Monday, May 20, 2013

The United States Government vs.The People of the United States

This just in, from the same government watchdog group (Center for Media and Democracy) which exposed the nefarious machinations of the corporate state's American Legislative Exchange Council:


On May 20, 2013, DBA Press and the Center for Media and Democracy 
released the results of a year-long investigation: "Dissent or Terror:
 How the Nation's Counter Terrorism Apparatus, In Partnership With 
Corporate America, Turned on Occupy Wall Street.”

 The report, a distillation of thousands of pages of records obtained
 from counter terrorism/law enforcement agencies, details how
 state/regional "fusion center" personnel monitored the Occupy Wall
 Street movement over the course of 2011 and 2012.
The report also examines how fusion centers and other counter terrorism entities that 
have emerged since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 have
 worked to benefit numerous corporations engaged in public-private
 intelligence sharing partnerships. 

While the report examines many instances of fusion center monitoring
 of Occupy activists nationwide, the bulk of the report 
details how counter terrorism personnel engaged in the Arizona Counter
 Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC, commonly known as the "Arizona fusion center") monitored and otherwise surveilled citizens active in
 Occupy Phoenix, and how this surveillance benefited a number of 
corporations and banks that were subjects of Occupy Phoenix protest activity. 

While small glimpses into the governmental monitoring of the Occupy Wall Street movement have emerged in the past, there has not been any reporting -- until now -- that details the breadth and depth with which the nation's post-September 11, 2001 counter terrorism apparatus has been applied to politically engaged citizens exercising their Constitutionally-protected First Amendment rights.
I haven't read through the lengthy report yet, but the key takeaway from the synopsis is that (surprise!) corporations and government are one and the same entity. We're not in danger of becoming a fascist state: we're already there. Electoral politics is just the thin veneer that gives an ever-dwindling number of us the illusion that we still exist in a representative, participatory democracy.

This report chillingly coincides with the recent revelations that not only did the Obama Administration illegally seize the phone records of the Associated Press in a brazen effort to stifle the flow of information in the name of "national security", but that it also plans to prosecute journalists for the non-crime of attempting to solicit information from government sources. (We actually got a clue about this defacto policy during the Occupy crackdowns, when reporters had their cameras seized and their bodies thrown in jail to prevent their witnessing police brutality against the camps.) Our leaders have criminalized the First Amendment, and are casting a wide totalitarian net over whistleblowers and protesters and news organizations. They don't want their secrets revealed, because they don't want to be shamed and disempowered. They know that negative revelations will only create more dissent, more blowback from the victims of both capitalist predation at home and of imperialistic occupations abroad.

To the power elites, we are the enemy.The terrorist label can be applied to any one of us, at any time.

The Washington Post yesterday broke the story that the Justice Department may actually end up criminally charging the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News (!) based simply upon his asking questions about North Korea of a State Department official. As Glenn Greenwald lays out,
Under US law, it is not illegal to publish classified information. That fact, along with the First Amendment's guarantee of press freedoms, is what has prevented the US government from ever prosecuting journalists for reporting on what the US government does in secret. This newfound theory of the Obama DOJ - that a journalist can be guilty of crimes for "soliciting" the disclosure of classified information - is a means for circumventing those safeguards and criminalizing the act of investigative journalism itself. These latest revelations show that this is not just a theory but one put into practice, as the Obama DOJ submitted court documents accusing a journalist of committing crimes by doing this.
That same "solicitation" theory, as the New York Times reported back in 2011, is the one the Obama DOJ has been using to justify its ongoing criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: that because Assange solicited or encouraged Manning to leak classified information, the US government can "charge [Assange] as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them." When that theory was first disclosed, I wrote that it would enable the criminalization of investigative journalism generally.
All of this coincides, too, with the next installment in the series of Obama's grandiloquent exercises in opaque transparency. In a speech scheduled for Thursday, he will attempt to justify his World is a Battlefield agenda, including his rationale for targeted drone strike assassinations and keeping people imprisoned without charge or trial for over a decade at Gitmo.

To get yourselves prepared for the coming onslaught of propaganda, here are two more must-reads:

First, Marcy Wheeler has taken the time to formulate a chilling day-by-day timeline of the White House's recent campaign of secrecy and subterfuge as prelude to the Big Speech.

And then, the indispensable Chris Hedges advises us that surrender is not an option, bluntly predicting that we either rise up, or we die.  

I hope it's a nice sunny spring day where you live, whatever your geographical location in the great global Disposition Matrix.
 

10 comments:

Will said...

Speaking of veneers, I think that whole even-Fox-news-has-a-guy-in-trouble storyline is complete bullshit. Oh, and Hedges' column is right on the money as usual. Too bad only a handful of Americans know who the fuck he is.

(I haven't cursed here in a while. Sorry 'bout that. Feels good, though!)

Denis Neville said...

“Inverted totalitarianism, unlike classical totalitarianism, does not revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader. It finds expression in the anonymity of the Corporate State. It purports to cherish democracy, patriotism, and the Constitution while manipulating internal levers.” - Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle

Our snitch society of “watchers,” Orwellian “iWatch, iReport, iKeep Us Safe” @ http://lapdonline.org/iwatchla

SAR programs [source: ACLU]:

Federal, state and local authorities initiated “suspicious activity reporting” (SAR) programs to encourage law enforcement officers, intelligence and homeland security officials, emergency responders, and even the public to report the “suspicious” activities of their neighbors to law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

Has anyone noticed the increase in arrests for taking photographs?

The proliferation of SAR reporting programs with lower collection standards have too often led to inappropriate law enforcement contact with completely innocent Americans. The problem is that many of the behaviors these SAR programs identify as precursors to terrorism include innocuous and commonplace activities such as using binoculars, taking pictures, drawing diagrams and taking notes.

Photographers appear to be the most frequent targets of SAR and SAR-like information collection efforts:
• NYC documentary filmmaker arrested for taking photos on a public street
• Photographer arrested by Amtrak police for photographing an Amtrak train for an Amtrak photography contest
• Another arrested by MTA police for taking a picture of a subway train
• FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force agent questioned photographer for taking pictures of storm clouds near a refinery in response to a suspicious activity report (SAR)

Photography is not a crime, for Christ’s sake!!!

SAR programs increase the probability that innocent people will be stopped by police and have their personal information collected for inclusion in law enforcement and intelligence data bases.

Weimar redivivus?

“Any mass movement that arises—and I believe one is coming—will be fueled, like the Occupy movement, by radicals who have as deep a revulsion for Democrats as they do for Republicans. The radicals who triumph, however, may not be progressive. Populist movements, from labor unions to an independent press to socialist third parties, have been destroyed in the United States. A protofascist movement that coalesces around a mystical nationalism, that fuses the symbols of the country with those of Christianity, that denigrates reason and elevates mass emotions will have broad appeal. It will offer to followers a leap from the deep pit of despair and frustration to the heights of utopia. It will speak in the language of violence and demonize the vulnerable, from undocumented workers to homosexuals to people of color to liberals to the poor. And this force, financed by the most retrograde elements of corporate capitalism, could usher in a species of corporate fascism in a period of economic or environmental instability.” – Chris Hedges, “Once Again—Death of the Liberal Class,” http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/once_again_--_death_of_the_liberal_class_20121112/

Zee said...

Will--

I guess I don't understand why the "whole even-Fox-News-has-a-guy-in-trouble storyline is complete bullshit" in your opinion.

Glenn Greenwald usually seems to garner a great deal of respect in this forum, and he appears to have taken the WaPost story seriously, himself, as expressed in the article linked to by Karen.

Why does a previously trusted source--Greenwald--suddenly become unreliable in this one instance when the victim of government persecution happens to be a reporter from Fox News?

Is Greenwald being "false-flagged" by the government just to make Fox News look "good?"

Could this be paranoia within paranoia?

Not, of course, that I'm not a bit paranoid myself.

Anonymous said...

Karen,
You write that the DoJ illegally seized the AP's phone records. That is my belief, too. But I was listening to OTM this weekend and they made a big point that what the DoJ did was perfectly legal.
Help me out here. Help me make the argument that what DoJ did was illegal or criminal. Because I'm getting effing dizzy from reading excuses for what they did. I wanted an answer from G. Greenwald, but the last thing I read from him was a couple days ago, and he said that it wasn't really clear the extent of what DoJ did, something to that effect.

Will said...

Zee,

I guess I should've been clearer regarding my "complete bullshit" comment. I wasn't referring to Greenwald's reliablity (or lack thereof) in any way; I trust him implicitly as a reporter to always be on the level. I just meant I couldn't see any *true* legal trouble coming for Rosen, especially since he works for the plutocracy's favorite gigantic media outlet. He hasn't even been charged with any crimes--just named in an affidavit as someone who *may* in the future. Just seems like a lot of smoke and no fire, that's all. I could be proven wrong, though. Certainly wouldn't be the first time.

(Hey, I just got through a whole paragraph without using any salty language. Except, of course, when I quoted my own salty language. I don't think that counts against me, though. Woo hoo!)

Denis Neville said...

The Dissent or Terror report highlights how anything other than corporate or otherwise officially sanctioned assembly is no longer permitted in America.

They are now tracking our dissent. Any of us can become Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange makes in his recent book. Google, Facebook, Twitter are as dangerous as governments warns Julian Assange. “The internet, our greatest tool of emancipation has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen,” writes Assange in Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet. “The universality of the internet will merge global humanity into one giant grid of mass surveillance and mass control. We are galloping into a new transnational dystopia” dominated by global corporate totalitarian powers.

“Jeremiahs, like Assange, are always met at first with hostility and even mockery. History shows that we disregard such warnings as these at our peril." – John Pilger

“The pestilence of corporate totalitarianism is spreading rapidly over the earth. The criminals have seized power. It is not, in the end, simply Assange or Manning they want. It is all who dare to defy the official narrative, to expose the big lie of the global corporate state. The persecution of Assange and Manning is the harbinger of what is to come, the rise of a bitter world where criminals in Brooks Brothers suits and gangsters in beribboned military uniforms—propped up by a vast internal and external security apparatus, a compliant press and a morally bankrupt political elite—monitor and crush those who dissent. Writers, artists, actors, journalists, scientists, intellectuals and workers will be forced to obey or thrown into bondage. I fear for Julian Assange. I fear for Bradley Manning. I fear for us all.” -Chris Hedges, http://www.thenation.com/article/174227/interview-julian-assange?page=0,0#

Jay - Ottawa said...

For some reason the Chilean film “No” has yet to be released in the USA. That hasn’t stopped Hollywood from nominating “No” for an Oscar as the best foreign film of 2013.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/9842723/How-Chiles-ad-men-ousted-Pinochet-the-real-life-story-behind-new-film-No.html

What is “No” about? You might characterize it as true story about a modern David defeating a modern Goliath. Relevant to the American scene? Duh. Americans, as well as citizens of other countries, have got to stop taking crap from Goliath corporations.

Haven’t we complained enough, in detail, with abundant documentation, about the nasty things corporations and the politicians in their pay are doing to us? How much longer shall we add to our list of woes at corporate hands? Is the Left nothing but a Wailing Wall? Time to stop hoping prayerfully for a spark, a charismatic leader, or the spontaneous conversion of oily politicians. No deus-ex-machina will come down at the last minute to save our bacon. It’s time for average Americans to act. In unison. Wisely.

The “No” campaign in Chile back in the ‘80s is instructive. We need steady people from the Left –– from Nader organizations, unions, third parties, etc. –– around a table to plot the course of a massive citizen boycott against one corporation. Get one corporation to fall, or at least lose sizeable market share (t/h Fred), and we can fell the rest of them with increasing efficiency.

A boycott does not ask consumers to change their politics or worldview. Make a solid case against a targeted corporation, a case the average American can understand, and you’ll win sympathy from most people for a boycott. Nader types could advise the organizers how to avoid violations of interstate commerce and other legal pitfalls. Knowledgeable business people could help us find prominent but vulnerable targets in the first rounds. I haven’t researched this but, as an example, what if 25% of the people with lawns stopped buying Monsanto seeds, pesticide, and fertilizer?

After the Boycott Committee tags a corporation for boycott, bloggers must spread the word. Is there a Don Draper on our side who could make a YouTube minute that goes viral? Hey, Facebookers, this is your chance to do something truly useful in social networking. Persuade your friends to join the boycott. You’ll be doing grassroots political education at the same time you unfriend and punish Goliath.

No sleep-ins in the park. No confrontations with swat teams. They can’t arrest you for not buying a targeted product.

The point is, our plight is not about logic, fairness or debating points. It’s all about money. Money is the lifeblood of corporations, banks and politicians. Let’s apply a tourniquet to block the flow of money up to corporate headquarters. There are still enough of us who have a little money to spend, or not spend. We still have choices about the products and services we buy. So spend smart in solidarity with a boycott.

P.S.: There is an interesting observation currently making the rounds. Seems like the PTB are acting so aggressively lately, they just might be trying to provoke violent reactions by indignant groups. Don’t fall for it. You’ll never win going down that road. Yes, do something, but do it without violence or the threat of violence. Just pinch their pocketbooks.

Karen Garcia said...

To Anonymous,
While the DOJ seizing phone records may be perfectly "legal" in our twisted post-9/11 world it's the same kind of weaselly legality that makes targeted drone assassinations permissible. The record seizure is "legal" if, in the government's eyes, journalists are engaged in espionage or violating the all-purpose Patriot Act, rather than in reporting. Obviously, my calling the seizure of the phone records illegal is an editorial judgment on my part, one based on strict interpretation of the First Amendment, which specifically states that Congress shall pass no laws restricting the freedom of the press. Ergo,the DOJ broke the law.

annenigma said...

@Jay - Ottawa

Lockheed Martin comes to mind as the most worthy candidate.

They don't own the federal government, but as the largest Federal contractor, they pretty much run it - the biggest private, profit-making, government-for-hire in the world.

They have their sulfur-smelling fingers, eyeballs, and ears in nearly every federal agency and department of our government since they have branched out into information systems and security.

Unfortunately, we can't boycott them unless we simply refused to pay taxes because they have insinuated themselves everywhere in government and we are now forced by their government to be their customers.

LM provides services such as processing taxes, GPS marking of homes for the US Census, running the FBI's fingerprint ID program, monitoring the (non-FAA monitored) skies for non-commercial aircraft. I would assume that would include the 30,000 new unmanned drones authorized by the FAA. LM manufactures GPS-equipped UAVs, if you catch my suspicious drift.

They assess foreign threats (!), and write laws and constitutions for post-war foreign governments that we prop up. If they told us that they wrote the Patriot Act, Section 1022 of the NDAA, and the FISA bill, they'd have to kill us (haha?). I wouldn't be surprised if they have a new constitution and new national security laws, written up and waiting for us in their stealthy wings.

The agencies and departments of the US Government that LM operates in includes most of them: FAA, NSA, FBI, DOD, Homeland Security, Coast Guard, Social Security, IRS, Census, USDA, Energy, Education, Pentagon, TSA, FDA, BLM, EPA, etc. You get the picture. EVERYWHERE.

annenigma said...

@anonymous

My understanding is that the seizure of AP phone records was unconstitutional because it was overly broad and nonspecific. It is illegal to cast such a wide, indiscriminate net. Police have to be specific and limited when they use a subpoena, but not Uncle Sam.

Obama and his henchman H.R. Holdermann apparently do not believe the Constitution is a legally binding document. They think it is superseded by recent national security laws, like the Patriot Act, etc.

I hope the AP has the guts to fight this all the way to the Supreme Court.