The All-Seeing Eye of Big Brother By Nikolai MALISHEVSKI
30 June 2013 — Strategic Culture Foundation
Europe and the US are being rocked by scandals related to the creation of a system of total surveillance and control over the population of the planet. In the middle of June, human rights defenders from the American Civil Liberties Union sued the US government and US intelligence agencies for wiretapping. At the same time, the European Union has demanded an explanation in connection with reports that the US intelligence services have been gathering information on the telephone calls and internet activity of citizens of EU member states… The European Commissioner for Justice, Viviane Reding, has sent a letter to the Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, demanding that information be provided «on the Prism program, other US programs involving data collection and search, and laws under which such programs may be authorized». The letter also notes that programmes like PRISM could have grave adverse consequences for the fundamental rights of EU citizens.
The scandal was triggered by articles in the Guardian and Washington Post. According to these publications, the FBI and US National Security Agency (NSA) have direct access to the central servers of nine of the world’s leading internet companies (Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple), from which they extract information allowing them to monitor people’s movements and contacts. Journalists were given secret documents by the NSA and CIA technical worker Edward Snowden, who has spent the last four years working for external contractors like Booz Allen and Dell, after he had fled to Hong Kong. According to the British media, British intelligence agencies with access to the PRISM program (including the Government Communications Headquarters, which is responsible for conducting electronic surveillance and safeguarding the information of government agencies and the British Army) were also actively cooperating with the NSA as part of operations to gather information on citizens. Commenting on the reports, the Chair of the British Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee stated that the intelligence agencies could only pass information on to their American colleagues with the direct approval of the British government.
Despite the global hype surrounding the scandal, the question of what the British were doing with extensive use of special intelligence technology, or surveillance tracking technologies on a global scale, has gone under the radar. Neither has anything been said about the direct link between the current scandals and the latest attempt to counteract the creation of a single global financial centre that would take over the entire financial system that exists in the world today should we manage to avoid, or rather postpone temporarily, its collapse.
Meanwhile, the United States Intelligence Community (USIC), which coordinates the work of the country’s intelligence community (including 16 intelligence agencies such as the CIA, the NSA and FBI), drafted a bill several years ago called the «Cyber-Security Policy» allowing total control to be established over Internet users. As well as Americans, the bill also covered the citizens of other countries and the-then USIC Director, Director of National Intelligence Admiral Mike McConnell, stated in an interview with New Yorkerthat control «will be stepped up considerably». In June 2013, the current USIC Director, James Clapper, confirmed that the US intelligence agencies have been collecting the personal information of network users «who are not citizens of the country and live abroad». According to a statement by former CIA Director David Petraeus, any equipment, «even a washing machine or dishwasher», can be adapted to spy on an «object of interest». Petraeus maintains that «household appliances connected to the internet will make it much easier to spy on suspects» and that «in the future, the idea of what is a secret and what is not will change considerably».
America’s electronic intelligence surveillance system already covers the entire planet and the mass distribution of INT technologies has given new impetus to its development. A former technical director at the NSA, William Binney, and one of the world’s most infamous hackers and owner of the online file hosting site «Megaupload», Kim Dotcom, say that the US is already«spying on citizens around the world twenty-four hours a day… Surveillance is being carried out on all members of Congress – nobody is immune… The US is allocating huge resources to create data centers for surveillance. Any information which passes over the internet will be stored on hundreds of thousands of hard disks kept in special warehouses. Since total surveillance does not even need a court order, unearthing discriminating information on anybody with «undesirable» political views will now be the work of a few minutes».
The US legalised the control of citizens over the internet in April 2013 when the CISPA bill was passed by the Congress’ Intelligence Committee, extending the authority of law enforcement agencies and allowing the control of information on the internet, as well as all the movements of US citizens. The bill was proposed back in 2011, but at that time its approval was delayed due to a scandal similar to the current one caused by the publication of more than 200 documents in The Wall Street Journal on the global market of internet and mobile communication surveillance.
The technologies like those used by the American NSA for tracking, wiretapping and controlling internet users are not just a means of heavy-handed political control (Snowden alleges that «an NSA operator with the necessary «authorities» or access rights can read the personal email of anyone, including the President of the United States»). These technologies are becoming one of the key tools for economic regulation on a global scale. According to Germany’s Justice Minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Scharrenberger, the scale of the surveillance is a cause for alarm: «I do not believe it can be explained exclusively by the fight against terrorism. Such large-scale operations and the objective itself cannot be justified by any means».
The increased use of INT technologies is capable of seriously altering the entire system of social and economic relations in the world.
Already, people who have found themselves in a randomly-compiled database of European citizens suspected of links with terrorism (so-called «terrorist lists») are being subjected to serious sanctions which violate fundamental human rights. There is no public control over the people compiling these «blacklists» or the basis on which they are being compiled. Anybody can become a suspect. The reason could be any kind of unverified rumour started by an ill-wisher.
The consequences of ending up in the «database» are extremely serious – a person could lose their job, their right to receive legal aid, and often all their property and savings, which can be frozen without any kind of court or investigation! Further still, secret EU structures that are supposedly fighting terrorism are refusing to recognise decisions of the Court of Human Rights – this institution has called the practice of freezing suspects’ property and bank accounts unlawful, but it has had no effect. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), whose Special Rapporteur Dick Marty openly called the practice of compiling «blacklists» unjust and perverted, has not been able to change anything either…
The rapid development of INT technologies is almost not leaving society enough time to counteract the numerous violations. At the same time, children are growing up and becoming voters who from birth will have gotten used to the «lack of their own privacy» and so will habitually violate others’. Special spying and bugging devices are rapidly falling in price and are becoming toys that are even available to schoolchildren.
In economic terms, the commercialisation of INT technologies is subjecting society to further stratification, both within individual countries and on a global scale. Some are turning into INT «incubators», counting on the lobbying and state support of their own far from market conduct. They invest money in ever more perfected technologies, including electronic surveillance and disinformation, which guarantee financial and other benefits. At the same time, however, the majority of market participants are turning into INT «suckers» who are unable to ensure the safety of resources at their disposal, since they do not have adequate funds available to withstand the high-tech onslaught. It is a vicious circle.
To avoid ending up as «suckers», Japanese and European authorities are making their own moderate contribution to the creation of global control systems which, in turn, are seeking to dominate the US. Some five years ago, Japanese authorities began an experiment on one of its islands to create a «high-tech zone of life» based on RFID technologies where, with the help of miniature chips built into and glued onto objects and affixed to people, everything that is controllable is kept track of. According to scientists from the Max Planck Institute in Germany, «the majority of Eurozone country citizens are being closely watched by their government almost constantly. In the process, the governments of a number of EU countries are simply ignoring the provisions of their own Constitutions which guarantee their citizens the right to freely exchange information, while the surveillance is attracting the capabilities of both state organisations and private companies».
It is necessary to have an economy based on the INT «scam» so that the «suckers» believe in the random nature of their misfortune. Therefore, one of the chief mechanisms of this global financial-economic scam is the mechanism that maintains society’s image of «fair market competition». The activities of a large part of America’s information infrastructures and intelligence agencies, which ended up at the centre of the current scandals, are aimed at ensuring this works on a global scale.