(Washington US-based Jim Farmer [biography, email jfx "AT" immagic "DOT" com] has contributed occasionally to Fortnightly Mailing over the years. This is the second of four Guest Contributions by Jim. The first is here.)
NSA and the Surveillance State have created an atmosphere of fear in the US for Washington politicians. If there is a single terrorist incident, having voted against budget increases or having failed to support NSA’s work could end a career. If there is a major revelation—such as the tapping of telephone lines of White House staff and of journalists that occurred in the 1970s—then having failed to vote for limiting the scope of NSA activities would make re-election difficult. And both are predicted.
Two public rallies in Washington in October and November – the Stop Watching Us Rally , and the subsequent Anonymous Washington Rally – can be viewed as proxy indicators of the political forces. Both were very small. But size is not everything, and the kinds of people involved in both – tech-savvy, highly educated individuals – are probably representative of a very significant and potentially very influential section of American opinion, as this article explains.