Even prior to the release of Vault 7 from Wikileaks, people knew that so-called intelligence agencies in western states had the means to spy on their own citizens. Many also assumed that the typical illegality of such activities was of no consequence for agencies and individuals in those agencies who regard themselves as being above the law.
Now that we know the CIA and other institutions have such abilities to digitally hack just about every household device from the smart phone and smart-tv to the good old fashioned PC, the biggest question is, when do these deep state organisations implement these measures to spy on civilians and compromise their lives?
The answer can be found without needing to resort to conspiracy theories nor even speculation. The answer lies in the private sector.
Organisations like the CIA, MI5, FBI etc., need only do what the private sector isn’t all ready doing for them and as it is, the private sector is doing a hell of a lot.
If one wonders why major financial, academic, diplomatic, trading, banking, security and even artistic institutions in the west tend to have people on their payrolls who follow the ‘western ideological narrative’, there are two reasons.
The first is that people are attracted to like-minded people and by extrapolation like-minded professions.
But there is a second more devious reason. Those who think outside the western box, those who ‘question more’ simply cannot get a foot through the door. Technically, one needn’t have any view on Vladimir Putin to be on the board of a major western construction company, law firm, private bank or hedge fund. These professions do not involve knowledge of Russian politics or society. But those who have and even casually express a view of Putin or of the Arab world or of East Asia and Latin America that differs from the neo-lib/neo-con point of view, are blacklisted.
Social media has made this blacklisting easier to do than ever. If two equally qualified candidates were applying for a high level position at a financial institution and one person had a picture of himself at a Hillary Clinton fundraiser on his Facebook and the other had a ‘Save Palestine’ picture or a pro-Putin meme on his social media accounts, there would be no prizes for correctly guessing who would almost certainly get the job.
In the words of George Carlin, “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it”.
The punitive blacklisting of those who don’t follow the CNN/BBC/NYT script has a double effect.
First of all, it keeps those who think outside the box away from positions of power in the private sector and in most western countries, without a prominent position in the business or mainstream entertainment community, achieving political office is next to impossible.
Secondly, there is a powerful deterrent effect. Many people would like to post pro-Putin, pro-Donbass, pro-Syria or pro-Palestine items on social media, but they are afraid that it could cost them their job, their bonus or even their friends. In the west such things can break-up families. It happens every day. At this very movement, someone in a western country is contemplating suicide because of being on the losing end of a divorce settlement. Very sad, yet very true.
This Kafkaesque reality is achieved without the CIA needing to hack people’s phones or computers. The private sector does the job for them.
For every tabloid story about a woman losing her job because she posted a photo of her genitals on-line, there are many more people who are professionally compromised for posting photos of patriotic Russian or Arab leaders.
Throughout the 20th century, the private sector has always been happy to do the bidding of the deep state. Hollywood was largely compliant with the ‘red scare’ tactics of the 1950s and frankly, Hollywood producers did more to censor free-speech than the drunk and soon discredited Joseph McCarthy ever could have done.
Why should the CIA waste time and money to read people’s emails, when their much more local boss, or chairman of ‘human relations’ can take a quick look at Facebook and achieve the CIA’s goal far more easily?
The answer is that they don’t. The beauty of a police state is that unquestioning citizens are deputies of the secret police and they work for free. Some do it wilfully and others do it unconsciously, but they do it nevertheless.
Those who question more are often labelled as sensationalist, ‘shock-merchants’ or a number of related epithets to try and discredit their work.
The truth is that those in alternative-media, those who favour multi-polarity, those who speak fairly about Russia, China, Syria, Palestine and beyond, are actually taking a big risk.
Those who say that the west is superior for allowing dissenting thinkers to write and speak without being publicly arrested and sent to a penal colony are being either naive or deceptive.
Western governments do not need to attract publicity by arresting dissenting thinkers because they can do something that has a similar effect and without any of the fanfare.
They can instead use the very corporatist-capitalist system they call ‘free’ to make such people’s lives a living hell. After all, extreme poverty in a capitalist society is as bad as prison is in some countries and this is not an exaggeration. Being socially shunned is an unpleasant situation in any society with any economic system.
For those who make the biggest impact, they can subject them to a hell even worse than poverty. Julian Assange is a crucial example. The fake charges against him are akin to something straight out of Franz Kafka’s The Trial.
If anything, the west is less compassionate than other parts of the world. The west’s record of imperialism, war crimes and human slavery, drug trafficking and environmental terrorism is surely a testament to this. People should be in no doubt that if western governments thought that they could get away with killing opposition journalists and commentators, they would certainly not hesitate to kill the opposition with impunity. The problem is that in a world of mostly free online media that can still circumvent the power of western police states, having reports of opposition thinkers and journalists ‘disappearing’ or being found strangled to death, could bring more attention to the causes of the victims than the western power structures are willing to risk.
The decision not to kill certain opposition thinkers is nothing more than a cost benefit analysis. When someone gets too powerful like Julian Assange or his sources, such people are very much dealt with by facing the receiving end of the full power of state violence. Manning was imprisoned, Snowden and Assange had to seek asylum and Seth Rich, the man widely believed to have been Wikileaks’ source for the DNC leaks, was murdered in cold blood.
Make no mistake, after the cost benefit analysis comes the economy of scale. If someone has an influential website, they’ll merely try to deprive him or her of a livelihood. If that website grows to Wikileaks proportions, such an individual’s life will be in grave danger.
But there may be a happy ending. As the world becomes more multi-polar and the power structures/money structures of global dominance become more balanced, the western private sector oligarchy that does the bidding of the west’s deep state, will no longer be able to exercise the influence they once could.
It is a matter of numbers and when it comes to ordinary citizens throughout the world, in addition to rising powers on the non-western side of the multipolar world, the western elites are simply outnumbered by the rest of us. A sleeping giant needn’t even be awake in order to crush his small but powerful opposition. Such a sleeping giant needs only to stand up before falling back down on the backs of his persecutors. The power of ordinary people throughout the world, plus friendly states that oppose western hegemony, combine to constitute this sleeping giant.
The effects are all ready being felt. Funding sources that come from China, Russia and other strong non-western states are not beholden to the western axis of money and power that for so long could ruin people’s lives with comparative ease.
For those who criticise outlets like RT for getting some funding from the Russian government, they ought to think twice. RT, in being financially independent of western financial structures, is creating a more globally fair and balanced community and helping to give those who have been shut out, a chance to speak without fear of total economic and social isolation. RT’s funding which is largely independent of the western power-structure, has allowed the information playing field to become at least a bit more level. Prior to this, it was grossly out of balance, some would say depressingly so.
Whether the west attempts to fully purge the web and airwaves of alternative media sources from abroad is now a race against time. They want to put the genie back in the bottle, but I personally believe that they may find such a thing more difficult than expected. That being said, many opposition commentators will indeed feel the sting of western police state power in the meantime.
For those who think multi-polarity is only about bombs and sanctions, think again. If you’re reading this piece, it is very much about you.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.