensure being "left alone", is to remain quiet, unthreatening and compliant.
Are you going to remain quiet because you are afraid of being put on a watch list? You are part of the problem. Reform will require an expansion of consciousness to the point where people can begin actually think about things as deeply troubling as whether Building 7 which wasn’t hit by anything at the World Trade Center didn’t collapse because of the little fire on the third floor, but was professionally demolished….
It is frightening to contemplate what our government has become. Follow your conscience.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.
--Pastor Martin Niemöller