While mass surveillance and the permanent abolishment of people’s rights in the United States come as no surprise after the terrorist attacks on 9/11 2001, it may be surprising to some that the politics of fear is now latest fashion all over the world. Even in countries that are utterly insignificant in international politics, and so “neutral” that terrorists would never even think of such places as possible targets, politicians play the same game to gain full and immediate support for increasing their powers.
Even in Sweden, a country known to be so faithfully “neutral” that it does not engage in conflict and rather take the side of totalitarians to avoid getting dragged into diplomatic hardship, politicians are using the “threat” of terrorism to instate mass surveillance of the state’s serfs people. In an article published today I tell the story of the political game played by both sides of the “aisle” to have a law enacted, which gives a military-run agency the right – no the responsibility – to go through all people’s communications.
In the case of Sweden it is obvious that the media has no role. If this political game had been played 20 or 30 years ago no one in Sweden would have heard anything about it until years after the law was passed. The media is not interested in such reporting that can truly hurt government, since the media’s sole source of “information” is government itself. You cannot bite the hand that feeds you for long without starving.
The discussion in Sweden, and the reason people are upset about the new surveillance scheme, is solely a result of private bloggers digging up facts, interviewing people, and analyzing public statements as well as behind the scenes talk and events. The “blogosphere” has made the mass surveillance of Swedish citizens by “its own” government news, and now the media – reluctantly – is following its lead. To the politicians’ chagrin.
Whereas the Swedish government is undoubtedly trying to take the lead in surveillance and “security” issues in Europe, currently a political realm dominated by the United Kingdom, it is but a few steps ahead of the pan-European body of political rule: the European Union. While the Swedish government has now enacted a law that makes the privacy of anyone in Sweden the property of its military defense, the European Union will soon call for national legislation to further strengthen the State’s and Super-national organization’s hold on people’s lives. Surveillance is the first step, now comes international cooperation and a European “situation center” with access to all national data and with the implicit power to do whatever it feels like all over Europe and beyond.
The European Union is indeed a politicians’ project to make Europe even uglier than the United States, and they are not far from succeeding.
As has been pointed out by bloggers, the law recently passed in parliament is only the first step towards a fully Orwellian society. It is not the case that we “might” be heading that way and it is also not the case that a State with total control of its people will emerge from this: it has already emerged. What we are currently seeing is but the friendly face of government that is necessary to gain people’s acceptance before it unleashes all of its powers. Just like in the United States, where the federal government has effectively stripped people of all notion of having rights, they do not use it yet in order to make people feel that “it wasn’t so bad” and that the whistleblowers were wrong “again.” It will soon be time for government to use the powers it has formally given itself.
There is no doubt which side won the Cold War in terms of values: the Soviet Union may have disappeared, but the States of the so-called “free” West have adopted almost all of its policies. The “land of the free” has even publicly announced that they have their own Gulag on a military base in Cuba, and with the full-scale surveillance and secret police forces all over North America and Europe it will soon be impossible to claim that the freedoms and rights formulated during the Enlightenment have survived the 20th century. They have not, and people are bound to find out sooner or later.
For more information, see my articles On The War on Terrorism Brings Mass Surveillance – In Sweden and The Endarkening.