Tuesday, February 02, 2016

"Anyone who believes programs like COINTELPRO and Operation Mockingbird were anomalies limited to a peculiar set of historical circumstances... is engaging in some pretty powerful denial."

“Holy smokes, this stuff is all real?”: How I get my best ideas for thrillers from the good ol’ U.S. government - Salon.com: "Whenever people ask where I get ideas for my thrillers, I say, “Direct from the U.S. government.” They laugh, but it’s true—in a time of detention (indefinite imprisonment without charge, trial or conviction); enhanced interrogation (torture); targeted killings (extrajudicial assassinations); and, of course, the unprecedented bulk surveillance revealed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden, third-party villains like SMERSH and SPECTRE and the rest can feel a bit beside the point. Indeed, when the NSA, in its own leaked slides, announces its determination to “Collect it All,” “Process it All,” “Exploit it All,” “Partner it All,” “Sniff it All” and, ultimately, “Know it All,” it’s safe to say we’re living in an age of “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Does that claim sound extreme? Have a look at this National Reconnaissance mission patch. What is this Octopus doing to the earth? There are two things worth noting here. First, a giant octopus strangling, eating and/or otherwise assaulting the earth is how our intelligence apparatus (which prefers the friendlier nomenclature “intelligence community”) perceives itself. Second, that apparatus has become so detached and unaccountable that it now believes this kind of logo will create a favorable impression among ordinary people."

Between the Lines with Maverick Novelist Barry Eisler | THE BIG THRILL: "Your background gives you keener insights than most on our government’s geopolitical realities and political fallacies. What do you feel is the future of the U.S. government’s surveillance? What role do you feel the public needs to take in order to safeguard its rights? 
You’re nice to tie my insights into my intelligence background, and I’m sure the background helps. But more important, I think, and more widely available, is just a little more thoughtfulness about what not just the dangers, but the guaranteed outcomes, of unaccountable government power. Anyone who believes programs like COINTELPRO and Operation Mockingbird were anomalies limited to a peculiar set of historical circumstances and having nothing to do with immutable laws of human nature, or that the Stasi and KGB were artifacts of foreign cultures and could never take root in what we’re told is a democracy, or that something about America is inherently antithetical to the growth of an oligarchy, is engaging in some pretty powerful denial. And denial, as the saying goes, has no survival value."

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