Friday, May 4, 2012

Man wakes up from decade long coma and figures he's living in an Orwellian dystopia... asks if he can be a Viking instead.

   Taking a look around at how scary the world is getting makes me wonder what it'd be like to wake up after a decade-long coma and take a fresh look at the surveillance society that's been coming down the pipe since the 9/11 attacks baptized the new century in crazy. Let's say it's 1999 again and you dropped some windowpane, watched The Matrix, felt like you just witnessed your autobiography and then jumped off the roof of your apartment to see if you are indeed "the one". Bad idea... seemed logical at the time. Anyway, next thing you know you wake up in a hospital bed and everyone around you looks like they stuck with the blue pill because they're wearing that ‘bad test result’ face as they tell you it's 2012 and you just skipped the whole terror decade.

   All of it.

   Catching up on world history since 1999 would be like reading some dystopian future sci-fi novel by the likes of Orwell or Dick except you're reading The New York Times and it's news and all real. Just a quick scan of early 21st century history would have you longing for the '90s and the happy days of OJ trials and sex scandals in the Oval Office where the corporate spokesman in the suit messes up the intern's dress and not the entire direction of the new century. 

   The century got defined by 9/11 right from the start and the future was always going to suck if you were a fan of privacy and keeping your shit on the down low. For a coma victim nursing a migraine in 2012, the 9/11 attacks sure would look like some stunt ripped out of one of the shittier Bond movies complete with the perpetrator being an evil villain millionaire living in a cave lair. Sure, it'd sound like the dumbest cliché-ridden plot ever if you tried to sell it to Paramount, but the new reality has a habit of running with the absurd.

Bond villain lair or actual news story? This graphic actually appeared in US media in 2001.

   Quite apart from the very bad idea of a land war in Afghanistan and the necessary resource grab in the Mesopotamian desert, the greatest legacy of the 9/11attacks for the United States will be the terrorism-industrial-complex that sprung up horribly like an erection at a nudist funeral. Just nine days after the attacks the largest merger in US government history occurred  when 17 agencies from the Coast Guard to the cops merged into the colossal Ingsoc that is the Department of Homeland Security. 9/11 was seen as a "failure to communicate and connect the dots" on the part of everyone with a badge and a 9mm, so centralization and intelligence sharing in a single giant database was seen as the answer. That, and a few billion dollars to corporations and private contractors to design and run the software

   To keep us safe.

   US intelligence agencies have always relied on technology to invent their way out of a knowledge hole. Since WWII the NSA and CIA have excelled in the areas of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Imaging Intelligence (IMINT), which is your run of the mill but tech heavy wire-tapping, code-breaking and picture-taking of your "secret" new missile launch facility. From the U2 spy plane to the SR-71 Blackbird and on to satellites that can read your golf ball from space, IMINT has never been a problem for the skilled genius of US technology.  The weak spot has always been Human Intelligence (HUMINT). That's a harder pitch for the US to swing at as it involves spies and agents and assets operating behind enemy lines speaking and acting like natives. The Israelis are the kings of this simply by the demographics of the Jewish diaspora. There are native Jews in many countries and if Mossad wants to know where a nuke scientist's mistress lives, fresh HUMINT is an encrypted email away. During the Cold War, the US relied on Israel for HUMINT in exchange for US SIGINT and IMINT. Post 9/11, mass surveillance is seen by the US as the way to make up for their HUMINT deficiencies, a weakness the US sees as leading directly to 9/11. 

   In the new sci-fi dystopia, the police state starts with the cop on patrol who is expected to "feed the system" with suspicious stuff that might flag someone as a terrorist. The problem is, Main Street USA isn't exactly a target-rich environment for towel-headed mullahs waving AKs and yelling "Allah Ackbar" every time the local 7/11 runs out of pita bread . In order to justify the billions being spent, the DHS must continually see 'enemies' everywhere. The enemy morphs into the citizenry itself, be it activist, protester or anyone with a beef against the prevailing narrative. The primary weapon of the average cop is the Suspicious Activity Report (SAR), which includes activities like taking pictures, reading maps, driving while looking out the window a lot; pretty much anything about you the average donut guzzler doesn't like. Cop cars are being equipped now with license plate scanners that not only read every infraction of every passing car but also relay this info along with GPS data to the centralized database; something that makes every unpaid parking ticket a shit brick offense. 

   In the sci-fi dystopia, everyone is a suspect.

   It's no surprise that most of the headline-making F.B.I. busts of terror plots in the US are perpetrated by a bunch of dumb fuck wannabe al-Qaedas who end up sleepwalking into an F.B.I.-produced trap, like stars in some twisted episode of MTV's Punk'd where the G-men supply fake explosives, blasting caps and a party van while co-opting some dip shit Bin Laden fan to drive into the middle of the sting. The mark gets zip ties instead of cameras and there's no explosion except for the thud of the perp's skull against the cell wall of a SuperMax as he trys to figure out why he trusted the 'knowledgeable chemical guy' at Home Depot who turned out to be a bomb tech narc. After you get showcased nabbed, it's a simple matter for the F.B.I. to go on Fox News and tell all their viewers how they are winning the war on a noun. Just recently, we learned the evil doers (still operating under the al-Qaeda franchise) are hiding their 'secret plans' for mayhem inside porn images which is the funniest thing I've heard since that idiot tried to blow up a plane with his boxer shorts.

   What ever happened to the smart terrorists?

   There are currently 72 DHS "fusion centers" planted all around the US collating and indexing every bit of HUMINT about everyone, trying to sniff out who might want to hijack a cruise ship, blow up a bridge or chuck a flaming shit bomb into an Olive Garden. There's been a ten-year building boom going on around Washington D.C. too as drab-looking four-story buildings sprout up like whack a moles. Beneath these nondescript Cold War commie-looking structures are up to ten subterranean floors of who knows what. Nobody knows how much they've cost – including the US government – because everything is a semi state/ corporate hybrid of melded privatization and black hole money pit contracts hidden under a rug of secrecy in the name of national security.  The monitoring of information (SIGINT) between the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (ECHELON) is well known but the US seems to be hitting it out of the park when it comes to total communications monitoring of its population. This of course comes in the form of the recently reported super structure under construction in the Utah desert, the Stellar Wind server farm that will basically be 'downloading' the entire Internet every second and sniffing through yottabytes of our emails and faxes and cellphone GPS data searching for the bad guy with a plane ticket to New York and a pipe bomb up his hole.

   In the sci-fi dystopia, everyone is a suspect. 

   And your privacy is the price of your security because what do you have to hide?

Sometimes paranoia is just a heightened state of

     Sometimes you need to be a decade out of the loop to truly see the extent of what's gone down. History happens gradually and things only gain context when historians hammer events into a coherent narrative usually long after the fact. Meaning emerges further down the road. For instance, a Weimar Republic German in a similar coma in say 1926 who woke up a decade later would wonder why so many of his countrymen were buying into the crazy  bullshit of the angry guy with the mustache. First it was a beer hall putsch followed by goose-stepping militarism and a power-grab later, the Reichstag burned down mysteriously and in no time the German Army were partying on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées thinking "this is awesome but possibly a bad move in the long run if shit doesn't play out well". The nature of history is that it unfolds gradually enough that nobody notices the emergent narrative because they're too busy living in it. By the time the story emerges in context, Army Group South is surrounded by Zhukov at Stalingrad and the Wehrmacht is screwed.

   The one thing about the mass surveillance society we're building that would fry Orwell's brain is the nature of information in the Internet age. Sure most governments these days see 1984 as an operational tech manual but we're not just living in an age when just Big Brother is watching; we ourselves are watching each other with the intense fascination of zoo chimps fapping at the banana delivery man. The camera culture is so prevalent and everyone's face so buried in a cellphone that nobody knows what's going on in his or her immediate vicinity. Except of course when there's a car wreck and then everyone's phone is uploading footage to YouTube or, if it's really awesome and messy, LiveLeak.

   Part of the sci-fi dystopia is the willingness of the population to be watched.

   To be a minor celebrity in the ongoing movie of your own life. 

  I was voyeuring on some old school friends via Facebook the other day and came across this guy I remember from first grade who used to shit his pants in class just because it pissed off the teacher and made everyone laugh. I remember the teacher washing his underwear and me watching it steaming dry on the radiator as he waved his little cock at the teacher when she turned her back. It was pretty funny when you were seven. Yeah, I went to Catholic school. Anyway, according to Facebook that guy's a plumber now (shit makes sense) and just got a divorce from a wife who took the kids and left him for some douche bag. I know all this because he thought it would be cool to post all this on his Facebook wall and not keep his shit on the down low. It's a law enforcement wet dream. No need for gum shoe field agents anymore, just Google the perp and see where he hangs out and who his friends are.

   Orwell's mind would be blown.

Except the cop investigating you or the prospective
employer checking to see if you're an asshole.

   Next up to the party: Police Department unmanned aerial drones circling 24hrs a day over every city. Now that's pure sci-fi. It's also handy if you can control the narrative too. That hasn't been a problem so far. The thing with wars these days is that the corporate oligarchy are getting really fucking good at bullshitting. The technology of bullshit is now so ubiquitous that the mass media totality of Internet, TV, cellphones and 24hr news cycles make it easy to beam a consensus reality into the ether of our brave new world. We are all feeder antennae jacking into a whitewash of total information where everything is up for debate. There's no need to hide anything anymore because anything could be true because you read it on the Internet.

   Case in point: Libya. All the interventionist narrative needed was a bad guy (Gaddafi); some oil, a possible Euro refugee crisis and some media story about Gaddafi firing back at the guys trying to overthrow him. Basically, he  pulled a Kent State with attack choppers; nothing the US wouldn't have done if OWS protesters brought something a little harder-hitting to the party than sleeping bags and a bong and started wrecking some Bentleys. NATO precision bombed Gaddafi's armor and the country got handed over to a rag tag bunch of rebels willing to write favorable oil deals with sleazy Western oil corps. All this went down live on TV without a single sign-waving long hair on a street anywhere. That's when you know you've got serious media penetration and total control of the narrative.

    Holy shit! What a time to be alive, right?

   That old Chinese curse "may you live in interesting times," sure applies today.

  I've often wondered what it'd be like to live in other eras. Personally, I've always fancied a stint as a Viking, you know, sailing around with your mates in a bad ass longship, raping and pillaging in a consequence-free environment but I was born too late for this and missed out on all that awesome Valhalla action. And it looks like I was born too soon to hyperdrive around the galaxy on seed ships discovering strange new worlds and...  and raping and pillaging them in a consequence-free environment. Christ, if we humans ever advance to the level of a space-faring species the galaxy is screwed. It'll never happen though because we upright apes will self destruct before we get that far. The technological adolescence hurdle of "fission before fusion" is like a universal failsafe to keep the riff-raff out of the star gate club. Any civ must prove they can live 100 years with nukes and not red button each other back to the Stone Age before they gain access to free energy and 'warp drive'. Right now, we ain't gonna be passing that test.

   Let's face it, we just might be the scary bad guys in our own dystopian sci-fi novel that leaves us all wondering...

   Who wrote this book?

   Everyone is suspect.


  1. New ward tard. Huzzah!

  2. Excellent as always. I would love to hear your thoughts on leveraging FB, etc, for misinformation. "poisoning the well" so to say.

  3. WTs back with a vengeance! That's the most entertaining thing I've read since March dammit!

    Keep up the good work. I was wondering if you'd been renditioned to a 'stan.

    1. For equal or better truth go read Les Visible at Smoking Mirrors, Reflections in a Petri Dish and Visible Origami.

      First there was Ezra Pound, then Eustace Mullins, now Les Visible.


  4. Anyone know what country Wartard is from? Just curious.

    1. 'Murica? Wack-A-moles do not occur too far away from YankeeLand.

    2. i also want to know! wartard, reveal yourself.

    3. I thought he was Irish?

    4. Irishman living in the US :)

  5. "The nature of history is that it unfolds gradually enough that nobody notices the emergent narrative because they're too busy living in it." This, in the end, is humanities biggest problem, and there's virtually no way to change it. So depressing.

  6. Great article Wartard

  7. Dude, if you are ever in NYC I would love to buy you a beer and have a chin wag. We have much to discuss.......

  8. This is brilliant and was worth the wait.

    Reading this makes me feel like I'm not the only one who sees the world as a science fiction novel.

  9. I am like a zoo chimp fapping at the banana delivery man when a new Wartard article is penned. ;^)

  10. one thing that always has struck me about this age is how the narrative has shifted our agency. Rather than have all this personal information forced out of us directly, we instead respond to the ideals of guys like Zuckerberg and just volunteer it all ourselves.

    We live in a weird weird time.

  11. Says it all

  12. Pass the tissues


    Great news and analysis- a little biased though.

    1. oh and great article as usual Wartard

  14. A very interesting topic that would need hindsight to truly analyse.

    But are we really just as paranoid as the previous generations were with the spread of communism? would US citizens finally say ENOUGH when cavity searches are mandatory for any commute?
    I'd like to think that it would never go that far, but the Islamist bogeyman still has more mileage from where I'm standing.

  15. Fantastic article, well worth the wait!

  16. "Any civ must prove they can live 100 years with nukes and not red button each other back to the Stone Age before they gain access to free energy and 'warp drive'."

    Ehi! we're already two thirds of the way, there's still hope! :)
    i'm counting on my space faring vessel in a couple of decades!


  17. I get so giddy when I see there's a new Wartard article in my Google Reader feed :)

  18. As always a great article! :)

  19. War Tard needs to pen these penetrating and humorous diatribes far more often.

  20. Excellent as always. Highly anticipated this entry and it did not disappoint. Please keep up the good work sir, you are a gentleman and a scholar.

  21. this is a pretty good synopsis of what i've been mulling over recently, especially after that wired piece about stellar wind. the future is fucking scary. i'm by no means the paranoid or conspiracy-friendly type, but it really feels like the unavoidable conclusion is a universal surveillance state. you won't be watched 24/7 by actual people, but everything you do will be recorded for future reference and datamining if 'they' (whoever that ends up being) need it. i wanna bail to latin america or something.

  22. tin foil hats are hot in the summerMay 12, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Shut Up, Be Happy by Jello Biafra

    We interrupt this program with a special bulletin:

    America is now under martial law.
    All constitutional rights have been suspended.
    Stay in your homes.
    Do not attempt to contact loved ones, insurance agents, or attorneys.
    Shut up.
    Do not attempt to think or depression may occur.
    Stay in your homes.
    Curfew is at 7 PM sharp after work.
    Anyone caught outside the gates of their subdivision sector after curfew,
    will be shot.
    Remain calm, do not panic.
    Your neighborhood watch officer will be by to collect urine samples in
    the morning.
    Anyone caught interfering with the collection of urine samples, will be
    Stay in your homes. Remain calm.
    The number one enemy of progress is questions.
    National security is more important than individual will.
    All sports broadcasts will proceed as normal.
    No more than two people may gather anywhere without permission.
    Use only the drugs prescribed by your boss or supervisor.
    Shut up. Be happy.
    Obey all orders without question.
    The comfort you demanded is now mandatory.
    Be happy.
    At last everything is done for you.

  23. Thorfinn HausakliufMay 13, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    WT I'm not much of a writer so I made a militaria photo blog last week. Not trying to spam up your comments forum but there might some pics you haven't seen there check it out:

  24. Chilling to think about...they've already got our asses on a hundred different they're taking the pics to go with them.

    There is no free world, merely the world we're allowed to live in, living the life they legislate as 'acceptable'.

  25. How many microphones near you? In small computers which you want to take anywhere you go, programmable remotely by someone you've never met?


    ever downloaded an app to your cellphone? That's what I'm taking about.

    ' But it's not broadcasting on a secure channel! ' how do you know? Getting your usual battery life lately?

    I count 6 mics in this room right now (2 mobiles, 2 mp3 players with Record, a dictaphone and a modern laptop). Ah-ha, add another 2 for my headsets. :(

    Any more??? Well, a mic is a speaker writ small / a speaker is a mic writ large. Any loudspeaker can be used as a mic.

    :) You take your surveillance with you, look - it's just there! And you get to pay for it, too!


  26. Only War Tard can make me laugh while writing about things that should make me cry.

  27. Hey WT,
    How can these diesel subs keep sneaking up on modern fleets? Shouldn't they be making a fuckton of noise?

    1. They make less noise. Don't need to run constant cooling circuits like the nuclear subs. The Aussies have done rather well with diesels vs Americans in wargames in the past.

  28. Beautiful prose and eminently readable as always. You're my hero brother

  29. so I'm expecting the next topic to be about China's confrontations with its neighbours, or should I try again? ;)

  30. New post please. It's time.

  31. WTF wartard? Did you get a girlfriend or something? Fuck your life, your purpose is to inform/entertain angry neckbeards like me.

    - The Bees knees

  32. "The New York Times and it's news and all real." Lets be serious, considering your article is focusing on such bad times..

  33. cmon bud, let us know some about syria

  34. Looks like Wartard was right about population surveillance a year before it was hip and printed in the Guardian newspaper.

  35. Incredible things you've generally imparted to us. Simply
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