Chomsky: An Ignorant Public Is the Real Kind of Security Our Govt. Is After
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These instruments are regularly negotiated in secret, like the current Trans-Pacific Partnership - not entirely in secret, of course. They aren't secret from the hundreds of corporate lobbyists and lawyers who are writing the detailed provisions, with an impact revealed by the few parts that have reached the public through WikiLeaks.
As the economist Joseph E. Stiglitz reasonably concludes, with the U.S. Trade Representative's office "representing corporate interests," not those of the public, "The likelihood that what emerges from the coming talks will serve ordinary Americans' interests is low; the outlook for ordinary citizens in other countries is even bleaker."
Corporate-sector security is a regular concern of government policies - which is hardly surprising, given their role in formulating the policies in the first place.
In contrast, there is substantial evidence that the security of the domestic population - "national security" as the term is supposed to be understood - is not a high priority for state policy.
For example, President Obama's drone-driven global assassination program, by far the world's greatest terrorist campaign, is also a terror-generating campaign. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan until he was relieved of duty, spoke of "insurgent math": For every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies.
This concept of "innocent person" tells us how far we've progressed in the last 800 years, since the Magna Carta, which established the principle of presumption of innocence that was once thought to be the foundation of Anglo-American law.
Today, the word "guilty" means "targeted for assassination by Obama," and "innocent" means "not yet accorded that status."
The Brookings Institution just published "The Thistle and the Drone," a highly praised anthropological study of tribal societies by Akbar Ahmed, subtitled "How America's War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam."
This global war pressures repressive central governments to undertake assaults against Washington's tribal enemies. The war, Ahmed warns, may drive some tribes "to extinction" - with severe costs to the societies themselves, as seen now in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. And ultimately to Americans.
Tribal cultures, Ahmed points out, are based on honor and revenge: "Every act of violence in these tribal societies provokes a counterattack: the harder the attacks on the tribesmen, the more vicious and bloody the counterattacks."
The terror targeting may hit home. In the British journal International Affairs, David Hastings Dunn outlines how increasingly sophisticated drones are a perfect weapon for terrorist groups. Drones are cheap, easily acquired and "possess many qualities which, when combined, make them potentially the ideal means for terrorist attack in the 21st century," Dunn explains.
Sen. Adlai Stevenson III, referring to his many years of service on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, writes that "Cyber surveillance and meta data collection are part of the continuing reaction to 9/11, with few if any terrorists to show for it and near universal condemnation. The U.S. is widely perceived as waging war against Islam, against Shiites as well as Sunnis, on the ground, with drones, and by proxy in Palestine, from the Persian Gulf to Central Asia. Germany and Brazil resent our intrusions, and what have they wrought?"
The answer is that they have wrought a growing terror threat as well as international isolation.
The drone assassination campaigns are one device by which state policy knowingly endangers security. The same is true of murderous special-forces operations. And of the invasion of Iraq, which sharply increased terror in the West, confirming the predictions of British and American intelligence.