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The Last Days of Democracy
Posted on Aug 2, 2007
Harris: Why don’t we hear about this legislation? Why don’t we hear about these efforts to control the Internet, to control wireless? Is this part of the systematic effort you are talking about?
Cohen: Yes, I believe that that’s the case. Just to preface this in 2007, I won the Project Censored award for my article on the corporate takeover of the Internet. And the reason why I did was because Project Censored thought that it was the most censored story of—it actually goes back to 2005 when the decision I mentioned, the Supreme Court decision, was made. It wasn’t heard at all on the mainstream. And why not? Well, part of the main reason, one of the main reasons, is that these companies really don’t want to blow their cover. I mean, you have all these large corporations having interconnected board members. I mean, they have contracts with each other, they have relationships with each other. And if they don’t want this news covered because it’s dangerous to their prosperity, it won’t be covered. That’s part of it, but the other part of it is even more unsettling. And that’s where we find the government really having an interest in this, and much has been said in the progressive media about the Project for the New American Century, PNAC, but one of the issues of PNAC that hasn’t been broached that much is the problem of the Internet and how that keys into the ideology of PNAC. Basically, what PNAC wants to do is to control the Internet. And they have been very explicit about this and a report called “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” in 2000—they specifically address this, so I think something about the Project for the New American Century, what its genesis is, before I say something about—.
Cohen: Right, the Project for the New American Century was begun around ‘97 or ‘98 by a bunch of individuals who ultimately showed up as the officials of the Bush administration. These people like Dick Cheney and even Scooter Libby and [Paul] Wolfowitz and [Richard] Perle and so many others who are controlling the government right now [or were controlling the government]. It even included [Donald] Rumsfeld.
Scheer: Some of them should be in prison, or are in prison.
Cohen: These individuals are now calling the shots for the Bush administration. So we can understand, we can assume that the ideologies espoused by the Project for the New American Century are really the perspectives of the Bush administration. Because they control the Bush administration, including the vice president. And, one of the things, the main interest of the Project for the New American Century, was really to control, to use military might, to corporatize and control the world. I mean, in just plain English. They entertained the idea of taking over Iraq, whether or not Saddam Hussein presented a threat; they were very specific. It didn’t really matter as long as they can get that area and establish a permanent base there, that’s what they wanted. One of the things regarding the Internet that they talked about was the Internet has elements in a global commerce politics and power play. And they said that “any nation,” and this is a quote, “wishing to assert itself globally must take account of this other new global commerce.” And then they went on and said it’s an invaluable tool, they said, “that could provide,” and this is a quote, “America’s military and political leaders,” let me emphasize political leaders, “an offensive,” not just a defensive, “for disabling an adversary in a decisive manner.” And then when they were talking about cyberspace that it maintains that the Defense Department must establish control and provide for the security for the Internet. Now, when you bring in the Defense Department controlling the Internet—tell me if I’m speculating here—is that a recipe for controlling the Internet?
Scheer: Is this a new phenomenon with the government trying to control people? Because it seems that governments have always tried to do that, or is this Bush administration, and this time that we are in, something unique and even further than the Nazis or the communists or the Americans in the ‘20s, the ‘30s, the ‘40s and the ‘50s. Is this something that we are seeing right now that is different than the typical government control of its people?
Cohen: Well, if you’re talking about, let’s say, how much control did the Clinton administration exert over the government versus the Bush administration; or if you’re comparing it with the Nazis, that’s a different story. I think there’s a strong parallel between the ways the Nazis proceeded and the way Bush is proceeding. If you look at the distinction between, say, the Clinton administration and the Bush administration, there’s also a difference. It’s to some extent a difference in degree, and in some extent, to some extent, it is a difference in kind. The different in degree is the interest in dealing with the media and engaging in quid pro quo. Certainly, the Clinton administration, which in 1996 signed into law the Telecommunications Act , which gave more control over larger markets to the media, the mainstream—these large corporations—and helped to move along this corporate consolidation. You know, these large corporations gaining, getting larger and larger and controlling more and more of the media. So, I mean, when you have this small group of individual corporations controlling the media, there’s less competition. Even though there are more stations, but, in that case, you know, I know you want to get away from the media, it’s hard to do that here.
Scheer: Well, I didn’t mean to get away from the media, but I meant that in terms of having a conversation about the New American Century and things like that, I know they go hand in hand. I was talking more about Nazis, not about their brutality but their control of the media, or in this country we had the Red Scare in the ‘20s and we had McCarthyism, we had the Cold War, where we used fear, we used the media, to kind of control the message.
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