Sunday, March 30, 2014

The New Britain Herald (, Serving New Britain, Conn., and surrounding areas

Pulitzer winning journalist warns CCSU audience of abuses by government

Saturday, March 29, 2014 10:01 PM EDT
By Justin Muszynski
Staff Writer
NEW BRITAIN — Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges visited Central Connecticut State University Saturday and criticized the government for encroaching citizens’ civil liberties through its various intelligence agencies.

Hedges, a former New York Times reporter, said a small, secret surveillance committee of “goons and thugs hiding behind the mask of patriotism” was established in 1908 in Washington, DC. This group, Hedges said, eventually became known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Throughout American history, intelligence services have primarily advanced and protected the profits of corporations and solidified state repression and further imperialist expansion,” Hedges said at the program titled “One Nation, Under Surveillance.”

These agencies, he said, use the “psychosis of permanent war” to “manufacture fear” as an “excuse to curtail basic liberties and crush popular movements.”

Hedges said the FBI can obtain a citizen’s personal information simply by issuing a national security letter to places like your bank, doctor’s office and even employer without a judicial warrant. He also said it can collect and store all of your email correspondence and phone records and even track your geographical movements everywhere.

“Our liberty has been sacrificed on the altar of national security,” said Hedges, who is also a columnist for Truthdig and an author of 12 books.

The government can assassinate a citizen if it believes this person to be a terrorist, he said. It can also order the military to arrest and hold a citizen without due process.

Heged also questioned President Barack Obama’s recent promise for new reforms concerning civil liberty issues.

“I ask you, how many times does Barack Obama have to lie to you before you get it?” Hedges asked to the room of over 100 spectators.

Hedges served as the keynote speaker for the event sponsored by the campus’ “Youth for Socialist Action” club, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Justice Party of Connecticut.

In his closing remarks, Hedges put the onus on the citizens to see that encroachments not continue. He also praised the actions of the likes of Edward Snowden. Snowden, a former employee at the Central Intelligence Agency, came into the public eye after he was found responsible for thousands of classified documents being leaked last year.

“Our only hope will come through rebellion,” Hedges said. “Through building mass movements that threaten established centers of power.”

Justin Muszynski can be reached at (860) 584-0501, ext. 7250, or
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