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National Security Should Never Be a For-Profit Industry


Business  (tags: abuse, americans, business, corporate, corruption, dishonesty, economy, government, investors, lies, marketing, money, politics, society )

Kit
- 472 days ago - alternet.org
The privatized national security apparatus isn't just wasteful--it's contrary to the founding principles of our democratic republic.



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Kit B. (276)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 6:50 am
Image Credit: AlterNet



It's time to completely end the privatization of national security.

Business Week recently pointed out that 99 percent of Booze Allen Hamilton's revenues come from government contracts.

Why would we pay a CEO millions, stockholders tens of millions, and workers a small fortune when the same work could and should be done by civil servants?

Even worse, our privatized national security apparatus isn’t just wasteful; it’s contrary to the founding principles of our democratic republic.

Governments can be made accountable, transparent, and responsive to “We the People.” In fact, that's the core idea of our Constitution.

On the other hand corporations, by and large, are accountable only to profits.They’re opaque, and don't give a damn about “We the People,” except for the people who run them.

There once was a time, before Reagan put us on a privatization binge, when our national security was run by our government and answerable to “We the People.”

However, ever since the Reagan Revolution, our political class has been obsessed with the idea that since government can’t do anything right, private companies should take over most of our commons, even, in this case, the commons of our national security.

And that’s created an entire industry of companies like Booz Allen Hamilton, where NSA leaker Edward Snowden worked, reaping millions in profits every year to manage and lobby for an ever-expanding and ever-more-profitable national security industry.

Privatization enthusiasts praise contractors as efficient and responsible purveyors of public service, but corporations, by virtue of being corporations, are incompatible with the functions of representative government.

At its core, a republic requires accountability.

We entrust to our public officials the power to act in our interest.

If they violate that trust, we expect them to either face punishment or resign from their duties.

After all, they serve us, not stockholders or CEOs.

And accountability in a democratic republican society, in turn, requires transparency.

How can the public judge the crimes of its representatives without knowing about them?

As the Roman poet Juneval famously wrote about 2000 years ago, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”—Who will watch the watchers?

Our Founders answered that question quite simply in the Fourth Amendment and repeatedly throughout the Constitution: We, the People, will watch the watchers. They are answerable to us.

That’s also why they enshrined freedom of the press in the Constitution and gave Congress (the branch most directly answerable to the People by elections every two years) the power to investigate and correct the abuses of the executive and legislative branches of government.

But corporations are not governments; they don't even resembledemocratic republics.

By their very nature they are non-transparent, and only care about public concerns to the extent they affect their profitability.

Corporations are functionally kingdoms, with the CEO and Board of Directors as the King and main Lords, senior executives as Minor Lords, and all other employees as serfs.

And “national security” corporations have a specific carve-out from FOIA laws and whistleblower laws; they don’t generally have to disclose secrets or wrongdoings like government agencies do, and are additionally protected from doing so by privacy and trade secrecy laws. So you can’t just directly send a FOIA request to Booz Allen’s McLean, Virginia headquarters demanding information on its intelligence operations.

And for those, like Edward Snowden, who work for contractors engaged in questionable activities, there are few consistent and functional internal whistleblower mechanisms like those that exist for government workers.

The lack of accountability or transparency inherent to corporations isn’t a huge deal if a company is making, say sneakers, but it is a problem if that company is in control of an essential part of the commons like national security.

Some commentators have said that they don't care about government snooping because Google and Amazon are already snooping.

But Google and Amazon are doing that to make money. They lack the power to come to your home with a gun, put it to your head, and kill you or disappear you into a prison in Egypt.

Our government has that power, all governments do, which is why it's so important to demand transparency and accountability from government, and to keep non-transparent and unaccountable hands out of the spying cookie jar.

That power to arrest, and wage war, and to spy is nearly absolute, and with it must come nearly absolute transparency and accountability.

Let’s keep our commons – particularly the commons of our national security and policy agencies – transparent, accountable, and secure from abuse or corruption by the profit motive.

Congress should, today, take our national security apparatus out of the hands of unaccountable shadowy corporations and put it back in the hands of publicly-accountable institutions.
***

By: Thom Hartmann | AlterNet |
 

Jae A. (323)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 7:13 am
Great read and so 'right on' ..plus some of that good ol food for thought mixed in !

So how do we take that 'should' and make it happen ? Congress should do what's right or step down..resign..!?
I agree ...but ...how do you get the 'fox' to turn in the keys to the hen house'' when he's got the latest and largest ar$enal and propaganda machine in the world at it's finger tips... and for him, life is very good the way it is ...?

Votes might or might not be counted..protest will be squashed...Petitions help if paid attention to by those receiving them but if not...than what ? How many ways can that 'should' be forced to happen by the people if not by Congress persons themselves..............that might actually work ?
 

John C. (81)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 7:57 am
Aside from the violations of principle, or how vulnerable this situation makes people feel. It simply does not work.
The military in an effort to protect their jobs and careers will argue that they are keeping America safe. From what? Who? That America has enemies is a given. So why watch us? Are we the enemy?
How can the NSA keep us safe if they can't protect their secrets.
Blackwater was also one of these privatized "contractors" if you recall.
For a contractor with a GED who made $122,000 per year to take such an action sprains my dendrites.
Our own soldiers don't make anywhere near that amount while their personal risk is many times greater than these overpaid "experts." How is that cost effective? The results speak for themselves.
 

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 9:09 am
Thank you! This is shocking and sickening news. I had no idea this was going on! I feel sick. :(
 

Elle B. (82)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 9:23 am
Ty Kit ~ [going off road a bit...out of the trees to take a look at the forest...] Reagan...with his broad acting appeal...made it all ok for yearning mutlitudes to pull out the stops and put life forces into living grand illusions and fairy tales that make GREED and WAR MONGERING seem honorable, pretty and nice. Need to get to the roots. . .but probably won't because it doesn't grow the greed... Begin by NOT teaching children from infancy to imagine and glorify fantasies of PRIVATE kingdoms and castles, princes and princesses, kings and queens as the greatest aspirations. . .the most noble, desirable and heavenly experiences on earth. Why are such fantastic fabled monarchies held in the highest esteem and so deeply revered in what is supposed to be the greatest democracy on earth? In the meantime we live in Corporate Kingdoms ruled by Royal "Private" Profiteers. . .

“Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.” ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

PS: How about Disney steps up and takes a major rewrite lead here. . .now there's a fancy of sorts. . .but not the greedy warring kind. . .


 

Val R. (245)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 10:17 am
The founding fathers should be turning intheir graves by now.
 

John C. (81)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 10:30 am
"I would much prefer the inconveniences that come with too much freedom than the inconveniences that come from too little of it."
Thomas Jefferson
 

Jae A. (323)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 10:30 am
IN the 'old days' that's what the troops did....provided national security...at a much lower cost...much much much much lower..and they did a fine job of it.Since the invasion of Iraq....our troops apparently weren't up to par so 'the Corporates had to send in 'their' pros' ? Totally fricken insane !!!!!!!!!!!!$$$$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So now all that spy system that was added to the spy set up already,via Reagan years, was added to....big big big time....and since then...the spying continues ...but more on Americans than ever in History as the DHS and the not so patriot Patriot Act meant for it to...as well as posturing for more wars. Yep...out of control cost,false 'security' at super high cost and no end to the wars already going. Mean while folks are dying at a faster rate than the troops in the middle east at the hands of their own family friends and some whacko strangers with easy weapons access,having no back groud checks or tracabe systems in place for all these weapons.... at local Malls, theatres,school campuses.....

National/state/local Security Scams at their highest levels in History ..as is their $pying on American citizen$. Yep, Congress should step down....................sigh.
 

Jae A. (323)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 10:47 am
Search Engine that does not track........

https://duckduckgo.com/
 

Allan Yorkowitz (453)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 10:53 am
I was with ths article until the last pareagafh: "Congress should today take our national security apparatus out of the hands of unaccountable shadowy corporations and put it back in the hands pf publicly accountable institutions."
In the 80's, Reagan saw corporations as such. What or who does the author consider an accountable institution?
 

Malgorzata Zmuda (182)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 10:54 am
dzięki za informację
 

John C. (81)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 11:46 am
Alan,
To me an accountable institution is one that makes decisions out in the open where overreach can be curtailed.
Otherwise we risk the most important decisions of our lives being made by the least important people in it. In secret.
 

Jonathan Harper (0)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 12:23 pm
Its privatised - Bizarre!!
 

JL A. (275)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 1:07 pm
This is the worst type of privatization bar none--and perhaps the answer is the leak would never have happened had Snowden been a civil servant and that since he wasn't that the government finds they cannot make the charges they want against him like if he were...the best hope of reigning in this abuse of taxpayer funds.
 

Deborah W. (6)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 1:23 pm
AMEN.
 

Lois Jordan (56)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 2:31 pm
Thanks for posting this great piece, Kit. Although privatization has been happening in small increments for some time, it did explode with the invasion of Afghanistan. I'd been so busy raising my kids in the years before that, that I was uneducated and unaware. But, when I started reading that "No-Bid-Cost-Plus" private mercenary contractors were working side-by-side with our military personnel and making 4 times the money, I became actively involved in the conversation, and haven't stopped since. So, I'm very glad to see this info finally becoming mainstream. I'm just hoping it's not to late to rein in the beast. Sigh!
 

Birgit W. (145)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 2:42 pm
Our corporations and politicians are working all together under the table anyway, and our democracy has been gone for a long time.
 

Yvonne White (232)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 2:53 pm
"Some commentators have said that they don't care about government snooping because Google and Amazon are already snooping.
But Google and Amazon are doing that to make money. They lack the power to come to your home with a gun, put it to your head, and kill you or disappear you into a prison in Egypt."..Don't give them Ideas - or we'll wake up chained to a computer screen in Ohio! :(
 

Angelika R. (143)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 4:22 pm
What's the difference in practice? All of your government and congress are no more than contractors to the corporate elite, one thing the founding fathers probably did NOT foresee...
 

Mary Donnelly (47)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 5:53 pm
Bang on again Kit.
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 6:16 pm
"Privatization" of prisons is part of fascism!
 

Past Member (0)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 6:21 pm
Privatizing government, whether it's security, prisons, or anything we expect government to do is fascist!
 

John C. (81)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 8:33 pm
Privatization was the end result of DE-regulation. Phil Graham was the father of this legislation. He calls us a "nation of whiners."
I find it "common" in government to channel people into categories, and then blame them for what they have become because of the actions taken by the least important people in their lives.
 

John C. (81)
Saturday June 15, 2013, 8:34 pm
Thank you Kit for this article.
It is an important one.
 

Debra Tate (17)
Sunday June 16, 2013, 8:36 am
Noted. They should remove ALL in this crooked, lying and murdering administration! Start at the top with removing this Muslim from our White House! Wasn't the Fast and the Furious about illegal arms deals we made with Libya? Now we are giving guns to Syria. And F-16's to the Muslim Brotherhood and it goes on and on. He is fueling these wars between the peoples! He has a non profit that did not go through the proper channels to obtain that status, even though he targeted other nonprofits, that gives money only to his Kenyan family and built homes and hotels for them. That is not what a non profit does! Not to mention Benghazi, FBI, AP, DOJ, and that list goes on and on! No to mention he gets his news when we get ours!! If that is the case, Obama does not have the qualifications to set in the Oval Office! And WHERE is his birth certificate???? IMPEACH OBAMA!! HE IS SELLING US OUT!! Replace Congress in 2014! Get them all out!
 

Theodore Shayne (56)
Sunday June 16, 2013, 12:13 pm
Why is it that when you run a large corporation or financial institution you are handsomely packaged for its failing? I don't understand the logic/illogic of their reasoning.
 

Robert K. (31)
Monday June 17, 2013, 7:28 pm
Wow Debbie, I didn't think it was possible to survive without a functioning brain.
 
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