POV

The Age of the Peeping Prism

And the world we live in, looks more and more like some kind of crazy Inter-zone

Story by Phil Sick - frankymachine@hotmail.com Photos by Max Power
Photo © Max Power

Photo © Max Power

Edward Snowden, the “deep throat” that is embarrassing the whole CIA-NSA apparatus, is a man on the run. Of all places, he appears to be in Hong Kong. Word is he’s practically bunkered up inside a hotel, living on room service since he left the NSA on medical leave (epilepsy), where he was making good money and touring the world. Snowden was earning a couple hundred grand a year, but couldn’t live with what he was doing to democracy. Wow. For two hundred grand I’d bug just about everybody I know, but that’s me. This geeky guy, whose code name while interacting first with the Washington Post (they set too many conditions so he took his secrets elsewhere) and then with the Guardian, was Verax (Truth). Well, if you look at his personal story he might just be the white knight he claims to be.

What is he going to get out of all this? He already said that “they” are going to make him suffer and, in some ways, I tend to believe it. Another thing I believe is that he is either crazy or a true freedom hero, a man with the balls the size of two footballs, which would make him easily recognizable to his pursuers because he’d walk funny. Maybe when he started working for the CIA he imagined something totally different, a bit naïve I would say, but I can only speculate. Snowden also said that if you just give him a mail address, he can spy on anyone, even the president.

But why huddle up in Hong Kong of all places? That certainly isn’t going to make the US happy, although it seems that he is likely to ask for asylum in Iceland. Maybe for the time being he feels more protected in the womb of what could become America’s number one enemy. Who’d protect him in Iceland? A special task force of snowmen? Santa? Kind of frosty, but nice, and his surname his Snowden for Christ sakes…

Glenn Greenwald, the man who unveiled the Data Gate, is seriously afraid he’ll end up like Bradley Manning, the guy who wiki-leaked about the US forces’ wrong doings in Iraq. Meanwhile, Julian Assange would love to grow locks so long he could throw them to Greenwald and Snowden like a rope from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, but they will never reach Brazil, where Greenwald actually seems to be. He’s there with his partner, but apparently won’t leave because the US doesn’t grant citizenship to partners of the same gender. Well, if I were him I’d worry about my own citizenship. Imagine how much they hate him at Langley: not only is he a snitch, he’s also a damned faggot…Whatever, as if J. Edgar Hoover was straight, okay he was (the) FBI, but does it really make a difference?

Photo © Max Power

Photo © Max Power

Come on, in Clint Eastwood’s film, agent Tolson kneels over that fat ugly body covered in moles, weeping desperate tears. If that ain’t love, what is? Tolson actually takes the American flag when the old director dies while Nixon was probably opening bottles of champagne (or bourbon laced with thorazine, whatever the jerk drank). It is so fucking touching, you almost forget Hoover was a deranged fat bastard who blackmailed every president in office until he died, among a lot of even nastier things. His secret files were searched for like the Holy Grail years after his death.

A few days before this Prism Gate erupted, I was looking at a documentary that featured the story of a very important figure in European intelligence during second world war and after. The name of this young detective who joined the Italian police force as soon as the war kicked off, in order not to be sent to fight against the Anglo-Americans, was Federico Umberto D’Amato. The guy was smart and as soon as a big chunk of Italy dumped the Germans to cowardly join the Allies, he became James Angleton’s man in Italy. Angleton was the chief of the OSS (that became the CIA in 1947) and D’Amato’s first mentor. The Italian cop was to make it big in the country of conspiracies. Always a great friend of the Americans, a proven anticommunist and an almost pathological gourmet (the guy pressured people to allow him have his own foodie television program and probably wanted to prove he was way ahead of Julia Child, as he never got his hands dirty spying and sabotaging democracy and certainly would never fist-fuck a dead turkey on prime time). This man, under Angleton’s wing and thanks to his own knowledge of Machiavelli’s writings, soon realized that information and collective data were the most important keys to power. This plump Italian born in Marseille, obtained a bronze star from the CIA, the Legion of Honor from the French and several Italian medals that would put us all to sleep by the time I’d finish listing them. Nonetheless, as my insomnia focused on this likable old chap, I realized he was the Italian version of J. Edgar Hoover and like his Yankee cousin, he also had his personal archive that somehow went missing. Bet they’re still looking for that one too… One of the greatest lessons D’Amato ever learned was taught to him by a Neapolitan chief detective when he was still a junior officer: knowledge is like gold, even if you don’t know something, pretend you do. Knowledge instills fear in your enemy, and sometimes even in your friends.

A couple of days later, I watched this documentary about how the big Data Gate burst like purulent zit right out of the president’s face. What happened Barack? I don’t think it is going to be wiped off that easy just yet. Nasty, I’m telling you. Really, Michelle’s war on junk food failed within its own white walls… looks like that zit is going to leave a scar no matter how progressive you were, or pretended to be. Perhaps killing Bin Laden freed your dark side and turned you into a reckless, global peeping Tom? Nope, this whole silicon valley scam was put together under George W. Bush’s administration, while George was probably coloring in a child’s book or trying hard to finish a puzzle he started when his father was first put into office. Anyhow, I pretty much think we all knew we were being spied on. I mean… What’s new?

Photo © Max Power

Photo © Max Power

Didn’t we hear of the same exact program that would detect key words and names and alert someone in some dark office at the Pentagon? Wasn’t this years ago? Alright, but now they’ve been caught with their hands in the cookie jar… Anyway, who is dumb enough to write about a terrorist attack via mail, or talk about a drug deal over the phone? If they get busted this way, they well fucking deserve it. I have a friend who got slapped around for asking his dealer for a nickel bag overtly on the phone. Like duh… Facebook knows our favorite color, where we go on vacation, the music we listen to, the stuff we buy, the porn we watch, who we cheat on and with whom and how bad our shit smells (it’s a new app).

Another thing that really knocks me off my chair (the CIA probably knows where I bought it. I don’t know, Ikea maybe?) is when Obama says that US citizens shouldn’t worry since they’re actually more interested in spying on people abroad. Okay, like that is cool. If you’re not American, I’m entitled to spy on you even if you’re an average Joe in your country… Which would be an average Abdul or something like that… They also say that it is practically impossible to monitor every single conversation, mail and so forth word by word, and frankly I tend to believe it. They will do it eventually, but it is going to take some time and a lot of money. Now they only get a stiffy when we dial certain area codes, say certain key words and/or log on to certain web sites, it’s been going on for a while now.

Information is what corporations and intelligence services drool over. The goal is to get to a minority report kind of state and if we’re not happy with it, they’ll give us reasons to ask for it ourselves. They will spread fear. Fear is what moves them in the first place and what makes us say, “You know what, fuck my rights, I don’t want to be decapitated by some guy with a machete who spent too much time in a mosque without taking his meds…” Now remember those movies about English heirs trying to outdo each other, lots of medieval ones were the good guys are doing fine until some spy, usually a hunchback lurking in the darkness, finds out some secret that will fuck them over… It can also be a maiden with nice tits eavesdropping and in ten minutes armies are being called into action, people are being decapitated and thrown into dungeons. Same thing happens with Italian cardinals poisoning each other, but mostly blackmailing others to be elected Pope. Borgia Hurray.

Photo © Max Power

Photo © Max Power

Intelligence is what still makes Israel the toughest country of the Middle East. Like, you don’t mess with the Mossad that sometimes becomes “the Wrath of God”… Now, this isn’t the age of the Aquarius no more, we already know that, should be Pisces. Yet, thanks to the Bills, the Martins and Steves of the silicon corporate world… We have entered the age of the peeping Tom. It’s not just Internet, phones and credit cards; everything is available to Big Brother in the name of the War on Terror. Obama raises his long hands high up and says “The congress knew everything…”. Implying it is kind of your fault (or merit, depending on points of view) since you’ve elected him and those other lads.

Personally, I had the feeling this kind of crap was going on for quite a bit, when Echelon or some other gimmick came out. Obviously, the more we go on the better they get, so whenever I sign a mail as Martin Bormann, or Osama Bin Laden, or Fidel Castro, or J. Edgar Hoover just for kicks, I now truly hope I trigger some kind of mechanism that costs money to these suckers. Is he a nut-job or is he a menace to the Western World? It is for you to figure out. All right, wiseass, read my sick mails. You’ll probably scowl and say “This guy is a fucking pervert, Tom. I wish we could arrest him.” “It’s the patriot act, we can’t send people to arrest a guy ‘cause he’s an asshole. And, by the way, he kind of cracks me up…” Well, thank you, Tom. I mean Mr. Peeping, sir… I’m sure there are reasonable people, like your good self, who just lay back and get kicks out of our private lives like that film on the Stasi guy, “The lives of Others”. That was the DDR in the German socialist republic.

And, in the meanwhile, people get blown up at marathons and other sick shit happens all over the world. There’s hunger in the third world and in slums not far from where we live, a lot of bad stuff going on. But black people and women have been almost liberated, Mandela got out of jail in South Africa and gay people are creating powerful lobbies. It’s all good, but let’s keep our eyes open. Bob Shapiro says they had an act that limited privacy and federal power even under President Adams, it was aimed at “Foreigners and seditions” and it was meant to protect the newborn revolution against the Brits. It was President Jefferson who cancelled this act. Then there was McCarthyism, and the Pentagon papers, and now this, Orwell’s Big Brother 2.0… William S. Burroughs was right, “It is all about control”… And the world we live in, looks more and more like some kind of crazy Inter-zone. Bugs everywhere and they’re the kind you don’t spot that easily. Ask your local exterminator…

Photo © Max Power

Photo © Max Power

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