When a military boss is installed as the head of government, displacing civilian leadership, we call it martial law. In the 20th century we expected to see this as the general of an army kicking out a president and taking over. The 21st century has brought us a variation on that theme, but it still involves military organizations ruling over everyone else.
Right now, we’re living under groups that have inserted themselves into the most intimate parts of our lives and stand ready to order force down upon us. The people doing this are a variety of intelligence agencies, and I’d like you to remember that the NSA is the military. So are the Defense Intelligence Agency and half a dozen other spy units.
Here’s a passage from Julian Assange in Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet that makes my point well:
When you communicate over the internet, when you communicate using mobile phones… your communications are being intercepted by military intelligence organizations… It’s a soldier between you and your wife as you’re SMSing. We are all living under martial law as far as our communications are concerned, we just can’t see the tanks – but they are there.
But it’s not just the military that has displaced traditional power. It’s Google (partnership with the Department of State, long-standing CIA ties), Facebook (FBI, CIA, who knows), and a host of other “free” services.
As for bringing force down upon us via new processes, consider these cases:
Perhaps a few of these didn’t involve Facebook corporate or American enforcers, but the point stands: Facebook is the evidence gatherer, with a direct, automated connection to their enforcement partners.
Everyone Is Targeted
We’re used to thinking of policemen working backward from the crime: Get some clues, follow them, then target an individual or two for closer scrutiny. But that’s not the way it’s done now.
Now, under the new enforcement regime, everyone is targeted… in advance.
This has been done in the name of efficiency and safety of course… because that’s what sells. Targeting individuals after the fact “might allow something bad to happen,” and so the aforementioned outfits simply suck it all up – every website you visit, every mouse click, every email, every text… from everyone.
And by the way, there are probably a dozen projects that want to use that data to predict crime. In fact, that’s already being done. Lampposts are now installed with hidden microphones. Again, they are gathering evidence on everyone, in advance. And this on top of cameras everywhere.
So, almost everything you do is already organized to be “held against you in a court of law.” The evidence has been gathered and is available at all times. The new martial law is already here.
And It Gets Worse
All that data is not used merely for enforcement – not by a long stretch. A far more efficient use of it is to manipulate you. But whether they’re nudging you to a more socially useful opinion or to buy a different pair of shoes, that’s how Google, Facebook, and the rest make their money. Their users don’t pay them.
Simply as a means of increasing profit, once these outfits already have all the data, why not use it for three things, or twenty, or a hundred?
Someone said to me the other day: Free is the most dangerous word in the English language. And indeed it is, because free has brought a new kind of martial law upon us all. And what’s worse, millions are addicted to it and many more millions don’t want to know.
And if you’re tempted to think that this doesn’t involve the military, remember that the NSA and GCHQ were teaching military operatives to manipulate people on the internet years ago. Are we really to assume that they haven’t automated this?
New Laws Will Accomplish Nothing
Please don’t let yourself think that new laws will fix this, because they won’t. Laws take long periods of time to write and still longer to implement. By the time they have any effect, technology has moved along and new ways to gather and abuse data have replaced the old ones… then it’ll be years before those are outlawed, presuming that enough pressure is applied.
And pressure is no guarantee either, since the data-grabbers throw a lot more money around Washington than you do.
What Should We Do?
I’ve explained what to do several times already, so I won’t repeat it here. But the essential step is to recognize what’s going on. Without that, nothing else matters.
The truth is that we’re already living under a new kind of martial law. Either we face it or we don’t.
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