Big Brother would be proud

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Madison, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. You Are a Suspect

    WASHINGTON — If the Homeland Security Act is not amended before passage, here is what will happen to you:

    Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database."

    To this computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources, add every piece of information that government has about you — passport application, driver's license and bridge toll records, judicial and divorce records, complaints from nosy neighbors to the F.B.I., your lifetime paper trail plus the latest hidden camera surveillance — and you have the supersnoop's dream: a "Total Information Awareness" about every U.S. citizen.

    This is not some far-out Orwellian scenario. It is what will happen to your personal freedom in the next few weeks if John Poindexter gets the unprecedented power he seeks.

    Remember Poindexter? Brilliant man, first in his class at the Naval Academy, later earned a doctorate in physics, rose to national security adviser under President Ronald Reagan. He had this brilliant idea of secretly selling missiles to Iran to pay ransom for hostages, and with the illicit proceeds to illegally support contras in Nicaragua.
  2. vvv


    Learning To Love Big Brother

    George Bush Channels George Orwell

    Daniel Kurtzman is a San Francisco writer and former Washington political correspondent.

    San Francisco Chronicle, July 28, 2002

    Here's a question for constitutional scholars: Can a sitting president be charged with plagiarism?

    As President Bush wages his war against terrorism and moves to create a huge homeland security apparatus, he appears to be borrowing heavily, if not ripping off ideas outright, from George Orwell. The work in question is 1984, the prophetic novel about a government that controls the masses by spreading propaganda, cracking down on subversive thought and altering history to suit its needs. It was intended to be read as a warning about the evils of totalitarianism -- not a how-to manual.

    Granted, we're a long way from resembling the kind of authoritarian state Orwell depicted, but some of the similarities are starting to get a bit eerie.

    Permanent War
    In 1984, the state remained perpetually at war against a vague and ever-changing enemy. The war took place largely in the abstract, but it served as a convenient vehicle to fuel hatred, nurture fear and justify the regime's autocratic practices.

    Bush's war against terrorism has become almost as amorphous. Although we are told the president's resolve is steady and the mission clear, we seem to know less and less about the enemy we are fighting. What began as a war against Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda quickly morphed into a war against Afghanistan, followed by dire warnings about an "Axis of Evil," the targeting of terrorists in some 50 to 60 countries, and now the beginnings of a major campaign against Iraq. Exactly what will constitute success in this war remains unclear, but the one thing the Bush administration has made certain is that the war will continue "indefinitely."

    Ministry Of Truth
    Serving as the propaganda arm of the ruling party in 1984, the Ministry of Truth not only spread lies to suit its strategic goals, but constantly rewrote and falsified history. It is a practice that has become increasingly commonplace in the Bush White House, where presidential transcripts are routinely sanitized to remove the president's gaffes, accounts of intelligence warnings prior to September 11 get spottier with each retelling, and the facts surrounding Bush's past financial dealings are subject to continual revision.

    Bush administration officials even admitted earlier this year that they were toying with the idea of entering the state-sanctioned propaganda business. In February, news emerged that the Pentagon had created an Office of Strategic Influence that was considering, among other things, planting deliberately false news stories in the foreign press to help manipulate public opinion and further its military objectives. Following a public outcry, the Pentagon said it would close the office -- news that would have sounded more convincing had it not come from a place that just announced it was planning to spread misinformation.

    Infallible Leader
    An omnipresent and all-powerful leader, Big Brother commanded the total, unquestioning support of the people. He was both adored and feared, and no one dared speak out against him, lest they be met by the wrath of the state.

    President Bush may not be as menacing a figure, but he has hardly concealed his desire for greater powers. Never mind that he has casually mentioned -- on no fewer than three occasions -- how much easier things would be if he were dictator. By brushing aside many of the checks and balances established in the Constitution to keep any one branch of government from becoming too powerful, Bush has already achieved the greatest expansion of executive powers since Nixon. His approval ratings remain remarkably high, and his minions have worked hard to cultivate an image of infallibility. Nowhere was that more apparent than during a commencement address Bush delivered in June at Ohio State, where students were threatened with arrest and expulsion if they protested the speech.

    Big Brother Is Watching
    The ever-watchful eye of Big Brother kept constant tabs on the citizens of Orwell's totalitarian state, using two-way telescreens to monitor people's every move while simultaneously broadcasting party propaganda.

    While that technology may not have arrived yet, public video surveillance has become all the rage in law enforcement, with cameras being deployed everywhere from sporting events to public beaches. Despite congressional objections, the Bush administration still plans to implement a scaled down version of its Operation TIPS program, in which ordinary Americans would form a corps of citizen spies to serve as "extra eyes and ears for law enforcement," reporting any suspicious terrorist-related activity.

    And thanks to the hastily passed USA Patriot Act, which received strong bipartisan backing in Congress, the Justice Department has sweeping new powers to monitor phone conversations, Internet usage, business transactions and library reading records. Best of all, law enforcement need not be burdened any longer with such inconveniences as probable cause.

    Thought Police
    Charged with eradicating dissent and ferreting out resistance, the ever-present Thought Police described in 1984 carefully monitored all unorthodox or potentially subversive thoughts. The Bush administration is not prosecuting thought crime yet, but members have been quick to question the patriotism of anyone who dares criticize their handling of the war on terrorism or homeland defense. Take, for example, the way Attorney General John Ashcroft answered critics of his anti-terrorism measures, saying that opponents of the administration "only aid terrorists" and "give ammunition to America's enemies."

    Even more ominous was the stern warning White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer sent to Americans after Bill Maher, host of the now defunct "Politically Incorrect," called past U.S. military actions "cowardly." Said Fleischer, "There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and this is not a time for remarks like that; there never is."

    What would it take to turn America into the kind of society that Orwell warned about, a society that envisions war as peace, freedom as slavery and ignorance as strength? Would it happen overnight, or would it involve a gradual erosion of freedoms with the people's consent?

    Because we are a nation at war -- as we are constantly reminded -- most Americans say they are willing to sacrifice many of our freedoms in return for the promise of greater security. We have been asked to put our blind faith in government and most of us have done so with patriotic fervor. But when the government abuses that trust and begins to stamp out the freedom of dissent that is the hallmark of a democratic society, can there be any turning back?

    So powerful was the state's control over people's minds in 1984 that, eventually, everyone came to love Big Brother. Perhaps in time we all will, too.
  3. Josh_B


  4. It is impossible for Big Brother to know for sure that your household or car does or does not have a gun inside. It has always been that way and will be that way for the rest of your life so don't sweat the small stuff like credit card bs, email, etc.. You'll be all right.:)
  5. Josh_B


    ...It has always been that way and will be that way for the rest of your life so don't sweat the small stuff like credit card bs, email, etc.. You'll be all right....

    Right, but let's not forget the good old proven:

    The devil is in the details. :)

    One of the potential problems with this grand database that holds all info about you in one place, your total ID/life can be accessed at one point and also be manipulated. Mistakes ( theft of a credit card, ss#, other ID theft) maybe much more difficult to fix.

    But I guess by the time we find out it maybe too late.

    I just hope you are right that all will be fine.

  6. Josh_B


    I got few pm's asking about what Echelon is:

    ECHELON: America's Secret Global Surveillance Network

    In the greatest surveillance effort ever established, the US National Security Agency (NSA) has created a global spy system, codename ECHELON, which captures and analyzes virtually every phone call, fax, email and telex message sent anywhere in the world. ECHELON is controlled by the NSA and is operated in conjunction with the Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ) of England, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) of Canada, the Australian Defense Security Directorate (DSD), and the General Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) of New Zealand. These organizations are bound together under a secret 1948 agreement, UKUSA, whose terms and text remain under wraps even today.

    The ECHELON system is fairly simple in design: position intercept stations all over the world to capture all satellite, microwave, cellular and fiber-optic communications traffic, and then process this information through the massive computer capabilities of the NSA, including advanced voice recognition and optical character recognition (OCR) programs, and look for code words or phrases (known as the ECHELON “Dictionary”) that will prompt the computers to flag the message for recording and transcribing for future analysis. Intelligence analysts at each of the respective “listening stations” maintain separate keyword lists for them to analyze any conversation or document flagged by the system, which is then forwarded to the respective intelligence agency headquarters that requested the intercept. ...

    Kinda tough to accept that we didn't have enough info about the 9/11 attacks.

  7. Makes you wonder what happened to our country ...
  8. Josh_B


    metooxx, I'm afraid you are right.

    ...The Warning

    What began as a noble alliance to contain and defeat the forces of communism has turned into a carte blanche to disregard the rights and liberties of the American people and the population of the free world. As has been demonstrated time and again, the NSA has been persistent in subverting not just the intent of the law in regards to the prohibition of domestic spying, but the letter as well. The laws that were created to constrain the intelligence agencies from infringing on our liberties are frequently flaunted, re-interpreted and revised according to the bidding and wishes of political spymasters in Washington D.C. Old habits die hard, it seems.

    As stated above, there is a need for such sophisticated surveillance technology. Unfortunately, the world is filled with criminals, drug lords, terrorists and dictators that threaten the peace and security of many nations. The thought that ECHELON can be used to eliminate or control these international thugs is heartening. But defenders of ECHELON argue that the rare intelligence victories over these forces of darkness and death give wholesale justification to indiscriminate surveillance of the entire world and every member of it. But more complicated issues than that remain.

    The shameless and illegal targeting of political opponents, business competitors, dissidents and even Christian ministries stands as a testament that if America is to remain free, we must bind these intelligence systems and those that operate them with the heavy chains of transparency and accountability to our elected officials. But the fact that the ECHELON apparatus can be quickly turned around on those same officials in order to maintain some advantage for the intelligence agencies indicates that these agencies are not presently under the control of our elected representatives.

    also some good info here.

  9. First they came for the pedophiles....


    Surgical tags plan for sex offenders
    Silicon chip to be inserted under skin

    Martin Bright, home affairs editor
    Sunday November 17, 2002, The Observer

    Britain is considering a controversial scheme to implant surgically electronic tags in convicted paedophiles amid fears that the extent of the abuse of children has been massively underestimated.

    Documents obtained by The Observer reveal the Government could track paedophiles by satellite, with a system similar to that used to locate stolen cars.

    The tags can be put beneath the skin under local anaesthetic and would also be able to monitor the heart rate and blood pressure of the abuser, alerting staff to the possibility that another attack was imminent.

    A letter from Hilary Benn, the Minister responsible for the supervision of sex offenders in the community, reveals the Home Office's electronic monitoring team is already developing technology to track paedophiles constantly. The team is now investigating the 'implant tag' after it was alerted to its capabilities by a campaign group for victims of paedophiles.

  10. Josh_B


    our all knowing gov't will ask us to implant our children and ourselves with the VeriChip or similar tracking/id/control device. Of course for security purposes... Some gov't departments may require it as a must for employment.

    ...The article refers to an FDA warning letter dated November 8th, which letter raised an issue with respect to the marketing of VeriChip(TM) as a medical device...

    ... "Getting chipped" is a simple, outpatient procedure that lasts just a few minutes and involves only local anesthetic and insertion of the chip...

    Combine that with the Patriot Act and Homeland Security act, centralized databases, and the ruling elite have complete control over the naive subjects. Makes one wonder who is worst.. the naive sheep that vote for the wolves, or the wolves that skin them and eat them alive.

    I just hope the fears are unfounded and that all works out for the better.

    #10     Nov 19, 2002