Saturday, February 14, 2009
George Orwell introduced the concept of the "Thought Police" in his dystopian novel 1984. See the Wikipedia article on Thought Police here:
According to Kathleen Taylor in her own book, Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control (Oxford University Press, 2006) "It is the job of the Thought Police to uncover and punish thoughtcrime and thought-criminals, using psychology and omnipresent surveillance from telescreens to find and eliminate members of society who were capable of the mere thought of challenging ruling authority."
Does such a system exist in the United States today? Signs point to yes.
Granted, the United States remains a republic, and it has just completed a new cycle of elections. Its liberal constitution and principles of democratic representation seem to be standing firmly in place. Its flag waves proudly.
But there is a growing body of evidence that this country, once "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal," has devolved into a paranoid police state, much like the authoritarian state described by George Orwell in 1984.
One may find, simply by searching the internet, plenty of evidence that the United States government is actively involved in all the basic activities of the "Thought Police" exactly as listed above:
1. The uncovering and punishment of thought crime and thought criminals
2. The use of psychology to profile and identify "potential" criminals, terrorists and subversives within society; and
3. the use of "omni present surveillance from telescreens" to create what Harlan Girard calls "an Electronic Concentration Camp System" -- a grid or matrix from which no person can escape.
In each of these activities, the new mind-invasive technologies known collectively as artificial telepathy play a key role.
Uncovering and Punishing Thought Crime
As documented in many other posts on this blog, mind-invasive technologies have begun to play a key role in the uncovering and punishment of "thoughtcrime."
The prime example is the Department of Homeland Security's new Malintent program mentioned in the previous post (q.v.) By scanning the faces of people at airports and reading other vital signs like heart rate, temperature and blood pressure, new sensors and computer algorithms can be used to read the intentions of airplane passengers -- and presumably to prevent "potential terrorists" from boarding planes by means of "pre-emptive arrest."
One must emphasize here that reading a person's intentions with a camera and a computer is probably not much more reliable than a classic lie detector test, and very little scientific evidence exists to support the claims that these machines are accurate. The important thing to note is that the Department of Homeland Security seriously intends to use these machines as a pretext for pre-emptive arrest -- that is, they intend to arrest people for crimes not yet committed.
Arresting a person for a crime not yet committed, on the basis of perceived intent, amounts to arresting people for thought crimes.
Use of Psychological Profiling to Detect and Detain "Potential" Criminals
As Jim Marrs points out in his new book The Rise of The Fourth Reich: The Secret Societies That Threaten to Take Over America (William Morrow, 2008), these "mind reading" computer systems are "reminiscent of prewar Nazi plans to preempt crime and dissent." (p. 333)
For example, Nazi psychologists used pseudo-scientific examinations and the doctrine of preemption to remove "uneducable" children from grade schools. If a number of symptoms indicated that a child was "bad student material," their name would be registered on a list. It was stated that "genetic and national health considerations recommend their preventative registration."
"Of course," says Marrs, "such registration led to the euthanasia centers."
Marrs rightly calls "disturbing" the new trend to identify and detain potential troublemakers before they have actually committed a crime.
Terrorist Watch List -- or Black List?
In its efforts to intercept "suspected terrorists," the Department of Homeland Security has added more than one million names to its terrorist watch list. The American Civil Liberties Union suggests this number is way too high.
"Terrorist watch lists," it says, "must be tightly focused on true terrorists who pose a genuine threat. Bloated lists are bad because they ensnare many innocent travelers as suspected terrorists, and because they waste screeners' time and divert their energies from looking for true terrorists."
Among the individuals whose names were found on the list by 60 Minutes and other media organizations: Sen. Edward Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Saddam Hussein (in custody at the time), Rep. John Lewis, James Moore (author of Bush's Brain), and John William Anderson, age 6.
Now one must admit that certain children really are terrible brats, who ought to be watched more closely by their parents, but is it really necessary for the secret police to become involved? And if a United States Senator can be listed as a "suspect," then who is above suspicion?
A "terrorist" watch list that includes the names of more than one million people seems to be clear evidence that the Department of Homeland Security is either a) very paranoid indeed, or b) very interested in using terrorism as a pretext for spying on U.S. citizens who have committed no crimes.
That is, they have established a system that allows them to "find and eliminate members of society who are capable of the mere thought of challenging existing authority."
FTAC: The Fixated Threat Assessment Center
Psychological profiling, black listing and preemptive arrests are "Thought Police" tactics used in Europe, too, not just in the U.S. The British have their own system, called FTAC.
In a chapter titled "Psychology and Public Control," Jim Marrs writes: "The British government, in May 2007, responding to news accounts, acknowledge it had secretly established a new national antiterrorist unit to protect VIPs by first profiling, then arresting persons considered to be potentially dangerous. Amazingly, this power to detain suspects even before they actually committed a crime was based on mental health laws."
Marrs cites a news story by London Times reporter Joanna Bale. She reports that "until now it has been up to mental health professionals to determine if someone should be forcibly detained, but the new unit uses the police to identify suspects, increasing fears that distinctions are being blurred between criminal investigations and doctors' clinical decisions."
Experts believe that this arrangement "is set to reignite controversy over the detention of suspects without trial."
"There is grave danger of this being used to deal with people where there is insufficient evidence for a criminal prosecution," said Gareth Crossman, policy director for Britain's National Council for Civil Liberties.
"This blurs the line between medical decisions and police actions. If you are going to allow doctors to take people's liberty away, they have to be independent. That credibility is undermined when the doctors are part of the same team as the police. This raises serious concerns. First, that you have a unit that allows police investigation to lead directly to people being sectioned without any kind of criminal proceedings. Secondly, it is being done under the umbrella of antiterrorism at a time when the government is looking for ways to detain terrorists without putting them on trial."
Scotland Yard has refused to discuss how many suspects have been forcibly hospitalized by the team, because of "patient confidentiality." Meanwhile, conservative members of the British government have hailed FTAC as the first joint mental health - police unit in the United Kingdom and a "prototype for future joint services" in other areas. They are introducing legislation to broaden the definition of mental disorders to give doctors -- and now police -- more power to detain people.
Mass Surveillance and the 'Electronic Concentration Camp'
Jim Marrs worries that joint psychologist-police units like the FTAC in Britain might serve as a prototype for similar units in the U.S. "Is this coming to America soon?" Marrs asks.
Harlan Girard would probably answer: "It's already here!"
Mr. Girard is the Managing Director of the International Committee Opposing Microwave Weapons (ICOMW), and he firmly believes that the United States government has already established what he calls an "Electronic Concentration Camp System."
See the homepage of his website here: http://www.icomw.org/
Essentially, the ECCS is a network of microwave towers and broadcast centers that can virtually imprison any citizen of the United States that the Thought Police wish to target. It's a people zapping system, used to track, torture and psychologically harrass inconvenient people who, for one reason or another, have been placed on the government's long list of enemies.
To support this claim, Girard has amassed an impressive collection of documents, posted at the website's archive, here: http://www.icomw.org/archive.asp
The documents in this archive clearly indicate that the U.S. government has no need of the small FTAC units used by the British Government. The number of peace protestors and politically "inconvenient" people who have suddenly begun to hear voices in their heads strongly suggests that the U.S. government has built and fielded something much bigger, much more powerful, and much more scary: a fully developed and fully operational Electronic Concentration Camp System.
If the secret police, operating under the umbrella of counterterrorism, wish to "section" an inconvenient citizen "without any criminal proceedings," they simply enroll that individual into the ECCS.
Technically, the "Targeted Individuals" remain free, but they are tortured 24/7 with microwave weapons, often to the point of losing their minds. They hear voices and experience a wide variety of horrible sensations. If they voluntarily turn themselves in to a psychiatric hospital, they are immediately diagnosed as schizophrenic and sectioned. Thus they are discredited and stigmatized for life. Those who turn to mainstream media are openly mocked.
In 2007, The Washington Post did a profile on Mr. Girard and other voice hearers, who are commonly called "wavies." (See the link among the News links lists to the left.)
While the reporter kept a skeptical distance from Mr. Girard, she did at least do some background research on mind-invasive technologies. The Post filed an FOIA request with the U.S. Air Force and did manage to obtain documents showing that the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has conducted several "voice to skull" experiments during the past decade.
It may be interesting to note that AFRL is also one of the primary research sponsors (along with the Navy) for the High-Frequency Active Auroral Reasearch Project (HAARP) -- a 35-acre antenna farm near Fairbanks, Alaska, that is powerful enough to focus microwave beams anywhere on the face of the earth.
According to Dr. Nick Begich, author of the book Angels Don't Play This HAARP (http://www.earthpulse.com/), the Air Force can broadcast from these antennae at frequencies that match the frequency range of the human brain.
In Chapter 23 "Psychocivilized Society and the CIA," Dr. Begich explores "the use of electromagnetic waves for mind manipulation," and concludes that it would be very possible to use HAARP as a non-lethal weapon that could be rationalized as an alternative to military force.
Whether HAARP acts as the hub of the ECCS is another question. HAARP certainly operates as part of the Air Force's "Star Wars" ballistic missile early warning system, scanning for Soviet Missile launches. That means it is a subordinate wing of NORAD, the North American Air-Defense Command -- an underground city buried beneath Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs.
NORAD is a "hardened" and extremely secure underground site, equipped with supercomputers and direct uplinks to a wide variety of top secret space platforms and space-based beam weapons. It makes an excellent candidate for the HQ of the kind of "Electronic Concentration Camp" that Harlan Girard has envisioned.
NORAD certainly does have full access to the kinds of spy satellites and laser beams that worry the "wavies." It may incorporate many other systems besides HAARP, and it may be no accident that the Sci-Fi series "Stargate" is supposedly set in NORAD's underground bunker.
Given NORAD's vast array of high-tech toys and its direct links to the Pentagon and the NSA, the possiblity that it might be HQ for a top secret "Thought Police" unit does not seem to be entirely out of the question.
Total Information Awareness
Civil liberties groups cried "Thought Police" in 2002 when they first discovered the U.S. Defense Department's Information Awareness Office and its Total Information Awareness doctrine. Run for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) by former Vice Adm. John Poindexter, the TIA "counterterrorism" program caused quite a brouhaha because it advocated pre-emptive policing through use of a massive data mine that would interconnected a wide array of powerful surveillance systems:
DARPA's own website tells us that "The goal of the Total Information Awareness program is to revolutionize the ability of the United States to detect, classify and identify foreign terrorists -- and decipher their plans -- and thereby enable the U.S. to take timely action to successfully pre-empt and defeat terrorist acts."
See also this article on the "Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act" from Project Censored (The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2009):
Under this act, which nearly became law in 2007, local police departments might have been given legal cover for the use of nonlethal, mind-invasive technology against their own populace. They could zap "suspects" in the name of preventing "homegrown terror."
Indeed, pre-emptive policing can be used to rationalize almost every form of privacy violation. One need simply argue that the rights of the individual can and must be overriden by police in order to protect and defend the physical safety of society as a whole. It's for the greater good.
What Orwell did was simply to carry the twin doctrines of total information awareness and preemptive policing to their logical extreme. He imagined a world in which no one had any right to privacy whatever. None. All personal privacy is sacrificed on the altar of national security -- for the greater good.
In the sacred name of "national security," the technocrats who run the nightmarish police state of 1984 arrogantly assume the right to invade the inner sanctum of the mind itself. They read the thoughts of every citizen, dabble their fingers in the stuff that souls are made of, and sit in arrogant, authoritarian judgement over all.
Perhaps the vision of such a police state being realized in 1984 may cause people to smirk. That was, after all, more than 25 years ago, and we don't have such a police state now, do we?
To those who smirk, however, one might call attention to the many patents on mind-invasive technology that may be found listed in the left-hand column of this blog. One must also point out that the U.S. Department of Defense did not necessarily do away with DARPA's Information Awareness Office or its Total Information Awareness doctrine.
As with most black programs that are discovered by Congress and the media, these programs have been given new names and parked under the camouflage of other departments within the intelligence community. They still exist.
See Schneier on Security "Total Information Awareness Is Back"
"Report: NSA's Warrantless Spying Resurrects Banned Total Information Awareness Program" http://www.blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/03/nsas-warrantles.html
Now consider this: If the doctrines of pre-emptive policing and total information awareness remain in place, can the massive use of mind-invasive technology be far behind?
Orwell may have been off by a few years. But his understanding of the basic arrogance of intelligence agencies and his vision of a nightmarish police state were frightfully accurate. With the quiet advent of mind-reading technologies, the chilling age of the Thought Police has secretly, stealthily and finally arrived.