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Data Mining for a New American World

Posted on Apr 4, 2012
Jennuine Captures (CC-BY)

By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch

(Page 3)

It’s an understandable description for someone who has emerged from the labyrinth, but I doubt it’s on target.  Ours is unlikely to ever be a Soviet-style system, even if it exhibits a striking urge toward totality; towards, that is, engulfing everything, including every trace you’ve left anywhere in the world.  It’s probably not a Soviet-style state in the making, even if traditional legal boundaries and prohibitions against spying upon and surveilling Americans are of remarkably little interest to it.

Its urge is to data mine and decode the planet in an eternal search for enemies who are imagined to lurk everywhere, ready to strike at any moment.  Anyone might be a terrorist or, wittingly or not, in touch with one, even perfectly innocent-seeming Americans whose data must be held until the moment when the true pattern of eneminess comes into view and everything is revealed.

In the new world of the National Security Complex, no one can be trusted—except the officials working within it, who in their eternal bureaucratic vigilance clearly consider themselves above any law.  The system that they are constructing (or that, perhaps, is constructing them) has no more to do with democracy or an American republic or the Constitution than it does with a Soviet-style state.  Think of it as a phenomenon for which we have no name.  Like the yottabyte, it’s something new under the sun, still awaiting its own strange and ugly moniker.

For now, it remains as anonymous as Joseph K. and so, conveniently enough, continues to expand right before our eyes, strangely unseen.


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If you don’t believe me, leave the country for nine days and just see if, in that brief span of time, something else isn’t drawn within its orbit.  After all, it’s inexorable, this rough beast slouching through Washington to be born.

Welcome, in the meantime, to our nameless new world.  One thing is guaranteed: it has a byte.

Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The American Way of War: How Bush’s Wars Became Obama’s as well as The End of Victory Culture, runs the Nation Institute’s His latest book, The United States of Fear (Haymarket Books), has just been published.  To listen to Timothy MacBain’s latest Tomcast audio interview in which Engelhardt reflects on the unnatural growth of the U.S. national security state, click here, or download it to your iPod here.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch and join us on Facebook.

© 2012 Tom Engelhardt

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Clash's avatar

By Clash, April 5, 2012 at 6:23 pm Link to this comment

One eye watching you, one eye watching what you do, can you here the crocodile’s ticking around the world?

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By wilbur_wright, April 5, 2012 at 9:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The real threat is not the government, but corporations
like Google that gather as much information and content
as they can and then sell it for profit. Google makes
money from the content that other people create. Google
makes money from the information of people who use its
sites. Google needs to go bye bye.

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Lee Oates's avatar

By Lee Oates, April 5, 2012 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

Simple and repeatable.  The US is quickly turning into a Fascist state.  The America I knew as a youngster is gone, freedom is a myrh. The US has fallen to the rich corporations and the Police state is emerging.  The middleclass is disapearing. Our government is run by corporate stooges, but well bribed. (Including the Supreme Court).  The country is going broke and becoming the chief Terrorist center of the entire world in a bid to grab the resources needed to sustain our civilisation in the future.  I think that real massive war is inevitable.  The naked ape is facing its own extinction in the very near future.  Have a nice day.

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By prosefights, April 5, 2012 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

NSA got me fired from Sandia labs.

Google ‘nsa payne sandia’ for details.

Recent developments found by googling ‘ryan crocker j orlin grabbe’

This matter, involving Iran, has going on twenty years. 

We’re working on recovery of our $22,036 which was stolen from our retirement-protected saving accounts at Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union.

Internet visibility may make recovey possible?

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By kalpanaceo, April 5, 2012 at 1:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Informatics Outsourcing is an Offshore Data Management service company. Data Management Service includes all types of Data Conversion, File Conversion, XML Conversion, HTML Conversion,SGML Conversion, Document Conversion,Data Entry, Data Extraction and Validation,OCR and ICR Services with affordable price. Our team to give the solution quickly and given requirements.

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By gerard, April 4, 2012 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

If, by this time, you don’t see the connections between officials trying to put whistle blowers behind bars for life, and the relevance of hacking to public information, and the ability to crack codes in order to release information kept secret which the public needs to know in order to stay alive, you are missing the boat to tomorrow.

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Clash's avatar

By Clash, April 4, 2012 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

Was Gates in on selling control of U.S. federal elections to an off shore corporation? What am I thinking their are no elections for emperor’s.

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By gerard, April 4, 2012 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

Puts a new meaning on “gross” national product!

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