Whistleblowers and Dissenters
It's a depressing time in many ways, and the world's twisted machinations stand stark. The world is not in a moral place, it’s in a very dark and ugly place. Vast numbers of people are in desperate straits, hundreds of thousands, millions, are trying to move in the world, trying to find a place they can exist. In the background somewhere, though increasingly the foreground, a biosphere in distress.
And there are desperately alarming situations that states have finally stopped denying now, that show that the bonfire of regulation we have been living through extends even to the solemnly drafted Geneva Convention and other treaties, and human beings seem to be routinely treated without the human rights we felt our society had become rooted in, that we thought our societies stood for. Stories continue to emerge out of sickening barbarity perpetrated in our name. And it does have an undeniable smell of racism to it, somehow, that human rights can be denied to people under the control of nations supposedly built on human rights. There’s plenty of reminders recently that we’ve really no idea and no ownership at all of what is done in our name.
Some really unspeakable things have come to light in recent years, too numerous to do justice to in these notes about isms. Vile history is being played out as we write, visibly and much less visibly. All sorts of sickening stories are seeping out now that states try to hide. It is clear now; barbarity which we had thought we had left behind, is being carried out in our name, after years of denial about it.
The Wikileaks organisation has been providing the world at large with a lot of information the last couple of years, providing some vivid insights into how our governments and forces sometimes actually act on our behalf. Since Wikileak's dramatic revelations from the actions of Bradley, now Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange of Wikileaks has become embroiled in a bizarre ongoing drama which has unfolded which only gets more bizarre.
But blessed are the whistleblowers! By heaven, we should know what’s going on! This is our world. We need to know what kind of world we’ve made. Having a secret world just makes everything worse and worse, it produces its own complexity, it creates its own rationale, it results in tyranny, it can’t help itself.
We realise it’s still relatively genteel on this side of the Atlantic when we read of the shockingly violent crackdown on the American citizens of the Occupy movement, and further shocked to read Naomi Klein’s article in December 2012 in The Guardian, following action by the Occupy movement:
New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy: totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent.
The documents in question were obtained, (and perhaps were released as a warning) under the Freedom of Information Act by The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, and clearly:
shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS (Department of Homeland Security), FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens . . . –The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world.
The plans outlined go as far as redacted mentions of assassinating OWS (Occupy Wall Street) leaders! OWS is acknowledged by the FBI to be a peaceful organisation, nevertheless it is repeatedly referred to and treated as a terrorist threat. Klein says that Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund:
points out the close partnering of banks, the New York Stock Exchange and at least one local Federal Reserve with the FBI and DHS, and calls it police-statism.
These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.
The power given to the financial elite in the Federal Reserve Act back in 1913, is now more fully developed and deployed. It’s fantastical to hear such things, it’s like a plot for a movie of a dystopian future. Only now, finally, this is what’s really happening.
These revelations show a highly developed and unconstitutional network of power. Clearly, nothing like the popular expression of the 60s is ever going to be allowed to express itself again, it’s just not going to be allowed. Such actions can be and are routinely treated as terrorism. Dissent is not going to be tolerated.
It’s really disturbing stuff. Naomi Klein used the word Orwellian, and it is. And life is very busy for people, we only catch whatever news story we happen to catch, when we can, we might easily have missed this. What is happening in America? National security state. It’s desperately sad to see what is becoming of the land of the free. Was that always a fantasy? Were all of our dreams always a fantasy?
We’re trying not to quote the whole article, but she also makes this hugely sinister point:
There is a new twist: the merger of the private sector, DHS and the FBI means that any of us can become WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange was trying to make in explaining the argument behind his recent book. The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people's income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent.
Remember that only 10% of the money donated to WikiLeaks can be processed – because of financial sector and DHS-sponsored targeting of PayPal data. With this merger, that crushing of one's personal or business financial freedom can happen to any of us. How messy, criminalizing and prosecuting dissent. How simple, by contrast, just to label an entity a "terrorist organization" and choke off, disrupt or indict its sources of financing.
Complete control. Is there any hope? It can make you despair. The powers that be would seem to have everything stitched up.
This was shocking to read about the Land of the Free.
McConnachie and Tudge’s Rough Guide to Conspiracy Theories took us into the whole terrifying subject of this runaway idea that’s been let loose in the world, now hugely enhanced by technology, of collecting people's data, data which then travels in all kinds of ways, perhaps picking up copying errors on the way, running through algorithms, being categorised and judged and sorted and cross-referenced according to secret laws. It really is very disturbing to contemplate what kind of world we could be entering. Of course, this is another side of the coin of the amazing emergent technology; as tools of control the potential is obvious.
Ben Hayes concluded his report NeoConOpticon saying:
It is not just a case of “sleepwalking into” or “waking up to” a “surveillance society”, as the UK’s Information Commissioner famously warned, it feels more like turning a blind eye to the start of a new kind of arms race, one in which all the weapons are pointing inwards.
And, of course, before we can even finish this, things move on very quickly. Edward Snowden has acted since we’ve been trying to write this, and a very brave and principled man has done humanity a great service. God bless the whistleblower, and the work of some very dogged, responsible and integral journalists, defending freedom and raising the consciousness of the world at large. Will he now be forced to live as a fugitive? Gradually, it’s being accepted that he was right to do what he did, but even then, will he ever be forgiven?
Al Gore, the President-who-very-very-nearly-was summed up Snowden’s act:
He has revealed evidence of what appears to be crimes against the Constitution of the United States.
And surely such evidence must be revealed, if anything means anything. President Obama could have been expected to agree, as his own campaigning literature had referred to the courage and patriotism of whistleblowers, and promised that:
Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.
And President Obama is feeling like a different era now. It's really confusing times.
Before Ed Snowden, Martin Luther King was a communist, Nelson Mandela was a terrorist, and now Ed Snowden is a traitor. Hopefully, times will move on, for all the fugitives and prisoners of conscience.
Probably not George Orwell, but someone must have said:
In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.