By Adrian Salbuchi
It's an old cliché to say that technology in itself is neither good nor bad, but that all depends on how you use it. In the case of Information and Communications Technologies, and their out-of-control problem child, the internet, that has so revolutionised the world, today we seem to be at a key crossroads where all seems to hang on which path mankind finally treads.
Like a sharp two-edged sword, the internet and the very rapidly evolving technologies surrounding it, are poised to either usher in a new era of intellectual, cultural and spiritual enlightenment, material well-being and true cooperation amongst nations bent on resolving common global problems; or we may be about to fall into a black abyss of absolute totalitarian control; intellectual, physical and spiritual violence; and mass slavery on an unprecedented scale.
How to resolve this dilemma? We should certainly start by understanding three key issues: who really controls these technologies, what are their medium and long term objectives, why are they being used the way they are...
THE INVISIBLE MAN
One of the greatest perils we face today is the difficulty in properly identifying and distinguishing friend from foe; it is increasingly difficult to understand who - even what - the enemy or adversary is which means that society's key vulnerability stems from its incapacity to properly identify risk, peril and danger. If you cannot see a danger approaching, it will hit you by surprise as the look-out on the Titanic so painfully learned on that fateful night in April 1912.
A vital factor for the survival and prosperity of individuals, families, communities, organisations - even entire nations - lies in properly identifying friends and enemies (or at least adversaries). There is always an "enemy" out there who either wants to have what we own, or wants to place us in his or her service, or may have a myriad of reasons for wanting to somehow weaken or get rid of us, mostly because they want to take for free something that is ours. Some will say this is basic human nature; others that it's the Darwinian imperative of the survival of the fittest; still others will complain that it's man's criminal egotism. Whatever your view, the truth is that in one way or another we all live immersed in "self-protection or defense mode" which begins every morning when we close and lock our front door.
What I mean to say is that self-protection or defense is easy when you can clearly identify and understand your enemy: whether thieves at large on our streets, or foreign powers bent on subduing or colonising us. Here is where modern European languages play us a bad trick, because we use the word "enemy" with far too wide a scope. In fact, we would do well to heed the recommendations of German Jurist Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) who, like the Romans, differentiated between Inimicus (i.e., your own personal enemy whom you might hate for having done you some wrong but who is your own private affair and problem) and Hostis (i.e., a public enemy of the community and State, whom we might not necessarily dislike but who poses a threat to all and must thus be combated).
For example, two hundred years ago, it was easy for the thirteen original colonies of North America to identify as its Hostis the British Crown in London, or for the South American Viceroyalties to identify as their Hostis the Spanish Court in Madrid. A common, visible, credible enemy makes strategic planning that much simpler, for we know who he is, where he is, what he wants, and how he achieves his objectives.
Today's challenge, however, is far greater because Hostis - the common enemy - is no longer easy to identify. We can no longer simply say "it's the Brit's over in London" or "it's the Reds" or "the Nazis" or "the Japs." Today, Mankind's Hostis has become all too complex, often subtle and defying simple identification whether by nation, creed, race, geography, language, or any other easy-to-perceive characteristics. Today's Hostis is everywhere and nowhere; which requires we refine our search, identifying him more by his tell-tale signs, fingerprints, "DNA" so-to-speak, than by directly perceiving him (or her).
No longer can national leaders rally mass popular support to "fight the Soviets or the Germans, or the Japanese." A decade ago, they had to resort to weaker abstractions like the Bushian "war on terrorism," which is meaningless until you actually define what "terrorism" is.
What we have today is basically a public invisible enemy that is very difficult to specifically pinpoint, but the effects of whose actions we all increasingly suffer everywhere. Perhaps "Global Power Elite" is the closest we can come to describing this veritable global enemy whose planetary interests and objectives for the most part run counter to the common interests of "We the People" everywhere, and yet that too is still quite abstract and faceless.
Nevertheless, and like all "invisible men," whilst we cannot "see" the enemy we can certainly feel the effects of his actions and can thus certainly learn to trace his tracks, infer where he is now, where he's going and what he plans to do.
In this world war, all aware citizens need to become hunters of sorts: fighting the Global Power Elite is much like tracking down a dangerous wild tiger in the forest... An experienced, shrewd and watchful hunter does not need to actually see the tiger to know that he's close by, if he knows how to identify and understand specific tell-tale 'tiger marks': here, some broken twigs on a forest path; there, a dead rodent; perhaps tiger droppings by a tree or paw marks on damp soil; a specific scent, or hushed growling echoing in the distance...
A similar task faces us if we are to become free and independent: we must learn and understand who, where and what is the enemy and its weapons of war. We can certainly say that technological research, development and control are among its array of armaments. If we understand the enemy, it should not be all that hard to understand what he will do with the technology so "generously" given to Mankind.
PUTTING ON THE CHAINS OF SLAVERY
A century ago, Soviet revolutionary Vladimir Lenin said capitalists would one day sell to the communists the very ropes with which communism would hang them. Well, not quite actually as it ended up being the other way around with communists hanging themselves with the invisible "ropes of capitalism," enthralled as they became at the end of the Bi-Polar world with the West's mass consumerism. An eloquent snapshot of which right after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 was a little ticky-tacky East German "Trabant" next to a powerful West German Mercedes-Benz. Indeed, a picture that was worth 1,000 words!
Twenty-two years later, something similar seems to be happening; only this time it's the Global Power Elite enthralling us with invisible technological ropes with which millions of people are about to hang themselves, in a figurative sense, of course. Not that all of us are doing that yet, but when you look around at the growing mass population control, the noose is certainly being fitted snugly around our necks.
Humans needs time to adapt and cope with major changes. Through tens of thousands of years of history, change took place very slowly, spanning entire generations so that with each new change, social structures slowly adapted. Today, however, with the explosive advent of information technologies, telecommunications and genetics to name but a few, we're all mesmerised and desirous to become part of the Info Cybersphere. We've been persuaded that we really do need to have the latest cell phones, iPod, iPad, the Internet and cable/satellite TV, iPhone and Blackberry, which potentially is a good thing, but they must be approached with discriminating caution. For they represent a two-edged sword that can either help expand our consciousness and awareness of the world around us in every sense of the word, or they can chain us unwittingly into a macro-system that has grown into a Leviathan with huge capacity to control every detail of our lives.
I am a layman so I won't delve into the technicalities of today's information technologies because others are far more qualified to do that, but I can tell you this: all these technologies are not as innocent as they would have us believe: i.e., so "innocent" that 5, 6 or 7 year olds can be set loose to play with video games and the Internet as if they were mere toys. Not so! These technologies must be approached with at least as much caution, prevention and awe as we do when we drive our car, knowing that just as it can safely take as wherever we want to go, if we thoughtlessly rev the engine up to 250 kmph, it can also get us and others killed.
Similarly, this two-edged sword can serve to vanquish the Global Power Elite by making us aware of their intentions and their terrible medium and long-term consequences, or it can serve them to cut our throats. In fact, this Janus-headed monster lies equidistant between them and us. Objectively, either they win and we lose, which means the world will be run by machines that they control or, we use these technologies to rally the overwhelming power of We the People, to annihilate the Global Power Elite. Where does the difference lie? In our awareness.
The Global Power Elite know full well what they are doing whilst most people don't, and they will do everything in their power to keep it that way. Here, then, are two global armies pitted against each other. "In this corner..." a tiny but extremely powerful elite controlling a huge machine to their benefit and our enslavement. "In that corner...", gigantic masses of mostly unaware people using that same machine but without understanding it, nor realising what it's really being used for.
It is today so embedded into society that, increasingly, every aspect of our lives are controlled by it: whether it be work done on the Internet, Intranets, E-Trade, managing your bank account, reserving your next flight and printing your boarding pass, doing research and fact-finding, or just plain entertainment and whiling the time away. It's a coin of which we are systematically shown only the "heads" side, i.e., all the benefits, magic, comfort and advantages of being hooked-in and on-line. "Life is so much easier now..." However, we're not shown the "tail" side that poses a dark and lurking danger: Total Control. The Info Cybersphere represents a super-structure for total control against which individuals can do little to escape from, unless awareness dawns on them.
The key weapon wielded against all peoples in every country is PsyWar - Psychological Warfare - that has successfully: (a) incorporated two, maybe three billion people into the IT Cybersphere allowing growing partial/total control over them, and (b) persuaded billions of people to willingly accept this. The rest of Mankind - the other 3 or 4 billion are "useless eaters" as David Rockefeller once called them - just don't count because they're too abjectly poor and are not part of any "market"; there's literally nothing the Corporate Overworld can sell to them. Thus, they are implicitly earmarked for controlled extermination over the next generation through war, disease, starvation, urban violence, environmental contamination, artificially induced "natural" disasters, or by just plain letting them waste away.
A quick look at some of the technological wonders they have in store for us might better illustrate this:
WATCH WHAT YOU SAY... AND DO... (AND THINK..!)
"Romas/COIN" is a super hi-tech military civilian mass surveillance and data gathering project supported by US private defense contractors (Northrop Gruman, notably), think tanks, and the US military and civilian intelligence community, with electronic capabilities to monitor and analyse millions and millions of conversations, sort key data and then re-build it to reflect specific behaviour patterns amongst individuals and groups of people, which enables projecting their future plans, whereabouts, goals and actions. This will make "preventive war" and "preventive arrests" that much easier. For now, much of this mass surveillance and data mining targets Arab speaking peoples, not just in the Middle East/North Africa but the world over, which ties in nicely with the endless "global war on terrorism."
This represents a quantum leap by the Global Power Elite in that until recently such global hi-tech spying was only done by the National Security Agency, CIA, FBI, MI6 or Mossad (which can always be demonised as modern Gestapo-like entities); now however, we have "friendly" household names like Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Pixar/Disney, PointAbout, doing all the spying for the Elite. This private corporate network is part of the invisible noose we are putting around our necks.
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU...
Countries one normally believes are bastions of liberty and freedom - the UK, Canada, Australia or New Zealand - are prime examples of mass surveillance. Take a stroll through London and a vast and ubiquitous network of several million CCTV cameras will be watching your every move 24/7 in airports, underground and railway stations, street crossings, stores, bus stops, shopping malls, motorways, parks, bridges, condos, public buildings, private offices, utilities, public toilets, toll booths... Wherever you are in London, someone is watching you... very closely.
Naturally, all this is done in the name of "national security" which has become a smokescreen for the political and corporate elites' perception that growing public awareness does pose a real threat to their interests.
In Australia Big Brother is hard at work, not surprising since Australia responded to September 11 with extraordinary law-making. In the ensuing decade, Australia's Federal Parliament enacted 54 pieces of anti-terrorism legislation; 48 of which were passed under the Howard government, an average of one new anti-terrorism law every seven weeks.
The numbers are striking: Canadian Professor Kent Roach found that "Australia has exceeded the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada in the sheer number of new anti-terrorism laws it has enacted since September 11, 2001. Australia's hyper-legislation strained the ability of the parliamentary opposition and civil society to keep up, let alone provide effective opposition to, the relentless legislative output." All brought to you by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).
Australia's legislation includes the Telecommunications Interception and Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Act, and the Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 that strengthens and increases ASIO's powers to conduct offshore surveillance and reach such organisations as WikiLeaks, targeting anyone campaigning on political and social issues.
"WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE..."
New technologies may also soon make fingerprints a thing of the past. Vein recognition represents a far more precise method to identify you than traditional fingerprint scanners because of its low .001% false acceptance rate. Using light to penetrate a users' finger to read vein patterns which are unique and thought to be impossible to replicate, this method is fully fool proof as vein structures change after death, which means severed fingers cannot be used to fool the readers.
Then there's face recognition where Toshiba recently unveiled a new range of LED-backlit televisions for 2011 including the model WL800A that uses facial recognition. Next time you're surfing the Internet or speaking on Skype, hmmm... "we know who you are, where you are and what you're doing..."
LOST & FOUND: "M'AM: WE FOUND YOUR MISSING HUSBAND'S BLACK BOX..."
Microchip Implants for personal tracking and ID are getting smaller and smaller, and ever more injectable without you ever even realising it. Next time an Avian or Swine Flu "crisis" breaks, don't let yourself be coaxed into mass vaccinating your family. Michael G Michael (University of Wollongong's School of Information Systems and Technology, Australia), has coined the term "uberveillance" to describe the emerging trend of all-encompassing surveillance, explaining that "Uberveillance is not on the outside looking down, but on the inside looking out through a microchip that is embedded in our bodies."
The US's private hi-tech company VeriChip widely markets implantable nano-chips which store a 16-digit unique ID number on humans "for medical and security purposes, focusing on high-risk patients and the need to identify them and their medical records in an emergency." To allay any fears they also explain they do not know when or if someone will develop an implantable microchip with GPS technology, but that "it is not an application we are pursuing." Michael explains that such implantable chips will become like a "black box that will then be a witness to our actual movements, words - perhaps even our thoughts - and play a similar role to the black box placed in an aircraft." He also predicts microchip implants and their infrastructure could eliminate the need for e-passports, e-tags, and secure ID cards, adding that "microchipping... will eventually become compulsory in the context of identification within the frame of national security." For now, your mobile phone acts as a passive transponder for radio frequency identification (RFID) readers.
WATCH THE BIRDIE...
Not surprisingly, military applications are where trillions of ultra-hi-tech dollars are going. We now have drones as tiny as bugs. In a recent piece published in The New York Times2 we learn that the US military's Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio runs a flight lab dubbed a "microaviary" where drones designed to replicate flight mechanics of moths, hawks and other creatures are being developed. "'We're looking at how you can hide in plain sight' said Greg Parker, an Aerospace engineer, as he held up a mechanical hawk that in the future might carry out espionage." Today, the Pentagon has some 7,000 aerial drones explained Ashton B Carter, the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer and a member of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
"In February 2011, researchers unveiled a hummingbird drone built by the firm AeroVironment for the secretive Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) which can fly at 11 mph and perch on a windowsill... one of the smallest drones in use on the battlefield is the three foot long Raven which troops in Afghanistan toss by hand like a model airplane to peer over the next hill."
Then we have new "Gorgon Stare" technology that can capture live videos of an entire city, but requires 2,000 analysts to process the data feeds from a single drone compared with 19 analysts per drone today. We can also expect massive growth of armies of military surveillance analysts representing "wonderful new job careers in national defense."
A NATION OF COWARDS
That same New York Times piece goes on to say, "within the military, no one disputes that drones save American lives. Many see them as advanced versions of 'stand-off weapons systems', like tanks or bombs dropped from aircraft, that the US has used for decades. 'There's a kind of nostalgia for the way wars used to be,' said Deane-Peter Baker, an ethics professor at the US Naval Academy, referring to noble notions of knight-on-knight conflict. Drones are part of a post-heroic age, he said, and in his view, it is not always a problem if they lower the threshold for war... Military ethicists concede that drones can turn war into a video game, inflict civilian casualties and with no Americans directly at risk, and thus more easily draw the US into conflicts."
This ties in with the Powell Doctrine, drafted by Gen. Colin Powell (CFR) after the First Gulf War which states, amongst other concepts, that the US should only engage in military conflict where it's overwhelming military clout guarantees complete victory over carefully chosen weaker enemies. That explains why the US (and its staunch ally Britain) will unilaterally attack Afghanistan and Iraq, but not China or Russia; or why the US (and NATO) imposed "regime change" on Libya but not on North Korea (so intimate with China) or Iran (so close to Russia). This explains why America's "heroic exploits" included invading tiny Grenada under the Reagan Administration in 1984, and unarmed Panama under Bush Senior in 1991, as well as its unflinching support of nuclear-armed-to-the-teeth Israel against rock-throwing Palestinians.
Clearly, a more overt "doctrine" of abject and shameless cowardice has yet to be advanced by any nation. There, no doubt, lie the seeds of America's coming demise and that of its key allies: they have become greedy and corrupt nations governed by cowardly rulers.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
Whatever happens from now on, Planet Earth depends on how large a portion of the two or three billion "lucky ones" who have voluntarily integrated themselves into the Cybersphere through PC's, laptops, blackberries, websites, cell phones, etc., become aware of the grave dangers facing us all. How fast they begin taking defensive measures from inside the Cybersphere, especially by identifying and taking advantage of its myriad weak points.
As a friend once said, "if globalisation can be compared to a balloon, then you only need the microscopic point of a sharp pin to blow it up..." Each of us must become such a "microscopic pin."
As I write, the surveillance and control infrastructure can read this article, plot my location from their satellites using the cell phone in my pocket as a GPS transponder, spy on what I read, write and navigate on my laptop, and God knows what more.
Since 20 years or so, the National Security Agency's Echelon Project can spy on our phones and emails, targeting specific words used in billions upon billions of messages and texts - "bomb," "attack," "Islam," "Muslim," "nuclear," "chemical," and "biological" are just some of the words and sequences Echelon can snoop into (they're probably doing this right now as I write and as you read!). Whatever it is they can do today surely exceeds our wildest imagination.
This is no longer just the "national intelligence infrastructure" spanning the CIA, FBI, FEMA, Homeland Security, DARPA, Army, Navy and Air Force Intelligence, and their counterparts in other countries. This now spans private corporations that gather data, organise it, seek and find specific patterns (behaviours, contacts, interests, intents, geographies and infinite others) through which they hope to eventually exert their long-sought dream of total control over populations forming part of their Global System (the rest are as good as dead).
Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and a vast array of intelligence, security, IT, data gathering companies are all linking into increasingly large networks that pool data, findings and capabilities into complex arrays of self-sustaining and evolving structures, that lie outside the visual scope even of governments, for the simple reason that governments cannot even begin to fathom those capabilities, powers and future projections.
Does anybody really believe that Barack Obama, David Cameron, the senators, representatives and MP's of the US or UK governments have a real clue as to what the NSA, together with Google, together with Boeing, together with Northrop, together with Halliburton, together with Apple, together with Mossad, MI6 and CIA front companies, together with key universities and think tanks, together with.... are really developing?
Can Congress or Parliament enact more laws to "control" something they themselves cannot understand and, even if they were to enact limiting legislation, by then technology will have evolved even further, easily wiggling its way out of any such laws.
WHO'S IN CHARGE?
That brings us to the key question: who's in charge? Who really runs Australia, Britain, France and Germany? Japan, India and Brazil? The US and Canada? Argentina and South Africa? Even Israel??
We see "elected leaders" accessing top government posts using 19th century "democratic" voting mechanisms, that are all controlled by a highly complex 21st century technocratic Over-world, embedded inside the US, UK, EU and most every other country. It operates from inside these countries - even using the military might of the US and NATO countries - but in no way does it heed, support or respond to the interests of these peoples. Was it really the US, Britain and France that invaded and destroyed Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya? Or is it something far more elusive and powerful embedded inside them but controlled from way above today's completely outdated, eroded, fatally weakened and - at this rate - soon to disappear "sovereign Nation-State"?
It's high time we make the necessary quantum leaps that will allow us to start joining the dots. We need to move away from silo mentality paradigms, and towards a much more holistic Weltanschauung. We have become too "specialised," which leads to narrow-mindedness. We talk about finance but never join the dots on its geopolitical overtones. We talk about politics but are blind to underlying social forces. We think Hollywood is only about "entertainment," not realising how they implant ideas and behaviour patterns into our collective psyche.
Information and data overdrive generate confusion, as we become overwhelmed by trillions of bits of data that swamp our brains every day, hour, minute and second. A healthy tip: take your proper distance and perspective so that we all start to see the big picture. Only then can we move down to the finer detail, because the forest is far, far more important than the tree... at least in this stage where we all need to come to grips with a question that should be growing louder and louder in your mind no matter where you live or who you are: what on Earth is going on!?
We had better find the answers quickly because we are fast coming to a fork of world historic proportions on the road of human destiny. We either climb up the high road leading to human evolution which will necessarily entail the painful but necessary destruction of the Global Power Elite and all who support, consolidate, empower and fuel its growth, or... we slip down the low road into a dark abyss of death, destruction, mass hypnosis and the end of the human spirit; a vision pretty close to what men throughout the ages have described as Hell...
What road will you take? We can still make the right decision. There is not, however, much time left.