In a 2014 interview with Saviour Balzan, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat proved that his whole strategic picture and policy is based on whether his appointed goons believe in the direction he wants to steer this country towards. This reminds me of an interview Apple CEO Gilbert Frank Amelio had with Gina Smith: “Apple is like a ship with a hole in the bottom, leaking water and my job is to get the ship pointed in the right direction”.
This sounds terrible enough, but the reality is much worse. Our ship is sinking and the captain has decided to direct the ship towards the eye of the cyclone because in that region there is very little wind and rain. Joseph Muscat is fooling himself just as managers of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) fooled themselves into believing the space shuttle Challenger was safe and that the probability of a catastrophe was low.
Richard Phillips Feynman, the member of the Rogers Presidential Commission that investigated the 1986 disaster, discussed in his report that the top brass at NASA had greatly exaggerated the reliability of the solid-fuel booster rockets to the point of fantasy. NASA managers were making up numbers, rather than relying upon the experience and judgment of its most competent engineers.
As Daphne Caruana Galizia said in her piece entitled “Joseph Muscat is NOT an economist“, the Prime Minister is just that, a person whose higher training is in management. So you may ask, what is Muscat’s fantastic faith about? His faith is that once he penetrates the innermost sanctums of the capitalist system, Malta will reach the utopia that sets an example for the world to imitate.
The reality is very different. He disregards the surrounding eyewall, the ring of towering thunderstorms where the most severe weather and highest winds occur. And we are in no position to withstand that wall and we will be crushed. Definitely.
Firstm because the State wants to track us, using mass surveillance on the general population by registering all SIM cards for example. The government’s justification for surveillance is to help track criminals after the car bomb in Fgura failed to detonate in January. This same mantra was repeated soon after the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
“These are designed to monitor calls from very bad people to very bad people,” US President George W. Bush had said.
His successor Barack Obama had also weighed in on the issue. ”We don’t have a domestic spying programme. What we do have is some mechanisms that can track a phone number or an email address that is connected to a terrorist attack”. Whistleblower Edward Snowden showed us the truth.
It is an old tactic that stealthily stifles dissent by civil rights movements, by allowing the US President to sign into law the surveillance of everything from streets, to phone calls, texts, e-mails, internet browsing histories, and which books and news articles each person is reading. A tactic used at a time when the 19-year-long Vietnam War was at its peak. In 1969, United States Attorney General John Newton Mitchell said “Any citizen of the United States who is not involved in some illegal activity has nothing to fear whatsoever.”
But following that reassurance, the American people witnessed something totally different, as Mitchell approved unconstitutional wiretaps, prosecuted anti-war protesters and was brought to the attention of the public by Daniel Ellsberg in the study entitled “United States – Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967”, famously called “The Pentagon Papers”.
Mitchell had previously managed Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign, a campaign that pledged to restore law and order. And that as Attorney General, he automatically was also head of the US Department of Justice and chief lawyer of the US government.
It then comes as no surprise that when helicopter door gunner Ronald Ridenhour blew the whistle after his comrades – all under the direction and the watchful eyes of nearly 20 senior American officers, including two generals – systematically slaughtered more than 500 unarmed Vietnamese civilians in the Vietnamese village of Son My, his repeated requests for investigation were ignored or suppressed by superior officers, by President Nixon himself and by several congressmen.
The massacres took place on the evening of 16 March, 1968, and on the eve of the massacre, Captain Ernest Medina of Charlie Company specified that the enemy was “anybody that was running from us, hiding from us, or appeared to be the enemy.”
What is happening in Malta are not aberrations. They reflect what Cedric Farrugia warned about in ‘The system we created‘, an article that pissed off OPM staff Labour MP Glenn Bedingfield and Josef Caruana when Archbishop Charles Scicluna retweeted it.
I will call this The War on Sharing. It reminds me of the defiant courage of the town priest in the 2004 Salvadorian war film “Voces Inocentes”, when 11 year old Chava is listening to that banned song on Radio Venceremos. And subsequently, his sermon urging people to resist war and inhumanity by taking action against the oppressive, corrupt, and militaristic ruling of the Salvadoran government by stating that “it is not enough to pray”:
As sociologist and political activist Michael Briguglio correctly figured out, the problem is that many are failing to notice that anything is wrong. Muscat has become Nixonian to the core, one who never lets a tragedy go to waste.
American cryptographer and computer security professional Bruce Schneier has compared the current model of computing as feudal, one that consolidates power in the hands of the few. In essence, he categorised technological power into two realms – big companies and governments.
“On the corporate side, power is consolidating, a result of two current trends in computing. First, the rise of cloud computing means that we no longer have control of our data. Our e-mail, photos, calendars, address books, messages, and documents are on servers belonging to Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and so on.
“And second, we are increasingly accessing our data using devices that we have much less control over: iPhones, iPads, Android phones, Kindles, ChromeBooks, and so on. Unlike traditional operating systems, those devices are controlled much more tightly by the vendors, who limit what software can run, what they can do, how they’re updated, and so on.”
Schneier added that government power is also increasing on the Internet. “There is more government surveillance than ever before. There is more government censorship than ever before. There is more government propaganda, and an increasing number of governments are controlling what their users can and cannot do on the Internet. Totalitarian governments are embracing a growing ‘cyber sovereignty’ movement to further consolidate their power.”
In many cases, the interests of corporate and government powers are aligning to the so-called public-private surveillance partnership (PPSP). As other countries magnify their power by convincing the public to turn a blind eye as they actively examine technologies that hide the real and show the false, Muscat and his goons have jumped into the action after going to the bakery to see the cakes.
And as seen in the feudal societies of the past, peasants get trampled when powers fight. What we are witnessing with today’s Labour party is political coordination in a world where doing the wrong thing is the basis of future economic growth for themselves and their privileged lackeys in politics, law and business.
Coordination examples include citizenship privileges for the rich, promoting the cannabis businesses, rope in powerful forces to manage Malta’s health, university, communications, energy and transport services; leveraging power through technical expertise from blockchain companies; degradation of the environment; and the repressive security of a police state, characterised by technological surveillance which will be mostly visible through face recognition cameras in streets and government buildings.
The technological attack on our own privacy and freedom shall lead us to a life of servitude, where institutional power rules with the heavy fist. This returns us to US military whistleblower Ronald Ridenhour: “… [S]ome people – most, it seems – will, under some circumstances, do anything someone in authority tells them to… Government institutions, like most humans, have a reflexive reaction to the exposure of internal corruption and wrongdoing: No matter how transparent the effort, their first response is to lie, conceal and cover up. Also like human beings, once an institution has embraced a particular lie in support of a particular coverup, it will forever proclaim its innocence.”
We have already witnessed Ridenhour’s assessment together with the playfulness and shamelessness displayed by the perpetrators, in front of the local population, the European front, and the international theatre. What emerges is consistency. George Orwell – as usual – was right. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
If we are to survive the Panopticon Spectre we must take the advice of American Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who in 1849 wrote: “Those who profess to favor freedom, yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”