I argue that there are two other roles played by the security state: There is a profiteering (revolving door influence peddling corruption) career advancement function where opportunistic, unethical, and corrupt-to-the-core government functionaries use the power and influence of their office for private gain (currying favor for their past/future corporate paymasters). The security state also serves as technologically-advanced paid goons in the service of the shadowy corporate cartels who have captured the levers of (governmental/political/media/security) power.
These two additional functions of the security state represent the most danger to freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, but I argue that the latter one is the most important reason we should worry about the NSA's (and the entire corporate spy network) illegal and unconstitutional spying on the American people.
You see the problem is that the corporate state (who holds the real power behind the veneer of democracy) invests an incredible amount of resources on dissembling reality, on manufacturing consent regarding their predatory ways. I'm talking about a lot of resources. They apply the most advanced mass (psychology) control techniques; they've infiltrated every institution, including the entire mainstream media; they spend an extraordinary amount of money bribing politicians, to the point that the political establishment has basically been captured by these behind-the-scene shadowy corporate cartels.
It is a huge investment, and the main purpose is to allow these corporate cartels (and the very powerful individuals behind them) to basically pillage and plunder and exploit and oppress at will, while keeping the citizenry passive (confused, unable to figure out the exact nature of the system).
That's where the activist comes into play; that's where the Left (the real one) has always found its raison d'etre. And that's why the security state, acting as corporate goons, for decades has been destabilizing leftists movements, both at home and abroad (especially in Latin America).
The tools have been very similar, including massive propaganda, destabilization campaigns, bribing politicians and government functionaries, massive spying, and the targeting of activists or revolutionaries in multiple ways.
So you should not be surprised that the security state (when it comes to their corporate goons role) spends so much time spying on activists, building detailed dossiers on them, and their families, and associates.
You know the reason why? The activists are fucking with their investments; and we're talking about billions and billions of dollars, much of it invested in propaganda, and in bribing government functionaries (ALEC comes to mind).
You see one of the most important roles of an activist is to deconstruct the self-serving myths propagated by the corporate state and expose the lies, the dissembling and the propaganda to the general public.
Think of the implications... It's like exposing a wolf in sheep's clothing. It's like, "Okay, you see that sheep over there; he's actually a wolf ready to rip you apart."
And so, just imagine how pissed that wolf is going to be! He's put an extraordinary amount of effort disguising himself as a sheep so he can carry on with his predatory ways (undetected and unmolested) and here comes someone and blows his cover.
Social movements involve a long-term struggle between the movement and the powerholders for the hearts, minds, and support of the majority of the population. Before social movements begin, most people are either unaware that a problem exists or don't believe that they can do anything about it. They believe the powerholder's societal myths and support the high-sounding official policies and practices, all of which seem to be consistent with the culture's deeply held held values and beliefs...And that's the role of the activist, the (honest) intellectual, the (honest) writer, the (honest) journalist, to expose the true nature of the system, to deconstruct it, carefully, and to explain it all to the citizenry.
The strategy of social movements, therefore, is to alert, educate, and win over an ever increasing majority of the public. First the public needs to be convinced that a critical social problem exists. Then it must be convinced that policies need to be changed. And then a majority of people must be mobilized into a force that eventually brings about an acceptable solution.
-- Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements by Bill Moyer
[The emphasis is mine]
And that's why fascist police states always go after them first... And that's why we should all be worried about the illegal and unconstitutional activities by the security state-turned-corporate-goons.
Right now as you read this, there is a massive social justice movement spreading fast around not only the U.S., but around many countries who have been victimized by the international neoliberal criminal racketeering cartel. In Brazil, in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, the U.K., Greece, people have begun to connect the dots when it comes to mass financialization of every sector, including the public sphere (following the neoliberal philosophy).
But there is a lot of work to do (for activists, journalists, intellectuals, academics), and as things come to a head that work will become increasingly dangerous.
So far the corporate security state has been able to keep the lid on on things by subjecting the population to massive propaganda, and through the systemic imposition of induced economic insecurity and poverty (the real reason behind austerity measures), and an increasingly draconian (and oppressive) proto-fascist legal structure... Activists and groups can also be targeted for defunding, maligning, infiltration, and destabilization campaigns.
OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, the Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement officers have engaged in widespread domestic spying on Occupy Wall Street activists, among others, on the shaky premise that these activists pose a terrorist threat. Often, Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies have coordinated with the private sector, working on behalf of, or in cooperation with, Wall Street firms and other companies the protesters have criticized.All those tools have worked for the corporate state so far. But here's the danger, if history is any indication... Once those (soft) tools stop being effective, there is no reason to believe that eventually the proto-fascist corporate state will not take its mask off and escalate to another level.
- SNIP -
The anti-terrorist apparatus that the U.S. government established after 9/11 has now been turned against law-abiding citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. This apparatus consists not only of advanced surveillance technologies but also of “fusion centers” in state after state that coordinate the efforts of law enforcement up and down the line and collaborate with leading members of the private sector. Often, the work they do in the name of national security advances the interests of some of the largest corporations in America rather than focusing on protecting the United States from actual threats or attacks, such as the one at the Boston Marathon on April 15.
-- "Dissent or Terror"
[The emphasis is mine]
In fact, given the careful build-up of a massive proto-fascist physical and legal infrastructure during the last several years, and given the history of how the CIA acting as corporate goons all through Latin America (and other countries) dealt with leftist dissidents, one would have to be incredibly naïve to think that the very detailed (granular) dossiers built on millions of people (with a very intense focus on activists) would not one day come to represent a very clear and present danger to freedom and democracy (and to the security of law-abiding citizens exercising their legal and constitutional rights).
The bottom line is that the corporate state has failed; it has (and is being) exposed for what it is; and now the next logical step is to dismantle it. That means disentangling corporate interests from our democratic institutions. There is nothing wrong if you're a corporation that makes tires and want me to buying for my car, or if you want to sell me products or services. That's all good...
But when you use your power and influence to buy off politicians in order to codify injustice, exploitation, and predation into law, then we're going to have a problem. When corporations hire current and former CIA, FBI agents to take part in illegal spying against peaceful activists and non-profit groups, with total impunity, we're going to have a problem with that.
One of the troubling aspects of recent corporate espionage against nonprofits is the use of current and former police, current government contractors, and former CIA, NSA, FBI, Secret Service and other law enforcement officers.There is no turning back. The corporate state has been exposed to be a total fraud, to be predatory, exploitative, and oppressive. It has failed. People are rising up to push it out and to establish democracy, and that's what will end up happening, eventually.
Even active-duty CIA operatives are allowed to sell their expertise to the highest bidder, "a policy that gives financial firms and hedge funds access to the nation's top-level intelligence talent," writes Eamon Javers. Little is known about the CIA's moonlighting policy, or which corporations have hired current CIA operatives...
Hiring former intelligence, military and law enforcement officials has its advantages. First, these officials may be able to use their status as a shield. For example, current law enforcement officials may be disinclined to investigate or prosecute former intelligence or law enforcement agents. They may be more likely to get a "pass" because of their government services. In effect, corporations are hiring "pass" and sometimes using it to conduct unethical or even illegal intelligence gathering against nonprofits.
[The emphasis is mine]
It is going to be up to those undemocratic forces working behind the scenes to impose tyranny and oppression whether the transition to democracy is going to be smooth, or rough. But there is no question that it will be taken down... The process has already started.
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Sockpuppets & Trolls Watch: Their aim is to disrupt, to annoy, to introduce "noise" in order to prevent meaningful discussions of issues. Their tactics include casting aspersions (attack on the reputation or integrity), and ad hominems, where instead of addressing issues, they attack the character of people. They also engage in mockery, and logical fallacies. A good source of information about the tactics used by sockpuppets, trolls and hacks is "The 15 Rules of Web Disruption." Once you familiarize yourself with those tactics, it is pretty easy to spot the potential troll. Once spotted, the best thing is to ignore them. [Image credit: Jacob Bøtter from Copenhagen, Denmark]