No 805 Posted by fw, July 9, 2013
“Wiretaps without warrants. Surveillance of everyone. Who’s in charge? And who’s watching the watchers? Will anything change? And does this massive spending actually make America more secure? In the next hour we decipher the top secrets, the open secrets and the business secrets behind the intelligence-industrial complex.…We venture into a world of dark secrets and dirty wars and reveal the ultimate secret of secrets in a democracy forced to choose between rights and security.” —Marwan Bishara, Host of AlJazeera’s Empire
With those words, host Marwan Bishara introduces a recent episode of AlJazeera’s program Empire titled “Empire of Secrets”. Click on the linked title to watch the video on the AlJazeera website.
Alternatively, read the introduction to the program below followed by an embedded version of the 47:46-minute video, Empire of Secrets. Following that video is a 2:10-minute postscript video titled The Ultimate Secret.
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama promised transparency and open government yet his administration is one of the most closed governments in US history, described as being worse than even the Nixon administration.
The technology and information revolution allows the government to cast its net wider than ever before; collecting data, watching, spying and analyzing. As revelations of systemic snooping continue to hit the headlines, Empire asks: who is watching the watchers?
Just when more people open up about their private lives through social media, the government becomes ever more intrusive.
With more than 1,300 government surveillance and monitoring facilities in the United States, Empire looks to understand why so many government programmes are top secret. Why is secrecy and surveillance becoming such big business? And, is a national security state anything new?
We discuss whether state secrets really work, the rationale behind them, and examine what the world might be like without secrets.
As Empire explores the ultimate secret of secrets, the implicit conclusion that emerges is that secrecy in government is counterproductive. It is not only terribly damaging to the democratic process, but also, in the long-run, to the very objective of national security.
Joining us as we unpack some of the known unknowns are Oscar-winning film director Oliver Stone, and war reporters Jeremy Scahill and Richard Rowley.
We unravel the psychology of secrets with psychiatrist Justin Frank, the author of Obama on the Couch and Bush on the Couch. We look at the impact of state secrets brought to light with Dana Priest, a leading Washington Post investigative reporter on national security and author of two books, including her most recent Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State.
We are also joined by Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and an attorney representing Julian Assange and Wikileaks; as well as Evgeny Morozov, an expert on internet and privacy issues, and author of two books: The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom and his most recent: To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism.