It is no secret that the Obama Administration has been going after government whistleblowers like an anteater at a termite hill. 1) Since 2009 the Obama DOJ has prosecuted more than twice the number of whistleblowers and leakers than all preceding administrations combined—2) not including the numerous foreign journalists whom the US has had indefinitely detained in countries like Yemen and Iraq for daring to expose American military atrocities and corruption. 3) Army Pfc Bradley Manning is currently being tried for leaking close to a million classified government documents to WikiLeaks, including 250,000 diplomatic cables and a video of the now notorious July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike. While embarrassing, none of the documents is considered high security. 4) Meanwhile, WikiLeaks’s own Julian Assange is still holed up in London’s Ecuadorian embassy for fear that the administration wants him extradited to the US. 5) In January internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz took his own life before going to trial for downloading millions of academic articles from research service JSTOR. If found guilty, he would have faced the possibility of a draconian 35 years in prison. Why was he hounded so mercilessly for something JSTOR was willing to dismiss? It has just been revealed he was working on an internet safe-drop for whistleblowers. 6) Earlier this month Assata Shakur, a Black Panther activist who fled to Cuba over 30 years ago, was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list (I guess they’ve given up on D.B. Cooper). 7) And this week it came to light that in 2012 the Justice Department seized phone records of nearly 100 Associated Press reporters. To say the least, the administration’s policies have had a chilling effect on investigative reporters and their sources, not to mention freedom of the press.
What is going on? Why this unsubtle attack on First Amendment privileges and internet freedom? And how, if at all, are all these cases connected? As Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Christ Hedges stated yesterday in an interview on Democracy Now,
“What we are seeing is a system put into place where it’s all propaganda….you’ve got to hand it to the Obama administration. They’re far more clever than their predecessors in the Bush administration, but they’re carrying out exactly the same policy of snuffing out our most basic civil liberties and our most important press freedoms. And that’s because they know what’s coming, and they are going to legally put in place [a system] by which any challenge to the centers of corporate power become ineffectual or impossible.”
The corporate coup of our republic is nearing its completion. But there are still a few minor obstacles to absolute domination, such as our constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and press. The military-industrial complex plans to be at war into the next century, so anyone who challenges the official narrative needs to be silenced. The internet and social media are too much of a threat. Americans must be kept in the dark about what their government is actually doing.
The War on Terror has been a tremendous boon to the consummation of the corporate power-grab, since citizens who imply that the emperor is naked can now be simply labeled “terrorists” and either bullied or prosecuted into silence (soon they will just be “detained” indefinitely like their foreign counterparts).
As journalist Glenn Greenwald has warned us all along, the war against Muslims and foreign journalists was the canary in the coalmine that should have alerted us to the crisis. Did we really think it would end with them, that we ordinary Americans would be immune? Simply because we’re not one of “those people”?
The corporate power that rules Washington also knows better than we that there is a growing citizen backlash against their totalitarian ambitions, which is why movements like Occupy Wall Street have been treated with the same paranoia and labeled “domestic terrorism.” Our Founders’s worst nightmares are now a looming reality. If we want to save our Constitution from further shredding, the time to start standing up was yesterday, but it still might not be too late.