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Tuesday, August 7

Authoritarianism Masquerading Behind a Fig Leaf of Democracy

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President Obama with national security advisors discussing "kill lists" in Oval Office
Lately, as I read the newspapers, peruse the web sites for the occasional exceptional investigative reporting that expose the official corruption and wrongful policies that at once elucidates and enlightens, there's the sense it seems gigantic and all encompassing at the same time.

Drones, surveillance, secret Justice Department memos giving "legal" cover for assassinations authorized by the president, persecution of whistleblowers, now a bill from the Senate Intelligence Committee that wants prosecution of lower level and career public officials, even former government employees "legally" preventing them from "providing background or off the record information regarding intelligence activities to the media," with only "the director, deputy director and designated public officials of intelligence agencies" excluded. [1]

All of this "official" paranoia came about when the New York Times published "Secret "Kill List' Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will" in late May which quoted various Obama administration officials on "kill lists" of suspects authorized by the president to be taken out in drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, (which was hardly a leak but an attempt to make Obama look tough and deflect right wing accusations that he was "soft" on terrorism).

Then of course was the media's disclosure of American and Israeli coordinated cyberattacks on Iran's nuclear facilities particularly the centrifuges enriching uranium.

Yet with all the administration "chest puffing" toughness, then the subsequent consternation and handwringing from the likes of the Senate intel committee, it still smacks of "big brother" tactics and the broadening of the national security state wrapped in deceptive packaging purporting to defend against terrorists and terrorism and go to any length to protect the public. But it's a façade, authoritarianism masquerading behind a fig leaf of democracy, the Constitution and the rule of law, while the latter are all being shredded. That's the reality.

Meanwhile the public is being distracted with a presidential campaign of false choices dominated by the two main parties with the winner in November guaranteed to continue our downward trajectory into a militarized national security state.

Couple this domestic transition of hyper security and surveillance with our endless war on terrorism conducted everywhere, hegemony exercised with impunity and our total disregard of other's national sovereignty, and are we not the rogue menace we accuse our enemies of being?
Just when can a president act as judge, jury and executioner, even of American citizens with total disregard for due process?

Except for the "occupy" movement which highlighted the gross inequality between the 1% and the 99% and discussed many of the ills described in this short piece before it was removed from the public spaces it inhabited, the general public has remained mostly passively indifferent to what has been happening within their midst.

Rebellion against the insidious usurpation of this country by a plutocracy of oligarchs that control it and the electoral process and the sycophantic handmaidens they underwrite and put in office to do their bidding is the only recourse left for resurrecting the country.

Yet we seem in a somnambulant, anesthetized state, some cynical and beaten down while others are infantilized with celebrity gossip or amused by some other inanity, but all removed from reality, enamored with this or that technological gadgetry and by all means distracted by texting, texting, texting.          

[1] Title 5, "Preventing Unauthorized Disclosures of Classified Information" as part of the Intelligence authorization bill for fiscal 2013.

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