The first eight months of WWII with no fighting was called The Phoney War. Using millimetre waves as a fifth-generation or 5G wireless communications technology is a phoney war of another kind.
This phoney war is also silent, but this time shots are being fired – in the form of laser-like beams of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from banks of thousands of tiny antennas – and almost no one in the firing line knows that they are being silently, seriously and irreparably injured.
In the first instance, 5G is likely to make people electro-hypersensitive (EHS). Perhaps it was sitting in front of two big computer screens for many of the 18 years I worked at the UN that made me EHS. When the UN Office at Vienna installed powerful WiFi and cellphone access points – designed to serve large, public areas – in narrow, metal-walled corridors throughout the Vienna International Centre in December 2015, I was ill continuously for seven months.
I did my best for two and a half years to alert the UN staff union, administration and medical service to the danger to the health of UN staff of EMR from these access points, but was ignored. That’s why, in May 2018, I took the issue to the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres [transcript]. He is a physicist and electrical engineer and lectured on telecommunications signals early in his career, yet asserted that he knew nothing about this. He undertook to ask the World Health Organization to look into it, but seven months later those public access points remain in place. I received no replies to my many follow-up emails.
As a result, I welcomed the opportunity to join the effort to publish an International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space because it was clear to me that, despite there having been 43 earlier scientific appeals, very few people understood the dangers of EMR. My experience as an editor could help ensure that a new 5G appeal, including the issue of beaming 5G from space, was clear, comprehensive, explanatory, and accessible to the non-scientist. The International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space is fully referenced, citing over a hundred scientific papers among the tens of thousands on the biological effects of EMR published over the last 80 years.
Having spent years editing UN documents dealing with space, I know that outer space is hotly contested geopolitically and any untoward event involving a military satellite risks triggering a catastrophic response. Space law is so inadequate – just one example is the complexity of space liability law, – that we could really call the Earth orbits a new Wild West. China caused international consternation in 2007 when it demonstrated an anti-satellite weapon by destroying its own satellite. Space debris is the main concern among space-faring nations, with a so-called Kessler syndrome positing a cascade of space debris that could make the Earth orbits unusable for a thousand years. Does launching 20,000+ commercial 5G satellites in such circumstances sound rational to you?
I live in Vienna, Austria, where the 5G rollout is suddenly upon us. Within the last five weeks, pre-5G has been officially announced at Vienna airport and 5G at the Rathausplatz, the main square in Vienna, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors to its Christmas market each December and skating rink each January, which are special treats for children. Along with birds and insects, children are the most vulnerable to 5G depredation because of their little bodies.
Friends and acquaintances and their children in Vienna are already reporting the classic symptoms of EMR poisoning: nosebleeds, headaches, eye pains, chest pains, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, tinnitus, dizziness, flu-like symptoms, and cardiac pain. They also report a tight band around the head; pressure on the top of the head; short, stabbing pains around the body; and buzzing internal organs. Other biological effects such as tumours and dementia usually take longer to manifest, but in the case of 5G, which has never been tested for health or safety, who knows?
Seemingly overnight a forest of 5G infrastructure has sprouted in Austria. In the space of three weeks one friend has gone from robust health to fleeing this country, where she has lived for 30 years. Each person experiences EMR differently. For her, it was extreme torture so she and I spent her last two nights in Austria sleeping in the woods. Interestingly, as she drove across southern Germany, she suffered torture even worse than in Austria, while in northern Germany she had no symptoms at all and felt completely normal, which suggests that there has been as yet no 5G rollout there.
There are no legal limits on exposure to EMR. Conveniently for the telecommunications industry, there are only non-legally enforceable guidelines such as those produced by the grandly named International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, which turns out to be like the Wizard of Oz, just a tiny little NGO in Germany that appoints its own members, none of whom is a medical doctor or environmental expert.
Like the Wizard of Oz, ICNIRP seems to have magical powers. Its prestidigitation makes non-thermal (non-heating) effects of EMR exposure disappear into thin air, for taking into account the tens of thousands of research studies demonstrating the biological effects of EMR would invalidate its so-called safety guidelines. It has bewitched the International Telecommunication Union, part of the UN family, into recognizing these guidelines. And one little email sent to ICNIRP in October 2018 to submit Professor Martin Pall’s comments on ICNIRP’s new draft guidelines conjured up an immediate explosion of interest in the sender’s online presence – which had hitherto attracted none – from companies and individuals worldwide, one country’s immigration authorities, the office of the Austrian Chancellor (head of government), a firm of lawyers in Vienna and even Interpol!,
I hope that people read and share our Stop 5G Space Appeal to wake up themselves and others quickly and use it to take action themselves to stop 5G. Even eight short months of this 5G Phoney War could spell catastrophe for all life on Earth. Elon Musk is set to launch the first 4,425 5G satellites in June 2019 and “blanket” the Earth with 5G, in breach of countless international treaties. This could initiate the last great extinction, courtesy of the multi-trillion-US-dollar 5G, the biggest biological experiment and most heinous manifestation of hubris and greed in human history.10
People’s first reaction to the idea that 5G may be an existential threat to all life on Earth is usually disbelief and/or cognitive dissonance. Once they examine the facts, however, their second reaction is often terror. We need to transcend this in order to see 5G as an opportunity to empower ourselves, take responsibility and take action. We may have already lost 80 per cent of our insects to EMR in the last 20 years. Our trees risk being cut down by the millions in order to ensure continuous 5G signalling for self-driving cars, buses and trains. Are we going to stand by and see ourselves and our children irradiated, our food systems decimated, our natural surroundings destroyed?
Our newspapers are now casually popularizing the meme that human extinction would be a good thing,, but when the question becomes not rhetorical but real, when it’s your life, yourchild, your community, your environment that is under immediate threat, can you really subscribe to such a suggestion? If you don’t, please sign the Stop 5G Appeal and get active in contacting everyone you can think of who has the power to stop 5G, especially Elon Musk and the CEOs of all the other companies planning to launch 5G satellites, starting in just 20 weeks from now. Life on Earth needs your help now.
The transcript of my exchange with the UN Secretary-General of 14 May 2018 follows.
[Start of transcript]
Staff member: Mr. Secretary-General
UN staff have repeatedly been told that they are the most important resource of this Organization.
Since December 2015, the staff here at the Vienna International Centre have been exposed to off-the-scale electromagnetic radiation from WiFi and mobile phone boosters installed on very low ceilings throughout the buildings. Current public exposure levels are at least one quintillion times (that’s 18 zeros) above natural background radiation according to Professor Olle Johansson of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
The highly dangerous biological effects of EMFs have been documented by thousands of studies since 1932 indicating that we may be facing a global health catastrophe orders of magnitude worse than those caused by tobacco and asbestos.
Mr. Secretary-General, on the basis of the Precautionary Principle, I urge you to have these EMF-emitting devices removed immediately and to call a halt to any rollout of 5G at UN duty stations, because it is designed to deliver concentrated and focused electromagnetic radiation in excess of 100 times current levels in the same way as do directed energy weapons.
In line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, to “Protect, Respect and Remedy”, 5G technologies MUST be subjected to an independent health and safety assessment before they are launched anywhere in the world.
There is currently an international appeal (https://www.emfscientist.org/index. php/emf-scientist-appeal) signed by 237 EMF scientists from 41 nations urging the UN and particularly the WHO to exert strong leadership in fostering the development of more protective EMF guidelines, encouraging precautionary measures, and educating the public about health risks, particularly risk to children and fetal development.
Mr. Secretary-General, we have a unique opportunity here at the UN Office at Vienna. Since our medical records are digitized, you have the possibility of releasing data on a closed population exposed to off-the-scale levels of electromagnetic radiation to establish if there have already been abnormal health consequences for the UN staff here in the last 28 months.
I urge you to do so and stop any 5G rollout in these buildings immediately.
UN Secretary-General: Sorry, because you are talking to someone who is a little bit ignorant on these things. You’re talking about the WiFi systems?
Staff member: On the ceilings of these buildings, WiFi boosters and cell phone boosters were installed without consultation, without information to staff in December 2015. Now, if you understand electromagnetic radiation, the signal is – if you cannot get a signal from your mobile phone, the signal goes to maximum strength and that then bounces off metal walls affecting the body multiple times at maximum exposure levels. So the situation here is extremely dangerous. I have heard anecdotally of many people who have had health problems. I don’t know if they are related but the Precautionary Principle would dictate that we use our medical records to look into this and that we remove these dangerous devices immediately. Thank you.
UN Secretary-General: Well, I’m worried because I put those devices in my house. [Laughter & applause]
Staff member: Not a good idea!
UN Secretary-General: This I will have to – I confess my ignorance on this but I’m going to raise this with WHO [World Health Organization] – which I think is the organization that might be able to deal with it properly for them to put someone – their staff or organizations to work on that because I must confess I was not aware of that danger – [humorously] to the extent that I put those things in the rooms of my house – in the ceiling.
Staff member: I would suggest that everybody start looking into this issue and particularly into 5G, which 237 scientists from 41 countries consider a threat that is far worse than the tobacco and asbestos threats of the past.
UN Secretary-General: Well, maybe I have learned something completely new. I hope it will be very useful to me but I confess it is the first time I hear about it.
[End of transcript]
About the Author
Claire Edwards, BA Hons, MA, worked for the United Nations as Editor and Trainer in Intercultural Writing from 1999 to 2017. Since May 2018, she has collaborated with Arthur Firstenberg to publish the International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space (www.5gspaceappeal.org). The Appeal has attracted over 30,000 individual and group signatories from 100 countries, but still needs to reach many more people.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the authors of the Stop 5G Appeal.
Donations are urgently needed to publicize the Stop 5G Space Appeal further and educate people throughout the world about the threat from 5G, especially from 5G satellites, set to begin operation as of June 2019 and blanket the Earth with 5G, from which there would be no escape for any living organism anywhere on the planet (www.5gspaceappeal.org/donate/).
The Appeal is available in Chinese (中文), Japanese (日本語), Croatian (Hrvatski), Czech (Český), Danish (Dansk), Finnish (Suomi), French (Français), German (Deutsch), Greek (Ελληνική), Hungarian (Magyar), Italian (Italiano), Norwegian (Norsk), Polish (Polski), Portuguese (Português), Romanian (Română), Russian (Русский), Serbian (Српски), Spanish (Español) and Turkish (Türkçe) and will soon also be available in Dutch, Macedonian, Mongolian, and Swedish (www.5gspaceappeal.org/the-appeal/). We are seeking volunteer translators for other languages.
 Delos, Peter. “The Way to a New Phased Array Radar Architecture.” TechTime: Electronics & Technology News. January 15, 2018. Accessed January 1, 2019. https://techtime.news/2018/01/ 15/analog-devices-phased-array-radar/. “Although there is a lot of discussion of massive MIMO and automotive radar, it should not be forgotten that most of the recent radar development and beamforming R&D has been in the defense industry, and it is now being adapted for commercial applications. While phased array and beamforming moved from R&D efforts to reality in the 2000s, a new wave of defense focused arrays are now expected, enabled by industrial technology offering solutions that were previously cost prohibitive.”
 “Electrosensitive Testimonials.” We Are The Evidence. 2018. Accessed January 1, 2019. http://wearetheevidence.org/adults-who-developed-electro-sensitivity/. “WATE intends to expose the suppressed epidemic of sickness, suffering and human rights crisis created by wireless technology radiation; elevate the voice of those injured; defend and secure their rights and compel society and governments to take corrective actions and inform the public of the harm.”
 Glaser, Lt. Z. “Cumulated Index to the Bibliography of Reported Biological Phenomena (‘effects’) and Clinical Manifestations Attributed to Microwave and Radio-frequency Radiation: Report, Supplements (no. 1-9).” BEMS Newsletter B-1 through B-464 (1984). Accessed January 1, 2019. http://www.cellphonetaskforce.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Zory-Glasers-index.pdf. Lt. Zorach Glaser, PhD, catalogued 5,083 studies, books and conference reports for the US Navy through 1981.
 “Space Sustainability: A Practical Guide.” Secure World Foundation, 2014, 21. Accessed January 1, 2019. https://swfound.org/media/206289/swf_space_sustainability-a_practical_guide_2018__1.pdf.
“However, as more countries integrate space into their national military capabilities and rely on space-based information for national security, there is an increased chance that any interference (either actual or perceived) with satellites could spark or escalate tensions and conflict in space or on Earth. This is made all the more difficult by the challenge of determining the exact cause of a satellite malfunction: whether it was due to a space weather event, impact by space debris, unintentional interference, or deliberate act of aggression.”
 “Space Law: Liability for Space Debris.” Panish, Shea & Boyle LLP. 2018. Accessed January 1, 2019. https://www.aviationdisasterlaw.com/liability-for-space-debris/. “Filing a lawsuit against SpaceX for space debris is a little different than one against the commercial industry or state-sponsored launch. Since SpaceX is a private company, injured parties can file claims directly against the establishment in accord with the state’s personal injury laws. For the claim to be successful, the plaintiff will have to prove that SpaceX was negligent in some way that caused the space debris collision. Space law is notoriously complex, making it very difficult for injured parties to recover for [sic] their damages in California.”
 Von Der Dunk, Frans G. “Liability versus Responsibility in Space Law: Misconception or Misconstruction?” University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law: Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law Program Faculty Publications 21 (1992). Accessed January 1, 2019. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/spacelaw/21/?utm_source=digitalcommons.unl.edu/spacelaw/21&utm_medium=PDF&utm_campaign=PDFCoverPages.
 Kessler, D. J., P. M. Landry, B. G. Cour-Palais, and R. E. Taylor. “Aerospace: Collision Avoidance in Space: Proliferating Payloads and Space Debris Prompt Action to Prevent Accidents.” IEEE Spectrum 17, no. 6 (1980): 37-41.
 Morgan, L. Lloyd, Santosh Kesari, and Devra Lee Davis. “Why Children Absorb More Microwave Radiation than Adults: The Consequences.” Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure 2, no. 4 (December 2014): 197-204. Accessed January 1, 2019. https://www.sciencedirect.com/ science/article/pii/S2213879X14000583. Highlights: (1) Children absorb more microwave radiation (MWR) than adults. (2) MWR is a Class 2B (possible) carcinogen. (3) The fetus is in greater danger than children from exposure to MWR. (4) The legal exposure limits have remained unchanged for decades. (5) Cellphone manuals warnings and the 20 cm rule for tablets/laptops violate the “normal operating position” regulation.
 Electro Hypersensitivity: Talking to Your Doctor. PDF. Canadian Initiative to Stop Wireless, Electric, and Electromagnetic Pollution. http://weepinitiative.org/talkingtoyourdoctor.pdf.
 FCC Chairman on 5G: “We won’t study it, regulate it, have standards for it.” Youtube. June 20, 2016. Accessed January 1, 2019. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwgwe01SIMc. Notes in video: Ultra-high frequency radiation (24 to 100 GHz or more); aimed and amplified signals; massive deployment of towers; worth billions; no standards, no testing; sharing with satellite and military operations; all areas (including rural areas) to be saturated with radiation; all local deployments to be fast-tracked; everything to be microchipped.
 Dariusz Leszczynski, PhD. “Is ICNIRP Reliable Enough to Dictate Meaning of Science to the Governmental Risk Regulators?” Between a Rock and a Hard Place (blog), April 8, 2018. Accessed January 2, 2019. https://betweenrockandhardplace.wordpress.com/type/gallery/. “The major problems of ICNIRP are: (1) it is a “private club” where members elect new members without need to justify selection; (2) lack of accountability before anyone; (3) lack of transparency of their activities; (4) complete lack of supervision of its activities; (5) skewed science evaluation because of the close similarity of the opinions of all members of the Main Commission and all of the other scientists selected as advisors to the Main Commission.”
 Matthes, Rüdiger. “EMF Safety Guidelines: The ICNIRP View.” International Telecommunications Union Workshop on Human Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields, May 9, 2013. Accessed January 1, 2019. https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/climatechange/emf-1305/Documents/Presentations/s2part1p1-Rued igerMatthes.pdf.
 ITU Telecommunication Development Sector Study Group 2: Session on Modern Policies, Guidelines, Regulations and Assessments of Human Exposure to RF-EMF. Session 1: Recent Activities on Human Exposure to RF-EMF in ITU and ICNIRP, Geneva, Switzerland. October 10, 2018. Accessed January 2, 2019. www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Study-Groups/2018-2021/Pages/ meetings/session-Q7-2-oct18.aspx. “Session 1 will discuss some of the recent activities held in ITU and describe the latest updates to the ICNIRP (International Commission on Non‐Ionizing Radiation Protection) guidelines.”
 Martin L. Pall, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences, Washington State University. Response to 2018 ICNIRP Draft Guidelines and Appendices on Limiting Exposure to Time-Varying Electric, Magnetic and Electromagnetic Fields (100 KHz to 300 GHz). October 8, 2018. Accessed January 2, 2019. www.5gexposed.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/FINAL-Martin-L-Pall-Response-to-2018-Draft-Guidelines-8.10.18.pdf.
 Cooperation Agreement Between The International Criminal Police Organization Interpol and The International Telecommunication Union. Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-18) Dubai 29 October–16 November 2018. Accessed January 2, 2019. https://www.itu.int/dms_pub/itu-s/md/18/pp/c/S18-PP-C-0047!!MSW-E.docx. “2. In implementing the Agreement, each Party shall act within their respective areas of competence. More specifically, the implementation of the Agreement by ITU shall not exceed beyond its mandate pertaining to building confidence and security in the use of ICTs, in accordance to Plenipotentiary Conference Resolution 130 (Rev. Busan, 2014) and to its role on child online protection in accordance to Plenipotentiary Conference Resolution 179 (Rev. Busan, 2014), whereas the implementation of the Agreement by INTERPOL shall not exceed its mandate as defined by article 2 of its Constitution which include activities pertaining to cybercrime and online child exploitation”. (emphasis added)
 Hallmann C.A., M. Sorg and E. Jongejans. “More than 75 per cent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas.” PLOS One 12, no. 10 (2017): e0185809. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0185809&type=printable. Accessed January 1, 2019.
 Laville, Sandra. “Millions of Trees at Risk in Secretive Network Rail Felling Programme.” The Guardian, April 29, 2018. Accessed January 1, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/ apr/29/millions-of-trees-at-risk-in-secretive-network-rail-felling-programme.
 May, Todd. “Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?” The New York Times, December 17, 2018. Accessed January 1, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/17/opinion/human-extinction-climate-change.html.
 Davis, Nicola. “Falling total fertility rate should be welcomed, population expert says: figures showing declining birth rates are ‘cause for celebration’, not alarm.” The Guardian, December 26, 2018. Accessed January 3, 2019. www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/26/falling-total-fertility-rate-should-be-welcomed-population-expert-says.
 “Planet Earth: Worldwide 5G Radiation from Orbit?” Letter from Claus Scheingraber, Roland Wolff and others to Elon Musk. June 18, 2018. Brunnthal, Germany. “… We are sure that your satellite project is already at an advanced stage. But even if much money has been invested, one should consider that it is only a matter of time until the fact of damaging health potential of mobile communications – and especially of 5G-mobile communication – can no longer we overlooked. Therefore we emphatically recommend not to implement the satellite project.” (Letter in German) (Letter in English)
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Waking Times or its staff.
Hackers Have Spent Months Trying to Breach America’s Power Plants
Hackers from the group Xenotime, which made news for compromising a Saudi oil facility in 2017, have now targeted American electrical utilities.
For the past several months, Xenotime has been probing power plants in the U.S., looking for vulnerabilities, according to a blog post by Dragos, the cybersecurity firm that first noticed Xenotime’s efforts. Though Dragos didn’t see any evidence that Xenotime had succeeded, the news is a troubling sign that our critical infrastructure could be taken down with some well-targeted keystrokes.
Slow and Steady
Xenotime is known for Triton, malware that can disable safety systems in power plants, nuclear facilities, and other facilities, according to the MIT Technology Review. That’s the code that Xenotime used to attack that Saudi oil plant after spending over a year searching for a way into the system.
And it’s that persistence that’s most troubling.
“While none of the electric utility targeting events has resulted in a known, successful intrusion into victim organizations to date, the persistent attempts, and expansion in scope is cause for definite concern,” reads the Dragos blog.
Dragos recommends that these power plants and other possible targets invest now in systems that will let them reclaim control from a successful hacker and quickly resume business as usual.
“Utilities, companies, and governments must work cooperatively around the world and across industrial sectors to jointly defend lives and infrastructure from the increasing scope and scale of offensive critical infrastructure cyber attack,” concludes the blog.
READ MORE: Hackers behind the world’s deadliest code are probing US power firms [MIT Technology Review]
It Only Costs Google $20 Million A Year To Control The U.S. Government
(Zero Hedge) Google has fired six of its largest lobbying firms in an attempt to overhaul its global government affairs and policy operations amid greater government scrutiny of its business, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Over the last few months, the company has changed its roster of lobbying firms, as well as its Washington policy team, and lost two senior officials who helped build its “influence operation” into one of the largest in the nation’s capital. The company had been paying about $20 million annually for lobbying, and the firms that Google has now let go made up about half of that cost.
The shake up is part of a “continuing modernization” of Google’s influence operation and it comes at a time when government scrutiny has never been more of a factor. The Justice Department is reportedly getting ready to conduct an antitrust investigation into the company and Congress and state attorneys general are also reviewing its practices. Some politicians are even calling for the company to be broken up.
And so Google is taking the paltry $20 million per year that it has been using to control the government and trying to reallocate it. Among those who are no longer working for the company are “Charlie Black, a longtime Republican strategist, and firms that have relationships with senior Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, including Off Hill Strategies LLC, which has ties to fiscally conservative Republicans.”
People familiar with the restructuring say that it helps reflect the company’s global reach and will help it deal with regulators and lawmakers across regions and markets. The moves are also seen as a shake up by Google’s new head of policy and government relations, Karan Bhatia.
Bhatia was brought in last summer to serve as Google’s VP of Policy and Government Relations and, since then, he’s been reassessing the company’s lobbying needs. Susan Molinari, a former Republican congresswoman, stepped down as Google’s head of Washington operations last year and the company has yet to name a successor.
Another executive leaving Google during the shake up is Adam Kovacevich, who ran the firm’s public-policy division. He led the company’s campaign to head off a 2012 FTC investigation into anti-competitive tactics and also helped launch several advocacy groups to help promote public policy matters that benefited the company.
In 2006, Google was spending about $800,000 on lobbying and had four firms on retainer. By 2018, the company had 100 lobbyists across 30 firms and spent $21.7 million to lobby Washington. This sum made it the largest spender on lobbying among US corporations, despite the relatively small dollar amount for the massive tech giant.
The company also spends millions on donations to think tanks, political entities, universities and other third-party groups that generate data and host conferences that help Google shape the debate into its business practices.
Meanwhile, Google employees helped the company become one of the largest sources of donations to the Democratic Party and candidates like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In the 2018 elections, Google’s employee funded PAC donated $1.9 million to political candidates in both parties. Employees of the company donated a total of $1.6 million to Clinton’s 2016 campaign and after Obama took office in 2012, Google and its lobbying team “scored a string of victories” in Washington, like fending off the FTC from an anti-trust case.
Google also won favorable net neutrality rulings from the FCC and secured favorable legislation on self driving vehicles.
But over the last few years the company has continued to hit headwinds from both sides of the aisle while its public image has taken a beating over privacy concerns and critics claiming that it fails to police content.
The new lobbying structure has regional leaders in the US, Canada, Asia, the Pacific, Europe and countries that the company views as emerging markets. It also includes teams that will continue to lobby governments in areas like privacy and handling controversial content.
The preceding information is a news update. In general, staying informed as to events taking place is essential as an individual because it helps you navigate the world, and socially because you can gain and maintain rapport with your fellows. This rapport can be used to share information that can help others and improve the conditions of humanity in general. However, one must learn how to exercise discernment and proper critical thinking so they can make effective use of information gained.
Orwell’s 1984 Is No Longer Fiction
“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”—George Orwell, 1984
Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state.
It’s been 70 years since Orwell—dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm—depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984.
Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, “He loved Big Brother,” we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.
“To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone— to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink — greetings!”—George Orwell
1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. The government, or “Party,” is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: “Big Brother is watching you.”
We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”―George Orwell
Much like Orwell’s Big Brother in 1984, the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move. Much like Huxley’s A Brave New World, we are churning out a society of watchers who “have their liberties taken away from them, but … rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing.” Much like Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the populace is now taught to “know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away.”
And in keeping with Philip K. Dick’s darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state—which became the basis for Steven Spielberg’s futuristic thriller Minority Report—we are now trapped in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.
What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.
Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike—facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on—are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality.
Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes, facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.
Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness—a philosophy that discourages diversity—has become a guiding principle of modern society.
“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”―George Orwell
The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America. And bodily privacy and integrity have been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.
“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”―George Orwell, Animal Farm
We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state.
What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach.
In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future.
The government now has at its disposal technological arsenals so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. Spearheaded by the NSA, which has shown itself to care little to nothing for constitutional limits or privacy, the “security/industrial complex”—a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance—has come to dominate the government and our lives. At three times the size of the CIA, constituting one third of the intelligence budget and with its own global spy network to boot, the NSA has a long history of spying on Americans, whether or not it has always had the authorization to do so.
Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who is paying the price? The American people, of course.
Orwell understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan flag-waving, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control over the citizenry at all costs. As Orwell explains:
The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.
“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.” ― George Orwell
How do you change the way people think? You start by changing the words they use.
In totalitarian regimes—a.k.a. police states—where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.
Dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.
In Huxley’s Brave New World, serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.
And in Orwell’s 1984, Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish “thoughtcrimes.” In this dystopian vision of the future, the Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the Ministry of Peace deals with war and defense, the Ministry of Plenty deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love deals with law and order (torture and brainwashing), and the Ministry of Truth deals with news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda). The mottos of Oceania: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
All three—Bradbury, Huxley and Orwell—had an uncanny knack for realizing the future, yet it is Orwell who best understood the power of language to manipulate the masses. Orwell’s Big Brother relied on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary. To give a single example, as psychologist Erich Fromm illustrates in his afterword to 1984:
The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as “This dog is free from lice” or “This field is free from weeds.” It could not be used in its old sense of “politically free” or “intellectually free,” since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed as concepts….
Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is “safe” and “accepted” by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.
This is the final link in the police state chain.
“Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”—George Orwell
Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their privacy rights. In fact, the addiction to screen devices—especially cell phones—has created a hive effect where the populace not only watched but is controlled by AI bots. However, at one time, the idea of a total surveillance state tracking one’s every move would have been abhorrent to most Americans. That all changed with the 9/11 attacks. As professor Jeffrey Rosen observes, “Before Sept. 11, the idea that Americans would voluntarily agree to live their lives under the gaze of a network of biometric surveillance cameras, peering at them in government buildings, shopping malls, subways and stadiums, would have seemed unthinkable, a dystopian fantasy of a society that had surrendered privacy and anonymity.”
Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry—mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all—we have nowhere left to go.
We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government. In search of so-called terrorists and extremists hiding amongst us—the proverbial “needle in a haystack,” as one official termed it—the Corporate State has taken to monitoring all aspects of our lives, from cell phone calls and emails to Internet activity and credit card transactions. Much of this data is being fed through fusion centers across the country, which work with the Department of Homeland Security to make threat assessments on every citizen, including school children. These are state and regional intelligence centers that collect data on you.
“Big Brother is Watching You.”―George Orwell
Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched, especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations equipped with facial recognition software. When you use a cell phone or drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. Such information is shared with government agents, including local police. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts and your activities is now being fed to the U.S. government.
The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites and Internet surveillance.
Speech recognition technology now makes it possible for the government to carry out massive eavesdropping by way of sophisticated computer systems. Phone calls can be monitored, the audio converted to text files and stored in computer databases indefinitely. And if any “threatening” words are detected—no matter how inane or silly—the record can be flagged and assigned to a government agent for further investigation. Federal and state governments, again working with private corporations, monitor your Internet content. Users are profiled and tracked in order to identify, target and even prosecute them.
In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you’re guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, the FBI uses its wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.
“Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.” ― George Orwell
Here’s what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it’s not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We’ve already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called “hateful” thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.
Say hello to the new Thought Police.
Total Internet surveillance by the Corporate State, as omnipresent as God, is used by the government to predict and, more importantly, control the populace, and it’s not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA is now designing an artificial intelligence system that is designed to anticipate your every move. In a nutshell, the NSA will feed vast amounts of the information it collects to a computer system known as Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence), which the computer can then use to detect patterns and predict behavior.
No information is sacred or spared.
Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, “citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability.”
Thus, what we are witnessing, in the so-called name of security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprised of the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians and private corporations).
Clearly, the age of privacy in America is at an end.
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.”—Orwell
So where does that leave us?
We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.
It won’t be long before we find ourselves looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted without those thoughts, words and activities being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.
To be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government’s roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.
Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw.
So how do you survive in the American surveillance state?
We’re running out of options.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we’ll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, entertainment industry, etc.) and self-preservation in the form of renewed vigilance about threats to our freedoms and active engagement in self-governance.
Yet as Aldous Huxley acknowledged in Brave New World Revisited: “Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it.”
About the Author
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute, where this article (The Omnipresent Surveillance State: Orwell’s 1984 Is No Longer Fiction) was originally published. He is the author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State and The Change Manifesto.
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