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This whole monstrous surveillance state revelation is consuming my focus. Edvard Munch's "Scream" compilation is a perfect symbol for how I'm feeling. I've seen this painting many times over the years, but I'm not sure I've ever really seen it until now. I've never paid attention to it being a series of images and I've never noticed the two dark figures with hats lurking behind the terrified subject. It all makes sense to me now. And when the shadowy figures sense they've been spotted, they pretend to take interest elsewhere (follow me over the jump and you'll see).

But it's not about any sense I am being watch, though I know my data is now collected. It is not about the Snowden saga. It is not even about Obama or liberal versus conservative. It is not even about the NSA and I think now that actually mislabels the problem because this is not about espionage either. It is not even about national security -- that's just the cover to pay for it. I'm afraid all those things are secondary and we've all been arguing about the wrong things. What I fear is that we have discovered the insurance policy of the 1%.

Am I crazy?...

Maybe the easiest way to explain what I'm thinking is to first reference this article introduced to me via a comment in another diary. The comment is by Einsteinia (a big thank you for sharing the article). In the article, author Ernest A. Canning theorizes the real target of the state surveillance is not terrorism, but democracy itself because the too-little discussed fact that the people doing the spying is not the State, but rather the private sector. This is being done many private companies who are controlled by a labyrinthine poisonous web of private equity firms, holding companies and ultimately a small set of controlling individuals. For example, just looking at Booz Allen:
The majority shareholder in Booz Allen is The Carlyle Group, the massive global asset management firm whose defense industry contracts raised questions of a conflict of interest during the George W. Bush administration in light of the direct financial ties and active rolls in Carlyle maintained by Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, his Sec. of State, James Baker, III, Ronald Reagan's Defense Sec. Frank Carlucci and even Shafiq Bin Laden (Osama's brother).
When you let that sink in, the implications are terrifying. Now multiply this with all the other thousands of interlocking firms with national security contracts. The opportunity for extortion of pretty much anyone is now possible. The article goes on to point out two examples of the dangers:
There is absolutely no reason to simply "trust" the government or private contractors with the power that accompanies virtually unfettered secret access to all communications. Indeed, the editor of this site, Brad Friedman, together with Glenn Greenwald and other private citizens, already experienced the misuse of these so-called counter-terrorism cyber security tools. Friedman, et al., became the targets of a secret scheme devised for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by its high-powered D.C. law firm and three private U.S. cyber security contractors. For those who think there's nothing to hide if they haven't done anything wrong, think again! The scheme was designed to smear, defraud, plant fake documents, hack and spy upon the Chamber’s perceived enemies in hopes of discrediting them. The scheme was to have used the very tools, developed by contractors with taxpayer monies, for use in the so-called "war on terror".
And we all remember this, but now we can think of it within the context of all this privatized spying:
In a similar vein, as reported by SourceWatch, on May 20 the Center for Media and Democracy released a detailed report on "How the Nation's 'Counter Terrorism' Apparatus, in Partnership with Corporate America, Monitored the Occupy Movement".

The key findings in the report include the use of undercover agents not only to infiltrate Occupy groups, but to infiltrate groups taking issue with the infamous Koch-funded, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC); Department of Homeland Security "data mining" of social media; application of facial recognition software against the Occupy movement by government counter-terrorism employees; the creation of an "information sharing environment" between law enforcement and major corporations; and the FBI's application of "'Operation Tripwire,' an initiative originally intended to apprehend domestic terrorists through the use of private sector informants, in their monitoring of Occupy Wall Street groups."

The other day I posted the diary about the FBI withholding information from OWS about a plot to assassinate OWS "leaders." Within the comments I'd learned some previous diaries had been penned, one discussing this sinister linkage of government with banks made clear in all the FOIA docs. But viewed with the new perspective we all now have about the extent and nature of the spying on all things digital coupled with who is actually doing the spying, it all seems even that much more evil.

Snowden was low level and yet he was able to spirit away 4 full laptops with information and do so without intent for financial gain. No one knew he took it until he announced he took it. We know countless others have access to the same or more information. It is not only rational, but probable that some of these people happen to be unscrupulous and willing to act for financial gain, and can do it as undetected as did Snowden. And, that these people, under orders and at the behest of powerful people can and do gather smaller, compromising bits of information about key people that can be used to blackmail people who might otherwise vote or adjudicate in a manner threatening to the 1%.

Finally, the beauty of all this is that it feeds itself. The war on terror is forever. Fear has proven to be the America, Inc.'s most successful marketing tool. The money spigot is endless and now controlled by the same people who have access to any and everything they need to extort for influence to achieve any aim.

Maybe I'm just all trapped in tinfoil at the moment, but maybe I'm not. I'm not going to pretend the 1% is populated mostly by altruistic heroes of humanity. Maybe the crazy conspiracy theorists have been right all along, while the rest of us are good little citizens playing at democracy, arguing policies and cheering on our teams and officials (who are just part of a side show facade), distracting us from the slope towards genuine fascism.

At a minimum, we better be certain we are arguing the right problem. I know for me, from here on out I'll only be willing to support candidates committed to dismantling whatever this thing is.


4:27 PM PT: UPDATE: Thanks for the reclist. I'm glad for the concepts to be debated by a wider audience.

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