WORTH REPEATING: On The Surveillance State

Artwork by SHEPARD FAIREY “‘Objectivity’ in media culture means, essentially, reporting accurately what’s happening “within the beltway” – that is, within the bounds of the state-corporate system of approved thought and perspectives. Challenging conventional doctrine and permissible evidence is dismissed as “biased,” “emotional,” or some other term of abuse. The cases you mention illustrate that. It’s possible to go beyond these bounds, for example, by investigating and reporting how power systems quite generally seek to use available technology to control and subdue the populations within their reach. Elsewhere I’ve brought up in this connection historian Alfred McCoy’s study of the […]

Osama Bin Laden’s Greatest Crime Was Not Bringing Down WTC, It Was Murdering The Fourth Amendment

NEW YORKER: While most of the N.S.A. was reeling on September 11th, inside SARC the horror unfolded “almost like an ‘I-told-you-so’ moment,” according to J. Kirk Wiebe, an intelligence analyst who worked there. “We knew we weren’t keeping up.” SARC was led by a crypto-mathematician named Bill Binney, whom Wiebe describes as “one of the best analysts in history.” Binney and a team of some twenty others believed that they had pinpointed the N.S.A.’s biggest problem—data overload—and then solved it. But the agency’s management hadn’t agreed. Binney, who is six feet three, is a bespectacled sixty-seven-year-old man with wisps of […]

SURVEILLANCE STATE: Big Brother Is Getting Bigger

NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS: On a remote edge of Utah’s dry and arid high desert, where temperatures often zoom past 100 degrees, hard-hatted construction workers with top-secret clearances are preparing to build what may become America’s equivalent of Jorge Luis Borges’s “Library of Babel,” a place where the collection of information is both infinite and at the same time monstrous, where the entire world’s knowledge is stored, but not a single word is understood. At a million square feet, the mammoth $2 billion structure will be one-third larger than the US Capitol and will use the same amount of […]