The Rise of the American Corporate Security State: Six Reasons to Be Afraid
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In the United States today we have good reasons to be afraid. Our Bill of Rights is no more. It has been rendered pointless by heavy surveillance of average citizens, political persecution of dissenters, and the potential of indefinite detention now codified into law. Our democracy and freedoms are impaired daily by government control of information, systemic financial corruption, unfettered corporate influence in our elections, and by corporate-controlled international institutions. The Constitution of The United States that has shielded us for more than 200 years from the tentacles of oppressive government and the stranglehold of private wealth becomes more meaningless with each new act of corporate-ocracy.
Behind a thinning veneer of democracy, the Corporate Security State is tipping the balance between the self-interest of a governing corporate elite and the rights of the people to freedom, safety and fairness. The consequences of these trends and conditions are devastating. We are submerged in endless war, and the wealth produced by and in the United States skews upward in greater concentrations every year. The middle class is under financial attack, as Washington prepares to loot Social Security and Medicare to finance the insatiable war-making and profit-taking.
Repression descends on a people slowly at first, but then crushes quickly, silencing dissent. According to the author of Rise of The American Corporate Security State, Beatrice Edwards, our task now is to recognize the real reasons to be afraid in 21st century America, and address them. Our early steps in the right direction may be small ones, but they are important. They are based on the principle that we, as Americans, have a right to know what our government is doing and to speak openly about it. Creeping censorship, secret courts, clandestine corporate control are all anathema to democratic practices and must be corrected now, before this last chance to redeem our rights is lost.
President Obama told an interviewer that the court is transparent and that it is part of a system of checks and balances. The statement, aired on broadcast television, was preposterous. The court order is secret, and it is based on a secret interpretation of the law—an interpretation that one of the law’s principal author’s asserts is a gross violation of congressional intent. In this one exchange, Obama damaged the credibility all three branches of government. The executive branch, in the person
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/23/opinion/the-national-security-agencys-domestic-spying-program. html? _r=3&ref=opinion&. Accessed November 24, 2013. 13. There are credible indications that the effort to spy on Americans actually began before September 11, 2001. After the release of court filings in the insider trading case against Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio, the Washington Post reported that the requests for warrantless access to customer phone data came from the NSA to Qwest in February 2001,
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/12/presidential-policy-directive-critical-infrastructure-security-and-resil. Accessed January 5, 2014. 64. http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/tech/computers/what-is-cispa. Accessed November 11, 2013. 65. Testimony before the US House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in a hearing on advanced cyber threats facing our nation, Business Roundtable president John Engler, February 2013. 66. Report: Declassified Documents
corporation. 104. September 2007 Monitoring Report of the Independent Consultant to American International Group, Inc. Unpublished, p. 87. 105. “The US’s Fly on the Wall.” 106. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57336042/prosecuting-wall-street/. Accessed November 19, 2013. 107. Transcript: Attorney General Eric Holder on ‘Too Big to Jail’ Judiciary Committee. March 6, 2013, 3:15 p.m. ET.
was classifying one petabyte of new data every 18 months, the equivalent of 20 million filing cabinets filled with text, or 13.3 years of high-definition video.22 Moreover, the cost of storing and safeguarding all of this is high: roughly $11.3 billion in 2011, up from about $4.7 billion in 2001.23 The knowledge we now have about the national security operations of the United States suggests that we’ve moved from an embryonic position— where data collection is voluminous and secret but