STIGMERGY: The C4SS Blog
Jeff Bezos, The CIA And Corporate Power

Norman Solomon recently published a piece about Amazon.com’s connection to the CIA. The CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, claims to be a libertarian, but what kind of libertarian contracts with the CIA? A faux one. It’s not possible to be a libertarian and support one of the most odious agencies of the American state. An agency tasked with assassination and other nefarious practices. Jeff Bezos needs to check his premises.

Let us quote from Solomon’s piece:

As the largest Web retailer in the world, Amazon has built its business model on the secure accumulation and analysis of massive personal data. The firm’s Amazon Web Services division gained the CIA contract amid fervent hopes that the collaboration will open up vast new vistas for the further melding of surveillance and warfare.

We can see that corporations can suck up our data in a manner analogous to the government. It’s no surprise that the CIA has found an affinity with Amazon. There is clearly an interwining of state and corporate power here. One that needs to be opposed for the sake of liberty. It isn’t a choice between corporate or state domination. We can and should reject them both.

To quote Solomon again:

A free and independent press is crucial for confronting such dire trends. But structural factors of corporate power continue to undermine the potential of journalism. The Washington Post is a grim case in point.

Six months ago, Jeff Bezos — the CEO and main stakeholder of Amazon — bought the Post. But the newspaper’s ongoing CIA-related coverage does not inform readers that the CIA’s big contract with Amazon is adding to the personal wealth of the Post’s sole owner.

This refusal to make such conflict-of-interest disclosures is much more than journalistic evasion for the sake of appearances. It’s a marker for more consolidation of corporate mega-media power with government power. The leverage from such convergence is becoming ever-less acknowledged or conspicuous as it becomes ever-more routine and dominant.

A free society is harmed by this convergence of state and corporate power. If people are not free to publish damaging things about either institution, both are left off the hook for bad behavior. The punitive potential of both of these institutions is vast and needs to be opposed. People should be free of the power of either. This is a necessary aspect of total freedom. Let us work at making it a reality.

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