How Washington Protects Itself and the Corporate Sector
Noam Chomsky, TomDispatch
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Intellectual, political activist, Professor Noam Chomsky. (photo: Russia Today)
July 1, 2014 | It goes without saying that the honchos of the national security state weren’t exactly happy with Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations. Still, over the last year, the comments of such figures, politicians associated with them, and retirees from their world clearly channeling their feelings have had a striking quality: over-the-top vituperation. About the nicest thing anyone in that crew has had to say about Snowden is that he’s a “traitor” or -- shades of the Cold War era (and of absurdity, since the State Department trapped him in the transit lounge of a Moscow airport by taking his passport away) -- a “Russian spy.” And that’s the mild stuff. Such figures have also regularly called for his execution, for quite literally stringing him up from the old oak tree and letting him dangle in the breeze. Theirs has been a bloodcurdling collective performance that gives the word “visceral” new meaning.
Such a response to the way Snowden released batches of NSA documents to Glenn Greenwald, filmmaker Laura Poitras, and the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman calls for explanation. Here's mine: the NSA’s goal in creating a global surveillance state was either utopian or dystopian (depending on your point of view), but in either case, breathtakingly totalistic. Its top officials meant to sweep up every electronic or online way one human being can communicate with others, and to develop the capability to surveil and track every inhabitant of the planet. From German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to peasants with cell phones in the backlands of Afghanistan (not to speak of American citizens anywhere), no one was to be off the hook. Conceptually, there would be no exceptions. And the remarkable thing is how close the agency came to achieving this.
Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator and activist. He is perhaps best known as a critic of all forms of social control and a relentless advocate for community-centered approaches to democracy and freedom. Over the last several decades, Chomsky has championed a wide range of dissident actions, organizations and social movements.
Howard Zinn’s July 4 Wisdom: Put Away Your Flags, Howard Zinn, The Progressive
- In a nation like ours -- huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction -- what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves.
- Trying to Feel Patriotic on the Fourth of July
- Noam Chomsky | America's Real Foreign Policy