The detail of how modern government agencies spy on people is not important, for such detail only informs of the latest technology involved. Spying is a constant of history. Every attempt of British workers to ‘combine’ in the early 19th. century resulted in their organisations being infiltrated by spies, their communications being intercepted; their leaders’ reputations being blackened. Nothing has changed, other than the technical capacity of spy agencies.
So, when NBC News ‘exclusively’ obtains documents ‘taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden’, which report that the Uk’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has a dirty tricks unit called Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), which works closely with America’s National Security Agency (NSA), it should not surprise.
Likewise, what is surprising about GCHQ’s JTRIG manual?, ‘The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations’, which is the textbook of GCHQ’s ‘Human Science Operations Cell’, which tracks ‘online human intelligence’, and implements ‘strategic influence and disruption’. In short, GCHQ uses an analytical program called XKEYSCORE that indexes email addresses, file names, IP addresses, cookies, phone numbers and metadata. They know which websites you visit, just as they knew who visited the radical leaders of workers’ movements in the 19th. century.
Should GCHQ’s ‘false flag’ operations cause suprise?, by which GCHQ posts lies on the internet about whoever it deems a threat, and, under countless pseudonyms, posts in forums and blogs so as to influence discussion. It should also not surprise that GCHQ uses a computer virus – ‘Ambassador’s Reception’ – ‘in a variety of different areas’, which it describes as ‘very effective’. The virus can ‘delete all emails, encrypt all files, and make the screen shake’. It can can also block a user from logging on to their computer.
The point is this – it would be remarkable if GCHQ did not employ such tactics, for they are only developments in the technology of control, spawned of the internet age, added to modern concepts of psychological manipulation. The underlying theme is constant – governments have always used a perceived threat of revolution or terrorism as fear cards used to justify spying and control. The vast majority of information collected by the British government in the 19th. century was never intended to be used, its wider purpose was (and is) to act as a ‘sword of Damocles’ – a threat hanging over people. The intimidated in any era are less likely to be critical of government.
The ruling class have always ruled by fear. The main reason for allowing people to know that they are being spied on is to induce fear. When is a ‘leak’ not a ‘leak’? – when it is authorised by government. There is little point in GCHQ’s OPTIC NERVE program capturing millions of pics from Yahoo! Messenger webcams – up to 11% of which contained ‘undesirable nudity’ – if webcam ‘performers’ do not know about it. Similarly, XKEYSCORE and ‘Ambassador’s Reception’ have no ‘Damocles’ value if not known.
When NBC News ‘exclusively’ obtains documents, it should be asked, who, then, are they? NBC News is owned by NBC Universal, which is owned by the cable company Comcast, whose major shareholders include large investment trusts. Comcast generally supports Obama, and its leadership has strong ties to his administration. First Lady Michelle Obama has made several cameo appearances (not via webcam) on NBC shows.
It is what you are not told that is important.