This is an excellent synopsis from Professor Juan Cole, a noted public intellectual and academic at the University of Michigan, on the flagrant and increasingly naked abuses of state power in our society today.
To dismiss these actions as “business as usual,” or concern about them as “paranoia,” is evidence of a dangerous level of naivety. It reveals an unwarranted and fundamentally un-American trust in the benevolence of power, and those who wield it beyond the scrutiny of the public eye of accountability.
Greenwald Partner falsely detained as Terrorist: How to Create a Dictatorship
August 19, 2013
How to turn a democracy into a STASI authoritarian state in 10 easy steps:
1. Misuse the concept of a Top Secret government document (say, the date of D-Day) and extend classification to trillions of mundane documents a year.
2. Classify all government crimes and violations of the Constitution as secret
3. Create a class of 4.5 million privileged individuals, many of them corporate employees, with access to classified documents but allege it is illegal for public to see leaked classified documents
4. Spy on the public in violation of the Constitution
5. Classify environmental activists as terrorists while allowing Big Coal and Big Oil to pollute and destroy the planet
6. Share info gained from NSA spying on public with DEA, FBI, local law enforcement to protect pharmaceuticals & liquor industry from competition from pot, or to protect polluters from activists
7. Falsify to judges and defense attorneys how allegedly incriminating info was discovered
8. Lie and deny to Congress you are spying on the public.
9. Criminalize the revelation of government crimes and spying as Espionage.
10. Further criminalize whistleblowing as “Terrorism”, have compradors arrest innocent people, detain them, and confiscate personal effects with no cause or warrant (i.e. David Miranda, partner of Glenn Greenwald)
Presto, what looks like a democracy is really an authoritarian state ruling on its own behalf and that of 2000 corporations, databasing the activities of 312 million innocent citizens and actively helping destroy the planet while forestalling climate activism.
Though I do take issue with Cole’s factual mischaracterization regarding David Miranda’s status (point 10) as a completely uninvolved, “innocent” person in the matter, since he was acting as a paid courier in the work of Poitras and Greenwald. That status does make him an understandable target for the police. However, it still doesn’t excuse what he was forced to go through, or legitimize the legal rationale that the state used for doing what it did. Even if he was serving as a participant in this journalistic endeavor, there is no excuse for the state to be allowed to do engage in that kind of surveillance shake down in the name of “fighting terrorism.”
Read the original post at Professor Cole’s blog Informed Comment
(includes reader commentary)