Skip to main content

Big Brother and the Holder Company: The Orwellian Take on Snowden

Amidst the shocking revelations made by whistleblowers and leakers such as John Kiriakou, Chelsea/Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Glenn Greenwald, David Miranda and Edward Snowden about torture, war crimes, diplomatic chicanery, the national security surveillance state and more, there has been another disturbing development: How many in the supposedly “liberal” news media and cognoscenti have rallied and railed against the truth tellers. Despite the fact that their entire professions rest on the foundation of the First Amendment, numerous journalists, pundits and intellectuals have called for the heads of those who have demonstrated, at great risk to themselves, a courage in the face of power which these corporate and government lackeys of empire have never ever displayed.

unsung bradley manning

For instance, consider Fox’s "house liberal" Bob Beckel, who has made a career out of being a foil to conservative commentators, and admitted in 2011 on Fox’s The Five to “pull[ing] punches” vis-à-vis reactionary Sarah Palin. However, in 2010 Beckel the Jackal didn’t pull any punches on the Fox Business News network when he called for special ops forces to assassinate Wikileaker Julian Assange. Begging the question as to how an Australian citizen could be a “traitor” who commits “treason” against the U.S. government, the former Democratic consultant said: “A dead man can’t leak stuff. This guy’s a traitor, he’s treasonous, and he has broken every law of the United States. And I’m not for the death penalty, so...there’s only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch.”

To put these outlandish attacks on and character assassinations of Assange, Manning, Greenwald, Miranda and Snowden by fellow “reporters,” politicians, legal experts and other talking head pro-administration propagandists into the proper perspective, they have been placed in the context of George Orwell’s 1984. In Orwell’s classic novel about a dystopian, futuristic totalitarian state Thought Police surveil citizens by watching them on TV sets and other means to enforce mind control. Protagonist Winston Smith, a low-level Party member who works in the Ministry of Truth’s Records Department rewriting historical documents, becomes a dissident opposing Big Brother in Oceania.

The following fictionalizes and inserts the ranting and raving of media apologists for the Obama regime’s military-media-entertainment-industrial-intelligence-surveillance complex into the framework of Orwell’s 1984. For example consider CNN legal analyst/idiot savant Jeffrey Toobin’s rant against NSA leaker Edward Snowden in The New Yorker magazine’s online Daily Comment blog.

***

On June 10, 1984 Party mouthpiece analyst and doublethinker Charrington Snoopin wrote in The New Speaker:

Winston Smith, a 39-year-old former Outer Party member and current Ministry of Truth contractor, where he altered historical records to fit the needs of the Party, has leaked news of Thought Police programs that collect vast amounts of information about the telephone calls made by millions of Oceanians, as well as e-mails and other files of foreign targets and their Eastasia connections. For this, some, including the enemy of the people, Emmanuel Goldstein, are hailing him as a hero and a whistleblower. He is neither. He is, rather, a grandiose narcissist who deserves to be in the Ministry of Love.
Smith illegally purchased a diary in which to write his criminal thoughts and provided information to the Brotherhood, which also posted a telescreen interview with him. In it, he describes himself as appalled by the government he served:

“The Thought Police have built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your e-mails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your e-mails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.

“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things… I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded, where Big Brother is watching you. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You

What, one wonders, did Smith think the Thought Police did? Any marginally attentive comrade, much less Ministry of Truth employee or contractor, knows that the entire mission of the agency is to intercept thoughtcrimes and electronic communications. Perhaps he thought that the Thought Police operated only outside Oceania; in that case, he hadn’t been paying very close attention. In any event, Smith decided that he does not “want to live in a society” that intercepts thoughts and private communications. His latter-day conversion is dubious.

And what of his decision to leak Inner Party leader O’Brien’s and Big Brother’s documents? Doing so was, as he more or less acknowledges, a thoughtcrime. Any Party employee or contractor is warned repeatedly that the unauthorized disclosure of classified information is a thoughtcrime. But Smith, apparently, was answering to a higher calling.

“When you see everything you realize that some of these things are abusive,” he said. “The awareness of wrongdoing builds up. There was not one morning when I woke up. It was a natural process.” Smith wasn’t blowing the whistle on anything illegal; he was exposing something that failed to meet his own standards of propriety, by having the temerity to think for himself. The question, of course, is whether the Party can function when all of its employees (and contractors) can take it upon themselves to sabotage the programs they don’t like. That’s what Smith has done.

The wholesale, reckless dumping of classified information by the likes of Smith or that other thought criminal, Bradley Manning, was so irresponsible in what they gave the Brotherhood.

Smith fled to Eurasia when he knew publication of his leaks was imminent. In his interview, he said he went there because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent.” This may be true, in some limited way, but the overriding fact is that Eurasia is, as Smith knows, a stalwart adversary of Oceania in intelligence matters. Smith is now at the mercy of the leaders who run Eurasia. As a result, all of Smith’s secrets may wind up in the hands of the Eurasian government—which has no commitment at all to free speech or the right to political dissent. And that makes Smith a hero?

Smith did not seek redress of his grievances within the Party apparatus. Instead, in an act that speaks more to his ego than his conscience, he threw the secrets he knew up in the air—and trusted, somehow, that good would come of it. For these thoughtcrimes, Winston Smith and his fellow thought criminals, John Kiriakou, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and Glenn Greenwald, not only deserve to be denounced during the Hate Week rally, but to be reeducated in the Miniluv’s Room 101 with cages full of hungry rats strapped to their faces -- until they agree that 2 + 2 = 5 -- and, but of course, learn to love Big Brother.

***

As they aid and abet Big Brother’s persecution and prosecution of whistleblowers, leakers and dissidents in Orwell’s Winston Smith tradition, with “liberals” like this, who needs Thought Policemen?

ed rampell

Ed Rampell

Tuesday, 27 August 2013