Saturday, June 15, 2013

Big Brother doesn't translate as Hermano Mayor

Snowden, Asange, Manning, gringo names in the press every day. They're not Chicanos, latinos or whateveros. But even if some latinos believe that the three men are "traitors," their actions and the reaction of our government will touch and affect every brown face out there.

I know my gente. We've got a "What, me worry?" attitude. As if this was a gringo problem between gringos, something the gente shouldn't be concerned with. After all, we're marginalized in gringo-dominated society, deprived of its full benefits, so won't we also be safer than gringos from disadvantages like invasion of our privacy?

As part of the Internet media, La Bloga is more than concerned. We should assume our posts, Emails, cell phones, tweets and likes are being monitored every hour of every day. Big Brother Surveillance is an equal-opportunity service and won't marginalize us.

Actually, I am more amazed by the laissez-faire reaction of mainstream Americans to Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who admitted leaking secret documents about U.S. surveillance. I was so amazed, I decided to write a fiction story about how gringo Americans should have reacted to all the increased spying being done to them by the gov't. Here's the intro to the story:

"In 2012, the government proposed the creation of an enormous government-run central database to store details on every phone call, e-mail, and Internet search made in the country. Click a “send” key or push an “answer” button and the details of the communication end up, perhaps forever, in the government’s data warehouse to be scrutinized and analyzed.

"But when plans were released, there was an immediate outcry from the press and the public, leading to the scrapping of the 'big brother database.'

"In its place, however, the government came up with a new plan. Instead of one vast, centralized database, the telecom companies and Internet service providers would be required to maintain records of all details about people’s phone, e-mail, and Web-browsing habits for a year and to permit the government access to them when asked.

"That led again to public anger and to a protest by more than 330 telecommunications firms. 'We view the volume of data the government now proposes we should collect and retain will be unprecedented, as is the overall level of intrusion into the privacy of citizenry,' concerned groups said.

"Then the government allowed public debate on the idea of a central data bank and could not obtain the full cooperation of much of the telecom industry in secrecy due to September 11."

Science fiction, you say, because this could never happen here? Americans and the U.S. press and telecommunications industry would never act like this, you say. You'd be almost right, up to this date.

Bad fiction, you say? That's right, too, because I plagiarized the whole thing from a New York Review of Books article.

It's not anybody's piece of fiction. It is a factual report of how the British people dealt with their government when it attempted to do what ours has done to us. I simply deleted all the British references from my "story."

The next time you hear an Anglo American brag about how superior "Americans" are to others, you might mention the NY Review piece. If you want to get him mad, ask him which people showed more guts and had the ganas to protect their civil rights better.

The next time you hear a latino brag about how little he knows or worries about Snowden, the leaks and the surveillance, you might mention this posting by Latino POV: The Enemies of Civil Rights and Progress Never Rest

And to the super-patriotic who call Snowden et al traitors or say the leaks only help our "enemies," you might mention that Americans--latinos too--learned about the list below ONLY BECAUSE OF LEAKS. The list includes what happened from such leaks:
  • Much about the Vietnam War
  • About the Watergate scandal
  • About surveillance of phone calls and email
  • The rebellion that ejected the Tunisian dictator
  • The indirect expediting of our military exit from Iraq
  • U.S. atrocities in Iraq
  • The end of domestic legal immunity for America troops in Iraq

Without Manning’s leaks, the U.S. might still be in Iraq.

And to those who think we need to lose more civil rights to be kept safe, tell them some of what the increased NSA, CIA, FBI, etc. surveillance didn't know about and couldn't keep us safe from:
The 1993 attack on the World Trade Center
The attack on the USS Cole in 2000
The 1998 bombing of two of our East African embassies
And the NSA first learned of the September 11 attacks from watching CNN.
You can read more here.

I focused on this topic today, not because it's about Chicano literature. But because, without freedom of the Chicano press, freedom for Chicano journalists, investigators and nonfiction authors to research their topics, freedom of latino fiction writers to compose their art without fear of Big Brother Surveillance, AND freedom of our readership to use our blog without worrying about the spying--without all that, the Bloguist@as might find themselves on a list or in a courtroom and there would be no La Bloga.

I highly recommend checking out all of the impassioned piece by Charles B. Pierce to his gov't.:
Tell me what is being done in my name.

And I'll decide if it should continue or not.
Tell me what is being done in my name.
And I'll tell you if you should keep doing it or not.
I will govern and not be governed.
Tell me. Just tell me.
Before someone else does, with a leak, or a bomb, or an airplane into a building.
Tell me what is being done in my name.
So I can be ready, when the time comes.

If you're concerned about these questions, check the links here and elsewhere. Become literate about safeguarding your civil rights. Then do what you heart and conscience tell you.

Es todo, hoy. But I don't know how surveillanced tomorrow will be.


Thelma T. Reyna said...

Rudy, very timely and truthful. It's a dangerous time for our nation, with too much power concentrated in the hands of too few one-percenters, and that includes the general in charge. Thanks for grabbing us by the shoulders and shaking us.


The only thing that gives me hope is that the more data they have access to, the more difficult it is to keep track of and process it. Metadata doesn't tell you what's going on. The NSA is more like Borges' "The Library of Babel" than Orwell's 1984. Also, my struggle has been to prove my existence.