The Korean War was central to the militarization of our society and to the creation a national security state. It was an essential element in fostering racism, sexism and in the cutting of social programs - creating growing inequality. Today, the threat of a cataclysmic war between Washington and North Korea cannot be discounted. It is vital for the US public to know that North Korea has been asking for a peace treaty with Washington and Seoul for sixty-four years.
President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to elevate ex-generals to the highest civilian offices in America’s national security state represents a de facto military coup against civilian oversight of the world’s largest military machine. Former generals Michael Flynn, a warrior-crusader against Islam, will be Trump’s national security adviser; James “Mad Dog” Mattis, will be the nation’s secretary of defense; and John Kelley will head the Department of Homeland Security.
Given the nature of the terrorist threat, no matter how many people it surveils or what kinds of communications it listens in on, no matter the drones in the air or the cameras on the streets, it remains remarkably helpless when it comes to finding the Syed Rizwan Farooks, Dahir Adans, and Ahmad Khan Rahamis of our world. It is incapable of picking those unexpected needles out of the vast haystack of us.
This is not war as we once knew it, nor is it government as we once understood it, nor are these elections as we once imagined them, nor is this democracy as it used to be conceived of, nor is this journalism of a kind ever taught in a journalism school. This is the definition of uncharted territory. A new, more frightening America is emerging and we can’t blame it all on Donald Trump. For it is this new America-in-formation that has paved the way for him.
Despite the volume of revelations, much of the public remains largely unaware of the true extent of the NSA's vast, highly aggressive and legally questionable surveillance activities. Given the vast amount of revelations about NSA abuses, it is somewhat surprising that just slightly more than a majority of Americans seem concerned about government surveillance. Which leads to the question of why?
When President Obama came into office, in what may be the single exception to the rule of the era, he walked back one crucial set of Bush administration policies, ending torture and closing the “black sites” where it occurred. Since then, however, the CIA has expanded. It and the national security state within which it is lodged, has grown, and the process of expanding that shadow government and freeing it from supervision has been unending.
Fifty years ago, Los Angeles erupted in a week long riot leaving dozens dead, 3,000 arrested and $40 million in property damage -- the 1965 Watts rebellion. This year also marks 40 years since the revelations of "official" investigations of US intelligence covert activity against US dissidents throughout the 1960s -- 1970s. Both events have something to teach us about the growth of the national security state and the criminalization of US dissent.
Ex-CIA official Jeffrey Sterling is going on trial for espionage because he allegedly told a reporter about a botched covert operation that sent flawed nuclear designs to Iran, but powerful people want to spare ex-CIA Director David Petraeus indictment for leaking secrets to his mistress, notes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern. Sterling, a whistleblower, and Petraeus, a retired four-star general, are being held to "cruelly different standards."