The All-Seeing Eye
You just bought a one-way ticket to Istanbul. One-way because
you're planning on hopping from Turkey across to Asia. You've
heard about teaching opportunities in China, so you investigate
the visa regulations. Maybe you'll pass through India. You
check the schedules, memorize half a dozen local currencies,
buy a phrasebook or two. You visit your doctor for a hepatitis
shot and some antibiotics. You consolidate your bank accounts
and sell your car.
These are the normal actions of someone about to hit the
road for some hard travel. They are mundane and private
decisions. Yet when considered as an aggregate, they may
bring you to the "evidence threshold," prompting the newly
created U.S. Information Awareness Office to provide a "focused
warning" to the Department of Defense. One hour after the
"triggering event occurs" or the "evidence threshold is
passed" you've been labeled as a potential terrorist threat.
You're now an active file under the Total Information Awareness
program, which aims to control the most comprehensive, inescapable
and intrusive database in the world.
According to retired Admiral John Poindexter, monitoring
and documenting every American's activities will help the
U.S. win the war on terrorism. Last week, with the passing
of the Homeland Security Act, Poindexter's vision for the
Total Information Awareness (TIA) program was given the
congressional green light. The Information Awareness Office
will soon begin developing TIA for the Dept. of Defense.
Thirteen years ago, Adm. Poindexter À then President Reagan's
national security advisor À and Oliver North were two of
the key figures in the Iran-Contra scandal; they sold missiles
to Iran and used the proceeds to illegally fund guerilla
death-squads in Nicaragua. In 1990, Poindexter was found
guilty of five felony counts of misleading Congress and
making false statements under oath. The convictions were
later overturned, but not because he didn't lie À he'd been
granted immunity in exchange for his testimony.
This is the man who will oversee the construction of the
largest database in the history of mankind. This is the
man who will help define the "evidence threshold." This
is the man whose agency will provide the "focused warnings"
that can send federal officials to your front door.
Six weeks after the September 11 attacks
on New York City and Washington D.C., Congress approved
the Patriot Act, officially known as USAPATRIOT ("Uniting
and Strength-ening America by Providing Appropriate Tools
Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism"). It was approved
by the Senate 99-1, with Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold
casting the only dissenting vote. At the time, Feingold
stated that "there is no doubt that if we lived in a police
state, it would be easier to catch terrorists ... But that
wouldn't be a country in which we would want to live."
Zoia Horn didn't think so either. In 1972, the 54-year old
became the first librarian in the U.S. to suffer imprisonment
in defense of her patrons' right to privacy. She was jailed
for 20 days for refusing to testify at the trial of the
Harrisburg Seven, who were accused of plotting to set off
explosives underneath Washington, D.C., and kidnap Henry
Kissinger in protest against U.S. military action in Southeast
Asia. The charges were dropped when the prosecution's key
witness was proven to be inconsistent and unreliable. Horn
Thirty years ago, Horn had a case. There was no law allowing
the government to seize library records. Now, under Section
507 of the Patriot Act, librarians are specifically compelled
to produce borrowing and internet data at the request of
the Justice Department. In response, in the August issue
of American Libraries magazine, the Ame-rican Library Association
decla-red that "we will need librarians brave enough to
speak out, even if it means going to jail."
Zoia Horn could become the Rosa Parks of book-lenders, assuming
that any librarians are "brave enough." Yale, Columbia and
Princeton are among the many universities that have already
agreed to comply with these non-consensual subpoenas, as
non-compliance would jeopardize their ability to host international
students. According to a survey by the University of Illinois,
the FBI has already conducted searches at nearly 10% of
U.S. libraries since Sep-tember 11, 2001.
The Patriot Act also extends to booksellers. Section 215
requires every American bookstore to provide records of
customer purchases upon request. Some independently owned
shops responded by no longer connecting the list of items
with the customer's credit card information, essentially
severing the tie between item and individual.
Ominously, the new government powers are shrouded in sanctioned
secrecy. Administered as a tangent to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act, the Patriot Act allows for warrants to
be issued by a secret federal court established twenty years
ago. The Justice Department refuses to discuss how this
new power is being used with anyone À including Congress.
In contradiction of Americans' Constitu-tional right to
a presumption of innocence, these warrants do not require
evidence of wrongdoing À only what the Justice Dept. determines
to be suspicious behavior. The Attorney General's Office
need only assert that the target is part of an ongoing investigation
that protects the U.S. "against international terrorism
or clandestine intelligence activities." The librarian or
bookstore owner is also prevented from telling anyone that
a request has been made.
And that's just the beginning.
The United States has entered into what
in international relations jargon is called an "asymmetric
combat environment." The traditional model of war involves
entities that are roughly equal in size or power. Nation
against nation, army against army. The "War on Terror" is
asymmetrical, which denotes a drastic imbalance between
the two combatants.
In asymmetrical conflict, losses are usually seen to be
the fault of intelligence-gathering agencies, not the military.
Not surprisingly, September 11 triggered some drastic proposals
for over-hauling the nation's internal security apparatus.
Earlier this year, Attorney Gene-ral John Ashcroft announced
the Terrorism Information and Prevention Sys-tem (Ope-ration
TIPS) as part of the Homeland Security Act. According to
the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Citizen Corps
website, TIPS would become "a nationwide program giving
millions of American truckers, letter carriers, train conductors,
ship captains, utility employees, and others a formal way
to report suspicious terrorist activity." Ordinary citizens
who are "in a unique position to serve as extra eyes and
ears of law enforcement" would be trained "to look out for
suspicious and potentially terrorist-related activity."
Thirteen years after the end of the Cold War, the United
States Attorney General proposed that American citizens
be trained and encouraged to inform on each other.
This past summer, law enforcement accountability activist
Ritt Goldstein forecasted that TIPS could potentially recruit
one in 24 Americans. "The U.S.," he wrote, "[would then]
have a higher percentage of citizen informants than the
former East Germany through the infamous Stasi secret police."
Under pressure from civil liberty groups and other watchdog
organizations, House Majority Leader Richard K. Armey led
the charge to strike the program from the then-pending Homeland
In the place of this drastic proposal rose another, even
more drastic proposal.
They call it data mining: sifting through
the monstrous electronic haystacks looking for needles.
Ten years ago, a telemarketing firm might have purchased
a year's worth of shopping receipts from the local supermarket
in order to extrapolate family sizes, income brackets and
buying tendencies. These days, companies pay search engines
to show their banner advertisements alongside the results
of relevant queries. Like prized recipes, some of the most
highly guarded secrets at internet companies are the algorithms
used to determine relevance between user requests and advertisers.
Data mining is neither new nor novel, nor has it ever been
particularly threatening. Even wary tech-libertarian types
dismissed corporate data mining by clinging to the implausibility
of application. The most fiendish use of targeted marketing,
they'd say, was junk mail and maybe a few automated phone
calls from mayoral candidates before election day. As an
unavoidable fact of modern life, da-ta mining was never
an issue worthy of mass mobilization beyond the Wired set.
Similarly, the thought that the American government would
spy on its own population is neither new nor novel. Both
the FBI and CIA have over the years fulfil-led their missions
to protect America by monitoring its citizens under such
well-documented Cold War programs as COINTELPRO and Operation
Or consider the 40-year-old Natio-nal Security Agency, the
largest of the U.S. intelligence organizations, the existence
of which was kept hidden until the 1967 publication of David
Kahn's The Codebreakers. With the start of Operation Minaret
in 1969, the NSA established a "watch list" of American
anti-war and civil-rights activists. According to Christian
W. Erickson's essay "Securing Cyber-space," the NSA intercepted
messages between American citizens and groups "in compliance
with requests by the FBI, CIA, the Secret Service and other
agencies." Previously, Operation Shamrock had been responsible
for intercepting all telephone and telegraph transmissions
handled by Western Union, ITT and RCA.
None of this ended with the Cold War. The FBI's Carnivore
program can collect the "to:" and "from:" fields from emails
in the same way that a traditional "trap and trace" telephone
tap can record incoming and dialed numbers. The NSA's Project
Echelon À run in partnership with the British, Canadian,
Australian and New Zealand governments À continues to trawl
through a good portion of all civilian telephone communications
around the globe.
Most citizens sleep at night believing that their elected
officials are doing their best to ensure the nation's safety,
and that the sacrifices they might make À knowingly or not
À contribute to this effort. They assuage their fears of
intrusion and impropriety by trusting their government to
stick to its mandate to pursue criminals.
With the arrival of the Infor-mation Awareness Office, it
may be time to once again reconsider this trust.
The United States Senate approved the Homeland Security
Act of 2002 by a overwhelming majority on November 19. The
House of Representatives passed it in July. Once signed
by the president, the bill will esta-blish the Depart-ment
of Home-land Security by bringing together 22 existing agencies
employing some 170,000 government workers; its expected
annual budget is $35.5 billion. This is the largest government
reorganization since the Dept. of Defense was created in
the 1940s by merging the departments of War and Navy.
The original Homeland Security Act, as introduced to Congress,
was under 40 pages in length. The bill, as passed, has 484
pages. Few senators or their advisers had enough time to
digest its contents and acquaint themselves with its provisions.
In the words of West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, it is
a "monstrous piece of legislation" and "one of the most
far-reaching pieces of legislation" he'd ever seen.
Byrd was one of only nine senators to vote against the bill.
His statement before his peers was firm: "To tell the American
people they are going to be safer when we pass this is to
hoax. We ought to tell people the truth. They are not going
to be any safer."
Tucked inside Byrd's monstrous "hoax" was Adm. Poindexter's
Total Information Awareness program, set to run with a $200
million annual budget as a project of the Information Awareness
Office, an office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency (DARPA). DARPA is the research and development arm
of the Dept. of Defense and has been responsible for such
revolutionary technologies as the internet and the stealth
With the founding of the Information Awareness Office (IAO)
program, large-scale data mining and government surveillance
will be joined under one massive umbrella organization.
The Dept. of Defense intends to record and analyze every
single transaction conducted by its citizens that shows
up on any computer, anywhere. The U.S. federal government
will also begin to officially monitor its citizens' interstate
travel, as documented by the automatic toll systems that
are already in place on the nation's highways.
The IAO will then draw connections and conclusions between
seemingly disparate actions: a large cash withdrawal as
related to the legal purchase of a firearm as related to,
say, a one-way ticket to a country that borders a Middle
East nation. Within one hour, the IAO can make vague and
groundless suspicion a matter of permanent record, and perhaps
grounds for subpoena.
Some are still tempted to accept and defend the IAO as a
reasonable national security measure, from which the average
American has nothing to fear. On September 5, Wall Street
Journal reporter Stephanie Miles quoted Harvard Law School
professor Jonathon Zittrain as suggesting that, "if you're
not up to no good, then it's unlikely that [the new powers]
are coming after you."
Pity Professor Zittrain if he finds himself on the IAO list
of suspicious persons.
The Information Awareness Office is only
one among several offices at DARPA. There's also the Tactical
Technology Office, the Defense Sciences Office, the Advanced
Technology Office and the Information Exploitation Office,
the logo of which proclaims its mission: "Sense, Exploit,
Execute and Plan."
The IAO is by far the most technologically frightening of
these. Its programs are the stuff of cautionary science-fiction
Bio-Surveillance. Detects biological pathogens sooner than
is possible by traditional methods. By monitoring such "non-traditional
data sources" as "pre-diagnostic medical data" and "animal
sentinels" À sending canaries into the combat coal mine
À Phase IV will introduce a "prototype bio-surveillance
system ... constructed for a citywide area of military interest
and demonstrated in a series of field experiments by injecting
simulated biological event data into the real-time data
streams of the testbed system."
Human ID at a Distance. Develops "automated biometric information
technologies to detect, recognize and identify humans at
great distances." Using "multi-spectral infrared and visible
face recognition system[s]" in conjunction with planned
"gait recognition" technology, HumanID will "enable faster,
more accurate and unconstrained identification of humans
at significant standoff distances."
Genoa. A surveillance program originally developed by Syntek
Techno-logies while Adm. Poindexter was its vice president,
will "augment human cognitive processes and aid understanding
of complex arguments." Genoa II will "allow humans and machines
to 'think together' in real-time about complicated problems"
using "intelligent agents, cognitive machine intelligence,
associative memory, neural networks, pattern matching ...
and biologically inspired algorithms."
Critics worry that the IAO will strive to integrate these
various programs À the world's largest database, the world's
most effective human identification system, the world's
most advanced human-machine communication protocols À to
yield an all-powerful, all-seeing beast that even the most
alarmist futurists never imagined.
Are they paranoid? Or is reality about to catch up with
Historically, wars provide governments
with the opportunity to expand their powers of surveillance.
Weary and battle-scarred populaces often demand it, or,
at the very least, tolerate it in the interest of national
security. WWI led to the strengthening of the FBI. WWII
planted the seeds of the CIA. The Cold War gave us the NSA
and its Echelon.
The current war looks set to further concentrate federal
power and introduce new and far-reaching tools for civilian
Two years ago, Applied Digital Solutions announced that
they had crossed into an "exciting new frontier in the digital
revolution." They were prepared to market Digital Angel,
a line of syringe-injectable, biologically stable microchips
that would, among other things, allow humans to be tracked
in real time using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.
In a demonstration on October 30, 2000, a moving test subject's
location, pulse and body temperature were relayed to the
internet and displayed for a group of excited Wall Street
analysts, members of the military and government officials,
including Secretary of Commerce Norman Mineta.
Word of the new product hit the wire services and caused
a minor uproar among civil liberty groups wary of an implanted
microchip that would be "virtually impossible to remove."
The company toned down the language surrounding "implants"
and instead shifted their focus to wearable technology.
Less than one year later, one week after Septem-ber 11,
Applied Digital offered wristwatch versions of Digital Angel
to New York City's fire department and the U.S. Dept. of
Transportation, suggesting that the GPS-enabled devices
could help search and recovery efforts.
Perhaps buoyed by good publicity, they soon re-introduced
the implan-table microchip. This time, they called it VeriChip.
The new device is the size of a grain of rice and is coated
with a polymer sheath patented as BioBond that prevents
it from slipping around inside the body, generally the forearm.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled that it would
not regulate the device so long as it wasn't used to diagnose
Last month, a non-profit think-tank based in Washington
D.C., hosted a roundtable to discuss the use of VeriChip
inthe implementation of a compulsory national identification
Twenty years ago, compulsory fingerprinting of children
was eagerly accepted during the child-abduction scares of
the early '80s; parents held their kids' hands against the
inkpad. Applied Digital Solutions CEO Richard Sullivan has
been quoted suggesting that VeriChip could help find missing
children. With several million cats and dogs À even birds
and lizards À already chipped for identification purposes,
how far are we from frightened parents offering up their
It seems outlandish that anyone would allow someone to inject
a microchip into his or her body. And yet, at least 20 people
have already volunteered, including the Jacobs family in
Florida who were implanted six months ago. The VeriChips
in their arms provide links to their medical histories.
According to a CBS Evening News report, these "medical pioneers"
believe that the chips can save their lives in an emergency
And this isn't just happening in America. A November 17
report in The Observer revealed that the British government
is considering implanting microchips in convicted pedophiles.
The chips would not only register the subject's location,
but also his or her state of nervousness and fear, in an
effort to prevent future attacks. Rumors have also long
circulated among conspiracist types that Prince William
was chipped when he was 12 years old.
Eight Latin American countries have expressed official interest
in VeriChip, as has the government of China. According to
WorldNetDaily, Applied Digital Solutions has already opened
up a research and development facility in Shen Zhen, an
economic zone outside of Hong Kong. Its partnership with
a Chinese technology firm will provide, in the words of
Sullivan, "the main facility, equipment and working capital
to manufacture, promote and distribute [our] products in
the three northeastern Chinese provinces."
It isn't surprising that Applied Digital Solutions is salivating
at the possibility of 1.3 billion chipped Chinese. It's
hard to think of a larger or more promising market.
Seen on their own, none of these developments
are all that groundbreaking. Corporations have been monitoring
your purchases and targeting their advertising for 50 years.
The government has been spying on us since before the NSA
built its first supercomputer, and they've had access to
your email since before the word "dot-com" existed.
The difference is that before the Information Awareness
Office was approved by Congress, the government's next action
has always been to ignore us. The IAO represents permanent
and mandatory cradle-to-the-grave observation and tracking.
The time may have come to start taking the warnings of the
so-called paranoid fringe a little more seriously. One chip-watch
website urges visitors to not "let anyone, for any reasons,
inject a chip in your right hand or forehead!" The author
proceeds to explain how microchips will eventually be used
to catalog and track every human on the planet.
Not so long ago, these people were crackpots. Fifteen months
into the "war on terror," they're starting to look more
was the IAO thinking?
fundamentalist Christians already know that President George
W. Bush is a card-carrying member of the Illuminati, the
elite organization that they claim is responsible for not
only implementing the New World Order, but also spreading
Satan-worshiping by way of mass consumerism/slavery. They
know the ground plan for Washington D.C. is a giant Masonic
symbol. They know that at least 20 multinational corporations,
including Disney, Procter & Gamble and Texaco, are controlled
Conspiracy-theory types already know that the Illuminati
have been controlling world affairs since their secret society
was formed on May 1, 1776. The arrival of the Freemason
and Rosicrucian symbol of the All-Seeing Eye -- also known
as the Eye of Horus, among other names -- on the dollar
bill was an announcement that the U.S. was prepared to usher
in what archetypical modern occultist Aleister Crowley called
the Age of Horus. The All-Seeing Eye was suggested to President
Franklin D. Roosevelt by his Secretary of Agriculture, 32nd-degree
Freemason Henry Wallace.
Adherents from both camps have produced hundreds of books
and thousands of web pages dedicated to dissecting the Illuminati's
role in creating a New World Order, one that will enslave
the world's population for the purpose of ... well, for
whatever purpose they may have in mind.
Corporations regularly spend millions of dollars researching
their new products and logos. What the hell was the Information
Awareness Office thinking? Using the All-Seeing Eye in the
logo of what is destined to become the largest, most comprehensive
database of individual affairs the world has ever seen?
Maybe the idea of a worldwide totalitarian government isn't
so far-fetched anymore. Maybe we should be wary of a government
that employs such a loaded symbol in a $200 million surveillance
program, Illuminati or not.
By the way, "IAO" is the name of Aleister Crowley's essential
formula used in magickal initiations and is often referenced
in source material alongside both the Eye of Horus and the
Age of Horus.
From the Information Awareness Office website:
The IAO Vision:
- Foreign language machine translation and speech recognition
- Biometric signatures of humans
- Real-time learning, pattern matching and anomalous pattern
- Human network analysis and behavior model building engines
- Event prediction and capability development model building
- Structured argumentation and evidential reasoning
- Story telling, change detection, and truth maintenance
- Biologically inspired algorithms for agent control"
- Planned Accomplishments [of the Total Information Awareness
program]: To Be Announced"