Big Brother 2002

Big Brother, the State where the citizens’ every move is watched, every telephone call is tapped and every letter censored. This was the state envisaged by the author George Orwell, in his book titled 1984. Incredibly, it has become reality, in the country which is always proclaiming its freedom and superior human rights record, the United States of America.

The US Administration turns its arrogance inwards, after Moscow and Paris stood up to Washington and forced a diplomatic settlement of the Iraq issue. The State has the right, in the USA, to monitor phone calls, credit card transactions and all actions which are officially registered under a new measure against terrorism. September 11th gave the Bush administration the perfect excuse to intervene anywhere, at any time, in the name of global terrorism.

The new system is to be controlled by what is called TIAS, the Total Information Awareness System, an IT monster which enables the government to spy on the activities of citizens who go about their personal lives, unaware that somebody, somewhere, may be listening to their telephone call, controlling the movements in their bank account and reading their e-mails.

Marc Rotenberg, the Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Centre, said that this programme is “teetering on the line” between “homeland security and building a police state”. John Poindexter is the man behind this scheme, which is controlled by an agency called “Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency”, DARPA. Those who recall that the name Poindexter rings a bell are right: he was the one who was caught lying in the Iran-Contra Irangate scandal during the Reagan-Bush Senior administration, but his conviction was quashed after an appeal. He is back.

The Pentagon has long requested a massive central database containing details of the personal lives of all the citizens of the USA. Under the pretext of searching for terrorists in the planning stage of an attack, the scheme will give the administration sweeping new powers which will take away, at a stroke, any rights to privacy that any citizen thought he or she enjoyed.

Ex-Presidential candidate Al Gore, summed up the programme: “They have now taken the most fateful step in the direction of that Big Brother nightmare that any President has ever allowed to occur”.


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