--The emerging police and prison state
Since 2001, the US has erected a police state apparatus including a presidential order that allows the military to detain anyone indefinitely without trial. FBI agents are now responsible for the majority of terrorist plots, with a network of 15,000 spies "encouraging and assisting people to commit crimes." Informants receive cash rewards of up to $100,000.
--War crimes, al-Qaeda and drug money
The bombing of civilian targets in Libya in 2011 was often deliberate and included the main water supply facility that provided water to 70 percent of the population. In Afghanistan, the murder of 16 unarmed civilians, including nine children, attributed to one rogue US soldier, was committed by "multiple" soldiers and covered up. In Syria, the US, Britain and France are funding and arming the icon of terrorism, alQaeda. In Latin America, one US bank has laundered $378bn in drug money.
Those who have long tired of deconstructing the cliches and deceptions of "news" say: "At least there's the internet now." Yes, but for how long? Alfred W McCoy, the great US chronicler of imperialism, quotes Barack Obama in a recent election debate. "We need to be thinking about cyber security," said Obama. "We need to be talking about space."
This is hacking on a vast scale by the state and its intelligence and military arms and "security" corporations. It was unmentionable at the Leveson inquiry, even though the internet was within Leveson's remit. It is the subject of Cypherpunks (OR Books) by Julian Assange with Jacob Appelbaum, Andy Muller Maguhn and Jeremie Zimmermann. That the Guardian, a principal gatekeeper of liberal debate in Britain, should describe their published conversation as "dystopian musings" is unsurprising. Understanding what they have to say is to abandon the vicarious as journalism and to embrace the real thing.
"The internet was supposed to be a civilian space," Assange writes. "[It] is our space, because we all use it to communicate with each other and with members of our family ... Ten years ago, [mass interception] was seen to be a fantasy, something only paranoid people believed in" -- but now the internet is becoming "a militarized zone." When everyone can be intercepted en masse, spying on individuals is redundant. The Stasi penetrated 10 percent of East German society. Today, the cost of intercepting and storing all telephone calls in Germany in a year is less than $8m. More than 175 companies now sell the surveillance of whole countries. A whistle-blower at the giant US telecommunications company AT&T has disclosed that the National Security Agency (NSA) allegedly examined every phone call, every internet connection. The NSA intercepts 1.6 billion personal communications every day.
To the "national security state," "perpetual war" is a given and the public, not terrorists, is the enemy. Google, Facebook and Twitter are all based in the US. In December 2010, Twitter was ordered by the Justice Department to surrender its clients' personal information relevant to the Obama administration's pursuit of WikiLeaks, no matter where in the world people lived. Obama has pursued twice as many whistle-blowers as all US presidents combined. This is why Assange and Bradley Manning are targets -- along with those rare journalists who do their job and publish in the public interest. Like Assange, they, too, are liable to be prosecuted for espionage, regardless of what the US Constitution says. A whistle-blower at the NSA, William Binney, describes this as "turnkey totalitarianism."
The iniquity of Rupert Murdoch was not his "influence" over the Tweedledums and Tweedledees in Downing Street, nor the thuggery of his eavesdroppers but the augmented barbarism of his media empire in promoting the killing, suffering and dispossession of countless men, women and children in America's and Britain's illegal wars. Murdoch has plenty of accomplices. The liberal Observer was as rabid a devotee of the Iraq invasion.