July 20th, 2013

snail mail watch

I had a conversation the other day that the revelations by the heroic whistle blower Edward Snowden might be what saves our postal service because the very analog act of writing letters defeats the digital ease with which the Bush-Obama Security Scheme uses digital information to track our every moves. Boy, was I wrong.

From The New York Times:

Leslie James Pickering noticed something odd in his mail last September: a handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to the letters and packages sent to his home.

“Show all mail to supv” — supervisor — “for copying prior to going out on the street,” read the card. It included Mr. Pickering’s name, address and the type of mail that needed to be monitored. The word “confidential” was highlighted in green.

“It was a bit of a shock to see it,” said Mr. Pickering, who with his wife owns a small bookstore in Buffalo. More than a decade ago, he was a spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group labeled eco-terrorists by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Postal officials subsequently confirmed they were indeed tracking Mr. Pickering’s mail but told him nothing else.

As the world focuses on the high-tech spying of the National Security Agency, the misplaced card offers a rare glimpse inside the seemingly low-tech but prevalent snooping of the United States Postal Service.

If it were not for the actions of the Green Shadow Cabinet, I would have missed this story.

GSC Secretary of Defense Cdr. Leah Bolger and GSC Attorney General Kevin Zeese write:

It is time to end the national security spiral that leads to greater insecurity. The United States needs to stop policies that seek hegemony over the world through extreme militarism and economic domination. President Obama should renounce the NSA worldwide dragnet of phone records, Metadata and Internet communications. It is time to bring transparency to U.S. foreign policy, stop classifying materials that are not justifiably classified so that we, the American people, know what is being done in our name.

In addition to transparency, it is time to reverse the spiral and unwind the national security state. The United States needs to be spending much less on weapons, war and intelligence gathering and much more on human needs like health care, hunger, education and shelter. It needs to join the community of nations, not dominate, or bully it. We need to work in partnership with other nations to address mutual problems like climate change, poverty and disease. The only way this can be accomplished is by elevating diplomatic alternatives, while shrinking military and intelligence programs that currently dominate our foreign policy.

And, the United States needs to respect the rule of law. This includes international law which deems an aggressive military attack as the greatest crime, and where human rights are respected and the necessities of the people are met. It is time to end U.S. lawlessness as typified by extrajudicial assassinations, torture, and holding prisoners without charges. It is time to close the Guantanamo prison, return the prisoners to their homeland, or prosecute them in federal court. And, it is time to end rendition for torture, and to close U.S. prisons around the world.

Unwinding the national security state will put us on the path of real security. No amount of money will make Americans secure if militarism, spying and economic dominance remain the pillars of U.S. foreign policy.

I agree.


  1. mary jo says:

    Post office photocopies envelopes of all mail sent in the US, says NY Times Posted Jul 3, 2013

  2. mary jo says:

    Sorry, I did link to the same article. I was reading the part about how every single envelope is photocopied:

    Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images.

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