President Obama has alienated much of his liberal base by coming across increasingly as a toady to the Establishment, with his defense of drone strikes, his embrace of the surveillance state and his prosecution of anti-secrecy whistleblowers, as Lawrence Davidson explains.
More than a decade ago, as President George W. Bush sought legal cover for invading Iraq, the National Security Agency spied on key UN diplomats with the hope of blackmailing them. But British intelligence officer Katharine Gun leaked the secret and – like Edward Snowden today – changed the debate, Marcia Mitchell recalls.
From the Archive: Only public outrage – global and domestic – stands any hope of pushing back the National Security Agency’s “surveillance state.” As hard as that may be, there was success a decade ago disrupting President George W. Bush’s Orwellian Total Information Awareness that Nat Parry described in 2002.
From Editor Robert Parry: Summer reading – often called “beach reading” – is usually light fare, from romance novels to some classy fiction praised by the New York Times’ Book Review. But we’re offering something a little different, a rewrite of recent American history.
Exclusive: U.S. government officials insist that their secret surveillance techniques are so valuable in fighting “terrorism” that they must be kept completely in the dark – along with the American people. This alleged imperative has justified even lying to Congress, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern observes.
U.S. government officials (and many mainstream pundits) assure Americans that there’s nothing to fear from the electronic surveillance aimed at “terrorists,” but some intelligence experts say the new techniques could ultimately intimidate people from participating in democracy, as author Christopher Simpson tells Dennis J Bernstein.
It is true, as President Obama says, that you can’t have 100% security and 100% privacy, but it’s also true that you can never have 100% security – and seeking it often makes you less secure by creating more enemies. Any debate on this must include the imperfect process called “conflict transformation,” says Patrick T. Hiller.
After 9/11, the principal “liberty” that many Americans seemed to prize most was the “freedom” to go to the shopping mall without having to fear “terrorists.” That attitude gave impetus to the construction of a police-state framework that could crush all the other liberties and freedoms, Daniel Ellsberg warns.
Americans tend to swing back and forth on the question of security v. privacy, depending on the latest big story. After the Boston Marathon bombings, there was anger over too little FBI prevention; after disclosures of massive data collection, there’s fury over too much intrusion – a dilemma examined by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Exclusive: Edward Snowden, the person who disclosed top-secret documents on the U.S. government’s massive surveillance programs, is reportedly in Hong Kong and seeking asylum from countries that value openness and freedom, conditions seen as slipping away at home, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.