Activists, concerned citizens, and democrats (written purposely with a lower "d"), watch out. As George Orwell stated in his ominous book 1984, "Big Brother is watching you." One need to look no further than the creepy and covert Orwellian events that were recently unearthed in Pennsylvania as Exhibit A for a reflection of the current horrifying environment that exists for those who choose to speak out against governmental and corporate injustices and in this instance, against fracking in the Marcellus Shale.
McCoy: The War Comes Home
In his book titled Policing America's Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State, University of Wisconsin-Madison Historian Alfred McCoy writes about how the counterinsurgency surveillance techniques developed during the occupation of the Philippines from 1898 to 1913 eventually came home during World War One. In essence, the Philippines served as the U.S. laboratory for developing these techniques, and as technology continued to improve, these techniques would eventually become part of the massive United States security state apparatus that has ascended in the post-9/11 era.
In an annotated version of his book, published as an article for The Nation titled "Welcome Home, War!", McCoy writes, "Cutting-edge, high-tech security and counter-terror techniques ... are now slowly migrating homeward. As the 'War on Terror' enters its ninth year ... the time has come to ask an uncomfortable question: What impact have the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq -- and the atmosphere they created domestically -- had on the quality of our democracy?...[T]he crusade for 'democracy abroad,' largely unsuccessful in its own right, has proven remarkably effective in building a technological template that could be just a few tweaks away from creating a domestic surveillance state -- with omnipresent cameras, deep data-mining, nano-second biometric identification, and drone aircraft patrolling 'the homeland.'"
With that in mind, it come as no surprise that these same techniques are now being used against anti-drilling activists in Pennsylvania -- a trend that could become more and more prevalent in the New McCarthyist, post-9/11 climate that exists in the United States.
Pennsylvania Tracks Anti-Fracking Protestors
In a Sept. 14 blog, Rachel Maddow wrote, "If you went to see Gasland in Pennsylvania, your name might now be on a watchlist compiled by the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security (OHS). The agency has reportedly been tracking people who are protesting drilling for natural gas -- or fracking -- in the giant Marcellus Shale formation." The Centre Daily Times discovered this via leaked OHS documents from Aug. 30, 2010 that are on display on ProPublica's website.
The lead sentence of the Centre Daily Times says it all: "Big Driller may be watching you." According to a September 18 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, "A total of 137 of the briefing bulletins were released Friday by Gov. Ed Rendell's office." Lest we forget, Rendell is no enemy of the oil industry, thus, his apologies for this occurring must be taken with a large grain of salt.
And just when you thought the tale couldn't get any creepier...
Israeli Intelligence Firm Behind It All
Journalist Ali Abunimah, in a great but little-noticed piece of investigative journalism, revealed that an Israeli intelligence firm served as "Big Brother" for this operation to the tune of a $125,000 dollar contract awarded by the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security. The firm goes by the name of the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR) and describes itself on its website as "the preeminent Israeli/American security firm providing training, intelligence and education to clients across the globe."
Bluntly, Abunimah says it best, "ITRR is gathering information on Americans and sending the data to Israel -- almost certainly to Israeli intelligence. It would not be surprising if this firm were simply a front for Israeli intelligence and in effect being paid by US taxpayers to spy on them."
Activists, Be Aware
This incident screams, "Caution activists, Big Brother government is watching you!"