Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Government spy apparatus now turned against free press

Obama’s decision to go fishing in AP’s phone logs is a dangerous attempt to chill the free flow of inconvenient information, but it’s also kind of great to see the mainstream guys get slammed by the White House determination to dismantle any restriction on its authoritarian powers. When the big players start to feel the heat on THEMSELVES, that’s when they start to sit up and take notice—not before.

I recall back in the early 1980s when I happened to overhear one of the early radical right-wingers on the phone of a Washington hotel in between news conferences—I think it was Howard Philips but can’t remember for sure. He was talking to Jesse Helms’ office, and I used the information he was blabbing to embarrass him later in their own press briefing. He then retaliated by denouncing and my institution (Pacifica Radio) and naming me personally as unworthy beneficiaries of government largesse via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It was the early Reagan years, and this finger-pointing was a harbinger of the way the newly empowered ultras would go after anyone whom they didn’t like enjoying a slice of public money.

We called some likely supporters to see if they were worried about this threatening gesture, and needless to say, they were not. Frank Mankiewicz at National Public Radio went on the record with me to say that he saw nothing in the incoming Republican administration that should give cause for alarm. Six months later he was tooting a very different horn when the Reagan Administration came after his own operation, a sustained campaign that successfully pushed NPR toward becoming the insidiously bland insider font of contemporary Beltway wisdom that it is today.

That was then, when Democrats and self-described liberals were indignant about the creeping authoritarianism of the Reaganite crew. But now that cool Mr O is doing it, many in the blue camp are eager to find a reason why this is sorta okay as Glenn Greenwald documents. It’s going to come as a real shock to these folks sometime in the future when some vicious creep comes after them from the Obama-empowered security state and says, Guess what? Under the Obama Doctrine of 2013, we’re charging you with espionage for what you wrote, and the sentence could be 40 years. Reveal ALL your sources or say goodbye to life.

Meanwhile, isn’t it interesting that the Obamanoid repressive apparatus can’t lay a finger on anyone to prevent the nutbag Republicans from obtaining all sorts of flimsy evidence to assault them over Benghazi and other non-issues. No, those guys enjoy the full protection of a free-wheeling dissident environment where anything goes and the powerful are easy targets. But woe to anyone trying to criticize Obama as a despot, a warmonger or a buddy-boy of the corrupt banksters. Those reporters and activists are The Enemy, and there will be no quarter given.

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