Apr 17, 2010

Big Content's dystopian wish-list for the US gov't: spyware, censorship, physical searches and SWAT teams

The MPAA and RIAA have submitted their master plan for enforcing copyright to the new Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Richard Esguerra points out, it's a startlingly distopian work of science fiction. The entertainment industry calls for:

* spyware on your computer that detects and deletes infringing materials;
* mandatory censorware on all Internet connections to interdict transfers of infringing material;
* border searches of personal media players, laptops and thumb-drives;
* international bullying to force other countries to implement the same policies;
* and free copyright enforcement provided by Fed cops and agencies (including the Department of Homeland Security!).
WRH permalink

Related: Digital Economy Act: This means war
(LondonGuardian) – Baking surveillance, control and censorship into the very fabric of our networks, devices and laws is the absolute road to dictatorial hell. Cory Doctorow London Guardian April 17, 2010 With the rushed passage into law of the Digital Economy Act this month, the fight over copyright enters a new phase. Previous to this, most copyfighters operated [...]

Factoid of the day

Top 5 Billionaire Hedge Fund Managers Are Zionists

"Total amounts earned in for 2009 -

1.David Tepper $4 Billion
2.George Soros $3.3 Billion
3.James Simons $2.5 Billion
4.John Paulson $2.4 billion
5.Steve Cohen $1.4 billion"

Cop is reinstated after beating a handcuffed woman into a pool of blood

Things like this happens frequently in the country self-appointed to give votes on human rights to the rest of the world:

Another case of police brutality. Police officer Wiley Willis, turns off the camera while Angela Garbarino is asking for her right to make a phone call. Minutes later we see her face down lying on a pool of blood. The lawyer defending the officer alleged the victim fell causing her injuries which included two broken teeth. The officer has been reinstated on full pay because the polygrapher who interrogated him as part of an internal investigation failed to make a recording of the polygraph examination.

"Change": in worse (than Dumbya!)

The Continuation of War Crimes Under Obama
Andy Worthington

April 16, 2010 - ...In some respects, this is worse than Bush. First, because Obama has claimed the right to assassinate American citizens whom he suspects of "terrorism," merely on the grounds of his own suspicion or that of the CIA, something Bush never claimed publicly. Second, Obama says that the government can detain you indefinitely, even if you have been exonerated in a trial, and he has publicly floated the idea of "preventive detention." Third, the Obama administration, in expanding the use of unmanned drone attacks, argues that the US has the authority under international law to use such lethal force and extrajudicial killing in sovereign countries with which it is not at war. Such measures by Bush were widely considered by liberals and progressives to be outrages and were roundly, and correctly, protested. But those acts which may have been construed (wishfully or not) as anomalies under the Bush regime, have now been consecrated into "standard operating procedure" by Obama, who claims, as did Bush, executive privilege and state secrecy in defending the crime of aggressive war....

Is This the "Progress" President Obama Spoke Of?
Jason Ditz

April 16, 2010 - ... NATO’s own figures revealed that the number of civilians killed by NATO in Afghanistan had well more than doubled year over year. In the first three months of 2009, NATO killed 29 Afghan civilians according to their own, extremely conservative statistics. In the same period of this year, those numbers show at least 72 Afghan civilians killed by the international forces...


by Malcom Lagauche
April 16, 2010 - Once upon a time, there was a country called Iraq. It was prosperous and had an abundance of oil that not only fueled the nation’s energy needs, but it provided incomes for families and also revenues to build a modern infrastructure. This oil was nationalized by the Iraqi government in 1973. Other emerging nations also had much of this black gold, but they either gave it away to foreign firms, receiving a small percentage as a sales commission, or they squandered it as the new governments that replaced their former imperial masters copied the ways of their former occupiers by allocating the revenues to a small circle of elite friends. Those who fought the occupiers for independence quickly took on the same tactics as their former rulers. Iraq was different. From 1973 on, the oil that came from Iraq created revenues that were given to the people. Within a decade, Iraq, a nation that had a 30% literacy rate in 1973, was declared "illiteracy free" by the UN...

When Empire Go Home

As the western world is thrown into debt bondage and the harsh reality of the draconian economic ‘reforms’ to follow, a social collapse seems increasingly inevitable. We will soon witness the collapse of western ‘civilization’. The middle classes of the west will dissolve into the lower labour class. The wealthy class, already nearly at par with the middle class in terms of total consumption, will become the only consuming class.  [that is the classic marxist forecast: a move toward a 2-classes system]
The state structure itself will be altering; nation-states will become subordinate to supra-national continental governance structures and global governance entities simultaneously. [really nothing new here] Concurrently, state structures will no longer maintain their democratic facades, as the public state is gutted, where all that remains and is built upon is the state apparatus of oppression. States will become tools of authoritative control, their prime purpose will be in establishing a strong military, as well as police-state apparatus to control the people. This is the dawning of the ‘Homeland Security State’ on a far grander scale than we have previously imagined. The object of ‘totalitarianism’ is to have ‘total control’. In this project of total control, state borders, as we know them today, will have to vanish; the institutions of oppression and control will be globalized. [this is really the point]

As society collapses, the social foundations of the middle class will be pulled out from under their feet. When people are thrown to the ground, they tend to want to stand back up again. The middle class will become a rebellious, possibly even revolutionary class, with riots and civil unrest a very likely reality. [this is the optimistic scenario] The lower class itself will likely partake in the unrest; however, the youth of the middle class will be thrown into a ‘poverty of expectations’, where the world as they have known it and the world they had expectations to rise into, will be taken from them. Civil unrest is as inevitable as summer after spring. [unfortunately, not]

When society collapses, the state will close itself over society to prevent the people from overtaking the levers of power and rebuilding a new social foundation. Nation-states are about to reveal to the people of the west their true nature, and that which the people of impoverished lands the world over have been exposed to for so long. At their heart, nations seek and serve power; their skeleton is not the public welfare they speak of espousing, but the apparatus of oppression that they build and expand, regardless of all other considerations.

In February of 2009, Obama’s intelligence chief, Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the economic crisis has become the greatest threat to U.S. national security:

I’d like to begin with the global economic crisis, because it already looms as the most serious one in decades, if not in centuries ... Economic crises increase the risk of regime-threatening instability if they are prolonged for a one- or two-year period... And instability can loosen the fragile hold that many developing countries have on law and order, which can spill out in dangerous ways into the international community.[1]

What is being said here is that economic crises (“if they are prolonged for a one or two year period”) pose a major threat to the established powers – the governing and economic powers – in the form of social unrest and rebellion (“regime-threatening instability”). The colonial possessions – Africa, South America, and Asia – will experience the worst of the economic conditions, which “can loosen the fragile hold that many developing countries have.” [No. This is interesting. Emerging economies are growing much more than "advanced" ones. "Our" "crisis" is good for them] This can then come back to the western nations and imperial powers themselves, as the riots and rebellion will spread home at the same time as they may lose control of their colonial possessions – eliminating western elites from a position of power internationally, and acquiescence domestically. Thus, the rebellion and discontent in the ‘Third World’ “can spill out in dangerous ways into the international community.” [Rebellion is not an epidemics, unfortunately]

In this type of scenario, where established western elites are threatened with losing control of vast imperial possessions (resources, key strategic points), while concurrently are threatened with revolt at home, the end result is inevitably the rapid militarization of the foreign and domestic spheres. [yes, nothing new here] It is no coincidence that as the economic crisis emerged in late 2007, the Pentagon military Africa Command (AFRICOM) was created in December of 2007, setting the stage for a military-based foreign policy for the entire continent of Africa in an objective aimed at securing its resources.

As the economic crisis continued, the domestic populations of western nations, particularly the United States, were increasingly subjected to further surveillance and police state measures. We have body scanners at airports, legal immunity was granted to corporations that spy on our telephone calls and emails and internet-usage. The Homeland Security State is transnationalizing, following the economic crisis, itself.

The powers of globalization – the state, banks, corporations, foundations, and international organizations – are well aware of the effects this social reorganization will have on the people and the reactions that are likely to arise. [hopefully] After all, these same organized powers have been doing exactly this to the rest of the world for decades and even centuries. What we are about to witness is not entirely new, it’s just being done on an entirely new scale, [historical cycles: another very interesting subject] and it’s largely new to us.

The Modern Surveillance Society

The western world is fast becoming a transnational surveillance society, with the United Kingdom leading the charge. In 2006, the British information commissioner, Richard Thomas, said that Britain was a surveillance society. There were more than 4.2 million CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) cameras in the U.K., about 1 for every 14 people. The Surveillance Studies Network, an organization of academics, released a report on surveillance in which it was revealed that compared to other western nations the U.K. was “the most surveilled country.” One of the lead authors stated that, “We have more CCTV cameras and we have looser laws on privacy and data protection.”[52]

In February of 2009, the British House of Lords Constitution Committee “warned that increasing use of surveillance by the government and private companies is a serious threat to freedoms and constitutional rights.” The report stated:

The expansion in the use of surveillance represents one of the most significant changes in the life of the nation since the end of the Second World War. Mass surveillance has the potential to erode privacy. As privacy is an essential pre-requisite to the exercise of individual freedom, its erosion weakens the constitutional foundations on which democracy and good governance have traditionally been based in this country.

Increased use of CCTV in public areas, the DNA database, the government's planned national ID card scheme and the various databases of British children are all threatening traditional freedoms, the report cautioned.[53]

One article in a British newspaper pointed out in 2007 that George Orwell’s nightmare as depicted in 1984 has become a reality, and with a twist:

According to the latest studies, Britain has a staggering 4.2million CCTV cameras - one for every 14 people in the country - and 20 per cent of cameras globally. It has been calculated that each person is caught on camera an average of 300 times daily.[54]

The article pointed out that within 200 yards of Orwell’s old home in North London, “there are 32 CCTV cameras, scanning every move.” ‘Big Brother is Watching You.’[55] In May of 2007, a watchdog group revealed that, “The vast majority of Britain's CCTV cameras are operating illegally or in breach of privacy guidelines.” The number may be as high as 90% of CCTV cameras being illegal.[56]

In 2008, senior British police officials revealed that with all of the CCTV cameras in the U.K., supposedly under the auspices of ‘preventing crime’, “Only 3% of street robberies in London were solved using CCTV images, despite the fact that Britain has more security cameras than any other country in Europe.”[57]

In 2009, it was revealed that, “Britain has one and a half times as many surveillance cameras as communist China, despite having a fraction of its population.” While there are 4.2 million CCTV cameras in Britain, 1 for every 14 people, “in police state China, which has a population of 1.3billion, there are just 2.75 million cameras, the equivalent of one for every 472,000 of its citizens.” An official from a pressure group, Privacy International, stated that, “As far as surveillance goes, Britain has created the blueprint for the 21st century non-democratic regime.”[58]

In August of 2009, it was revealed that the British government had come up with a vast new Orwellian idea, terrifying in its scope and intent:

£400 million ($668 million) will be spent on installing and monitoring CCTV cameras in the homes of private citizens. Why? To make sure the kids are doing their homework, going to bed early and eating their vegetables. The scheme has, astonishingly, already been running in 2,000 family homes. The government’s “children’s secretary” Ed Balls is behind the plan, which is aimed at problem, antisocial families. The idea is that, if a child has a more stable home life, he or she will be less likely to stray into crime and drugs.

It gets worse. The government is also maintaining a private army, incredibly not called “Thought Police”, which will “be sent round to carry out home checks,” according to the Sunday Express. And in a scheme which firmly cements the nation’s reputation as a “nanny state”, the kids and their families will be forced to sign “behavior contracts” which will “set out parents’ duties to ensure children behave and do their homework.”[59]

In November of 2009, it was revealed that, “CCTV cameras are being fitted inside family homes by council 'snoopers' to spy on neighbours in the street outside.”[60] In January of 2010, the Guardian reported that, “Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan, for the ­"routine" monitoring of antisocial motorists, ­protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers, in a significant expansion of covert state surveillance.” Effectively, it will become “CCTV in the Sky.”[61]

There have even been moves to attach microphones to CCTV cameras, “designed to monitor rowdy bars and nightclubs in central London. They will also be installed in housing estates in an attempt to stop nuisance neighbours.” Elaborating on the usage of such microphones, “The devices would be programmed to trigger an automatic alert if noise levels get too high.”[62]

Further, “talking CCTV cameras” which allow for “operators to publicly shame offenders is to be extended across the country.” John Reid, the Home Secretary, stated, “It helps counter things like litter through drunk or disorderly behaviour, gangs congregating.” In a strange psychological twist, “In a bid to shame offenders into acting properly, the Government is drafting in children to provide the admonition.” The government has thus undertaken what all police states and totalitarian societies ultimately do: recruit the children of the nation as spies. The government began competitions at schools:

Activities, such as designing posters that challenge bad behaviour and taking part in neighbourhood litter picks, help educate children about acceptable behaviour while at the same time they are encouraged to use their 'pester power' in a positive way - reminding grown-ups how to behave.

The winning schoolchildren will be invited to become the 'voice' of the Talking CCTV in their town or city's CCTV control room for one day - the day of the switch-on - later this year.[63]

Within one week of the previous report, “Britain's talking CCTV cameras are to issue their first apology for embarrassing a blameless passerby on the day the government announces plans to extend the anti-vandalism scheme to 20 town centres.” Marie Brewster, a young mother, had crumpled up some garbage and put it in her baby carriage, and then heard a voice say, “Please place the rubbish in the bin provided.”[64]

The U.K. has been implementing major surveillance and information databases on its citizens, including a database on Britain’s children, a “£224m directory, called ContactPoint, holds the name, address, date of birth, GP and school of all under-18s, and is aimed at helping professionals reach children they suspect are at risk.” Due to this database, “Doctors, social workers and police can look up details on every child in England.”[65] Britain has also unveiled a National ID Card program, of which a report of the London School of Economics revealed has many problems, including:

[C]ost, renewing the biometric testing, replacing ID cards, enrolling difficulties, difficulties with card reader machines, non-cooperation from the public, civil liberty, privacy and legal implications, problems for disabled users, security concerns and the creation of a new offence of identity theft.[66]

In May of 2008, Prime Minister Gordon Brown introduced a new law where “Phone and internet companies will soon be forced to keep logs of internet usage to be made available to the police.” Telecom companies, which were already required by the government to keep track of phone calls, would then be required to keep “records of customers' internet usage, email usage and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) records.”[67]

In October of 2008, it was revealed that GCHQ, the government’s secret eavesdropping agency, “is plotting the biggest surveillance system ever created in Britain.” This would include, “Every call you make, every e-mail you send, every website you visit.”[68] The government expressed an interest in asking companies to monitor how people use social networking sites like Facebook. The government would ask companies “to collect and retain records of communications from a wider range of internet sources, from social networks through to chatrooms and unorthodox methods, such as within online games.”[69]

Further, “The government is compiling a database to track and store the international travel records of millions of Britons,” which would “store names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details of travellers.” One Parliamentarian said, “We are sleepwalking into a surveillance state and should remember that George Orwell's 1984 was a warning, not a blueprint.”[70]

For those that think surveillance is aimed at “protecting” people, more information has come to light which helps identify the true intent of surveillance: control. In 2009, an investigation by the Guardian revealed that, “Police are targeting thousands of political campaigners in surveillance operations and storing their details on a database for at least seven years.” The Guardian reported that, “Photographs, names and video ­footage of people attending protests are ­routinely obtained by surveillance units and stored on an ‘intelligence system’,” which “lists campaigners by name, allowing police to search which demonstrations or political meetings individuals have attended.” Further, the program is also monitoring reporters and journalists who report on, cover, or attend protests.[71]

In 2007, the Department of Homeland Security began handing out millions of dollars to local governments across the United States “for purchasing high-tech video camera networks, accelerating the rise of a "surveillance society" in which the sense of freedom that stems from being anonymous in public will be lost,” warned the Boston Globe. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “has doled out millions on surveillance cameras, transforming city streets and parks into places under constant observation.” The cameras are often extremely high-tech, as “technicians are developing ways to use computers to process real-time and stored digital video, including license-plate readers, face-recognition scanners, and software that detects” unusual behaviour.[72]

In 2007, it was revealed that there were greatly increased calls for installing surveillance CCTV camera systems in the United States modeled on the U.K., and “In the first such public effort in the U.S., New York is planning to begin the installation of a similar, permanent system for lower Manhattan.” The security cordon around central London is known as the “ring of steel,” which is what New York plans to emulate:

By 2010, as many as 3,000 cameras could be installed. One-third would be owned by the New York Police Department and the other two-thirds by private security agencies working with businesses. All the images would feed into a surveillance center staffed by both the NYPD and private security agents.[73]

The Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, as it is known, is being funded by the City of New York, as well as the Department of Homeland Security.[74] In November of 2008, the NYPD officially “flipped the on switch for their lower Manhattan spy center, where cops monitor surveillance cameras and license plate readers around the clock.”[75] In October of 2009, it was announced that, “Lower Manhattan's network of security cameras, license plate readers and weapons sensors is coming to midtown.” New York’s “Ring of Steel” will extend “into an area that includes Grand Central Terminal, Pennsylvania Station and Times Square.”[76] The Midtown Security Initiative “would use a $24 million federal Homeland Security grant for the project,” which would be expected to be finished in 2011.[77]

In January of 2009, the ACLU warned that, “government-financed surveillance cameras are running rampant across the United States,” as “The federal government has given state and local governments $300 million in grants to fund an ever-growing array of cameras.”[78]

As the Telegraph reported in September of 2009, “The European Union is spending millions of pounds developing ‘Orwellian’ technologies designed to scour the internet and CCTV images for ‘abnormal behaviour’.” One program known as Project Indect, “aims to develop computer programmes which act as "agents" to monitor and process information from web sites, discussion forums, file servers, peer-to-peer networks and even individual computers.” The EU marks a growing trend in the transnationalization of surveillance, as “the increased emphasis on co-operation and sharing intelligence means that European police forces are likely to gain access to sensitive information held by UK police, including the British DNA database.”[79]

In a further analysis of the trend of the transnationalization of surveillance societies, the European Union’s “new five-year plan for justice and home affairs will export the UK's database state to the rest of the EU.” In fact, the EU regularly constructs five-year plans for “justice and home affairs affecting many areas of EU citizens' civil liberties – policing, immigration and asylum, criminal law, databases and data protection.” The Tampere programme was for 2000-2004, which was followed by the Hague programme from 2005-2009, “which included the commitment to bring in biometric passports and ID cards”:

The Tampere programme was drawn up and negotiated by officials of the council of the European Union and the European commission, without any consultation with national or European parliaments, let alone civil society, and adopted in closed sessions by the European council (EU prime ministers).[80]

A report on the new five-year programme being constructed revealed that:

"Every object the individual uses, every transaction they make and almost everywhere they go will create a detailed digital record. This will generate a wealth of information for public security organisations", leading to behaviour being predicted and assessed by "machines" (their term) which will issue orders to officers on the spot. The proposal presages the mass gathering of personal data on travel, bank details, mobile phone locations, health records, internet usage, criminal records however minor, fingerprints and digital pictures that can be data-mined and applied to different scenario – boarding a plane, behaviour on the Tube or taking part in a protest.[81]

Think that’s as bad as it gets? As the Guardian revealed, “it is proposed that by 2014 the EU needs to create a ‘Euro-Atlantic area of cooperation with the USA in the field of freedom, security and justice’,” which “would go far beyond current co-operation and mean that policies affecting the liberties and rights of everyone in Europe would not be determined in London or Brussels but in secret EU-US meetings.”[82] Of course, this program is cynically said to be about “freedom, security and justice,” as in, freedom from justice and security. 

The EU plans to build the “largest 10 fingerprint system in the world,” and dauntingly, “Some of the most controversial changes introduced by the treaty of Lisbon are in the area of freedom, security and justice.” The Lisbon Treaty was eventually adopted by every EU nation, following the second vote in Ireland after the Irish first voted ‘no’. In the EU, democracy only counts if it delivers the desired answer. As a result of the Lisbon Treaty being passed, a variety of police state and surveillance measures can be undertaken for the entirety of the EU:

Other initiatives in the pipeline include a target to train a third of all police officers across the EU in a "common culture" of policing; controversial surveillance techniques including "cyber patrols"; an EU "master plan" on information exchange; the transfer of criminal proceedings among EU member states; access to other member states' national tax databases; and EU laws on citizens' right to internet access, among many other things.[83]

The transnationalization of the surveillance society has even expanded vastly into Canada. In 2009, the first independent study of video surveillance was carried out in Canada, in which it revealed that, “At least 14 Canadian municipalities are using surveillance cameras to monitor people in public spaces, and another 16 are considering them or have considered them.” Further, the report identified that, “The use of surveillance cameras has exploded worldwide, especially since the 9/11 attacks.” It concluded that, “the growth of camera surveillance in Canada is undeniable, and is steady.” Further:

Transit officials in Toronto plan to deploy 12,000 cameras on buses, subways and streetcars by the middle [2009]. Montreal’s transit system is adding 1,200 cameras to its surveillance network. Nearly 800 cameras monitor all commuter activity on Vancouver’s 28-kilometre Sky Train route.[84]

In 2008, Ontario’s Privacy Commissioner gave the green light to an expansion of the use of surveillance in Toronto’s transit system. Toronto transit officials had announced plans to install 12,000 cameras in the bus, streetcar and subway system, which “would enable TTC staff or police to view live video or hear audio from any of the security cameras.”[85]

In preparation for the Olympics in Vancouver, it was announced that the government would vastly expand the use of surveillance cameras in the city. While the City had oft-claimed that this was being done in a “temporary” nature for the Olympics, in 2009 it was acknowledged that in fact, they would be permanent.[86] An estimated 900 cameras were to be watching the crowds in Vancouver during the Olympics.[87]

In January of 2010, a report by an independent organization revealed that, “The use of surveillance cameras on city streets in Canadian cities is "mushrooming," but so far the public appears unconcerned.” Notable among the measures are the aims by the Ontario Provincial Police in acquiring “surveillance cameras with automated licence-plate-recognition technology, and the RCMP has installed hundreds of cameras at Vancouver Olympic venues and tourist sites.” Further:

Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver have deployed thousands of surveillance cameras on their transit systems, and half a dozen Canadian cities, including Ottawa, have adopted taxi cameras.[88]

Clearly, this process is not simply a British or American venture, but is endemic of the transnational nature of the surveillance society.

Transnational Totalitarianism

In November of 2008, the National Intelligence Council (which oversees all 16 US intelligence agencies) released a major report analyzing global trends until 2025. It explained that many governments in the west will be “expanding domestic security forces, surveillance capabilities, and the employment of special operations-type forces.” Counterterrorism measures will increasingly “involve urban operations as a result of greater urbanization,” and governments “may increasingly erect barricades and fences around their territories to inhibit access. Gated communities will continue to spring up within many societies as elites seek to insulate themselves from domestic threats.”[89]

Totalitarianism is, “by nature (or rather by definition), a global project that cannot be fully accomplished in just one community or one country. Being fuelled by the need to suppress any alternative orders and ideas, it has no natural limits and is bound to aim at totally dominating everything and everyone.” Further:

The ultimate feature of the totalitarian domination is the absence of exit, which can be achieved temporarily by closing borders, but permanently only by a truly global reach that would render the very notion of exit meaningless. This in itself justifies questions about the totalitarian potential of globalization... Is abolition of borders intrinsically (morally) good, because they symbolize barriers that needlessly separate and exclude people, or are they potential lines of resistance, refuge and difference that may save us from the totalitarian abyss? [Further,] if globalization undermines the tested, state-based models of democracy, the world may be vulnerable to a global totalitarian [centralization].[90]

The totalitarian project is truly a transnational project; it is not merely confined to one or a few nations, but is a project of western society. So while the west rapidly expands their imperial adventures in the ‘global south’ – Africa, Latin America, South and Central Asia – at home the governments of the established western democracies are throwing the notion of democracy overboard and are constructing powerful and pervasive ‘Homeland Security States’. The construction of a ‘Homeland Security State’ is no more about the protection of its citizens than the Gestapo was; it is about the control of their citizens.

The global economic crisis is central to this process of rapid state reformation and the transnationalization of tyranny. Economic collapse and civil unrest are key facets of a changing socio-political economic system, of a move from democracy to despotism. When an economy collapses, the governments throw away their public obligations, and act in the interests of their private owners. Governments will come to the aid of the powerful banks and corporations, not the people, as “The bourgeoisie resorts to fascism less in response to disturbances in the street than in response to disturbances in their own economic system.”[91] During a large economic crisis:

[The state] rescues business enterprises on the brink of bankruptcy, forcing the masses to foot the bill. Such enterprises are kept alive with subsidies, tax exemptions, orders for public works and armaments. In short, the state thrusts itself into the breach left by the vanishing private customers. [. . . ] Such maneuvers are difficult under a democratic regime [because people still] have some means of defense [and are] still capable of setting some limit to the insatiable demands of the money power. [In] certain countries and under certain conditions, the bourgeoisie throws its traditional democracy overboard.[92]

The 2008 National Intelligence Council trend report, Global Trends 2025, discussed the decline of democracy in the world as a major trend in the next few decades:

[Advances in democracy] are likely to slow and globalization will subject many recently democratized countries to increasing social and economic pressures that could undermine liberal institutions. [. . . ] The better economic performance of many authoritarian governments could sow doubts among some about democracy as the best form of government.

[. . . ] Even in many well-established democracies [i.e., the West], surveys show growing frustration with the current workings of democratic government and questioning among elites over the ability of democratic governments to take the bold actions necessary to deal rapidly and effectively with the growing number of transnational challenges.[93]

In Conclusion

As the world collapses into a global debt crisis, countries will undertake fiscal austerity measures that will radically increase taxes and reduce social spending. The result, as analyzed in earlier parts of this series, will be the eradication of the middle class and rapid expansion of poverty and growth of the lower, labour class. Students and members of the middle and lower classes will be in the streets protesting, rioting, rebelling, and the threat of revolution will grow. [again, this is the optimistic scenario]

As I analyzed in Part 2 of this series, “Western Civilization and the Economic Crisis: The Impoverishment of the Middle Class,” the eradication of the middle class has been a long-term process, and so too has the process of constructing a Homeland Security State. As people fall into social despair, governments will resort to political despotism. The Homeland Security State is designed to control populations and protect the power of the political and economic elite. If the elites do not construct a pervasive police state, the people might take over the social, political and economic levers of power and reconstruct a new social system. Therefore, the elites must “do away” with democracy in order to protect their own positions of power.

The construction of a pervasive and powerful Homeland Security State is not simply about the structures of surveillance. The emergence of a Homeland Security State will be marked by a new totalitarianism – not quite fascism and not quite communism – but a new system entirely: it’s not Germany in the Second World War, this is 1984. With that, the state apparatus will become incredibly oppressive and brutal force will likely be employed in order to induce submission to the state. The militarization of society is a central facet in this. This will be the subject of the next part in this series, “When Empire Hits Home,” with a focus on the evolution of a military form of governance in the west, construction of dictatorial and totalitarian societies, the prospects of martial law, and the structures of state oppression, including the use of “detention camps” to imprison “uncooperative” elements of the population.

While this essay focused on the prevalence and evolution of a police state surveillance society in the west, the next part focuses on the militarization of society itself: the descent into dictatorship and despotism. This is the price that is paid for empire. Too long have the people of the west been acquiescent to and ignorant of the rabid imperialism of our nations, the incessant and endless spreading of despotism, poverty, exploitation and death around the world.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the top American imperial strategists in recent history, wrote “The Grand Chessboard”, which was a blueprint for an American empire to control the world. In it, he wrote, “Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization.”[94] In other words, America is and must continue to be an empire, but imperialism and democracy cannot prosper together; it is one or the other. The elites of the west have chosen empire over democracy.

So far, this series has covered the relationship between war, poverty, and race, as well as the eradication of the middle classes, the potential for people to resist this process by rioting, rebelling or revolution, and the construction of Homeland Security States to monitor, track and control populations in an age of dying democracy. We cannot ignore the relationships between our own societies and what our societies do to people around the world. This is the nature of empire and the price of power.

In order to construct a world which is sustainable and prosperous for all of it’s people, where freedom reins and power is held by all, we cannot afford to ignore the processes that have brought us to this desperate state. What is most evident in the enterprise of empire is the greatest of human weakness: power. Universal equality and freedom for all peoples – not under a global socialist state, but under whatever local systems people choose for themselves – is the only way forward: the struggle of freedom for one is the struggle of freedom for all. Empire is poison and freedom is the antidote, but only if it is freedom for all.


[1]        Stephen C. Webster, US intel chief: Economic crisis a greater threat than terrorism. Raw Story: February 13, 2009:

[2]        CFR, National Security in the 21st Century: Findings of the Hart-Rudman Commission. Council on Foreign Relations: September 14, 2001:

[3]        The United States Commission on National Security/21st Century, New World Coming: American Security in the 21st Century – Major Themes and Implications. The Phase I Report on the Emerging Global Security Environment for the First Quarter of the 21st Century: September 15, 1999. Found at: page 3

[4]        Ibid, page 4.

[5]        Ibid, pages 4-5

[6]        Ibid, page 5

[7]        Ibid.

[8]        The United States Commission on National Security/21st Century, Seeking a National Strategy: A Concert for Preserving Security and Promoting Freedom. The Phase II Report on a U.S. National Security Strategy for the 21st Century: April 15, 2000. Found at: page 6

[9]        Ibid, page 8.

[10]      Ibid, page 11

[11]      Ibid, page 14

[12]      The United States Commission on National Security/21st Century, Road Map for National Security: Imperative for Change. The Phase III Report of the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century: February 15, 2001. Found at: page viii

[13]      Ibid, pages viii – ix

[14]      Homeland Security, Brief Documentary History of the Department of Homeland Security, 2001-2008. History Office. Found at:; page 3

[15]      Fox News, 9/11 Homeland Security Office Already Existed. September 11, 2001. Found at:

[16]      CFR, National Security in the 21st Century: Findings of the Hart-Rudman Commission. Council on Foreign Relations: September 14, 2001:

[17]      Homeland Security, Brief Documentary History of the Department of Homeland Security, 2001-2008. History Office. Found at:; page 4

[18]      Ibid, page 5

[19]      Ibid, pages 6-7

[20]      Andrew Grumet, 9-11 Commission Report Recommendations. Chapters 12 and 13 of the Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Official Government Edition. Found at:

[21]      Jennifer Van Bergen, The USA PATRIOT Act Was Planned Before 9/11. Truthout: May 20, 2002:

[22]      John W. Whitehead and Steven H. Aden, Forfeiting `Enduring Freedom' for `Homeland Security': A Constitutional Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act and the Justice Department's Anti-Terrorism Initiatives. American University Law Review: Vol. 51, no. 6, August 2002. Found at: and

[23]      Ibid.

[24]      Ibid.

[25]      Ibid.

[26]      Ibid.

[27]      Ibid.

[28]      Ibid.

[29]      Inquirer Staff, US Patriot Act II hints at DNA database plans. The Inquirer: February 9, 2003:

[30]      Jack Balkin, USA Patriot Act: A Dreadful Act II. The Los Angeles Times: February 13, 2003:

[31]      Press Release, ACLU says new Ashcroft Bill erodes checks and balances on Presidential power; PATRIOT II legislation would needlessly infringe on basic constitutional liberties. ACLU: February 12, 2003:

[32]      Carrie Johnson and Ellen Nakashima, White House Seeks Renewal of Surveillance Laws, Perhaps With Tweaks. The Washington Post: September 16, 2009:

[33]      David Kravets, Obama Backs Extending Patriot Act Spy Provisions. Wired: September 15, 2009:

[34]      Reuters, Congress extends Patriot Act, no new protections. Reuters: February 25, 2010:

[35]      James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts. The New York Times: December 16, 2005:

[36]      Time Grieve, What the Times knew, and when it knew it. Salon: August 14, 2006:

[37]      Leslie Cauley, NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls. USA Today: May 11, 2006:

[38]      Ibid.

[39]      Ryan Singel, Whistle-Blower Outs NSA Spy Room. Wired: April 7, 2006:

[40]      ABC, Whistle-blower Had to Fight NSA, LA Times to Tell Story. ABC News: March 6, 2007:

[41]      Ibid.

[42]      MSNBC, Olbermann intervies whistleblower Mark Klein (wiretapping). Countdown With Keith Olbermann: November 9, 2007:

[43]      John Markoff, Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek at Personal Data of Americans. The New York Times: November 9, 2002:

[44]      Ibid.

[45]      William Saletan, The Body Electric. The New York Times: December 24, 2009:

[46]      Cynthia L. Webb, The Pentagon's PR Play. The Washington Post: May 21, 2003:

[47]      William Safire, You Are a Suspect. The New York Times: November 14, 2002:

[48]      Rob Morris, Fighting terror by terrifying U.S. citizens. The San Francisco Chronicle: November 20, 2002:

[49]      Ibid.

[50]      AP, U.S. Still Mining Terror Data. Wired: February 23, 2004:

[51]      Shane Harris, TIA Lives On. The National Journal: February 23, 2006:

[52]      BBC, Britain is 'surveillance society'. BBC News: November 2, 2006:

[53]      John Oates, Lords say surveillance society erodes foundations of UK. The Register: February 6, 2009:

[54]      Standard, George Orwell, Big Brother is watching your house. The London Evening Standard: March 31, 2007:

[55]      Ibid.

[56]      Tim Hall, Majority of UK's CCTV cameras 'are illegal'. The Telegraph: May 31, 2007:

[57]      Owen Bowcott, CCTV boom has failed to slash crime, say police. The Guardian: May 6, 2008:

[58]      Tom Kelly, Revealed: Big Brother Britain has more CCTV cameras than China. The Daily Mail: August 11, 2009:

[59]      Charlie Sorre, Britain To Put CCTV Cameras Inside Private Homes. Wired: August 3, 2009:

[60]      Daily Mail Reporter, Secret CCTV cameras fitted INSIDE people's homes to spy on neighbours outside. The Daily Mail: November 19, 2009:

[61]      Paul Lewis, CCTV in the sky: police plan to use military-style spy drones. The Guardian: January 23, 2010:

[62]      David Derbyshire, Council plans to listen in on street life. The Telegraph: May 4, 2005:

[63]      Philip Johnston, Oi! Talking CCTV cameras will shame offenders. The Telegraph: April 5, 2007:

[64]      Martin Wainwright, Talking CCTV cameras accuse wrong person. The Guardian: April 12, 2007:

[65]      Jessica Shepherd, New children's database faces criticism. The Guardian: January 26, 2009:

[66]      Matthew Tempest, ID cards 'neither safe nor appropriate'. The Guardian: June 27, 2005:

[67], Government orders data retention by ISPs. The Register: May 18, 2008:

[68]      David Leppard, There’s no hiding place as spy HQ plans to see all. The Sunday Times: October 5, 2008:

[69]      Dominic Casciani, UK surveillance plan to go ahead. BBC News: November 9, 2009:

[70]      BBC, Government plans travel database. BBC News: February 8, 2009:

[71]      Paul Lewis and Marc VallĂ©e, Revealed: police databank on thousands of protesters. The Guardian: March 6, 2009:

[72]      Charlie Savage, US doles out millions for street cameras. The Boston Globe: August 12, 2007:

[73]      Alexandra Marks, New York plans London-style camera network. USA Today: July 11, 2007:

[74]      Cara Buckley, New York Plans Surveillance Veil for Downtown. The New York Times: July 9, 2007:

[75]      Alison Gendar, Lower Manhattan Security Initiative up and running, safe from budget cuts. New York Daily News: November 24, 2008:

[76]      WNYC Newsroom, "Ring of Steel" Coming to Midtown. WNYC: October 4, 2009:

[77]      Sally Goldenberg, Midtown to get new security blanket. The New York Post: October 5, 2009:

[78]      David Kravets, Report: U.S. Surveillance Society Running Rampant. Wired: January 12, 2009:

[79]      Ian Johnston, EU funding 'Orwellian' artificial intelligence plan to monitor public for "abnormal behaviour". The Telegraph: September 19, 2009:

[80]      Tony Bunyan, The surveillance society is an EU-wide issue. The Guardian: May 28, 2009:

[81]      Ibid.

[82]      Ibid.

[83]      Stephen Booth, Europe's own surveillance state. The Guardian: November 2, 2009:

[84]      Don Butler, The surveillance society. The Ottawa Citizen, February 5, 2009:

[85]      CBC, Ontario privacy chief gives green light to TTC surveillance plans. CBC News: March 3, 2008:

[86]      Mark Hasiuk, City admits surveillance cameras here to stay in Vancouver. Vancouver Courier: April 7, 2009:

[87]      CBC, Olympic surveillance cameras causing concern. CBC News: January 18, 2010:

[88]      Don Butler, More cameras watching over Canada's streets, public not worried: Report. The Province: January 14, 2010:

[89]      NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 70-72:

[90]      David Lyon, Theorizing surveillance: the panopticon and beyond. Willan Publishing, 2006: page 71

[91]      Daniel Guerin, Fascism and Big Business. Monad Press, 1973: page 22

[92]      Ibid, page 23.

[93]      NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project: November, 2008: pages 87:

[94]      Brzezinski, Zbigniew. The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books, 1997: page 36

Andrew Gavin Marshall is a Research Associate with the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is currently studying Political Economy and History at Simon Fraser University.

Andrew Gavin Marshall is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Andrew Gavin Marshall