5,000 Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent

George Washington's picture

Tyrants Have Always Spied On Their Own People

Spying has been around since the dawn of civilization.

Keith Laidler – a PhD anthropologist, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a past member of the Scientific Exploration Society – explains:

Spying and surveillance are at least as old as civilization itself.

University of Tennessee history professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius agrees:

Espionage and intelligence have been around since human beings first began organizing themselves into distinct societies, cities, states, nations, and civilizations.

Unfortunately, spying hasn’t been limited to defense against external enemies. As documented below, tyrants have long spied on their own people in order to maintain power and control … and crush dissent.

Laidler notes:

The rise of city states and empires … meant that each needed to know not only the disposition and morale of their enemy, but also the loyalty and general sentiment of their own population.

Benevolent rulers don’t need to spy on their own people like tyrants do. Even the quintessential defender of the status quo for the powers-that-be – Cass Sunstein – writes:

As a general rule, tyrants, far more than democratic rulers, need guns, ammunition, spies, and police officers. Their decrees will rarely be self-implementing. Terror is required.

From Ancient Egypt to Modern America …

The Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence and Security notes:

Espionage is one of the oldest, and most well documented, political and military arts. The rise of the great ancient civilizations, beginning 6,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, begat institutions and persons devoted to the security and preservation of their ruling regimes.




Early Egyptian pharos [some 5,000 years ago] employed agents of espionage to ferret-out disloyal subject and to locate tribes that could be conquered and enslaved.




The Roman Empire possessed a fondness for the practice of political espionage. Spies engaged in both foreign and domestic political operations, gauging the political climate of the Empire and surrounding lands by eavesdropping in the Forum or in public market spaces. Several ancient accounts, especially those of the A.D. first century, mention the presence of a secret police force, the frumentarii . By the third century, Roman authors noted the pervasiveness and excessive censorship of the secret police forces, likening them to an authoritative force or an occupational army.

The BBC notes:

In the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church was more powerful than most governments – and it had a powerful surveillance network to match.


French Bishop Bernard Gui was a noted author and one of the leading architects of the Inquisition in the late 13th and early 14th Centuries. For 15 years, he served as head inquisitor of Toulouse, where he convicted more than 900 individuals of heresy.


A noted author and historian, Gui was best known for the Conduct of the Inquisition into Heretical Depravity, written in 1323-24, in which he outlined the means for identifying, interrogating and punishing heretics.

The U.S. Supreme Court noted in Stanford v. Texas (1965):

While the Fourth Amendment [of the U.S. Constitution] was most immediately the product of contemporary revulsion against a regime of writs of assistance, its roots go far deeper. Its adoption in the Constitution of this new Nation reflected the culmination in England a few years earlier of a struggle against oppression which had endured for centuries. The story of that struggle has been fully chronicled in the pages of this Court’s reports, and it would be a needless exercise in pedantry to review again the detailed history of the use of general warrants as instruments of oppression from the time of the Tudors, through the Star Chamber, the Long Parliament, the Restoration, and beyond.


What is significant to note is that this history is largely a history of conflict between the Crown and the press. It was in enforcing the laws licensing the publication of literature and, later, in prosecutions for seditious libel, that general warrants were systematically used in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. In Tudor England, officers of the Crown were given roving commissions to search where they pleased in order to suppress and destroy the literature of dissent, both Catholic and Puritan. In later years, warrants were sometimes more specific in content, but they typically authorized of all persons connected of the premises of all persons connected with the publication of a particular libel, or the arrest and seizure of all the papers of a named person thought to be connected with a libel.

By “libel”, the court is referring to a critique of the British government which the King or his ministers didn’t like … they would label such criticism “libel” and then seize all of the author’s papers.

The Supreme Court provided interesting historical details in the case of Marcus v. Search Warrant (1961):

The use by government of the power of search and seizure as an adjunct to a system for the suppression of objectionable publications … was a principal instrument for the enforcement of the Tudor licensing system. The Stationers’ Company was incorporated in 1557 to help implement that system, and was empowered


“to make search whenever it shall please them in any place, shop, house, chamber, or building or any printer, binder or bookseller whatever within our kingdom of England or the dominions of the same of or for any books or things printed, or to be printed, and to seize, take hold, burn, or turn to the proper use of the aforesaid community, all and several those books and things which are or shall be printed contrary to the form of any statute, act, or proclamation, made or to be made. . . .


An order of counsel confirmed and expanded the Company’s power in 1566, and the Star Chamber reaffirmed it in 1586 by a decree


“That it shall be lawful for the wardens of the said Company for the time being or any two of the said Company thereto deputed by the said wardens, to make search in all workhouses, shops, warehouses of printers, booksellers, bookbinders, or where they shall have reasonable cause of suspicion, and all books [etc.] . . . contrary to . . . these present ordinances to stay and take to her Majesty’s use. . . . ”


Books thus seized were taken to Stationers’ Hall where they were inspected by ecclesiastical officers, who decided whether they should be burnt. These powers were exercised under the Tudor censorship to suppress both Catholic and Puritan dissenting literature.


Each succeeding regime during turbulent Seventeenth Century England used the search and seizure power to suppress publications. James I commissioned the ecclesiastical judges comprising the Court of High Commission

“to enquire and search for . . . all heretical, schismatical and seditious books, libels, and writings, and all other books, pamphlets and portraitures offensive to the state or set forth without sufficient and lawful authority in that behalf, . . . and the same books [etc.] and their printing presses themselves likewise to seize and so to order and dispose of them . . . as they may not after serve or be employed for any such unlawful use. . . .”


The Star Chamber decree of 1637, reenacting the requirement that all books be licensed, continued the broad powers of the Stationers’ Company to enforce the licensing laws. During the political overturn of the 1640′s, Parliament on several occasions asserted the necessity of a broad search and seizure power to control printing. Thus, an order of 1648 gave power to the searchers


“to search in any house or place where there is just cause of suspicion that Presses are kept and employed in the printing of Scandalous and lying Pamphlets, . . . [and] to seize such scandalous and lying pamphlets as they find upon search. . . .”


The Restoration brought a new licensing act in 1662. Under its authority, “messengers of the press” operated under the secretaries of state, who issued executive warrants for the seizure of persons and papers. These warrants, while sometimes specific in content, often gave the most general discretionary authority. For example, a warrant to Roger L’Estrange, the Surveyor of the Press, empowered him to “seize all seditious books and libels and to apprehend the authors, contrivers, printers, publishers, and dispersers of them,” and to


search any house, shop, printing room, chamber, warehouse, etc. for seditious, scandalous or unlicensed pictures, books, or papers, to bring away or deface the same, and the letter press, taking away all the copies. . . .]”




Although increasingly attacked, the licensing system was continued in effect for a time even after the Revolution of 1688, and executive warrants continued to issue for the search for and seizure of offending books. The Stationers’ Company was also ordered


“to make often and diligent searches in all such places you or any of you shall know or have any probable reason to suspect, and to seize all unlicensed, scandalous books and pamphlets. . . .”


And even when the device of prosecution for seditious libel replaced licensing as the principal governmental control of the press, it too was enforced with the aid of general warrants — authorizing either the arrest of all persons connected with the publication of a particular libel and the search of their premises or the seizure of all the papers of a named person alleged to be connected with the publication of a libel.

And see this.

General warrants were largely declared illegal in Britain in 1765. But the British continued to use general warrants in the American colonies. In fact, the Revolutionary War was largely launched to stop the use of general warrants in the colonies. King George gave various excuses of why general warrants were needed for the public good, of course … but such excuses were all hollow.

The New York Review of Books notes that the American government did not start to conduct mass surveillance against the American people until long after the Revolutionary War ended … but once started, the purpose was to crush dissent:

In the United States, political spying by the federal government began in the early part of the twentieth century, with the creation of the Bureau of Investigation in the Department of Justice on July 1, 1908. In more than one sense, the new agency was a descendant of the surveillance practices developed in France a century earlier, since it was initiated by US Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte, a great nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, who created it during a Congressional recess. Its establishment was denounced by Congressman Walter Smith of Iowa, who argued that “No general system of spying upon and espionage of the people, such as has prevailed in Russia, in France under the Empire, and at one time in Ireland, should be allowed to grow up.”


Nonetheless, the new Bureau became deeply engaged in political surveillance during World War I when federal authorities sought to gather information on those opposing American entry into the war and those opposing the draft. As a result of this surveillance, many hundreds of people were prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act and the 1918 Sedition Act for the peaceful expression of opinion about the war and the draft.


But it was during the Vietnam War that political surveillance in the United States reached its peak. Under Presidents Lyndon Johnson and, to an even greater extent, Richard Nixon, there was a systematic effort by various agencies, including the United States Army, to gather information on those involved in anti-war protests. Millions of Americans took part in such protests and the federal government—as well as many state and local agencies—gathered enormous amounts of information on them. Here are just three of the numerous examples of political surveillance in that era:

  • In the 1960s in Rochester, New York, the local police department launched Operation SAFE (Scout Awareness for Emergency). It involved twenty thousand boy scouts living in the vicinity of Rochester. They got identification cards marked with their thumb prints. On the cards were the telephone numbers of the local police and the FBI. The scouts participating in the program were given a list of suspicious activities that they were to report.
  • In 1969, the FBI learned that one of the sponsors of an anti-war demonstration in Washington, DC, was a New York City-based organization, the Fifth Avenue Peace Parade Committee, that chartered buses to take protesters to the event. The FBI visited the bank where the organization maintained its account to get photocopies of the checks written to reserve places on the buses and, thereby, to identify participants in the demonstration. One of the other federal agencies given the information by the FBI was the Internal Revenue Service.



The National Security Agency was involved in the domestic political surveillance of that era as well. Decades before the Internet, under the direction of President Nixon, the NSA made arrangements with the major communications firms of the time such as RCA Global and Western Union to obtain copies of telegrams. When the matter came before the courts, the Nixon Administration argued that the president had inherent authority to protect the country against subversion. In a unanimous decision in 1972, however, the US Supreme Court rejected the claim that the president had the authority to disregard the requirement of the Fourth Amendment for a judicial warrant.




Much of the political surveillance of the 1960s and the 1970s and of the period going back to World War I consisted in efforts to identify organizations that were critical of government policies, or that were proponents of various causes the government didn’t like, and to gather information on their adherents. It was not always clear how this information was used. As best it is possible to establish, the main use was to block some of those who were identified with certain causes from obtaining public employment or some kinds of private employment. Those who were victimized in this way rarely discovered the reason they had been excluded.


Efforts to protect civil liberties during that era eventually led to the destruction of many of these records, sometimes after those whose activities were monitored were given an opportunity to examine them. In many cases, this prevented surveillance records from being used to harm those who were spied on. Yet great vigilance by organizations such as the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights, which brought a large number of court cases challenging political surveillance, was required to safeguard rights. The collection of data concerning the activities of US citizens did not take place for benign purposes.




Between 1956 and 1971, the FBI operated a program known as COINTELPRO, for Counter Intelligence Program. Its purpose was to interfere with the activities of the organizations and individuals who were its targets or, in the words of long-time FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit or otherwise neutralize” them. The first target was the Communist Party of the United States, but subsequent targets ranged from the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference to organizations espousing women’s rights to right wing organizations such as the National States Rights Party.


A well-known example of COINTELPRO was the FBI’s planting in 1964 of false documents about William Albertson, a long-time Communist Party official, that persuaded the Communist Party that Albertson was an FBI informant. Amid major publicity, Albertson was expelled from the party, lost all his friends, and was fired from his job. Until his death in an automobile accident in 1972, he tried to prove that he was not a snitch, but the case was not resolved until 1989, when the FBI agreed to pay Albertson’s widow $170,000 to settle her lawsuit against the government.


COINTELPRO was eventually halted by J. Edgar Hoover after activists broke into a small FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, in 1971, and released stolen documents about the program to the press. The lesson of COINTELPRO is that any government agency that is able to gather information through political surveillance will be tempted to use that information. After a time, the passive accumulation of data may seem insufficient and it may be used aggressively. This may take place long after the information is initially collected and may involve officials who had nothing to do with the original decision to engage in surveillance.

In 1972, the CIA director .

During the Vietnam war, the NSA spied on Senator Frank Church because of his criticism of the Vietnam War. The NSA also spied on Senator Howard Baker.

Senator Church – the head of a congressional committee investigating Cointelpro – warned in 1975:

[NSA's] capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. [If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.

This is, in fact, what’s happened …

Initially, American constitutional law experts say that the NSA is doing exactly the same thing to the American people today which King George did to the Colonists … using “general warrant” type spying.

And it is clear that the government is using its massive spy programs in order to track those who question government policies. See this, this, this and this.

Todd Gitlin – chair of the PhD program in communications at Columbia University, and a professor of journalism and sociology – notes:

Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) has unearthed documents showing that, in 2011 and 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal agencies were busy surveilling and worrying about a good number of Occupy groups — during the very time that they were missing actual warnings about actual terrorist actions.


From its beginnings, the Occupy movement was of considerable interest to the DHS, the FBI, and other law enforcement and intelligence agencies, while true terrorists were slipping past the nets they cast in the wrong places. In the fall of 2011, the DHS specifically asked its regional affiliates to report on “Peaceful Activist Demonstrations, in addition to reporting on domestic terrorist acts and ‘significant criminal activity.’”


Aware that Occupy was overwhelmingly peaceful, the federally funded Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), one of 77 coordination centers known generically as “fusion centers,” was busy monitoring Occupy Boston daily. As the investigative journalist Michael Isikoff recently reported, they were not only tracking Occupy-related Facebook pages and websites but “writing reports on the movement’s potential impact on ‘commercial and financial sector assets.’”


It was in this period that the FBI received the second of two Russian police warnings about the extremist Islamist activities of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the future Boston Marathon bomber. That city’s police commissioner later testified that the federal authorities did not pass any information at all about the Tsarnaev brothers on to him, though there’s no point in letting the Boston police off the hook either. The ACLU has uncovered documents showing that, during the same period, they were paying close attention to the internal workings of…Code Pink and Veterans for Peace.




In Alaska, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, intelligence was not only pooled among public law enforcement agencies, but shared with private corporations — and vice versa.


Nationally, in 2011, the FBI and DHS were, in the words of Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, “treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity.” Last December using FOIA, PCJF obtained 112 pages of documents (heavily redacted) revealing a good deal of evidence for what might otherwise seem like an outlandish charge: that federal authorities were, in Verheyden-Hilliard’s words, “functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.” Consider these examples from PCJF’s summary of federal agencies working directly not only with local authorities but on behalf of the private sector:


• “As early as August 19, 2011, the FBI in New York was meeting with the New York Stock Exchange to discuss the Occupy Wall Street protests that wouldn’t start for another month. By September, prior to the start of the OWS, the FBI was notifying businesses that they might be the focus of an OWS protest.”


• “The FBI in Albany and the Syracuse Joint Terrorism Task Force disseminated information to… [22] campus police officials… A representative of the State University of New York at Oswego contacted the FBI for information on the OWS protests and reported to the FBI on the SUNY-Oswego Occupy encampment made up of students and professors.”


• An entity called the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the private sector,” sent around information regarding Occupy protests at West Coast ports [on Nov. 2, 2011] to “raise awareness concerning this type of criminal activity.” The DSAC report contained “a ‘handling notice’ that the information is ‘meant for use primarily within the corporate security community. Such messages shall not be released in either written or oral form to the media, the general public or other personnel…’ Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) reported to DSAC on the relationship between OWS and organized labor.”


• DSAC gave tips to its corporate clients on “civil unrest,” which it defined as running the gamut from “small, organized rallies to large-scale demonstrations and rioting.” ***


• The FBI in Anchorage, Jacksonville, Tampa, Richmond, Memphis, Milwaukee, and Birmingham also gathered information and briefed local officials on wholly peaceful Occupy activities.


• In Jackson, Mississippi, FBI agents “attended a meeting with the Bank Security Group in Biloxi, MS with multiple private banks and the Biloxi Police Department, in which they discussed an announced protest for ‘National Bad Bank Sit-In-Day’ on December 7, 2011.” Also in Jackson, “the Joint Terrorism Task Force issued a ‘Counterterrorism Preparedness’ alert” that, despite heavy redactions, notes the need to ‘document…the Occupy Wall Street Movement.’”




In 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee learned … that the Tennessee Fusion Center was “highlighting on its website map of ‘Terrorism Events and Other Suspicious Activity’ a recent ACLU-TN letter to school superintendents. The letter encourages schools to be supportive of all religious beliefs during the holiday season.”




Consider an “intelligence report” from the North Central Texas fusion center, which in a 2009 “Prevention Awareness Bulletin” described, in the ACLU’s words, “a purported conspiracy between Muslim civil rights organizations, lobbying groups, the anti-war movement, a former U.S. Congresswoman, the U.S. Treasury Department, and hip hop bands to spread tolerance in the United States, which would ‘provide an environment for terrorist organizations to flourish.’”




And those Virginia and Texas fusion centers were hardly alone in expanding the definition of “terrorist” to fit just about anyone who might oppose government policies. According to a 2010 report in the Los Angeles Times, the Justice Department Inspector General found that “FBI agents improperly opened investigations into Greenpeace and several other domestic advocacy groups after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, and put the names of some of their members on terrorist watch lists based on evidence that turned out to be ‘factually weak.’” The Inspector General called “troubling” what the Los Angeles Times described as “singling out some of the domestic groups for investigations that lasted up to five years, and were extended ‘without adequate basis.’


Subsequently, the FBI continued to maintain investigative files on groups like Greenpeace, the Catholic Worker, and the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, cases where (in the politely put words of the Inspector General’s report) “there was little indication of any possible federal crimes… In some cases, the FBI classified some investigations relating to nonviolent civil disobedience under its ‘acts of terrorism’ classification.”




In Pittsburgh, on the day after Thanksgiving 2002 (“a slow work day” in the Justice Department Inspector General’s estimation), a rookie FBI agent was outfitted with a camera, sent to an antiwar rally, and told to look for terrorism suspects. The “possibility that any useful information would result from this make-work assignment was remote,” the report added drily.


“The agent was unable to identify any terrorism subjects at the event, but he photographed a woman in order to have something to show his supervisor. He told us he had spoken to a woman leafletter at the rally who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent, and that she was probably the person he photographed.”


The sequel was not quite so droll. The Inspector General found that FBI officials, including their chief lawyer in Pittsburgh, manufactured postdated “routing slips” and the rest of a phony paper trail to justify this surveillance retroactively.


Moreover, at least one fusion center has involved military intelligence in civilian law enforcement. In 2009, a military operative from Fort Lewis, Washington, worked undercover collecting information on peace groups in the Northwest. In fact, he helped run the Port Militarization Resistance group’s Listserv. Once uncovered, he told activists there were others doing similar work in the Army. How much the military spies on American citizens is unknown and, at the moment at least, unknowable.


Do we hear an echo from the abyss of the counterintelligence programs of the 1960s and 1970s, when FBI memos — I have some in my own heavily redacted files obtained through an FOIA request — were routinely copied to military intelligence units? Then, too, military intelligence operatives spied on activists who violated no laws, were not suspected of violating laws, and had they violated laws, would not have been under military jurisdiction in any case. During those years, more than 1,500 Army intelligence agents in plain clothes were spying, undercover, on domestic political groups (according to Military Surveillance of Civilian Politics, 1967-70, an unpublished dissertation by former Army intelligence captain Christopher H. Pyle). They posed as students, sometimes growing long hair and beards for the purpose, or as reporters and camera crews. They recorded speeches and conversations on concealed tape recorders. The Army lied about their purposes, claiming they were interested solely in “civil disturbance planning.”


Yes, we hear echoes to the Cointelpro program of the 60s and 70s … as well as King George’s General Warrants to the Colonies … the Star Chamber of 15th century England … the frumentarii of Ancient Rome … and the spies of the earliest pharaohs some 5,000 years ago.

Because – whatever governments may say – mass surveillance is always used to crush dissent.


1. Spying is also aimed at keeping politicians in check.

2. The East German Stasi obviously used mass surveillance to crush dissent and keep it’s officials in check … and falsely claimed that spying was necessary to protect people against vague threats. But poking holes in the excuses of a communist tyranny is too easy. The focus of this essay is to show that governments have used this same cynical ruse for over 5,000 years.

3. This essay focuses solely on domestic surveillance. Spying outside of one’s country is a different matter altogether.

4. For ease of reading, we deleted the footnotes from the two Supreme Court opinions.

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luckylogger's picture

This practice goes on today at just about every place of business............ a common way for employees to get the good jobs........ I have seen it time and time again.........

Nothing new here, the people in power want to keep it and the people with the shitty jobs want the good ones and they make shit up to the bosses to try and get the good jobs.............

\I worked for gypo loggers for 25 years ....... I saw humanity at its worse.......... 25% of the guys I worked with would have fuke their mother in the ass for a dollar...........

Its that way everywhere........ just gotta be careful and the only way to learn is to experiance it........

Just a fact of life..

Kprime's picture
Vodafone reveals existence of secret wires that allow state surveillance


blindman's picture

anyway ...
not that it might fix anything? but these
pathos do offer emotional revelation for those
few still connected in this regard.
here a song of the sacred secular variety.
Tom Waits - House where nobody lives
what constitutes a "person"?
will that person "live" there in
that home or house? how will they do
all that? some kind of credit ....
why is love a four letter word?
" what makes a house grand
ain't the roof or the doors,
if there's love in a house
its a palace for sure ...
without love it ain't nothin'
but a house, a house where nobody
lives. ..." t.w.
add up all the houses where nobody lives
and you have a state and then a nation
manifest as just that, contrary to some
popular sentiment or personal observation.
a remarkable state of being in a remarkable
virtual realm, a balance sheet problem.
full lyrics for them inclined or curious.
tom waits, " house where nobody lives "
There's a house on my block
That's abandoned and cold
Folks moved out of it a
Long time ago
And they took all their things
And they never came back
Looks like it's haunted
With the windows all cracked
And everyone calls it
The house, the house where
Nobody lives

Once it held laughter
Once it held dreams
Did they throw it away
Did they know what it means
Did someone's heart break
Or did someone do somebody wrong?

Well the paint was all cracked
It was peeled off of the wood
Papers were stacked on the porch
Where I stood
And the weeds had grown up
Just as high as the door
There were birds in the chimney
And an old chest of drawers
Looks like no one will ever
Come back to the
House were nobody lives

Once it held laughter
Once it held dreams
Did they throw it away
Did they know what it means
Did someone's heart break
Or did someone do somebody wrong?
So if you find someone
Someone to have, someone to hold
Don't trade it for silver
oh Don't trade it for gold
I have all of life's treasures
And they are fine and they are good
They remind me that houses
Are just made of wood
What makes a house grand
oh Ain't the roof or the doors
If there's love in a house
It's a palace for sure
Without love...
It ain't nothin but a house
A house where nobody lives
Without love it ain't nothin
But a house, a house where
Nobody lives.
bonus link .
Renaissance 2.0 - Financial Empire - Full Length - Damon Vrabel

yellowsub's picture

5000 years later, the powers to be have fine tuned this where it is now accepted by the people...

kurt's picture

They're baaack, this time they're using extremely powerful computers. Someday soon the computer will print out a result that will be taken by the human interpreter as a SURETY. That day someone, you?, will die and not one of the actors fulfilling the mechanized judgement will feel a thing.

blindman's picture

crushing dissent and making monopoly money.

mendigo's picture

I think they view it as keeping the peace.
I think they became worried when they saw the arab spring - should be happening here.
It also help to control a education and mass media.
People are having thier expectations lowered.
The old savers are having thier bank account drained by excessive healthcare costs and taxation.
The us now exists to pay the salaries of government workers.
Suspect zh has been taken over as psyop based on fluff posting for last year - fake contrarian.

andy_pandy's picture


I think they view it as keeping the peace.

sure,  and we can see how they abused the occupy movement to keep the "peace" or lets say the balance of power intact. 

Hongcha's picture

The system has one very simple but very significant Achille's Heel.  Only one but without it, it ceases to exist.

What is that Achille's Heel?  That's your assignment today.

Oh; and also, always remember the difference between a code and a cipher.

andy_pandy's picture

im not saying there is a relationship but after i used the word revolution in an email, my inbox reduced to spam

is it possible that the gov is using some sophisticated surveillance software to intercept my mail ?

George Washington's picture

Not sure. Also not sure if NSA blocks certain emails from reaching their intended recipient, to disrupt people who would organize to challenge corruption.

August's picture

FWIW, I get an awful lot of "Warning: This site has a high risk of malware!!!" sort of messages when I visit pro-Russia websites.

That, of course, does not mean that such sites are not linked to malware.... 

George Washington's picture

"The system has one very simple but very significant Achille's Heel."


dontgoforit's picture

The gold may be tungsten inside!

beaglebog's picture

I think it was Snowden who revealed the existence of Main Core ... a list of some 8 million Americans who are seen as "enemies of the State".


Now, we know what happens to such people in times of crisis.



Imagine what would be the outcome if Main Core was published.  Right there, you would have a potential army of 8 million people who have nothing to lose by fighting ... because, they are "already dead".


How would you react, if you absolutely knew that you were on the list for arrest/detention/interrogation or extinction?

Bunders's picture

Really? 8 million americans are listed as enemy of the state? Source?

If true that means that USGov lists 2.5% of the population it represents as "enemy of the state" and keeps 2.9% under "correctional supervision" I wonder how much overlap there is.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

There is a reason for that number. During the American Revolution there was never more than about 3% of the colonists active fighting in the field at any given time during the revolt.

beaglebog's picture

The most accessible evidence is on Wiki. 

BeetleBailey's picture

Great read Georgie....excellent

Element's picture

And it's not just mass-surveillance that is a major danger, the military also treats everyone as 'enemy' and a 'threat' vector that warrants and requires continuous preemption. And now, on top of that, any action that might be interpreted as a foreign-state attack, on a major network will be treated as the opening assault in a kinetic war:

CyberCom Chief Alexander Lays Down Cyber Red Line; Destroy A Network, Risk War
By Colin Clark on February 27, 2014
Gen. Keith Alexander CyberCom NSACAPITOL HILL:

On the day that China’s president took personal charge of his country’s new cyber body, pledging to make the People’s Republic of China a “cyber power,” the outgoing head of America’s Cyber Command laid out a clear red line that, if crossed, could lead to war.
“If it destroys government or other networks, I think it would cross that line,” Army Gen. Keith Alexander, head of both Cyber Command and the National Security Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee today when asked what level of cyber “attack” would potentially cause America to go to war.

Can anyone else see a problem with that?

These heroic patriotic 'watchers' are of course the real threat to the peace and order of everyone else and inimical to their real interests and best wishes for the world.

You can't trust any General, they're far more insane than the garden-variety mass-murdering auto-justifying politicians wading in their Capital's cess-pool.

xavi1951's picture

This takes the CAKE!  One of the most useless articles ever on ZH.  Spying?  5,000 years of proof?  Please tell me it isn't so!   GW you are loosing it.  Is dementia a family trait?

So many conspracies that have gone on for so many thousands of years..............  Nappie-poo time.

monad's picture

Don't dip into the corpus.
Trust, but verify.
- the Book of Norman

novictim's picture

If you want to lose all hope then turn on CSPAN right now.  

The Senate Select Intelligence Committee with Saxby Chamblis (georgia), Feinstien (CA), Susan Collins (Maine) are "debating" whether it is "BAD" to violate the 4th Amendment and these three in particular are assasinating the 4th Amendment this very evening.

They are deaf to the arguments that would seak to limit the new post 911 police state.  

The Oligarchs are in total control now.

They are beggaring the Nation with bad trade deals and a warped tax policy favoring Billionaires and then destroying the rights of the citizen and the limits on Government.

Dissent is the enemy.

monad's picture

Based on 5000 years of hysteria they will all continue to do this until the whole shithouse goes up in flames, melting all those inside. Including them.
Bonfire of the Vanities.

Reaper's picture

The spying also allows the State to make claims believed by the sheeple about the intent and acts of its enemies. Stalin's show trials presented false evidence to control his sheeple and the world's thoughts. http://russiapedia.rt.com/of-russian-origin/stalins-purges/

The US courts are already corrupted by police testilying. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testilying The forensic evidence presented is false. http://truthinjustice.org/silent-injustice.htm

Spying, the police and prosecutors are tools used to intimidate the sheeple from incorrect thought and fool the trusting sheeple with government lies.

New_Meat's picture

"successful administrations" do these things.

History doesn't remember those who failed to take these things into account, or who were inept in protecting themselves.

"War is a matter of vital importance to the State; the province of life or death; the road to survival or ruin.  It is mandatory that it be thoroughly studied."  -Sun Tzu

- Ned

pupdog1's picture

I for one am deeply and profoundly grateful for the vital and brilliant work performed by our agencies such as the CIA, FBI, and NSA. We can sleep soundly in our beds at night knowing that their tireless efforts keep us safe from those wishing to do us harm. These patriots and heros are truly beacons of liberty, truth, justice, and the American way.

weburke's picture

billions of years of evolution and the advent of man ........... and for us to discover that LYING is the crowning glory of men. The most evolved form of dealing with others is now at its peak......well, how much further can you go when you lie to the population about temperature, traveling to the moon, the nature of the sun.(NOT a nuke furnace, but electric) and spend billions to depolulate the planet of billions of people. Really, an embarrassment of a planetary human life evolution. Lets hope there are other inhabited planets ! If only to hope others are not mad with lies.

Umh's picture

Asset forfeiture laws seem to be a slight modification of General Warrants.

Oldrepublic's picture

There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.

Charles de Montesquieu

Oldrepublic's picture

“When one with honeyed words but evil mind
Persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.”

Euripides, Orestes


dontgoforit's picture


If I speak in the spirit of this time,S I lnust say:

no one and nothing can justify what I must proclaim to you.

Justification is superfluous to me, since I have no choice, but I

must. I have learned that in addition to the spirit of this time

there is still another spirit at work, namely that which rules the

depths of everything contemporary:6 The spirit of this tilne would

like to hear of use and value. I also thought this way, and my

humanity still thinks this way. But that other spirit forces me

nevertheless to speak, beyond justification, use, and meaning.

Filled with human pride and blinded by the presumptuous spirit

of the times, I long sought to hold that other spirit away from

me. But I did not consider that the spirit of the depths from

time immemorial and for all the future possesses a greater power

than the spirit of this time, who changes with the generations.

The spirit of the depths has subjugated


pride and arrogance to

the power of judgment. He took away my belief in science, he

robbed me of the joy of explaining and ordering things, and he let

devotion to the ideals of this time die out in me. He forced me

down to the last and simplest things."

Carl Jung - The Red Book, Liber Primus

conscious being's picture

Great post.  Too bad the fomatting sucks.

If we could all have the opportunity to understand Jung, we'd all benefit.

Fantastic artwork in The Red Book.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

More importantly.

"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are even stupider than that."

George Carlin

Education seems to be a big problem especially when combined with a lack of wisdom or knowledge. Nothing worse than people who know they are right, you can't enlighten people like that no matter how educated they are. And that in a nutshell is Amerika.


conscious being's picture

Everyone wants to be a low information voter.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Presented with no further comment since the story and individual do all the speaking.


Harvard grad Chuck Schumer fails history, credits Jefferson for Bill of Rights

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, stumbled Tuesday over basic American history, crediting Thomas Jefferson for authorship of the Bill of Rights during a debate over the First Amendment and campaign finance.

“I think if Thomas Jefferson were looking down, the author of the Bill of Rights, on what’s being proposed here, he’d agree with it. He would agree that the First Amendment cannot be absolute,” Mr. Schumer said.




dontgoforit's picture

Schumer is a schmuck.  Pretty dumb for a person of the Hebrew persuasion.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

To be fair he is a dual citizen but that is a whole other can of worms especially when it comes to loyality and who are you really working for. It is a conflict of interest that should just be not allowed and to be fair here is his 1st amendment comment in context. It still shows what a douche he is.


The new constitutional amendment Mr. Schumer is pushing now would grant government the power to control all campaign spending, including from individuals, candidates and outside groups. Republicans argue it is an assault on the First Amendment’s protections of free speech, but Mr. Schumer says the First Amendment isn’t absolute — it allows for laws banning pornography or endangering public safety.


I'll let people figure out what is fucking wrong with the amendment in the first place and it has nothing to do with freedom of speech rights.

Optimusprime's picture

We will not be truly committed to fundamental reform until such dual citizens are denied the right to hold public office.  The Byzantines had the right idea.

drendebe10's picture

...nauseating,,,,   gummint:  ctrl-alt-del

luckylongshot's picture

What needs to be added is that before there is a decision made to spy on the public, leaders must have already decided to abuse their power. The act of mass spying is effectively  a public admission by leaders that they have decided to become tyrants, plan to further disempower and disrespect the public and need to be thrown out as quickly as possible before their crimes against humanity get out of control.  

doctor10's picture

Funny how all the legal precedent over 200 years suddenly vanishes when the NSA  spook monitoring the word processor in his Supreme Court Justice's computer becomes compelled to make a personal visit to object  of his attention.

doctor10's picture

....to the object of his attention

dontgoforit's picture

The Object of My Affection - sweet song by the Boswell Sisters and also by Glen Gray & Pee Wee Hunt.  Yeah - I'm old as dirt.

disabledvet's picture

"Oversight" has not been around since that time however.

The internet is the ultimate oversight machine folks.

It is clearly unconstitutional...but so is the alternative.

The question remains a matter of "disclosure" and "upon receiving said data what is it turned into and for what purpose?"

Larry Ellison is former CIA...and as he famously said after 9/11 "all you need to know is am I who I say I am."

In other words once identity is confirmed...

The Wedge's picture

5,000 Years of History Shows That Mass Spying is Aimed at Crushing Decent

Thanks Captain Obvious!

dontgoforit's picture

5000 years of history shows things change, but nothing ever changes the same.

Emergency Ward's picture

"We welcome dissent!  Speak up so we can identify the most uppity ones."

I hear the NSA has some new blog-monitoring software that identifies sarcasm.  No more sarc tags required -- ha ha ha.