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Monday, February 27, 2006 11:51 AM
  
24/2/06
A Global Infrastructure for Mass Surveillance By Nolan K. Anderson
 

informationclearinghouse.info/article12048.htm

02/24/06 “ICH” — — Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear. —Harry S. Truman

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess of the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy,  always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage. —Sir Alex Fraser Tytler (1742-1813) Scottish jurist and historian

“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition . . .” Does this ring a bell? How about the name Joe Wilson – does that name sound a bell? What about Valerie Plame – any bells yet? General Shenseki?

Where do Americans find themselves in Sir Alex Tytler’s cycle? The United States can boast a 230-year history so our actions and the time factor would bring us well into the “apathy-dependency” stage. If this is true, the return to the “bondage” stage is not far off – as witnessed by world events – especially those of the last 5 years. However, the “apathy” stage of our self-destruction cycle seems to be in “fast forward”. One would have to search American history with an extremely fine-toothed comb to find a comparable period where apathy played such a major role in the individual’s life and that of his government. Even if one were to successfully separate normal political corruption from apathy, he would still have a hard time finding a comparable era in our history where the theoretical “opposition party” in the Congress apparently watches the Executive Branch with “eyes wide open” and still refuses to acknowledge or act to restrict even the most blatant abuses of power by the Executive. Congress not only refuses to acknowledge malfeasance in the actions of the Executive, but also seems determined to abet whatever excesses the Executive wants to heap upon the country.

One could argue forever about whether poor education breeds apathy or apathy breeds poor education. The same can be said of complacency and apathy. However, the “chicken and the egg” arguments are not pertinent to the discussion at this point.

These points become a preface to a topic which is now crowding other subjects “off the radar screen” in all forms of mass media. American’s attention is now being focused on the White House wire tapping of citizens without regard for the law. The topic becomes a bonanza for blaring headlines and sniping between the two political parties. However, the real threat to Americans lies buried under layers of apathy and total ignorance of the extent of our government’s progress toward TOTAL surveillance of its citizens within the United States and through cooperation and coercion of other governments, the surveillance of Americans and foreigners on a global scale. This surveillance is not being designed to monitor only citizen movement on a global scale, but is also being designed to lay open to the various governments ALL personal and private matters of finance, health, political affiliation, and religious preferences, electronic communication and on, and on, and on.

The following information is not something torn from the pages of Franz Kafka or Orson Well’s 1984. The information presented here is taken from an April 2005 report made by The International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance (ICAMS) (Pdf). (Refer to References and Notes below).

The programs described below were designed before 9/11; since 9/11 these programs have been put on steroids. The world in which these programs are being constructed is one in which “individuals are presumed guilty, detained and not told the charges against them, denied the right to face their accusers, denied the right to know the evidence against them and the criteria by which they are being judged and given no legal recourse and no one to advocate for them”. [1] Please note, this does not refer to the present definition of terrorist or enemy combatant. These programs apply to AMERICAN CITIZENS as well as the citizens of the global network of countries being brought together to form an unparalleled net of surveillance, arrest, detention, torture and indefinite detention – either with or without formal charges – and finally death. (This could have served as an agenda for The New World Order).

For one who sits idly in front of the television and watches the nightly news- reader tell about another Guantanamo prisoner (terrorist) being held for an indefinite period without any of our democratic safeguards, the “news” doesn’t even register on the listener’s Richter Scale. Little does the American know that the prisoner’s plight being presented may be merely a prelude to his own plight under the plans presently being secretly refined and expanded by the global community under coercion and intimidation by the United States.

To bring these programs into focus and allow the reader to glimpse a portion of their scope and the progress being made in their implementation, signposts of program characteristics will be shown as well as the myths being created to conceal the progress of this global cancer. (The following may bring more meaning to the fact that the KBR arm of Halliburton has recently been awarded a contract to build a 385 million dollar detention center to set up temporary detention, processing and deportation facilities in case of a sudden influx of immigrants!!).

Signposts:

First Signpost: The Registration of Populations. [2]

1. Mass Detentions of Muslim Immigrants and Registration through NSEERS.

2. US-VISIT and the E.U. Visa Information System a) Biometric visas. b) Linkage of biometric information to a global web of databases. c) U.S. acquisition of domestic and foreign databases.

Second Signpost: The Creation of a Global Registration System. [3]

Biometric passports.

Third Signpost: The Creation of an Infrastructure for the Global Surveillance of Movements. [4]

1. U.S. demands for sharing passenger name records (PNR).

2. Surveillance expansion to other transportation systems.

Fourth Signpost: The Creation of an Infrastructure for the Global Surveillance of Electronic Communications and Financial Transactions.[5]

1. Mandatory data detention.

2. Expansion of ECHELON.

In 1948, the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand created a program under which they trawled the world’s telephone communications to spy on each others’ countries and to share information on each others’ citizens that could not be obtained by their own officials under domestic laws. Since the early 1980s, this program has been called ECHELON, and has been expanded to intercept e-mails, faxes, telexes, electronic transactions and international telephone calls carried via satellites.

3. Mandatory information-gathering and reporting for financial transactions.

Fifth Signpost: The Convergence of National and International Databases.[6]

The extent of the characteristics of this signpost is very extensive and a complete listing is past the scope of this paper. However, in countries known for their oppressive regimes, the extent to which an integration of functions and information sharing with the US has been occurring is probably the greatest. Countries like Georgia, Indonesia, Egypt, Malaysia and Uzbekistan are sharing information suspects, and in some cases intelligence and military operations, with the US.

Sixth Signpost: Data Mining.

The use of computer models to assess masses of data for selected criteria. The masses of data being scanning make human interface and interpretation impossible. This amounts to having one’s actions and motives interpreted by a computer.

Seventh Signpost: The Loss of Sovereignty Checks and Balances.[7]

When all the signposts or initiatives described above are viewed together, what emerges are the “contours of a vast, increasingly integrated multinational registration and surveillance system, with information floating more or less freely between subsystems.

As this system emerges, the police, security, intelligence and military operations of many nations are becoming deeply integrated with US operations. National governments are giving up sovereignty and throwing aside national checks and balances in favor of an integrated security system that is largely being designed and controlled by the US.

Eighth Signpost: The Corporate Security Complex.[8]

For the government security/intelligence community, the “war on error” offers an unprecedented opportunity to increase its investigative surveillance powers by tapping into the possibilities offered by new information technologies.

Ninth Signpost: The Expropriation of the Democratic Principles.[9]

Governments have been able to make these changes in democracy in democratic countries by declaring a state of crisis. But, the “war on terror” is a war without end, so the state of crisis is permanent, not temporary. As a result, democratic societies are in grave danger of being turned, over time, into surveillance societies — or worse, into police states.

Tenth Signpost: A loss of Moral Compass – Rendition, Torture, Death.[10]

It is now clear that the U.S. and other countries participating in the global surveillance project are engaging in torture, inhumane treatment, and indefinite detention . . . in their own facilities, as well as sending suspects to third countries where they face torture, inhumane treatment, and indefinite detention. The worst that individuals have to fear from the global system of mass surveillance is something far darker than “mere” loss of privacy, civil liberties, freedom of movement, or loss of democratic patrimonies. (They face indefinite detention in a global gulag).

At this point the reader may be convinced he is reading something from a science fiction book. But this is not science fiction. This is what is being planned and constructed in real time – our time. Of these 10 signposts, the one most identifiable in today’s mass media coverage is Rendition and Torture. Even the most hardened cynic would be forced to admit there is at least a coincidental association between the Rendition and Torture being discussed in the media and that presented here as a glaring warning signpost to all Americans of a global trend being sponsored by the United States. For those who say that “all is well” and we merely need to trust our government, please take the time to read these ten signposts again – slowly and carefully. After a second reading, take the time to read and absorb the following myths about your safety as an American.

Myth No. 1: We are merely being asked to sacrifice some of our privacy and conveniences for greater security.

Myth No. 2: These initiatives facilitate travel.

Myth No. 3: If one has nothing to hide, one has nothing to worry about.

Myth No. 4: The technology being used is objective and reliable.

Myth No. 5: Terrorist watch lists are a reliable product of international cooperation and consensus.

Myth No. 6: If one is mistakenly caught up in the global surveillance net, one’s government can protect one.

Myth No. 7: Governments want to implement these systems to protect their citizens from terrorists.

Myth No. 8: Western democracies are defending democracy and human rights around the world.

Myth No. 9: These initiatives make us safer.

Myth No. 10: Guaranteeing security is the paramount responsibility of governments.

Myth No. 11: At least, these initiatives are better than doing nothing.

For any American to have read this far and not have at least a twinge of unease about the direction and intentions of his government, is impossible. If any American has even the remotest contact with or interest in the true condition of today’s world, there has to a twinge of unease by this point. If any one of these 11 myths is in any degree false, then any global citizen should be extremely worried and any American should be terrified because Americans have more to lose than the citizens of any other country in the world.

Reference:

The International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance (ICAMS) was founded by the American Civil Liberties Union, Focus on the Global South, the Friends’ Committee on National Legislation, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group and Statewatch.

ICAMS was launched on April 20 2005 in London, Manila, Ottawa and Washington.

Notes:

Full credit for the information in this article is given to the April 2005 ICAMS report. References from ICAMS April 2005 Report:

[1] Page 39. [2] Page 5 [3] Page 8 [4] Page 12 [5] Page 14 [6] Page 18 [7] Page 33 [8] Page 35 [9] Page 38 [10] Page 39

The myths quoted are taken from the same report.

Nolan K. Anderson is a retired engineer and a veteran of Korea who was once a “conservative” until he found there was nothing left to conserve and as a veteran hates to see a tour in Korea go to waste. (He may be reached at nkanders@bellsouth.net  ).

Copyright Nolan K. Anderson

     
 
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