“MQ-1 Predator drones kill civilians.” This great wall of screen printed street posters is up around the corner from my house.”
Humans love to automate their life. That’s why we have such things as cruise control in our vehicles, robotic assembly lines in factories and ATM machines at banks, to name a few examples. Then you have more insidious automating like algo trading or high frequency trading in the stock market, NSA/CIA/FBI data mining and collection, and Targeted Drone assassination. With our so-called Drone War, the assumption of innocence has been thrown out the window in favor of a George Zimmerman vigilante style assumption of guilt. Glenn Greenwald adds detail to this State Terrorism mindset here. This sort of power that Obama has assumed circumvents any form of trial by jury and issues of constitutionality and moral consciousness. It is also designed, whether intentionally or not, to strike fear into the world and inhibit/control people’s behavior. It’s a high-tech, automated form of totalitarianism which does not waste time on frivolities such as freedom of speech, criminal investigation, and the judicial process of ascertaining guilt or innocence. GLOBAL GUERRILLAS has a post on this:
The US President’s Hit List or “Death by PowerPoint”
Last Friday, I wrote a post on how:
- US national security agencies increasingly use computerized analysis of collected data to designate a person as an enemy combatant.
- The US currently uses non-judicial Presidential “hit lists” to simplify the killing of people (including US citizens) designated as enemy combatants.
- The US is rapidly increasing its use of drones to kill enemy combatants nearly anywhere in the world 24x7x365.
The scary part is that the combination of these trends is the path of least resistance to an automated totalitarianism.
For those of you out of the loop on what is going on, it probably seemed to be a bit of a stretch. Particularly, the idea that the President could put American citizens on a military hit list without going through a judicial process.
If you were skeptical on the existence of a hit list, here’s an article from today’s (almost on cue) New York Times.
Some choice bits from the article. It shows there are still humans in the loop, although the process used to nominate people (including Americans) to kill is largely ad hoc.
Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical.
Obama … insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war.
Obama’s ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron P. Munter, has complained to colleagues that “he didn’t realize his main job was to kill people”
a disputed method for counting civilian casualties… counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials…
“It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants,” the official said. “They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.”
It [the hit list nomination process] is the strangest of bureaucratic rituals: Every week or so, more than 100 members of the government’s sprawling national security apparatus gather, by secure video teleconference, to pore over terrorist suspects’ biographies and recommend to the president who should be the next to die.
This secret “nominations” process is an invention of the Obama administration, a grim debating society that vets the PowerPoint slides bearing the names, aliases and life stories of suspected members of Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen or its allies in Somalia’s Shabab militia.
The video conferences are run by the Pentagon, which oversees strikes in those countries, and participants do not hesitate to call out a challenge, pressing for the evidence behind accusations of ties to Al Qaeda.
Remember also that local police forces will be the recipients of the Drone technology America is using to obliterate those smarmy, suspicious-looking terrorists on the other side of the globe. Back in February, Congress passed Bill, HR 658 which will fund 30,000 DRONE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT for use inside America’s boundaries at the behest of the Department of Homeland Security. And the Drone lobbyists are out in full force on the Washington Beltway:
“The more our government, eased of any former legal moorings, abuses its position to maintain the edge of secrecy, the more it demands transparency of citizens. From naked body scans at airports, to urine samples, from the huge base being built to store our PERSONAL correspondences, to the “right” of government to listen in. I mean all this is STILL being sold to the Fox-viewing public under the banner of freedom!
We’ve crossed the rubicon where literature becomes reality, and the progeny of 1984, Kafka’s “The Trial,” and the Star Wars trilogy merge together into a dystopian display that no doubt is sending many to either anti-depressants, booze, or (undiagnosed symptoms of) Stockholm Syndrome. As the troops fight “them” over there, so they don’t have to fight “them” over here… and all for our FREEDOMS! The heists underway impact our liberties, pocketbooks, minds, and bodies!”
“Whenever “security forces” become overmighty they also become paranoid. Look at the Soviets; look at Hitler’s Germany. There were enemies everywhere, not least within.
More than this, however, is the chaotic nature of how the power forces within an autocracy evolve. In both Hitler’s Germany and Lenin’s Russia, sheer chaos played a major part – things get hot and sizzle off in unexpected directions.
In America the same forces are at work, but they are evolving in relation to a different set of political givens and a radically different technological environment. With current technology, Hitler or Stalin would have ruled the world in no time. There will be no coup, revolution, or Reichstag moment in America. It will be the world’s first auto-autocracy – a voluntary (or at least non-resistant) slide into a police state, in which everyone denies it is a police state. Naomi Wolf has all the details.”