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December 19, 2014
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What Obama Really Meant Was ...

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Posted on Jan 19, 2014

By Chris Hedges

(Page 3)

The horror of September 11th was masterfully manipulated by the security state and our for-profit military-industrial complex. These forces used the attacks as an excuse to increase the massive pilfering of taxpayer dollars, especially by the Department of Homeland Security, which has a public budget of $98.8 billion. The truth, however, is the system of internal security is so vast and so secret no one in the public has any idea how large our programs are or how much we spend. It is true that our 16 intelligence agencies missed the numerous signs and evidence leading up to the 9/11 attacks. In short, they screwed up, just as they did when they failed to anticipate the fall of the Shah of Iran or the collapse of the Soviet Union, or when they told us Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. But we have a rule in Washington: Never reform failed bureaucracies or hold government officials accountable; rather, give them more money. Keep failure secret.

It is a testimony to the hard work and dedication of the men and women of our intelligence community that over the past decade we’ve taken enormous strides in making the Middle East a caldron of rage. New capabilities and new laws have turned us into the most efficient killers on the planet. Relationships with foreign intelligence services have expanded, creating one immense, global corporate system of surveillance and security that obliterates the rights of people at home and abroad. Taken together, these efforts have killed hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. We have terrorized whole countries from the sky and forced millions to become refugees. This will ensure endless war, which ensures endless profits for those who make war—which is the point.

Over the last six months, I created an outside Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies to make recommendations for reform. This group is led by the same intelligence chiefs who carry out the abuses. The chancellor of Germany has, like many of our other allies, demanded we stop spying on citizens of that nation. But, unfortunately for the chancellor, as well as for you, my fellow Americans, we will continue to do whatever we want

The folks at the NSA and other intelligence agencies are our nation’s voyeurs and peeping Toms. They read your electronic bank and medical records. They know what you and your kids post on Facebook and Instagram. They have all of your emails and text messages. They track your movements through the GPS on your cellphone. They are not alone. Corporations of all kinds and sizes track your online searches and what you buy, then they analyze and store the data and use it for commercial purposes; that’s why those targeted ads pop up on your computer and your smartphone so often.

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Given the unique power of the state, it is not enough for leaders to say “trust us, we won’t abuse the data we collect.” History has too many examples of such trust being breached. Our system of government is built on the premise that our liberty cannot depend on the good intentions of those in power; it depends on the law to constrain those in power. And that is why Congress and our courts have rewritten our laws, from the NDAA to the FISA Amendment Act, to strip you of legal protection.

I would not be where I am today were it not for the courage of dissidents like Martin Luther King Jr. who were spied upon by their own government. But I, like Bill Clinton, have sold out those true patriots and gutted those government programs that made possible my own education and ascent into systems of elite power. As president I understand, as do Bill and Hillary, that political power is about us, not about you. I know where power in this country lies. It does not lie with the citizen. It lies with Wall Street and corporate boardrooms. And since my vanity demands that I be famous, wealthy and powerful, I work hard for these centers of power. None of these centers of power want to see any curbs on the security and surveillance state. And so I will make sure there are none.


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