Response to Barack Obama’s Eulogy for the Fourth Amendment by David Swanson + Julian Assange Responds To Obama’s #NSA Reforms Speech

DC Rally Against Mass Surveillance

Image by Susan Melkisethian via Flickr

by David Swanson
Writer, Dandelion Salad
January 17, 2014

President Barack Obama gave a eulogy for the Fourth Amendment on Friday, and not even his fans are proclaiming victory.  In this moment when Obama is actually doing one thing I agree with (talking to Iran), more and more people seem to be slowly, agonizingly slowly, finally, finally, finally, recognizing what a complete huckster he is when it comes to pretty speeches about his crimes.

Obama’s speech and new “policy directive” eliminate the Fourth Amendment.  Massive bulk collection of everybody’s data will continue unconstitutionally, but Obama has expressed a certain vague desire to end it, sort of, except for the parts that are needed, but not to do so right away.  The comparisons to the closure of the Guantanamo death camp began instantly.

Far from halting or apologizing for the abuses of the NSA, Obama defends them as necessitated by the danger of a new 911. While drones over Yemen and troops in Afghanistan and “special” forces in three-quarters of the world are widely understood to endanger us, and while alternatives that upheld the rule of law and made us safer would not require secrecy or human rights violations, Obama wants to continue the counterproductive and immoral militarism while holding off all blowback through the omniscience of Big Brother.

However, Obama’s own panel and every other panel that has looked into it found zero evidence that the new abusive NSA programs have prevented any violent attacks.  And it is well-documented that (even given the disastrous policies that produced 911) the attacks of that day could have been stopped at the last minute by sharing existing data or responding to urgent memos to the president with any sort of serious effort.

Obama has not proposed to end abuses. He’s proposed to appoint two new bureaucrats plus John Podesta. Out of this speech we get reviews of policies, a commitment to tell the Director of National Intelligence to read court rulings that impact the crimes and abuses he’s engaged in, and a promise that the “Intelligence Community” will inspect itself. (Congress, the courts, and the people don’t come up in this list of reforms.) Usually this sort of imperial-presidential fluff wins praise from Obama’s followers. This time, I’m not hearing it.

True, after EFF created a great pre-speech scorecard, when Obama scored a big fat zero, EFF said it was encouraged that he might score a point some day. But they didn’t sound impassioned about their encouragement.

Obama’s promises not to abuse unchecked secret powers (and implied promise that none of his successors or subordinates will abuse them either) is not credible, or acceptable, while it just might be impeachable.  We’re talking here about the same government that listens in on soldiers’ phone sex, Congress members’ daily lives, and everything it can get its hands on related to the actual, rather than rhetorical, promotion of liberty, justice, or peace.  A report today quotes various members of the government with security clearance who want to murder Edward Snowden.  We’re supposed to just trust them with the right to our persons, houses, papers, and effects without probably cause or warrant? Are we also to trust the corporations they ask to do their dirty work, should the theoretical future reform of this outrage involve paying corporations to own our info?

Obama claims the “debate” — in which no debate opponent was given a minute at the microphone — is valuable.  But the whistleblowers who create such debates “endanger” us, Obama says.  This he claims without evidence.

If the debate was so useful, why not give the man who made you hold it with yourself his passport back?

Obama began Friday’s speech with a Sarah Palinesque bit of Paul Revere history.  Revere is now an honorary NSA spy. In reality, the British would have hit Revere with a hellfire missile if Obama had been their king. It all depends on which side of a war you imagine someone to be on, and on whether you imagine war itself is an acceptable form of human behavior at this late date.  Without the endless war on the world, the need for secrecy would go away, and with it the powers that secrecy bestows, and with them the arrogant speeches by rulers who clearly hold us all in contempt.

Resisters of royalty came up with a cure back in Paul Revere’s day.  They called it impeachment.  Of course it would be highly inappropriate to use. It might get in the way of the Fight for Freedom.

David Swanson‘s books include “War Is A Lie.” He blogs at and and works for He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.


“I Think It’s Embarrassing” Julian Assange Responds To Obama’s Big NSA Reforms Speech

FederalJacktube6 on Jan 17, 2014

January 17, 2014 CNN


‘Guarantees that Obama gave are worthless’

RT on Jan 17, 2014

President Obama has outlined reforms of America’s controversial surveillance tactics – which had ensnared millions of people’s phone calls, texts and emails around the globe. After praising the NSA and its importance to security, he admitted it made mistakes in its collection of private data. Glen Moody is a technology writer from London joins RT to talk more on this.


Glenn Greenwald “The NSA Is A System Of Suspicionless Spying”

Glenn Greenwald on Jan 17, 2014

January 17, 2014 MSNBC News


Obama NSA Reforms Are “A Bouquet of Roses” to the Intelligence Agencies

TheRealNews on Jan 17, 2014

Michael Ratner: By portraying NSA surveillance as “patriotic,” President Obama ignores the violations of Americans’ constitutional rights.



Action Alert

Our Best Chance Yet at Reining in Dragnet NSA Surveillance

Jan. 17, 2014

Over the past six months, each week has brought us new information about how the NSA’s massive surveillance powers are out of control.

And the President has finally noticed that the American people are opposed to this blatant abuse of power by our nation’s intelligence agency. But cosmetic changes to the surveillance machine won’t restore our right to privacy.

Congress has the power to rein in this massive domestic surveillance program, and now we have the momentum we’ve been waiting for. In the House and Senate, Representative Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Senator Leahy (D-VT) just introduced a bi-partisan bill—the USA FREEDOM Act—that would go a long way to rolling back the government’s dragnet surveillance program.

But if this bill is going to make it through the committees for a vote on the floor, Congress needs to hear loud and clear that we want them to pass it NOW. If enough of us push our members of Congress to support this bill, we can make sure that it doesn’t get watered-down before it comes up for a vote.

Let’s win this fight. Contact your representatives now.



Updated: Jan. 18, 2014

NSA Whistleblowers Point To Obama’s Omissions in NSA Speech

TheRealNews on Jan 18, 2014

Several former NSA employees criticize Obama’s speech and remain uncertain about the possibility of real reform without independent verification.



Updated: Jan. 20, 2014

David Swanson exclusive interview on President Obama’s NSA speech

RTQuestionMore on Jan 17, 2014

Mr. Swanson is a U.S. author, blogger, and activist. He is the author of “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.”


Barack Obama’s #NSA Speech + Transcript + Presidential Policy Directive-28 — Signals Intelligence Activities + Rand Paul Responds

Building a Global Movement to End All War by David Swanson

Chris Hedges and William Binney on Obama #NSA Guidelines, Part 1 + Transcript

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Calls on Computer Hackers to Unite Against NSA Surveillance + Jacob Appelbaum: 30c3: To Protect And Infect

Glenn Greenwald: The NSA Can “Literally Watch Every Keystroke You Make” + TAO Revealed: The NSA’s ‘top secret weapon’

7 thoughts on “Response to Barack Obama’s Eulogy for the Fourth Amendment by David Swanson + Julian Assange Responds To Obama’s #NSA Reforms Speech

  1. Pingback: Julian Assange on Being Placed on NSA Manhunting List and Secret Targeting of WikiLeaks Supporters | Dandelion Salad

  2. Pingback: Edward Snowden: There’s no saving an intelligence community that believes it can lie to the public and the legislators + Transcript | Dandelion Salad

  3. Pingback: resolution #1 | Brain Noise

  4. That noted protector of national security, Herman Goering, said it best:

    “Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY.”

  5. Obama’s concern for the safety of the public, in his speech is a dubious call, this patronizing plea of concern for the public safety is all part of a campaign of establishment to be fearful of the public’s perception, that no longer believes the rhetoric of the world leaders propaganda, what creates fear in the ranks of the CIA, and the security of organizations such like throughout the world, is the fact that if enough people no longer believe the fear mongers line of a predominately, theatrical stage play, they will be out of a job and have little or no training for being employed for anything else, other than store detectives and car salesmen, this status correction is what CIA, agents fear more than any other threat even that of the suicide bombers, my suggestion is these redundant agents should be given some sort of pension and a sum of money to buy a modest house, I am aware the deflation of the ego is something money cannot buy, but all of us have at some time got to come to terms with our relative insignificance, other than if your lucky still to have a wife or someone who shows some concern for you as being of some value, rather than what you are?

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