09 Feb “No place to hide” but does anyone care?
In 2014, Glenn Greenwald published No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State. The book became a NYT Bestseller but now, almost a decade later, does anyone care?
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Transcription by Otter.ai. Please forgive any typos!
Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at CauseyConsultingLLC.com. And now, here’s your host, Sara Causey.
Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. Today I want to talk about Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide subtitled Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State. The book came out in 2014. And it became a New York Times bestseller. Obviously, if you were alive and well, at that point in time, all of that news about Snowden was ubiquitous, you could not get away from it. It was big news. It was everywhere. And I think initially, people were surprised people were taken aback by the amount of mass surveillance that all of these governments and corporations for that matter are capable of. I want to ponder this question of, does anyone still care? Now that we’re almost a decade past the publication of this book? Does anyone still care? And I’m gonna go beyond putting on a tinfoil hat. I think I’m gonna put on a full on tinfoil suit at this point. But I’m just sitting here wondering like, Okay, so we’re being told that there was all of this surveillance. If you were looking in the mirror plucking out your nose hairs, it could be surveilled at any given time. How is it possible for these files to be taken? And nobody to know? I don’t know the answer to that question. I’m one I’m just wondering out loud. I don’t know. I’m also in my tinfoil suit, wondering out loud, like, what’s the point of these leaks, to get everybody comfortable to make them accept reality of yeah, you’re being watched. You’re being monitored, everything is being weighed and measured and tracked. In order for you to access the technology, we’ve given you the way that you want to, in order for you to reap the benefits of it and do what you want to with it. The price that you pay is mass surveillance. Was that the point of these leaks? I don’t know. I have no idea. I am truly just conjecturing out loud for your entertainment only because I have no idea. Maybe I’m just cuckoo bird at this point. Maybe I’ve watched too many action adventure spy movies, I’ve read too many Ian Fleming novels. Maybe I’m just off the deep end at this point. But reading this book, with nine years of hindsight, I’m going Yeah, but I mean, I think everybody just sort of accepts all this now. I get that it made a splash at that point in time. It was big news. It was horrifying. But you have entire generations of of people. Now when you think about the young millennials and the Gen Z kids in particular. They don’t know any other way. They don’t remember what it was like to go out and do whatever you wanted. And then there was no evidence of it the next day, unless somebody was there to say, oh my god, remember when you peed your pants at the party? What a nerd. It was like, unless you were there, it didn’t really happen. Nobody knew. I was thinking about this to the other day, because I was having a conversation with a friend. He was like You remember back in the 80s, where you just always had to keep change with you to use the payphone. So if you got to the roller rink or the bowling alley, like wherever you’re gonna go to have fun with your friends. You were expected to get on the payphone and call home like that was your your parents wanted to know that you got there? Fine. How long were you going to be there and call before you leave? And all that, like you just got in the habit of keeping change with you to use the payphone. And kids now have no I mean, there’s just they can’t relate to that everybody has cell phones, toddler, babies have cell phones now, the idea of keeping change with you. So you could use a payphone and your parents not knowing exactly where you were. They had to rely on whatever you told them. So if you told them that you were at the bowling alley, and you were really over at your friend’s house gossiping or whatever, they didn’t know any different. I mean, that’s how it used to be. But now young people are so accustomed to surveillance anyway, that I’m just I’m I’m reading. I’ve been reading this book, and I’m horrified by it, of course, and I’m even more horrified. I think that no one cares. I think people have gotten so accustomed to the idea of surveillance and big brother is watching and all that that nobody, nobody cares anymore. They just accept it. As part of the price of having the internet and having a cell phone and smartphones and smart TVs and everything connected to the Internet all the time. It’s just a given. And to me it begs Question. Well, what’s next? There was a creepy and dystopian video in my opinion, that was dropped at the Davos meeting this year, I will drop a link to it, watch it for yourself. Don’t take anything that I say for granted. Watch this for yourself and come to your own conclusions about it. I will drop a link to the full video that was released so that you can see it for yourself and it’s on their actual website. It’s not somebody made it up and they’re claiming that it came from the web like No, it’s It’s on their website pretty loud and proud. Around 40 seconds. This creepy weird cartoon starts up about what I would say for me personally is like a flashback to Minority Report. Like the idea of pre crime of thought crime. They talk about being able to read your brainwaves being able to measure when two brains sync up, and people are like plotting something. So if you’re not productive enough at work, your boss will be notified by your brainwaves. If you and a colleague are planning to leave the company and go out on your own and form a startup your boss is going to know. I mean, are we gonna get 10 years down the road from this? And everybody’s like, Well, yeah, I’ve got a chip in my brain and my boss knows everything I’m doing, but who cares? I mean, how far is this crap gonna go? That to me? I mean, even sitting here with this book, and thinking about how creepy this is, and it was time to that’s even creepier, a freaking brain chip and reading your brainwaves. And then this lady comes on after the cartoon plays. And she’s like, Oh, if that sounds like something from the future, guess what the technology is already here. That’s even worse, nightmare fuel. It’s bad enough. And it’s creepy enough to think about somebody listening to your phone call. So think about somebody’s listening to me right now. In my little recording area here on the computer with my microphone next to the laptop knowing that somebody in real time is listening. So every time I hit the pause button to call for clear my throat or to take a sip of water. They know they’re hearing this before you ever hear it. That’s creepy enough. But then you add to it the dimension of put a chip in your brain and allow your boss to read your brainwaves so that they know if you daydream about your co worker. That’s one of the scenarios they put in the cartoon, this lady is looking at her male colleague and imagining him shirtless. If you dream about your co worker, you’re thinking about leaving, you’re having to take this job and shove it type of day. You’re gonna get busted. Cut. That’s terrible. I mean, I. And I think maybe for those of us who remember the before time, it’s it’s even worse. Because you remember what it was like to be free. You remember what it was like to be like, Hey, man, I’m just I’m out doing whatever I want to do. It’s the 80s. It’s 90s, I can go where I want to go. And I’ve got some freedom. And I don’t have to worry about my parents or grandparents watching everything that I’m doing. That’s a time when you get to really figure out who you are. You also get to figure out what your values are. what do what do I think is right or wrong, not necessarily what was imposed on me by authority figures and their religious beliefs and their political ideologies. But what do I think without that freedom of mobility and that freedom of expression, you really do become repressed. And in fact, I will find the page here in a minute. But Glenn Greenwald talks about that, that self expression and that freedom of experimentation that takes place when you have a sense of privacy, and the willingness to just toe the line, I’ll conform, I won’t be an individual, I’ll do what I’m supposed to do because I’m being watched.
Probably low, Lord, how much worse is it going to be if they’re reading your brainwaves, then you can’t even have a thought. Can’t even entertain a thought. Creepy. So I want to read for a second from page 42 of the paperback copy, have no place to hide. Because of the access technical experts have to computer systems. I saw a lot of secret things Snowden told me referring, of course, to Glenn Greenwald. And many of them were quite bad. I began to understand what my government really does in the world is very different from what I’ve always been taught. That recognition in turn leads you to start reevaluating how you look at things to question things more. One example he recounted was an attempt by CIA case officers to recruit a Swiss banker to provide confidential information they wanted to know about the financial transactions of people of interest to the United States. Snowden recounted how one of the undercover officers befriended the banker got him drunk one night and encouraged him to drive home. When the banker was stopped by the police and arrested for DUI. The CIA agent offered to help him personally in a variety of ways, provided that the banker cooperated With the agency, the recruitment effort ultimately failed. They destroyed the targets life for something that didn’t even work out and simply walked away. He said, beyond the scheme itself, Snowden was disturbed by how the agent bragged about the methods used to reel in his catch. An added element of frustration came from Snowden’s efforts to make his superiors aware of problems in computer security or systems. He thought skirted ethical lines, those efforts, he said, were almost always rebuffed. They would say this isn’t your job, or you’d be told you don’t have enough information to make those kinds of judgments. You’d basically be instructed not to worry about it. He said. He developed a reputation among colleagues as someone who raised too many concerns a trait that did not endear him to superiors. This was when I really started seeing how easy it is to divorce power from accountability and how the higher levels of power the less oversight and accountability there was in quote. Yeah, a couple of things here. I think we’re seeing the same sort of narrative right now about the job market and the overall economy. Hush, little baby. Don’t you worry about it, the fact that there’s contradicting information, you’re seeing all of these layoffs and hiring freezes. The hiring process right now feels slow as molasses. Nobody’s making a quick decision about any freaking thing. Don’t you worry about any of that. Don’t worry about that. You’re supposed to think that we have a 3.4% unemployment rate. The labor market is still red hot, it’s still churning and burning. So ignore anything that doesn’t comport with what we’re telling you that you ought to think. Don’t ask too many questions. It’s not your job, you don’t have enough information to make those kinds of judgments. I definitely see that pattern playing out all over again. Another thing that I personally find creepy, and we’re gonna we’re gonna go beyond the tinfoil suit here in a minute. I guess we’re just gonna go into a tinfoil cave. As he says they destroyed the targets life. It’s interesting to me that nomenclature, this idea of a target for one thing is dehumanizing, right? We’re not talking about a person we’re talking about a target. That is a term that gets used sometimes in NLP type programming. In culty type sales techniques. It also gets used sometimes in magical practices. Now, if you’re like, Oh, she’s really going off the deep end, you can check this out for yourself ff you don’t believe me. There was a book written by Michael Aquino called MindWar. I’m not making this up. I’ll drop a link to it. You can find it on Amazon. This information is findable. In case you don’t remember Michael Aquino, if you weren’t around in the 80s you may not I remember him making the rounds on like, Donahue and Geraldo and Sally Jesse, when all that Satanic Panic was going on. But I will read to you now from mind or the little bio that he puts at the back of the book himself. This is how he describes himself. I am not making this up. You can check this book out, you can read all of this for yourself. He writes, after commencing his military career as Cadet colonel of the Santa Barbara High School, Junior ROTC in 1964 Michael Aquino was commissioned in the regular army as a senior ROTC distinguished military graduate of the University of California in 1968. After a year with a 107 teeth cavalry 82nd Airborne Division he completed the PSYOP officer course at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare school in which he was among select students cross trained with the concurrent Special Forces officer course during 1969 to 1970. He was assigned to the sixth PSYOP battalion, fourth group Vietnam. As an as a command and control team leader. He was responsible, responsible for both tactical teams in combat operations and audio visual teams in the civil operations and revolutionary development support program. He flew numerous SIOP air support missions throughout third corps tactical zone with both the US Air Force and Army aviation in 1972. He joined the 306 SIOP battalion, US AR at Fort MacArthur, California and for the next seven years served as research and analysis team leader, Operations Officer and finally executive officer in the 306, whose members ranged from eccentric Hollywood personalities to dour LAPD officers he oversaw highly classified basic PSYOP studies for the Joint Chiefs of Staff psyops support for the training of units such as the 12 Special Forces and use of the 306 atmospheric World War Two era bunkers for space combat scenes in the original Battlestar Galactica television series. Now I’m going to go ahead a little bit in time where he also drops the info about being a priest of the ancient Egyptian god Set. So why am I telling you about all of this? How is this relevant? Well, in case you didn’t hear the word PSYOP repeated over and over again. Let’s get into some of this material in the book. In the blurb we find on Amazon we can read in 1980, an obscure internal US Army concept paper, from PSYOP to MindWar accidentally became public. Though only a brief theoretical speculation it exploded into the focus of alarmist rumors and debates for the next three decades, is the government involved in invasion of the mind beyond the blundering haphazard legacy of the infamous MK Ultra experiments? even more unsettling do such efforts extend beyond conventional scientific research to dark and arcane arts? whose very existence is the stuff of legend? The answers are here in this book by one of that 1980 papers co authors Lieutenant Colonel Michael Aquino, originally intended for the eyes of government policymakers alone it is now openly available. Ironically, mind war is unclassified only because a high only because a level high enough to embrace it has never been anticipated or even conceptualized. What it is capable of setting in motion is simply beyond all previous human interactive experience. For millennia violent warfare has been the scourge of humanity and all attempts to end it through negotiated or imposed peace have brought only temporary respite. On the premise that war is endemic to the human disposition. MindWar proposes to eliminate its killing and destruction by replacing it with a far more powerful kind of war. One which focuses on the human mind both individually and collectively, the persons and property of people are removed as targets, replaced by the divisive situations and problems originating in their consciousness. These are then controlled, adjusted and reformed to produce a harmonious and cooperative total environment. The price for the solution is that for the first time in practical history, the actual machinery of human thought is accessed by the methodical application of science, psychology and esoteric arts of antiquity. Mind wars assumes as did the ancients that the ultimate aspiration of mankind is to the good, but like the Manhattan Project, which rashly opened an earlier genies bottle mind war could be misused with even more ominous consequences devised to save humanity it could also supersede it. Hence this genie must be examined and evaluated while its bottle is still sealed. This book, extrapolation and evolution of the original 1980 concept is not merely theoretical, it proposes laboratory implementation. Through this structural redesign of the US Army’s three special operations, branches, psychological operations, Special Forces and civil affairs. A multi phase sequence of their interaction in a mind war campaign is outlined with the international crisis resolution procedures of the United States modified to facilitate it in a forthcoming second volume. The structures and programs to implement this will be discussed in detail, not merely a military book mind war extends its application to human political and social interaction generally identifying and refining what were previously only vague or unknown mental processes into a new science of thought architecture. It opens the door to a standard of rationality and precision in human affairs in which the experience and exercise of thought are finally fully mature, end quote.
You notice some things that sound familiar from earlier in this episode, target psyops being able to read thought, being able to use human thought and the human brain to supersede the old ways of war. You know, kind of like being able to read your brainwaves at work and know if you’re slacking off or plotting a coup with one of your co workers. You may think all of this sounds pretty silly. Pretty far fetched, but the book is out there. This is information that you can read, and you can make your own judgement about it. Michael Aquino was not shy even even back in the day, right? So he would go he would go on these talk shows during the Satanic Panic. And he’d have the black hair and the crazy eyebrows. He sort of look like a devil worshiper version of Spock, and the black clothing and all of that, and it seemed very clear to me that he was playing a role. Especially when you hear him talk if you watch him in an interview when he’s not in that costume, and he just looks like somebody’s granddad. He still has weird eyebrows, but he just looks like somebody’s granddad was salt and pepper hair and a plaid shirt and khakis and he just looks like anybody’s pawpaw walking down the street. And the things that he talks about, again, sort of outside that costume of oh, I broke up From the Church of Satan and made the temple of Set and I do this Egyptian magic when the costume is not on, and you’re really hearing him talk he’s very articulate and in reading mind where it seems very clear to me that he knows what the hell he’s talking about no pun intended. So maybe that all seems froo froo and crazy balls to you but just keep in mind you know they’re they are also using the word target they’re dehumanizing the person by referring to them as a target. That is done in programming it is done in magical workings. It’s not about this this person has made me mad I want to do something against them. It’s this target has done something to me and has made me mad. It’s a way to dehumanize the person that you’re doing these things to so that it doesn’t really matter if you’re just reading this targets brainwaves. Is that what’s next? I don’t know. I’m sure seems that way. So let’s go to page 173 of the paperback version have no place to hide. All oppressive authorities political religious societal parental rely on this vital truth using it as a principal tool to enforce orthodoxies compel adherence and quash dissent. It is in their interest to convey that nothing their subjects do will escape the knowledge of the authorities far more effectively than a police force. The deprivation of privacy will crush any temptation to deviate from rules and norms. So I’m going to button again and say can you see the reference here to mind war, we’re doing away with brutality. We’re doing away with police force we’re doing away with battles and clashes we’re getting into the mind. If we can convince you to toe the line on your own, then it’s a bloodless coup. Besides, you’re not really a person, you’re just a target anyway, I’ll continue to read. What is lost when the private realm is abolished are many of the attributes typically associated with quality of life, most people have experienced how privacy enables liberation from constraint. And we’ve all conversely had the experience of engaging in private behavior. When we thought we were alone, dancing, confessing, exploring sexual expression, sharing untested ideas, only to feel shame and having been seen by others. Only when we believe that nobody else is watching us do we feel free safe to truly experiment to test boundaries, to explore new ways of thinking and being to explore what it means to be ourselves. What made the internet so appealing was precisely that it afforded the ability to speak and act anonymously, which is so vital to individual exploration. For that reason, it is in the realm of privacy where creativity, dissent and challenges to Orthodoxy germinate in a society in which everyone knows they can be watched by the state where the private realm is effectively eliminated, is one in which those attributes are lost at both the societal and the individual level. Mass surveillance by the state is therefore inherently repressive, even in the unlikely case that it is not abused by vindictive officials to do things like gain private information about political opponents, regardless of how surveillance is used or abused. The limits it imposes on freedom are intrinsic to its existence and quote, he also talks about an experiment that was conducted I think, in Finland, where people volunteered to be surveilled in their own homes like 24 hours a day. And initially they were very uncomfortable by it, a woman said she didn’t feel comfortable like taking her clothes off or changing clothes in her own home. But drumroll please, as you can guess, I’m sure as time went on, they ignored the cameras and they just got used to it. Have we not been conditioned in the same way? Just wondering out loud. I’m gonna hop over to page 175. What makes a surveillance system effective in controlling human behavior is the knowledge that one’s words and actions are susceptible to monitoring. This principle was at the heart of British philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s 18th century Kant conception of the panopticon, a building design he believed, would allow institutions to effectively control human behavior. The building structure was to be used in his words for any sort of establishment in which persons of any description are to be kept under inspection. The panopticon, its primary architectural innovation was a large central tower from which every room or so or classroom or Ward, I would interject and say office, because I’ve told you about the digital panopticon before could be monitored at any time by guards. The inhabitants however, were not able to see into the tower and so could never know whether they were or were not being watched. Since the institution, any institution was not capable of observing all of the people all of the time. Although now technology has made that possible. Let’s be real, Bentham’s solution was to create the apparent omnipresence of the inspector in the minds of the inhabitants. The persons to be inspected should always feel themselves as if under inspection, at least as stay During a great chance of being so they would thus act as if they were always being watched. Even if they weren’t, the result would be compliance, obedience and conformity with expectations. It’s almost like somebody should have been warning you about that. But wait, I did. Bentham envision that his creation would spread far beyond prisons and mental hospitals to all societal institutions, inculcating in the minds of citizens that they might always be monitored would he understood revolutionize human behavior. In the 1970s, Michel Foucault observed that the principle of Bentham’s panopticon was one of the foundational mechanisms of the modern state. In power, he wrote that panopticonism is a type of power that is applied to individuals in the form of continuous individual supervision in the form of control, punishment and compensation, and in the form of correction that is the molding and transformation of individuals in terms of certain norms. In Discipline and Punish. Foucault further explained that ubiquitous surveillance not only empowers authorities and compels compliance, but also induces individuals to internalize their watchers. Those who believe they are watched will instinctively choose to do that which is one of them without even realizing that they are being controlled. The panopticon induces in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility, that assures the automatic functioning of power with the control internalize the overt evidence of repression disappears because it is no longer necessary. The external power may throw off its physical weight, it tends to be non corporal and the more it approaches this limit, the more constant profound and permanent are its effects. It is a profound victory that avoids any physical confrontation. Okay, so we’re going back to mind where it avoids any physical confrontation, and which is always decided in advance. Additionally, this model of control has the great advantage of simultaneously creating the illusion of freedom. The compulsion to obedience exists in the individual’s mind. individuals choose on their own to comply out of fear that they are being watched. This eliminates the need for all the visible hallmarks of compulsion and thus enables control over people who falsely believe themselves to be free and quote. Wow. Why are we not talking about this? Why are we not worrying about this? I don’t understand it. I don’t highly recommend no place to hide. I also recommend I mean, if you want to go down the rabbit hole, further read mind war. I mean, he gets into the color on the walls, the shapes that the person encounters the language that you use, the costuming I mean, it’s just flew and when we think back, you know, that’s been 40 some odd years ago. But we know I mean, even from his own biography, he was involved in psyops long before 1980. So we have to think back to how how long the government has had this knowledge has known that, eventually wars would not really be on a battlefield, there wouldn’t be as much blood and guts. It would be a mind war. That’s trippy too. So I come back to my original question, no place to hide, but does anyone care? Unfortunately, I don’t really think so. I think the next wave Yet to Come will be this brain wave thing, no pun intended. The next wave will be the brainwaves and the mind war. I can’t see any way around that and the web is already advertising it to you and that creepy freaking cartoon?
Is anybody gonna care? Probably not. I think a lot of people will just take their brain chips and access the internet in their head and connect to the hive mind and that’ll be that. I would also on that sort of hive mind creepy sci fi note. If you have not read Childhoods End, I would also recommend that I reread it not long ago and gave myself the creeps. Does anyone still care? I don’t know. I’m doubtful. I am. Stay safe, stay sane. And I will see you in the next episode.
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