From No More Fake News
The Surveillance State has created an apparatus whose implications are staggering. It's a different world now. And sometimes it takes a writer of fiction to flesh out the larger landscape.
Brad Thor's novel, Black List, posits the existence of a monster corporation, ATS, which stands alongside the NSA in collecting information on every move we make. ATS' intelligence-gathering capability is unmatched anywhere in the world.
On pages 117-118 of Black List, Thor makes a stunning inference that, on reflection, is as obvious as the fingers on your hand:
"For years ATS had been using its technological superiority to conduct massive insider trading. Since the early 1980s, the company had spied on anyone and everyone in the financial world. They listened in on phone calls, intercepted faxes, and evolved right along with the technology, hacking internal computer networks and e-mail accounts. They created mountains of 'black dollars' for themselves, which they washed through various programs they were running under secret contract, far from the prying eyes of financial regulators.
"Those black dollars were invested into hard assets around the world, as well as in the stock market, through sham, offshore corporations. They also funneled the money into reams of promising R&D projects, which eventually would be turned around and sold to the Pentagon or the CIA.
"In short, ATS had created its own license to print money and had assured itself a place beyond examination or reproach."
In real life, whether the prime criminal source is one monster corporation or a consortium of companies, or elite banks, or the NSA itself, the outcome would be the same.
It would be as Thor describes it.
We think about total surveillance as being directed at private citizens, but the capability has unlimited payoffs when it targets financial markets and the people who have intimate knowledge of them.
"Total security awareness" programs of surveillance are ideal spying ops in the financial arena, designed to suck up millions of bits of inside information, then utilizing them to make investments and rack up billions (trillions?) of dollars.
It gives new meaning to "the rich get richer."
Taking the overall scheme to another level, consider this: those same heavy hitters who have unfettered access to financial information can also choose, at opportune moments, to expose certain scandals and crimes (not their own, of course).
In this way, they can, at their whim, cripple governments, banks, and corporations. They can cripple investment houses, insurance companies, and hedge funds. Or, alternatively, they can merely blackmail these organizations.
We think we know how scandals are exposed by the press, but actually we don't. Tips are given to people who give them to other people. Usually, the first clue that starts the ball rolling comes from a source who remains in the shadows.
What we are talking about here is the creation and managing of realities on all sides, including the choice of when and where and how to provide a glimpse of a crime or scandal.