Communique


• Written by the executive director of one of the organizations representing Edward Snowden in the United States

• Warns that government-corporate “cooperation” in gathering intelligence has fueled an enormous erosion of our civil liberties

• Links the blurring of lines between government and business with the failure to prosecute those responsible for the 2008 economic collapse

Edward Snowden’s dramatic NSA revelations are only the tip of an iceberg that threatens to sink the Constitution. As Beatrice Edwards reveals, a host of government agencies are rendering our Bill of Rights meaningless by heavy surveillance of average citizens, political persecution of dissenters, and the threat of indefinite detention now codified into law. Corporations assist and reap handsome profits as a result—70 percent of the $56.2 billion US intelligence budget is paid to private contractors.

As a result, we now live in a Corporate Security State where the government is more interested in safeguarding the health of the companies that serve it than the citizens who support it. How did we get here? And is there a way out?

Edwards lays out the steps intelligence agencies took in the wake of 9/11 to illegitimately extend their reach (and their budgets). Private corporations were only too eager to supply them with the latest surveillance technology and consumer data, essentially becoming an unofficial, and unaccountable, extension of those agencies. Edwards shows how the government has concealed its actions by greatly expanding both the classification of documents—the Obama administration has refused more Freedom of Information Act requests than Bush’s—and the prosecution of whistleblowers, many of whom she has worked with personally.

Further, she exposes how the bogus claim of an imminent ”cyber war” is being used to justify businesses spying on employees and customers, as well as government and business sharing their ill-gotten information. This is why the Justice Department isn’t going after the corporations responsible for the financial collapse of 2008—as Edwards shows, all too often they’re partners in crime.

But she offers a plan for fighting back—steps we can demand to restore transparency to government, keep private information private, and make democracy a reality once again.