On Thursday, June 27th Allen Ruff was joined by his long-time guest and editor of the Progressive magazine Matt Rothschild to talk about national surveillance, the Snowden case, and what will happen now. Rothschild has been reporting for years on emerging signs of a police state, from police spying on Occupy Wallstreet activists to the dry run of martial law in the aftermath of the Boston bombings.
Their prediction for the future is a grim one. The FISC court – ‘the court that never says no’ – refuses on average 1/2000 requests by the government, so we can expect no checks and balances. In addition, the constant ‘War on Terror’ that is being waged is being used to vastly expand the national security state and cause a mentality of constant war. The idea of citizen spies, domestic drones and insider threat, where co-workers and citizens spy on each other, is especially reminiscent of a war state.
Additionally, Ruff and Rothschild addressed not only the inter-departmental cooperation and fusion of all branches of law enforcement (such as the NYPD CIA), but also the corporate ties in many national security organizations. This connection means that all consumer and telecom date can be handed over to the government, and also raises the issues of money to be made in “national security” and the fact that these corporations, unlike a law enforcement agency, are not necessarily accountable to the people.
Finally, they covered the prosecution of whistle-blowers and even the criminalization of the media that reports the truth. This crackdown on journalists could be especially devastating to democracy and the transparency of government.
Moreover, Rothschild pointed out that terrorists cells don’t even usually use the channels of communication that the government is collecting. They are spending their time compiling huge, unneeded amounts of data – yet didn’t heed a Russian government warning about a terrorist in Massachusetts which led to the Boston bombings. As he said, “We may catch a few more terrorists under these measures, but is it worth living in a police state and giving up our basic rights?” He also quoted Feingold, who warned about these consequences when he voted against the Patriot Act, “this is not America”.
Is there a broader police state in our future? As long as the American people continue not to speak out, according to Rothschild and Ruff – yes.
Listen to the entire interview here: