Star Trek and the NSA

Published on Intrepid Report, by Alan James Strachan, Ph.D., and Janet Coster, M.A., October 22, 2013.

… The shadow side of American democracy:

  • It is deeply distressing that Alexander has been allowed to go to such scandalous lengths in pursuit of his collect-it-all policy, and to do so, until recently, in secret. He is, presumably, acting at the behest of other forces, such as the military, the unitary presidency, the banking system and the corporations that increasingly practice unfettered dominance (not democracy) in our society.  
  • This is the shadow side of American democracy; it has been with us from our founding. On the one hand, we have striven to honor human rights. On the other hand, we have pursued a path of dominance and hostility toward the rights and lives of others. Seen in psycho-historical terms, Alexander is part of the tradition of dominance, and clearly he is proud of it.

Manifest Destiny in the digital age:

  • Where this story becomes truly bizarre is in the “Star Trek” décor that so excites Alexander and his congressional overseers. This is reminiscent of George W. Bush acting like a cowboy—and it was acting, for not only was he not a cowboy, but the kind of cowboy he was pretending to be was the mythic cowboy of the Old West, a character that never really existed.
  • Step back for a moment and look at what we have here: a recent president acting as though he were a fictional “cowboy” and an NSA director, a lieutenant general, acting as though he is a fictional “Star Trek” captain (albeit sans that character’s famously high moral character).
  • It is one thing for these men to have such fantasies about themselves and to nurture these fantasies well into adulthood; that alone should give us pause.
  • What should give us greater pause is that we live in a society in which they are able to act out their fantasies on taxpayer dollars as reputed public servants.
  • Alexander’s fantasy of being a starship captain firing illegal, but highly effective digital photon torpedoes at innocent citizens and foreign heads of state is inherently farcical and self-parodying, but we cannot laugh because it is deadly serious: Those torpedoes are being aimed at privacy and civil rights throughout the world.
  • Alexander’s “Star Trek”-themed control center has enabled lawmakers and other officials to sit in the “captain’s” chair—as though they are going on a theme-park ride—and pretend they are Jean-Luc Picard. This act of cartoon-like complicity simultaneously conveys an utter lack of sociopolitical or historical perspective, while also revealing that these be-suited and uniformed men cannot resist their ego- and testosterone-driven fantasies of power.

The NSA is more like the Borg than Captain Picard: … //

… Speaking truth to power:

  • This brings us to comedian Russell Brand and his recent deconstruction of the GQ awards (mentioned in a footnote by Greenwald). These awards are another cartoonish event attended by people who—like the Picard wannabes—are living the good life of the 1% and who don’t appear to realize or care that their gilt cage is constructed from a system that ignores the poverty and exploitation of their fellow human beings. Brand appeared to receive an “Oracle Award,” and then had the temerity to point out, among other things, that sponsor Hugo Boss sold uniforms to the Nazis. Brand has written about his experience in The Guardian.
  • Russell Brand did function as something of an “oracle” when offering his trenchant perspective at the GQ event:
  • “We witness that there is a relationship between government, media and industry that is evident even at this most spurious and superficial level. These three institutions support one another. We know that however cool a media outlet may purport to be, their primary loyalty is to their corporate backers. We know also that you cannot criticise the corporate backers openly without censorship and subsequent manipulation of this information.”
  • This comedian has provided a more honest and accurate description of how our corrupt political and economic system works than any of the two-dimensional corporate media talking heads we have heard in (at least) the past five years. How very, very sad, and how dangerous for us all, that a comedian is more astute and politically relevant than a generation of drone-like “reporters.”
  • We should be grateful to Brand, Greenwald and Snowden for speaking truth to power. We need a lot more of that these days.
  • Despite what the Borg and the NSA may believe, resistance is not futile.

(full text).

(Alan James Strachan Ph.D. is a psychotherapist, author and teacher. Janet Coster M.A., is a transpersonal counselor, spiritual director and workshop leader. This article is adapted from their book in progress, America on the Couch: Dreams and Nightmares of Democracy).


US may be guilty of war crimes over drone use – Amnesty International, on Russia Today RT, Oct 22, 2013: US officials responsible for carrying out drone strikes may have to stand trial for war crimes, according to a report by Amnesty International, which lists civilian casualties in the attacks in Pakistan …;

EU response to NSA leaks: MEPs approve data protections rules, on Russia Today RT, Oct 22, 2013;

Not one byte! German telecom giant plans to rout foreign spooks, on Russia Today RT, Oct 14, 2013;

The Speculative Endgame: The Government “Shutdown” and “Debt Default”, A Multibillion Bonanza for Wall Street, on Global, by Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Oct 16, 2013;

The ideal day out, on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Nesmahar Sayed, Oct 8, 2013;

Tito’s Shield: Jovanka Broz and Yugoslavia’s Memory, on Dissident Voice, by Binoy Kampmark, Oct 21, 2013.

(see also: Welcome to our new blog: politics for the 99%).

Comments are closed.