Monday, December 29, 2014

Elmar Altvater - Controlling the future: Edward Snowdon and the new era on Earth

The worldwide spying operation is about more than security and counter-terrorism; rather, it is a part of a broader strategy aimed at controlling global information

In 1964, the Brazilian military established a cruel dictatorship, Pinochet's dictatorship followed in 1973 in Chile, then the military putsch in Argentina. These murderous regimes were politically and materially supported by the CIA and respected politicians such as Henry Kissinger really assisted this trade in death. The repression, persecution and murder of members of the opposition and of trade unions, as well as leftist politicians, artists and representatives of the church were also coordinated by the secret services of Latin American military dictatorships – with... the active support of the United States... the justification for the brutal repression followed the same lines: it was a defence against terrorism.

In June 2013, Edward Snowden began to uncover the machinations of the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), prompting a worldwide debate about the alarming power of the secret services. Snowden laid bare the extent to which the quintet of secret services – the "Five Eyes" from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – had spied on citizens around the world, and the planetary system in place for stealing, storing and using data for their own purposes – thus violating everyone's privacy, which Article 12 of the United Nations Charter on Human Rights protects. As a result, freedom of expression, the basis for political participation as well as of resistance against power, was fundamentally threatened and with it, democracy as such.

The secret services justify their activity, be it the acquisition of knowledge from the planetary cloud, from the encrypted mobile phones of government chiefs such as Angela Merkel or Dilma Rousseff, or from the mass of (un)encrypted emails of ordinary citizens, with the flimsy argument that it is geared toward the early recognition of terrorist activities and, therefore, a matter of public order and security. However, the worldwide spying operation is more than a gigantic trawl through the World Wide Web in the name of security. Rather, it perfectly matches the patterns of thinking and acting as dictated by the geo-engineering of a new epoch in human history. A "planetary stewardship", the efficient management of life on planet Earth, is administered using sophisticated technologies, in order to channel not merely information flows but other diverse crises of our time and associated processes – all for the purpose of maintaining the ruling capitalist system.

That data theft has been systematically organized everywhere on planet Earth where access to a hard drive and a cloud is possible: this much the US government has conceded. However, making this concession incurred relatively little risk, since the whole world already knew it to be the case, and only awaited official confirmation. We can take Obama at his word when he says that he will desist in the future from secretly and silently eavesdropping on the German chancellor, and that global data theft should instead be rationalized, refined and slimmed down. However, the issue has by no means been solved. It fits far too well with other projects involving "planetary engineering works", collectively referred to as geo-engineering. This is a departure from the linear development of science and technology that underpins the "acceleration of growth", which in Germany is even stipulated by law.

The planetary data theft that Snowden revealed is the harbinger of a new age. It is seamlessly interwoven with the other projects that, together, comprise "planetary stewardship", the intention of which is to safeguard Earth systems against the threat of collapse – as well as from associated political conflicts, resistances and revolts. But why this immense input into spying on a large portion of the world population? So that one can better keep these people under control, so that one can weed out every shoot of political resistance in good time, so that information is not only tapped into, but also – as it were "interactively" – manipulated, in the manner that already happens today on the Internet with the assistance of elaborate algorithms. Global medial manipulation Almost 50 years ago, in 1968, criticism of media manipulation and the battle against it signalled a democratic departure. The "dispossess Springer" campaign was directed against the manipulative power of the media, against aHetzmasse or "baiting crowd", as Elias Canetti would have called it. 


At this point, it was already known that media manipulation is an indispensable building block for securing power on a global scale. In 1964, the Brazilian military established a cruel dictatorship, Pinochet's dictatorship followed in 1973 in Chile, then the military putsch in Argentina. These murderous regimes were politically and materially supported by the CIA and respected politicians such as Henry Kissinger really assisted this trade in death. The repression, persecution and murder of members of the opposition and of trade unions, as well as leftist politicians, artists and representatives of the church were also coordinated by the secret services of Latin American military dictatorships – within the framework of "Operation Condor" in Chile, which enjoyed the active support of the United States. Back then, the justification for the brutal repression followed the same lines: it was a defence against terrorism.

Hence nothing could be more negligent than to leave the defence of democracy to the secret services. Tens of thousands were "disappeared". To this day, the crimes have not been fully investigated. To demand or expect self-enlightened behaviour from the British and US secret services in connection with the NSA affair is therefore farcical – to do so would be to show that nothing has been learnt from history, and fail to do justice to the dramatic abuses of human rights currently taking place.

Using the information technology of a new geological period, the secret services can process digitalized knowledge such that they can control humanity's fortunes. The secret services are in a better position to do so today than they were half a century ago. In an interview in exile in Russia, Edward Snowden remarked that, "the biggest problem we face right now is the new technique of indiscriminate mass surveillance, where governments are seizing billions and billions and billions of innocents people's communication every single day."

read more:
http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2014-12-19-altvater-en.html