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Thursday, 22 August 2013 09:39

The More Likely Reason for Spying: It's For Protecting the Profits of the Oligarchs

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BF 8 22 13 RainforestAerial view of the Amazon Rainforest. (Photo: CIFOR)JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Coincidentally, after reading that the world’s last Amazon rainforest is disappearing for oil profits, a review on Matt Damon’s new film “Elysium” appeared on the same page.  It described the earth as gray, barren, little more than a polluted prison for all those not wealthy enough to live on the luxury space station “Elysium,” hovering a short 20-minute shuttle ride above earth. The poor are left to fight in squalid conditions, which is the deplorable situation right now for over half the world’s children. 

They are poor because for the last two centuries, industrialists have been raping the earth’s resources without restoring what they took, depleting community economies as they go; it’s a form of capitalism that is so ruthless that it defies the meaning of capitalism; it benefits a few thousand people at the expense of the human race, wildlife habitats, fresh water, oceans, forests—nearly everything that makes the earth a heaven instead of a hell.  Read Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” for an in-depth explanation of this parasitical model of capitalism based on corporate privatization.

The Amazon rainforest is not only valuable for its medicinal value: we need it to regenerate crops and rain as we enter the age of climate change, man-made pollution that is escalating at an alarming rate. Last week, it was reported that the earth's climate is changing more quickly today than at any time since the extinction of the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago, according to a new report by a pair of Stanford University researchers in the latest issue of the journal Science. 

“Elysium” is a dark depiction of where we’re heading. After all, industrial oligarchs are moving our existential condition rapidly to that unthinkable end.  In short, the science supports it.  

While the US Gov continues to dump billions of tax dollars into a totalitarian police state surveillance operation, Americans are suffering from extreme global warming disasters, from life-threatening Missouri floods to uncontrollable wildfires and water shortages on the west coast. 

As natural resources diminish, and as the earth becomes a toxic waste dump—the historical question becomes obvious: How do you control millions of starving, angry people? 

Enter NSA: a totalitarian police state that protects the few wealthy oligarchs. 

Oil oligarchs buy off politicians on the cheap, for loose pocket change compared to the billions of dollars they make from polluting the earth with fossil fuels: The government gives them permission to drill, frack, and pollute public and private lands. They can destroy ancient forests.  They can turn beautiful oceans into toxic dead zones (Gulf of Mexico).  They can pollute as much as they want, irresponsibly, and without any critical state or federal oversight.  For decades, Republicans have called for the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency. Mission accomplished.  There is no EPA to speak of.

Why? Consider the financial portfolios of House-Senate members, top officials in the White House, Supreme Court Justices and their investments in oil & gas.  Oil and gas industry holdings are some of the most popular investments among lawmakers and their spouses, and in recent years have grown in value, according to a study by the Center for Responsive Politics.

130 lawmakers reported investments worth a minimum of $21.3 million in the oil and gas industry. The exact values of their investments are not known because lawmakers are allowed to report their assets and liabilities in broad ranges. Given this, these assets might have been worth up to $48.2 million to several billion dollars.  

Add Hillary Clinton to the list, former Secretary of State, who got the ball rolling for theXL Keystone Tar Sands Pipeline worth billions of dollars to oil investors, the consumption of this oil would be the same as setting off a “carbon bomb into the atmosphere,” as environmentalist and activist Bill McKibben put it, by intensifying global warming beyond the tipping point.

So who and what do you think the US government protects? Hard working Americans? Environmentalists? Rainforests? Whales? Or their own investments in oil & gas?

In my recent commentary for Buzzflash, Big Oil May Destroy World’s Largest Rainforest and Accelerate Global Warming—I explained that protesters around the world are angry about the fact that merely a few wealthy oligarchs are determining the fate of our planet. Since these decisions affect us all and future generations, voters should have a say in determining global warming and eco- sustainable solutions.  But that's the last thing that the oligarchs want: a real democracy.  The oil industrialists disdain the people and the Bill of Rights that protects the individual from a government that abuses its power.  That explains why the oligarchs authorized radically un-American laws such as the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act that override the people’s inalienable rights protected in the U.S. Constitution.  Make no mistake about it: the NSA surveillance operation is a blatant violation of the people’s rights. There is no excuse or defense for it. It has nothing to do with protecting Americans and everything to do with protecting the oil and weapon industries.

Ask President Obama why the world’s last sacred rainforest is going to be demolished in a matter of months? Most of that oil in the Amazon will be supporting US military operations (and House-Senate investments).  The rest is going to China.

The U.S. Department of Defense consumes more oil per day than 170 nations. The rising cost of oil from depletion problems explains why the armed services want to invest in alternative energy, including the use of biofuels for ships and planes.  If the military shifts to sustainable energy, it could mean a major reduction of oil dependency and the end of oil wars. 

Predictably the oil-soaked congress, specifically the Senate Armed Services Committee,voted to ban the military from spending money on alternative fuels  even though the USmilitary is spending an estimated $12 billion dollars on fuel a year. 

Spying is conducted to protect the industrial polluters. It’s highly doubtful that the oil executives’ phones and e-mails are being tapped by the NSA. Rather, the US government spies on Americans in search of protesters who plan to peacefully demonstrate against Big Oil. Example: XL Keystone Pipeline:

According to a Earth Island Journal report published August 12th 2013, the infiltration is part of a wider pattern of surveillance by government officials who routinely share information about activists with TransCanada — the firm behind the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry Canadian tar sands oil to Texas if approved by the Obama administration.

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As Marine Colonel Peter Martino put it, “The US government is spying on Americans because they fear Americans."The US government is in the business of protecting corporate profits for the oligarchs. Americans understand this perfectly well and that’s why congress has the lowest approval ratings in history.

As for transforming the earth into a toxic barren oil pit, the only way that can be stopped is through the power of young entrepreneurs who have the means and wealth to put Big Oil out of business.  Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) represents an economic shift from industrial energy to clean energy transportation.  One such development is the magnetic engineered Hyperloop transport system. The Hyperloop would transport people from city to city via pods enclosed inside of tubes.   

Moreover, sales are increasing for electric and hybrid vehicles in the last few years. According to a recent report in the Daily Beast July 2013, “Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are rising.”

And solar energy is booming due to a combination of factors, primarily because of declining prices of solar panels.  

President Obama continues to defend the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance operations by asserting the same stupid Dick-Oil-Oligarch-Cheney argument that it “protects Americans”.  It’s clear who they’re protecting; and it’s not average Americans.  Billions of tax dollars are given to private surveillance-weapon contractors who are getting filthy rich from federal contracts:  As Wars End, a Rush to Grab Dollars in Surveillance to protect the industrial oligarchs, top government officials, members of the House and Senate and their oil pollution investments.

For the President to defend a global surveillance apparatus that would make Stalin stand up and applaud when millions of Americans are suffering from a barrage of financial problems, when those billions of tax dollars should be used for solving the growing threat of industrial pollution, shortages of water, and global warming disasters—is unconscionable and indefensible.

Recommended Documentary:

Last Call at the Oasis  This film examines the nation’s water crisis, and evaluates the toxic chemicals in the supply system across America affected by water pollution and shortages. Scientists, activists, including Erin Brockovich, and social entrepreneurs shed light on this shocking and pervasive problem.

Jacqueline Marcus is the editor of ForPoetry.com and EnvironmentalPress.com. Author of Close to the Shore by Michigan State University Press, she taught philosophy for twenty years at Cuesta College.