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Big Uncle Sam Is Watching – Chriss Street

1984Eric Arthur Blair is the new hot selling British author.  Better known by his “pen name” as George Orwell, sales of his 64 year old novel Nineteen Eighty-Four have jumped by 6,000% on Amazon, following the revelations of ubiquitous federal government spying on all American electronic communications.

The book follows the failed attempt by a young couple to rebel against policies of omnipresent surveillance and public mind control by a charismatic leader named “Big Brother” in the futuristic American empire named Oceania.  There was a scramble in Hollywood for the movie rights to adapt the book into a scathing rejection of the U.S. military-intelligence-complex.   But the rights were sold in March to a group of President Obama strongest supporters; including Shepard Fairey (artist who created the Obama “Hope” poster), and movie moguls Brian Grazer and Ron Howard.

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The United States National Security Agency’s super-secret “Q Group” counter-intelligence unit has been desperately trying to find Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old former Army soldier and CIA employee holding top-secret security clearances, since he disappeared in May.  Mr. Snowden’s revelations last week to the British newspaper The Guardian of omnipresent surveillance of all the private phone calls, texts, e-mails, VOIP and “snail” mail of Americans is described by one intelligence officer as driving the NSA into “complete freakout mode.  The U.S. Justice Department and Q Group are working with the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) in France to issue a Red Notice that requiring law enforcement in 190 countries to seek to identify, locate and arrest Mr. Snowden and extradite him back to the United States for prosecution.

Despite a worldwide law enforcement dragnet Nineteen Eighty-Four’s Big Brother would envy, Mr. Snowden seems to have completed his mission as the greatest whistleblower since Daniel Ellsberg published the Pentagon Papers in 1971, then disappeared.

The Oceania government of Nineteen Eighty-Four had convinced their citizens to suspend private civil rights in a period of “perpetual war;” similar to our Patriot Act for twelve years of the “War on Terror.”  Big Brother’s propaganda, surveillance, mind control and cult of personality magnified the paranoia in mythical state of Oceania.

Somewhat like Edward Snowden, who was a contractor for our National Security Agency, Winston Smith worked for the Oceania government’s Ministry of Truth, where he altered facts and histories to add credibility to Big Brother’s propaganda narrative.  Like Snowden, Smith secretly harbored anti-government views and eventually rebelled against the narrative.  But after a short period of bliss and freedom, he was betrayed by friends, psychologically tortured into submission, and then betrays his co-conspirator.

As Alistair Heath said: “the ancient Greeks and Romans got there before us; they couldn’t conceivably have dreamt of the internet, of the cloud or of National Security Agency super-computers in Fort Meade, Maryland, in an as yet undiscovered continent, combing through trillions of phone calls, emails and Facebook pages, but they’d already nailed the gist of the issue.  One of the most fundamental questions in political philosophy is as the Roman poet Juvenal first put it, “Who will guard the guardians themselves?

Edward Snowden was one of approximately 10,000 contractors that have top-secret security clearances and the online computer rights to select and conduct surveillance against any foe of the United States of America, or any foe of Edward Snowden.  As he so eloquently said: “Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector, anywhere… I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President…

Mr. Snowden is obviously better trained and more sophisticated at evading Uncle Sam than the Winton Smith was at evading Big Brother.  Snowden freely traveled to communist Hong Kong, checked into a luxury hotel down the street from the CIA, then delivered hundreds of documents and sat for many days of interviews with the multiple staff from the Guardian newspaper.

Mr. Edward Snowden justified his actions with a warning: “Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re being watched and recorded. …it’s getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call, and then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis, to sort of derive suspicion from an innocent life.”  If Edward Snowden is caught, he will spend decades in prison.    

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