Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Tale of Coup Cities - 9

A decline after a decline = the decline

The decline of the U.S. Constitution is synonymous with the decline of the nation.

The First Amendment includes the supreme law concerning a free press.

A free press that is in a decline after a decline.

The graphic to the upper-left points out today's topic, which is that the U.S. is in one decline after another, including a decline concerning a fundamental principle in traditional American values: a free press.

Concerning that fundamental value, we have declined to almost last place in the top 50:
9-New Zealand
13-Czech Republic
21-Costa Rica
24-Cape Verde
33-United Kingdom
36-Antigua and Barbuda
38-El Salvador
42-South Africa
43-Trinidad and Tobago
44-Papua New Guinea
46-United States
(Reporters Without Borders, emphasis added). The militarization of federal agencies, and the usurpation of civilian authority by the military is a reason the U.S. fell 13 points to a new low:
Countries that pride themselves on being democracies and respecting the rule of law have not set an example, far from it. Freedom of information is too often sacrificed to an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs, marking a disturbing retreat from democratic practices. Investigative journalism often suffers as a result.

This has been the case in the United States (46th), which fell 13 places, one of the most significant declines, amid increased efforts to track down whistleblowers and the sources of leaks.
(ibid, Reporters Without Borders, emphasis added). In the previous post of this series, I indicated that there would be some discussion in today's post about how the civilian relationship with the military has an impact on a free press.

Here is an excerpt from a review of "The Soldier and the State," which is still a relevant book on this subject:
The political power of the military has developed and matured since Huntington published The Soldier and the State in 1957. During the post–World War II and Korean War periods, interservice rivalry was so intense that military leaders often exhausted their political energy in turf and budget battles with each other, resulting in enhanced civilian control. Huntington sounded a cautionary note as he regarded this contentious environment, suggesting that should the
services unite their efforts, “inter-service peace would probably have certain costs in decreased civil-military harmony. ”In fact, an unintended consequence of the Goldwater-Nichols Act, which strengthened the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and forced jointness on an unwilling military, has been a strengthening of the military’s political power. The military has become a political constituency that must be addressed in the Washington power equation. Richard Kohn, a well-known commentator on contemporary civil-military relations, observes, “The professional military, with its allies and communities, has developed into a potent political force in American government. Knowledgeable people, particularly those who, in each administration, are charged with the direction of national security affairs, recognize this, even if they cannot, for political reasons, admit it openly .
(American Civil-Military Relations, PDF, emphasis added). The free press corruption problem has spread to nations that are as a consequence way down in the quality of freedom of the press list.

Those military influenced nations are called The Five Eyes, for reasons that have nothing to do with the eyes of journalism:
We’re not talking only of the NSA as far as this is concerned, there is a multilateral agreement for co-operation among the services and this alliance of intelligence operations is known as the Five Eyes. What agencies and countries belong to this alliance and what is its purpose?

The Five Eyes alliance is sort of an artifact of the post World War II era where the Anglophone countries are the major powers banded together to sort of co-operate and share the costs of intelligence gathering infrastructure.

So we have the UK’s GCHQ, we have the US NSA, we have Canada’s C-Sec, we have the Australian Signals Intelligence Directorate and we have New Zealand’s DSD. What the result of this was over decades and decades what sort of a supra-national intelligence organisation that doesn’t answer to the laws of its own countries.
(Snowden Interview, emphasis added, the question is in bold italics). Notice that the leader of The Five Eyes Alliance is the U.S. military NSA, yet, the entity is an epigovernment apparatus ("doesn’t answer to the laws of its own [country]").

So, the more military influence there is, the lower on the Freedom of the Press scale any nation tends to be rated.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

1 comment:

  1. The military NSA was doing industrial spying on other countries, including spying in Attorney-Client Privilege scenarios, and sharing it with interested U.S. corporations. Link