ISIS is Israeli Secret Intelligence Service

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dismantling The Corporate State

Dismantling The Corporate State

By Reginald Johnson
April 9, 2014

America has slid into a form of "corporate totalitarianism" where
basic rights and freedoms outlined in our Constitution have been
wiped away.

The only thing that will restore our rights will be a mass movement,
similar to the labor movement and civil-rights movements of years
past, where people defy the government and engage in acts of civil

That's the view of one of America's leading intellectuals,
Chris Hedges, the author of numerous books on America's
social condition and a former reporter for The New York

Speaking at a recent conference on civil liberties at Central
Connecticut State University, Hedges said the establishment of
a mass surveillance system, repressive new laws and corporate
power have made democracy in the United States "a fiction."

There is only one way to turn it around.

"Reform will only come through building mass movements and
alternative centers of power that can overthrow -- let me repeat
that word for Homeland Security -- overthrow the corporate state,"
he said.

Hedges was the keynote speaker at the conference sponsored
by the Connecticut Coalition to Stop Indefinite Detention.

The gathering also featured workshops and panel discussions
on issues related to prisoners, discrimination against Muslims,
deportations, drones, unlawful detentions, and other civil-
liberties subjects.

A 20-year foreign correspondent who reported in East Germany and
Czechoslovakia under communist rule, as well as in El Salvador and
Guatemala during the civil wars in the 1980s, Hedges said the
United States is taking on many of the characteristics of the
dictatorial regimes he once covered.

Under the guise of fighting terrorism, a vast surveillance apparatus
has been set up through the National Security Agency and the FBI,
which allows the government to learn everything about you, who
you are communicating with, what your views are, what your
activities are, where you travel, and if you've had any personal
issues or problems in the past.

As whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed, the NSA sweeps up
phone calling "metadata" of all Americans as well as their emails.

The FBI, through legislation passed after 911, can secretly obtain
your personal information by issuing warrantless National Security
Letters to anyone, your employer, your bank, your doctor, your
friends, or a library, Hedges said.

They also have the technical capabilities through cell phones
and GPS systems to track your geographical movements.

Moreover, "they will store this information for perpetuity in
government computers," he said.

Additionally, under the Section 1021 provision of the National
Defense Authorization Act, the government now has the power to
arrest an American citizen simply on the basis that they might be
linked to terrorists, place them in jail, and hold them indefinitely,
without due process.

And, as has happened under Barack Obama, the President can
order the assassination of American citizens, if it is determined
such individuals are terrorists.

Hedges said that those who try to expose illegal behavior by
the government are "hunted down" and pay a heavy price.

He pointed to Chelsea Manning, an Army officer who released
military files to divulge war crimes by U.S. soldiers, and then
was tried on espionage charges; and Snowden, who released
classified files to reveal the unconstitutional NSA-spying
program, and then had to flee the country to avoid prosecution.

"This is always the way totalitarian secret-police forces work,
the SS, the KGB, the East German Stasi," said Hedges.

"Dissent is criminalized, truth is hidden."

As the laws were passed and court decisions handed down that
enabled the surveillance state, constitutional provisions such
as the 4th Amendment and its guarantee of privacy have been
shredded, Hedges said.

Hedges said many people in the legal profession should have
spoken up during this period of constitutional erosion, but
did not.

"Where are the judges, the deans of law schools, the nation's
1 million lawyers?" he asked.

"Why do they refuse to defend the Constitution?"

"They have become valued partners, along with a bankrupt press,
in a campaign to eradicate our most basic civil liberties."

While the 'war on terrorism' and 'national security' are always cited
as the reasons for the passage of the laws and judicial decisions
curbing civil liberties, Hedges sees another reason behind the
repression: Corporate Influence.

In These times of economic distress and widening inequality, the
elites in the corporate world fear potential unrest and seek control,
Hedges said.

A mass-surveillance system serves their interests.

"Totalitarianism no longer comes through communism or fascism;
it comes now from corporations," Hedges said.

"And these corporations fear those who think, write and speak out
and those who form relationships freely. Individual freedom
impedes their power and their profit."

Hedges, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the author of a dozen
books, including "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt" and "Death
of the Liberal Class," dismissed the idea that reform of our
government and repealing anti-democratic laws will somehow
come from elected officials like Obama or members of Congress.

About the recent proposal by Obama to restrict NSA's metadata
collection, in the wake of Snowden's revelations, Hedges said at
first it seems good, "until you look at the details."

Then he said, "I ask you, how many times does Barack Obama
have to lie to you before you get it?"

He said Obama had broken a number of pledges concerning civil
liberties and constitutional matters, including the promise to close
the Guantanamo Bay prison; a pledge to revisit the Patriot Act; the
promise to shut down our "black sites"; and the promise to reverse
unconstitutional executive decisions by his predecessor, former
President George Bush.

"We got none of this. We got more untruths," Hedges said.

To restore our liberties, Hedges said, the American people
cannot look to government officials.

"It means refusing to trust in their cosmetic reforms."

"Reforms will never come from those complicit in crimes."

In the end, it will be the people who will have to bring
about change.

"We can only save ourselves. We are the people we have
been waiting for," he said.

"We must find, like Snowden, the physical and moral courage
to tear down the structures that enslave us," he said.

Reginald Johnson is a free-lance writer based in Bridgeport, Ct.
His work has appeared in The New York Times, BBC-Online, the
Connecticut Post, his web magazine, The Pequonnock, and Reading
Between the Lines, a web magazine affiliated with the Between the
Lines radio program.

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