America's Enemies Now Using Carrier Pigeons And Invisible Ink Letters: The Absurd, The Tragicomic And The Bizarre

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

America's Enemies Now Using Carrier Pigeons and Invisible Ink Letters: the Absurdist, Tragicomic Narratives of Domestic Surveillance

If you know your electronic communication is being monitored, you start using couriers, carrier pigeons and invisible ink snail-mail--anything other than electronic communication.

The recent confirmation of programmatic domestic surveillance is rich with absurdist, tragi-comic narratives. Just to take the most obvious:

1. Is anyone dumb enough and/or credulous enough to believe "the bad guys" aren't aware of U.S. surveillance and electronic monitoring capabilities? Garsh, why did Osama bin Laden use couriers rather than his mobile phone?

Is anyone dumb enough and/or credulous enough to believe the bad guys think their communications within the U.S. or between non-U.S. and U.S. groups are safe from U.S. surveillance/monitoring because they really really trust the Bill of Rights to protect them?

Naivete about what the U.S. National Security State is capable of is highly correlated to which end of the drone strike you're on.

2. Why are Total Awareness surveillance/monitoring/data-capture programs considered news? All of this has been in the public-space media for years: exactly what is new? That a media-savvy young insider confirmed what a bunch of less media-genic outsiders have written about for years? Please re-read these stories if you missed them the first time--all are highly recommended:

Officials Say U.S. Wiretaps Exceeded Law (April 15, 2009, New York Times)

Top Secret America: A hidden world, growing beyond control (July 19, 2010, Washington Post)

Underscoring the seriousness of these issues are the conclusions of retired Army Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who was asked last year to review the method for tracking the Defense Department's most sensitive programs. Vines, who once commanded 145,000 troops in Iraq and is familiar with complex problems, was stunned by what he discovered.


"I'm not aware of any agency with the authority, responsibility or a process in place to coordinate all these interagency and commercial activities," he said in an interview. "The complexity of this system defies description." The result, he added, is that it's impossible to tell whether the country is safer because of all this spending and all these activities. "Because it lacks a synchronizing process, it inevitably results in message dissonance, reduced effectiveness and waste," Vines said. "We consequently can't effectively assess whether it is making us more safe."


As he (former director of national intelligence, retired Adm. Dennis C. Blair) sat in the corner of a ballroom at the Willard Hotel waiting to give a speech, he mused about The Post's findings. "After 9/11, when we decided to attack violent extremism, we did as we so often do in this country," he said. "The attitude was, if it's worth doing, it's probably worth overdoing."

National Security Inc. (July 20, 2010, Washington Post)

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (March 15, 2012, Wired Magazine)

Is there a legitimate security need to monitor the entire world's communications? There are reasonable arguments to be made for and against this proposition, but what's missing is the sense that the nation's citizenry should have a say in these policy decisions.

We're supposed to be satisfied that a handful of thoroughly corrupted-by-the-corporatocracy congresspeople have been spoon-fed a thin dribble of intelligence gruel and told to rubberstamp it in the name of democracy.

This calls to mind the notion that authorities inoculate the public with carefully measured doses of the operative master agenda and narrative. The idea that this concept (developed by French philosophers Roland Barthes and Jean Baudrillard) might apply to the recent surveillance revelations was introduced to me by Aengus Anderson, host of the excellent audio program series The Conversation.

By carefully releasing bits and pieces of the program, authorities inoculate the public against outrage or political action; the citizenry soon habituates to the master agenda and internalizes it to the point of self-management: we're spied upon for our own good.

3. The problem with this sort of intrusive power and technology is that such tools beg to be used. If the tool exists, it will eventually be used. The more powerful the tool, the stronger its draw upon the Superusers with access to its power.

That's the lesson of the I.R.S. investigation of targeted political groups: if the ability to target "people of interest" exists, people of interest will find themselves targeted.

I've been a "person of interest" at least twice, and it is a disconcerting state of being. I was placed on the "don't issue this guy a boarding pass without a security check" list, and no explanation was offered.

The entire process of being placed on the list for reasons unknown and getting my name removed was Kafkaesque; the no-fly list program struck me as a convoluted, ultimately worthless mess, just the sort of thing you'd expect from overlapping agencies, data bases, procedures, etc. One gets the impression that there is essentially zero oversight of the program's effectiveness.

Due to my associations with groups (the American Friends Service Committee) and individuals of interest, I became a "person of interest" to the F.B.I. back in 1971-72, when an enormous percentage of the agency's resources were devoted to investigating draft resistance and domestic anti-war activity. The dominance of this political resistance is our highest investigative priority agenda has long been well-documented; it only makes sense once you accept that political resistance is criminal.

In my case, the F.B.I. helpfully called me to tell me they knew where I lived, etc., and would I like to talk to them now at my house or tomorrow at their office? I chose tomorrow, at their office, with a witness.

Interestingly, I'd broken no laws; my associations were sufficient to suggest potential guilt. This justified investigation and whatever monitoring and data gathering were deemed standard procedure at that time. (I'm sure the F.B.I. agents got a good chuckle out of interrogating a frightened 19-year old kid.)

This is precisely the mindset that fueled the 1950s witch-hunts of suspected Communists: guilt by association.

People like to say "it can't happen here:" nice, except it's already happened here. The tools have just become more powerful and further distanced from oversight.

It's a small, effortless step from seeing exposure of the surveillance program as a crime to seeing those who question the program as a potential threat.

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nope-1004's picture

"Pssst, hey buddy........  You wanna buy an O?"


NotApplicable's picture

"Naivete about what the U.S. National Security State is capable of is highly correlated to which end of the drone strike you're on."

Well played, CHS

cifo's picture
Every so often, I like to go to the window, look up, and smile for a satellite picture. - Stephen Wright
knukles's picture

Golly gosh gee wiz...
You mean Perceptions Management?

jbvtme's picture

can that pigeon carry a birth certificate?

SafelyGraze's picture

on msm yesterday, I saw a human interest story about a 50-yr-old man who didn't know who his parents were

as a child, he stumbled on some news clippings about a baby stolen from a hospital

fortunately, dna testing was able to at least establish that his functional parents were not his biological parents

it was a powerful story

it makes me wonder: is there any way that babies can be better tagged and tracked and identified from the time they are born?

or even before?

any way at all?

because that would be such a help.

so that we could know who we are when we reach 50.

some sort of database of our identities.

if only.

boy, that would be such a big help.

it was a really great story.

I wonder how they chose it.

whotookmyalias's picture

Sometimes I feel like Rob Stark at my Uncle's wedding.

fockewulf190's picture

Most governments don't give a shit about what their people think. For example, nobody asked the German people if they wanted the Euro, they just rammed it through, claiming that the parlimentary "representatives" were the voice of the people. The truth was they feared the public opinion, they feared rejection of their plans, and therefore, public opinion was bypassed.

dracos_ghost's picture

Wheel ... Of .... FORTUNE!!!!!

Pat, I'd like to buy a vowel. The letter K. Oh, wait....

Ident 7777 economy's picture



Hmmm ... govt collecting 'phone numbers' e.g. the 'number dialed' et al ... monitoring internet and 'social' website activity ...


NO WONDER the 'secret' NUMBERS STATIONS are still actve on SHORTWAVE!


Untraceable one-way comms, like a national one-way PAGER service (like in the OLD days of drug, -er- running!)




q99x2's picture

Cash, BitCoin, Gold, Silver and talking one on one. The simple pleasures of life. Thank you Bernanke you idiot.

zerozulu's picture

You know, things are so bad that Obama and Chinese premier had to take one hour walk in the woods to discuss national interest of both countries.

resurger's picture

Thank you OTM,

Am really considering the wax stamp and seals business

Bad Attitude's picture

Wax seals are insufficient. Mail can be read through envelopes. Maybe wrap your letters with something opaque like aluminum foil.

Schmuck Raker's picture

"America's Enemies"

Good one MDB...oh, wait.

SimMaker's picture

A Trillion Billion Dollar secruity network employing 100s of thousands of agents....... out smarted by a few people and a bird, plus a 99cent magic trick.


Reminds me of the Maginot line. Just go around it......lolz.



Midasking's picture

hahahaha... yes this is just getting pathetic. Throw another trillion on the fire I am starting to get cold..

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

They want to bug every house, so that conversations can be monitored.  I suspect smart phones or tablets or game consoles will prove their best bet.  "You NEED a microphone on this console/tablet"

Look at the new XBOX, always connected to the net?

Honestly, I think if a cellphone still has its batteries in they can probably do it now.

Citxmech's picture

I'm sure a big portion of the program is designed to funnel disinfo to the appropriate "comments" sections on certain news stories and various chat-rooms, etc.

Umh's picture

Does anyone have a cellphone that will let you disable voice commands?

RafterManFMJ's picture

Dunno, hold on Ill ask Siri.

RafterManFMJ's picture

Dunno, hold on Ill ask Siri.

Ness.'s picture

"It's an illusion Michael, not a trick.  A trick is something a whore does for money... or cocaine"

world_debt_slave's picture

Just like gun control, the criminals make out, the American public remains the willing dupe.

Downtoolong's picture

If the tool exists, it will eventually be used

The next think you know they will be using your credit score for hiring and insurance purposes.

Oh shit!

King Nothing's picture

Next they'll be picking names choosen by the OH GREAT SEWING MACHINE to cross of the list of evil private citizens

King Nothing's picture

Next they'll be picking names choosen by the OH GREAT SEWING MACHINE to cross of the list of evil private citizens

Smuckers's picture

Long pigeon food.

A Lunatic's picture

Name one government program or law that will prevent an evil act from being carried out by a dedicated psychopath.......

knukles's picture

Execution (Of said psycos, of course)

alien-IQ's picture

I can name at least a dozen laws that help keep US government psychopaths in power. Does that count?

NotApplicable's picture

The Twenty-second Amendment of the United States Constitution?

King Nothing's picture

The only reason I need for self protecting.

LoCicero's picture

Dear A,

Here is the problem: With regard to the law, there are three kinds of people.

- One kind doesn't need the law because they have no intention of ever committing the act so proscribed ... say, murder.

- One kind doesn't need the law (the psychopaths) because they will commit the act, if given the chance.

- The law is for the third, and probably largest, group, who need the law to maintain a peaceful and orderly civil society.

Anusocracy's picture

Group #1 - Leave alone.

Group #2 - Exclude from civilization permanently, dead or alive, once they are found out.

Group #3 - Will respond to outcome of group #2 and behave properly.

Basically what went on in Iceland for two or three centuries - no government.

AssFire's picture

The ease at which legislators can be blackmailed dictates no current voting be allowed on laws.

In fact blackmail is probably the reason so many illegal laws have been passed.

Banana Republic 101

Reviewing the Supreme Court rulings it is clear this should extend to justices as well.

Winston Churchill's picture

Indeed, especially Roberts, he shold resign at once.

The "Hoover" on him is now public knowledge overseas.

Bent the law regarding the adoption of his children.

Certainly explains how he was pressured into some dubious  holdings.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Just reading his wiki and couple years back he 'had a seizure and was pushed, sorry, fell five to ten feet'.

Intimidation and shows of power, to keep someone in line?  I am just speculating in general, of course.

knukles's picture

Ding ding ding ding, we have a winner!

zerozulu's picture

Do you mean all nine laptops had porn in them?

Shell Game's picture

America's enemies.  Oh, you mean free-thinking sovereign individuals and sovereign states with significant resources.


Lemon juice ink, FTMFW....

Ignatius's picture

" ...but what's missing is the sense that the nation's citizenry should have a say in these policy decisions."

This has been the plan.

There's an 'expert' for everything these days, supposedly, so what does your opinion matter?  We have corporate media whores to question your sanity and your motive should you be awake enough to question it (their motives being above reproach, ya understand).

This is one of the prime points that John Taylor Gatto has been driving at.  Can we collectively feel the reassuring pat on the head?  "Be a good boy, get your HS diploma and the application line of Mega Corp is right over there."

The elite want 'consumers', not citizens, and certainly not any real competition (what we used to affectionately call 'markets').

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

It used to be they wanted producer/consumers, but now that the debt slavery model has been so fully implemented we (the masses) are simply consumers in their mind.

The amount of times we are asked to "trust the experts" every day, every newscast, every story...  Its not that its uncountable, its that at the crux of each story seems to the need to "trust the (right) expert".  Sure, you can go on the internet and find an expert saying the exact opposite of the expert on TV, but don't believe everything you read on the internet /mind explodes

CoolBeans's picture

There is no reason to spy on 99.9% of the U.S. population.

If the United States government is not doing anything evil....then why is it SO afraid of its citizens?

Riddle me this...(because evil likes full control)


buzzsaw99's picture

laser walkie talkie with secret decoder ring

Nels's picture


This is precisely the mindset that fueled the 1950s witch-hunts of suspected Communists: guilt by association.

Oh, you mean that when Obama pals around with admitted terrorists like Ayers, we aren't supposed to draw any conclusions?

Or when 2 Chechen kids go to jihad training camps, we aren't supposed to draw any conclusions?

Idiot.  The Venona tapes clearly showed that there were Communists in DC, and a lot of the communists in Hollywood have bragged about what they did.

This isn't guilt by association, it's investigation because of association.  However, building up that association list prior to a crime to be investigated is a crime itself.  There's no crime associated with the term 'Tea Party'.  There were the crimes of subversion and treason associated with the term 'Communist'.

alien-IQ's picture

Every dictator in history has come to power with the aid of people who think just like you.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Not all government investigations are political. Some are actually well-grounded in national security concerns.

Unfortunately, a foul combination of marxists, corporatists, and islamists seem to have gotten control of the US government, and the security and defense apparatus has become thoroughly perverted to the point of almost complete inversion.

Lost Word's picture

Emphasis on Perverted.

Gay Obama and Gay military and Gay Supreme Court and Gay Boy Scouts and Gay marriage and Gay rights.

No rights for Christians or anyone opposed to Gay rights.

Christians are the terrorists and the enemy, and Islam is peaceful and Democratic ?

SimMaker's picture

If you are on a site like this you should understand statistics/odds.


You are more likely to win the lottery, die in a car crash, get struck by lightning...etcetc.....than you ever have of being hurt by a "Terrorist". Yet, you dont see the government spending trillions on safer cars, or Lightning Shelters and weather forcasting.......


Yet they spend trillions, and emply 10s of thousands, to look out for people that might kill 10-20 people a year? YOU ARE PARANOID...TURN OFF YOUR TV...THE SYSTEM IS NOT SET UP TO PROTECT YOU, BUT TO PROTECT "THEM" FROM YOU (Should you ever wake the help up and realise you have been duped)