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Under Trump and NSA-Cyber Complex, the Coup for Our Minds Has Already Started Printer friendly page Print This
By Dallas Darling
Submitted by Author
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

When Thomas Jefferson wrote that he’d rather have a free press without a government than a government without a free press, he could’ve also included punitive corporations. Two alarming trends are indeed threatening the public’s right to know and be informed, which is the very foundation of any democracy. With the re-imprisonment of Barret Brown for exposing the inner workings of the cyber-military-industrial complex, and the Trump Administration’s threat to change, if not abolish, the First Amendment, the only security against the rise of a fascist state will be completely removed.

You Spy, I Go to Jail
Barrett Brown, an American journalist who founded Project PM, a collaborative effort to facilitate and expose troves of hacked emails and leaked information regarding the National Security State and Defense Department, was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison in the Stratfor Email Leak. In the fight for press freedom, he reported how intelligence-contracting firms were spying on activists on behalf of major military and civilian corporations. He was charged with threats, conspiracy and retaliation against federal officers, and found guilty of being associated with WikiLeaks and Anonymous.(1)

Barrett Brown’s case gets more bizarre when upon his release, after serving jail time since September 12, 2012, he was arrested again last Thursday. Lawyers said authorities accused him of missing a “check-in” and failing a drug test. But this doesn’t match court records, which showed he met his “check-in” date and passed a drug test. What’s more, authorities are now saying he was arrested for “unknown reasons,” one possibly being missing paperwork. Some think the real reason he’s considered a danger is due to the interviews he’s conducted, the latest one scheduled for PBS the day after his arrest.(2)

At Risk Amendments and Rights to Privacy
White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus meanwhile announced the White House continues to consider amending or even abolish the First Amendment of critical press coverage of President Donald Trump.(3) Backing the presidents campaign promises of changing libel laws, he added President Trump should have a right to sue anyone media or press outlet that spreads malicious rumors or lies. Such statements also come on the heels of the president’s claims of “Fake News” and that opposing coverage has “no basis in fact.”(4) Though a free press needs to be a respected press, the Trump Administration’s aims would certainly threaten the free exchange of investigative ideas and debate.

Another chilling factor of a rising fascist state is the report on how government officials under the Obama Administration wanted to know the identities 1,934 Americans whose information was swept up in the NSA’s surveillance programs last year.(5) Although names are supposed to be masked to protect privacy, President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, managed to gather the information for political purposes. What’s more, and despite repeated requests, U.S. intelligence agencies still won’t tell lawmakers how many other Americans were under surveillance or had their emails hacked  and calls vacuumed up by warrantless government surveillance programs.

Armed With Freedoms to Be Informed and Think
If a fascist state thrives when its journalists are imprisoned and purged, and a free press and information is censored and silenced, the Trump Administration and NSA-cyber-military-industrial complex has certainly steered a course for a coup. But unlike a military coup, this coup is for the minds of the American people and their right to be informed and know. Indeed, the only security against a coup for our thoughts and ideas are investigative reporters and a free press that is unhindered by a dominating administration or some dark and obscure state. If people want to remain free, and free to think, they must ensure that everyone has a right to be armed with a free press and free exchange of information.


Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action; Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism And Consumerism in the Context of John‘s Apocalyptic Vision; and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace. He is a correspondent for

(1) “Journalist Barrett Brown, Recently Released from Prison Arrested Again.”, May 1, 2017.

(2)  See “Barrett Brown" at

(3) “Preibus: Trump Considering Amending or Abolishing 1st Amendment.” May 1, 2017.

(4) “White House Has ‘Looked At’ Changing Libel Laws, Reince Priebus Says.”, May 1, 2017.

(5) “Was Trump Right? NSA Sought to ’Unmask’ 1,934 Americans in Intelligence Reports," by Deb Riechmann., May 3, 2017.

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