Sunday, May 27, 2007

Discussion 10 - The Great 1984 Article Hunt

The purpose of this week's discussion is twofold. Firstly, you'll begin to start thinking about the world you live in, and the world Winston lives in. Secondly, you'll learn how to focus a search by using specific keywords, or combinations of keywords. Consider using combinations of words rather than asking a question or typing a sentence.

You cannot use an article that was done during the May 2006 version of this assignment.
  1. Search the Internet and find a legitimate newspaper, magazine, or scholarly article that deals with the reality (social or political) portrayed in 1984. Consider articles which deal with comparing aspects of our world with that of Orwell's dystopia.
  2. Once you've found an article, write a summary or response to the article. Your summary must follow the criteria set out for our class's blog.
  3. Copy and paste the original article after your summary / response. Be sure to include the URL underneath your copy of the article.
  4. NO DUPLICATED ARTICLES. ONE ARTICLE PER STUDENT.

Search Engines of noticeable consideration:

Search Engine tips:

Keywords (I didn't think that I needed to do this, but given the responces ...)
  • 1984
  • George Orwell
  • Orwellian
If you've read this far, you might as well look at this one page search engine guide that I put together for our class.
  • Go to our course website, and on the main page, select the Search Engine Guide.

48 comments:

Jenny E said...
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Taylor S said...
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Ryan L said...

"Are 4m CCTV cameras Orwell's vision realised?"
By: Julia Horton
Scotsman.com News
http://news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=785572007

Ryan L said...
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Ryan L said...

The idea of a person’s every move being watched and scrutinized was feared by a man named George Orwell. He authored a book in which he informed society of his fear. Everyone and everything is being watched, actions being calculated and thoughts being manipulated. George Orwell’s vision is not far from reality; especially in Britain and in the Highland town of Tain, and this should be feared by everyone. In George Orwell’s novel 1984 he writes about the telescreens that watch everyone, how every word is heard and about money being taken and given to the government to run their affairs.

In 1984 a person’s every move can be watched by the thought police so they can keep order in the suppressed world in which they are living. When someone acts out against the party, government, they are vaporized and no one ever talks about them again. This may not be far away from the society we live in today. In many places around the world, such as Britain, CCTV, closed circuit televisions are being implemented to watch over the citizens. The citizens have no knowledge of when they are being watched by these cameras; the only knowledge they possess is fear that they could be watched as they are walking and waiting to see if the police feel they are a threat. “There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system,” (4-5) In Britain there are four million cameras watching people. This is approximately one camera per fourteen people; also these people, on average, are caught on tape up to three hundred times per day and people are watched twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

In Orwell’s book Winston’s and everyone else’s room there are telescreens that pick up any sound or voices in the room and relay them to the thought police where the thought police can detect any threats to the party through people’s dialogue. To some the idea of being heard as you live your normal day is scary and sends a chill down their spine. To some it is too far fetched to even believe something like this could happen. In Britain there are micro-phones embedded in the lampposts and these are to hear people’s conversations. “Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it;” (4) This instills fear a community because most will be too afraid to say anything negative or contradictory towards anyone or anything, especially the government.

The government in 1984 takes a quarter of people’s earnings and puts it towards the party’s needs. A modernized form of this thievery is government taxes where the government takes your hard earned money. In Scotland Scottish executives have put forth ten point three million pounds for a hundred and sixty one CCTV projects. This money had to have come from somewhere; the people. “‘Which sub is that?’ said Winston, automatically feeling for money. About a quarter of one’s salary had to be earmarked for voluntary subscriptions, which were so numerous that it was difficult to keep track of them.” (59) Citizen’s money is going towards the invasion of their privacy.

As a society we must always be vigilant of our government so we don’t become Orwell’s 1984. If we do not fight for our privacy then more microphones will be planted, more CCTV will be installed to monitor those who may disagree with the government and more money will be taken for reasons unknown to society. We must always fight for our freedom because once it is gone we you can never get it back.

Article

Are 4m CCTV cameras Orwell's vision realised?
JULIA HORTON

WITH stunning views, a low crime rate and dramatic beaches, the Highland town of Tain - Scotland's oldest royal burgh - is starting to be recognised as a perfect holiday destination.

So it might surprise visitors to learn that Highland Council has spent £200,000 to keep them and the town's 3,500-strong population under close surveillance.

The money was invested in nearly 50 cameras linking Tain to nearby towns including Nairn, Dingwall and Thurso using digital recording systems.

But while police and councillors say the move keeps people safe, it is part of a growing trend which has led to the UK's information commissioner, Richard Thomas, warning that the country has become a "surveillance society".

Yesterday a leading policeman joined civil rights campaigners in branding the spread of CCTV cameras an "Orwellian situation".

Ian Readhead, deputy chief constable of Hampshire, voiced his concerns that sleepy towns and villages were wasting valuable resources on spy cameras.

Singling out the town of Stockbridge in his area, where parish councillors have paid £10,000 to install CCTV, he said: "I'm really concerned about what happens to the product of these cameras, and what comes next.

"If it's in our villages, are we really moving towards an Orwellian situation where cameras are at every street corner? I really don't think that's the kind of country that I want to live in."

There are now about four million CCTV cameras in Britain, giving people a chance of being caught on film a staggering 300 times a day.

If the police themselves fear that Big Brother is taking over, is it time to take a serious look at how such surveillance measures are used, and whether they work?

The civil rights campaign group Liberty definitely thinks so.

Shami Chakrabarti, its director, said: "Politicians like to present the police as ever hungry for more powers. Yet even the police are concerned that we are losing the value of privacy.

"We are not calling for a blanket ban on CCTV, which we agree can be useful in providing evidence, but we are worried that it is being used as an alternative to putting more police on the streets and that so much of the [police] budget is being put into CCTV when it has not been conclusively proven to be a deterrent."

The Scottish Executive says it is "in the process of" researching whether CCTV is value for money, with results to be published "in due course".

However, police in Scotland maintain that whatever the situation might be in England, the balance between protecting people and invading their privacy is being maintained north of the Border.

John Neilson is spokesman on CCTV for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland and Assistant Chief Constable for Community Safety with Strathclyde Police, which recorded a 75 per cent drop in crime in Airdrie after a £130,000 CCTV system was installed.

He said: "I believe that CCTV in Scotland is proportionate to need, identified through criminal activity [detected by police] or community [-identified] need.

"In terms of reducing fear of crime, it has a big beneficial effect, and in terms of gaining evidence for things that have happened, like murders or antisocial behaviour, it has helped a great deal."

Surveillance has also helped people wrongly accused of crimes, who have used CCTV footage to show they were miles from the crime scene.

But questions remain about the benefits of CCTV in towns like Tain, which seems an unlikely crime hotspot. Mr Neilson added: "It is a small place but demand [for spy cameras] might be there in terms of what the public think."

With ever advancing technology, there are now far more sophisticated ways of detecting criminal behaviour.

Richard Thomas, the UK Information Commissioner, who is in charge of protecting individual's rights to privacy, has pointed out there are a host of new technologies to monitor people including micro-CCTV cameras and microphones hidden in lampposts, overhead drones that can track a person and micro-chips in clothing that can register when a person goes into a certain area.

He said many of the technologies are being used to monitor people for the purposes of boosting sales, for example triggering an advert in a shop customised to a consumer's profile. However, the technologies could also be put to use by the state.

"Do we want the same approach taken by social services, education and police?" he asked. "There are some really important questions to be asked about that."

A spokeswoman said the Scottish Executive was looking at a range of options to make the country's streets safer, and stressed that it believed the main way to achieve its aim was by employing more polices.

But the SNP signalled that it was more than happy with the current surveillance operation in Scotland - and would consider increasing measures in future.

Four million snoops across the UK track our moves
FROM Stirling to the Shetlands, it seems that almost nowhere is hidden from the intrusive gaze of the spy camera in Scotland today.

Since 1996, the Scottish Executive has awarded £10.3 million to 161 new CCTV projects, paying for 2,102 cameras through its CCTV Challenge Competition and Make Our Communities Safer Challenge Competition.

And that is just part of the picture - a further £2.5 million was spent in 2002-3 alone to upgrade existing schemes.

Last November, CCTV reached Shetland, when councillors in Britain's most northerly outpost announced plans to spend £200,000 on installing up to 14 CCTV cameras around the islands' capital, Lerwick.

The move was aimed at tackling antisocial behaviour, although the area already has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.

Throughout Britain there are now around four million cameras - one for every 14 people - which record the public 24 hours a day.

The spread of the spy cameras has led to growing fears that the nation is turning into a "Big Brother society" like the one envisioned by George Orwell in his novel 1984.

The rise of the CCTV camera also inspired the creators of the award-winning film Red Road, in which a Glasgow CCTV operator takes revenge on a man from her past after spotting him by chance on one of her screens.

CCTV - closed circuit television - systems link cameras to a control room where they can be operated remotely.

As well as basic pan, tilt and zoom modes, features on the cameras can also include night vision and computer-assisted operation and they are becoming increasingly sophisticated as technology advances.

The cost of individual cameras varies. Police currently favour mobile versions which can be moved between different locations according to need. These cost about £15,000 each.

http://news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=785572007

Jenica A said...
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Jenica A said...
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Jenica A said...
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Jackie L said...
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Cory K said...
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Paula I said...
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Paula I said...

'War is peace' -Nimer Sultany
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/nimer_sultany/2007/05/war_is_peace.html

Jackie L said...

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=5824

Terrorism Defined
George Orwell and the power of language


by Stephen Lendman

Global Research, May 31, 2007



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Probably no word better defines or underscores the Bush presidency than "terrorism" even though his administration wasn't the first to exploit this highly charged term. We use to explain what "they do to us" to justify what we "do to them," or plan to, always deceitfully couched in terms of humanitarian intervention, promoting democracy, or bringing other people the benefits of western civilization Gandhi thought would be a good idea when asked once what he thought about it.

Ronald Reagan exploited it in the 1980s to declare "war on international terrorism" referring to it as the "scourge of terrorism" and "the plague of the modern age." It was clear he had in mind launching his planned Contra proxy war of terrorism against the democratically elected Sandinista government in Nicaragua and FMLN opposition resistance to the US-backed El Salvador fascist regime the same way George Bush did it waging his wars of aggression post-9/11.

It's a simple scheme to pull off, and governments keep using it because it always works. Scare the public enough, and they'll go along with almost anything thinking it's to protect their safety when, in fact, waging wars of aggression and state-sponsored violence have the opposite effect. The current Bush wars united practically the entire world against us including an active resistance increasingly targeting anything American.

George Orwell knew about the power of language before the age of television and the internet enhanced it exponentially. He explained how easy "doublethink" and "newspeak" can convince us "war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength." He also wrote "All war propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from (chicken hawk) people who are not fighting (and) Big Brother is watching...." us to be sure we get the message and obey it.

In 1946, Orwell wrote about "Politics and the English Language" saying "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible" to hide what its user has in mind. So "defenseless villages are bombarded from the air (and) this is called 'pacification'." And the president declares a "war on terrorism" that's, in fact, a "war of terrorism" against designated targets, always defenseless against it, because with adversaries able to put up a good fight, bullies, like the US, opt for diplomacy or other political and economic means, short of open conflict.

The term "terrorism" has a long history, and reference to a "war on terrorism" goes back a 100 years or more. Noted historian Howard Zinn observed how the phrase is a contradiction in terms as "How can you make war on terrorism, if war is terrorism (and if) you respond to terrorism with (more) terrorism....you multiply (the amount of) terrorism in the world." Zinn explains that "Governments are terrorists on an enormously large scale," and when they wage war the damage caused infinitely exceeds anything individuals or groups can inflict.

It's also clear that individual or group "terrorist" acts are crimes, not declarations or acts of war. So a proper response to the 9/11 perpetrators was a police one, not an excuse for the Pentagon to attack other nations having nothing to do with it.

George Bush's "war on terrorism" began on that fateful September day when his administration didn't miss a beat stoking the flames of fear with a nation in shock ready to believe almost anything - true, false or in between. And he did it thanks to the hyped enormity of the 9/11 event manipulated for maximum political effect for the long-planned aggressive imperial adventurism his hard line administration had in mind only needing "a catastrophic and catalyzing (enough) event - like a new Pearl Harbor" to lauch. With plans drawn and ready, the president and key administration officials terrified the public with visions of terrorism branded and rebranded as needed from the war on it, to the global war on it (GLOT), to the long war on it, to a new name coming soon to re-ignite a flagging public interest in and growing disillusionment over two foreign wars gone sour and lost.

Many writers, past and present, have written on terrorism with their definitions and analyses of it. The views of four noted political and social critics are reviewed below, but first an official definition to frame what follows.

How the US Code Defines Terrorism

Under the US Code, "international terrorism" includes activities involving:

(A) "violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;"

(B) are intended to -

(i) "intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

(C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States...."

The US Army Operational Concept for Terrorism (TRADOC Pamphlet No. 525-37, 1984) shortens the above definition to be "the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature....through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear."


The above article is written by Stephen Lendman, who basically draws attention to the connection between George Orwell's novel a to the current situation of the United States. In the article the author comments on how the word terrorist has been used by pervious US, like Ronald Reagan and in what context the current president is using the term terrorist. The author further describes how it is in fact impossible to have a "war on terror" because "terrorism is war, if war is terrorism (and if) you respond to terrorism with (more) terrorism… you multiply (the amount) of terrorism in the world." He also goes on to say that the governments use fear to help them "pull off" their own personal agenda's. After describing briefly how the term Terrorism has been used and is used today and for what purpose it is used. While explaining the purpose of using terrorism, the author uses a very familiar example to better explain what the US government is really doing when they are fighting the "terrorist". The author uses George Orwell's epic novel 1984 as a reference point in which to support his argument that the US government is not only acting irrationally but also illogically. This example can better show the reader the true implication of what the future holds. Later on in the article the author directly questions George W. Bush policies. In addition the author makes crucial connections between the beginning of World War II and the current war. And finally at the end of his article the author takes definitions of terrorism directly from the US government to further prove that the US would not tolerate any other state doing what the US is doing to other states.

I think this article does a brilliant job in providing facts with little bias and does an amazing job of establishing connections between the world in which we live in to other uglier situations that may not want to be acknowledge by all of society. This article shows the US as weak and not as the major super power in which the US is mainly regarded as. Not only does the author point out weakness in their use of the word terrorism but he also points out that their own definition of terrorism is flawed and is exactly what they are doing themselves to other defenseless countries. At the very beginning of the article the author states, " We use to explain what 'they do to us' to justify what we 'do to them,' or plan to, always deceitfully couched in terms of humanitarian intervention, promoting democracy," which is indicative of all the US's reason for invading the middle east.

Through this terrorism the US has expected their citizens to give up some liberties in order to capture the 'terrorist', however this too is present in George Orwell's novel. In the beginning of the revolution in Oceania, small liberties may have been relinquished freely by the citizens in favor of the party. How Orwell describes the way political leaders talk in Oceania as an erring similarity to how currently all world leader speak. In the article the author makes specific reference to newspeak, which is spoken today and to doublethink, which can be detached in everyday life, and is used by all. George Orwell's blue jumpsuit and article boiled cabbage world is not that much of a stretch to where society is headed according to the article and personal opinion.

The last sentence in the article says that according to the US Army Operational Concept for Terrorism (TRADOC Pamphlet No. 525-37, 1984), defines terrorism as ' the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature… through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear.' However ironically this definition could possible be put into the national anthem of the United States, because they regard and pride themselves on doing the thing that they conversely pride themselves on stopping.

Jenny E said...
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Jenny E said...

The article was taken from The Toronto Star website.

This below article was from the Toronto Star, summarizing the news of US Treasure Department is cutting off their business from the Sudanese companies. This is because of Sudan’s refusal to end what Bush calls, a “Genocide in Darfur“. The 31 Sudanese companies are one of the most booming oil businesses, and this questions why the US would cut off their oils. The reason why the US government chose to end their business is because the companies has been transporting weapons to the Sudanese government and militia forces in Darfur. It seems to be that the majority is taking the US is side, or remains neutral of this matter. The only country showing a reaction to this matter is China, but this is just for their own good. They are big oil consumers of Sudan’s oil, and by stopping the trade, it will cause problems.

What is am arms embargo? An arms embargo is an embargo that applies to weaponry. It may also include "dual use" items. An arms embargo may serve one or more purposes:
1. to signal disapproval of behaviour by a certain actor,
2. to maintain neutral standing in an ongoing conflict, or
3. to limit the resources an actor has to inflict violence on others. (Wikipedia)

So is this a just way to just shut off somebody else’s business. Yes, it is true that Sudan companies maybe supporting their country with weaponry. But is it just that superpowers such as the USA completely shutting off their business? Countries such as Sudan are very poor and if the superpowers such as the US would crush them, then they would not be able to stand up for themselves. US is arguing that is it is to prevent from further death occurring, but this can be used as a fallacy as Northrop Frye would say. It is a fallacy since yes, US may sound like they are the saviours from the evil Sudanese, but they are also killing billions of poor Sudanese civilian. Without their business rolling, there is no money coming in. With no money coming in, how are they supposed to support themselves? The more the rich and the powerful steps on them, the more it becomes difficult for the third nation countries to be independent.

The act of rich suppressing the weak is clearly visible in the novel nineteen eighty-four by George Orwell. Their virtual society, Oceania’s purpose is to not make anybody have their own opinion. The commoners should stay down at the Chomsky’s triangle, the poorest will never rise up because the levels above them need to step on them to sustain their position in the triangle. This forces the people in higher position to act ruthlessly toward the ones below them. Everybody wants to keep their position. Everybody thrives higher, nobody wants to look back and see if they have missed anything behind. Things such as poverty, death and crying out loud for mercy and little bit of help.

Instead, in the novel the main focus is to reach out for the extreme and take away the humans ability to think. This is cruel and almost impossible task. As humans, we are programmed to think and have our own opinions, but what the Big Brother is trying to do is take away the vocabulary which will limit the beings way of expressing themselves. Frye notes, that language is the only possible way which allows the humans to let their imagination go free and express themselves through words and description. So if you take the language away from the people, there will not be much difference between a living human compared to a soulless robot.

Going back to the article, you can link the novel, by looking at it this way. Humans cannot take away human values. By doing so, humans cannot be humans, because they will not have the virtues they need to be a being. By limiting or erasing their needs, such as money or language, humans cannot act properly and do their duties as a being.

=============================
Bush slaps sanctions on Sudan
TheStar.com - News - Bush slaps sanctions on Sudan

31 companies barred from doing business in U.S. financial system; support sought on arms embargo

May 30, 2007
Steve Holland
Reuters News Agency


WASHINGTON–U.S. President George W. Bush imposed new U.S. sanctions on Sudan yesterday and sought support for an international arms embargo out of frustration at Sudan's refusal to end what he called a genocide in Darfur.

"The people of Darfur are crying out for help, and they deserve it," Bush said.

Accusing the Sudanese government of obstructing UN efforts to bring peace, Bush said the U.S. Treasury Department will bar 31 companies controlled by Sudan from doing business in the U.S. financial system.

The companies targeted included firms in Sudan's booming oil business and one that has been transporting weapons to the Sudanese government and militia forces in Darfur.

Bush also imposed economic sanctions on four Sudanese individuals, including two senior Sudanese officials and a rebel leader suspected of involvement in the Darfur violence.

Khartoum criticized the sanctions before they were even formally announced.

"I think these sanctions are not justified. It is not timely. We are co-operating well with the United Nations," Mutrif Siddig, Sudanese undersecretary for foreign affairs, told Reuters in Khartoum.

The ratcheting up of U.S. pressure coincides with a broader effort by UN officials to get Sudan to end the conflict in which more than 200,000 people have died and 2 million have been driven from their homes since 2003.

Khartoum says 9,000 have died and rejects accusations of genocide.

Bush directed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to consult with allies on pursuing new UN Security Council sanctions against Sudan that would impose an expanded arms embargo on Sudan's government.

"It will prohibit the Sudanese government from conducting any offensive military flights over Darfur. It will strengthen our ability to monitor and report any violations," Bush said.

China, a major consumer of Sudan's oil, was skeptical.

In Beijing, China's representative on African affairs, Liu Guijin, said: "Expanding sanctions can only make the problem more difficult to resolve."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has been talking to Sudanese leaders, refused to comment directly on the sanctions. However, he indicated they may interfere with his consultations with Sudanese leaders.

"I need some more time," Ban said.

Russia and South Africa were also wary such action would stop violence in Darfur.

South Africa's UN Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo urged patience and questioned the timing because of Ban's talks, saying "It's not clear which way we are going."

But the European Union expressed a willingness to discuss tougher sanctions.

"We are open to consider that," foreign policy chief Javier Solana said at an EU meeting in Hamburg.

Katie S said...
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Zack D said...
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Ghassan F said...
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Ghassan F said...

Weekend Edition
April 3 / 5, 2004

Welcome to Their Nightmare
Orwell and Kafka in Israel/Palestine
By LAWRENCE DAVIDSON

Angela S said...

"Concern over 'Orwellian CCTV"
News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/World/
News/0,,2-10-1462_2116179,00.html

Brittany L said...
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Adrian V said...

"'Orwellian' CCTV in shires alarms senior police officer"
By Rachel Williams
Monday May 21, 2007
http://www.guardian.co.uk/humanrights/story/0,,2084290,00.html
The Guardian Unlimited

Zack D said...
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Caley M said...
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Linh H said...

"An Orwellian answer to all our problems"
By Kerry Tomasi
Online Journal Contributing Writer
http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_2032.shtml

Jenica A said...
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Cory K said...

A Hampshire Deputy Chief Constable Ian Readhead has put out his opinions on a new Big Brother culture we are moving towards and how it should stop. He fears that with all sorts of cameras being placed in street lamps that the world we live in is turning into an Orwellian State and our privacy is deteriorating. If we are being watched on the street today what is going to come next? He also questioned the use of DNA collection and how it is kept throughout the years. He shows concern and wonders, “Now my real worry is that 15 years from now we are still holding that DNA and that arrest information. Should we be doing that?”(7) He poses a valid question, is it really right for us to be able to keep records of others and know about every little thing they do? It would allow too much control over people’s lives as it can affect people’s ability to get a job or travel for vacation. How far should the police be able to use their power, where does it end? If this continues we will be getting closer to an Orwellian State and everything we have ever done will be known to all authority figures, limiting our actions. Soon we will probably have microchips that are scanned when we enter stores and people will know all about us, how much control should be enough we must ask ourselves, when will it end?


___________________________________
Article:

Police chief rails at 'Orwellian' state
By Robin Thompkins
HAMPSHIRE Deputy Chief Constable Ian Readhead has spoken out over the Big Brother culture of spy cameras and personal information held on central databases.

Interviewed on the BBC's Politics Show, the New Forest's former police boss condemned the growing trend of CCTV and DNA records as moving towards "an Orwellian society".

"I really don't think that's the kind of country I want to live in," said Mr Readhead, whose career with Hampshire Police included a spell as divisional commander in Lyndhurst.

Mr Readhead, who has also headed an Association of Chief Police Officers working party reporting on the Freedom of Information Act last year, said he was worried that even his home village of Stockbridge had a CCTV camera, adding: "I'm struggling with the deployment of cameras in villages being a benefit to policing.

"I understand why the public say this is what they want, but I'm really concerned with what happens to the product of these cameras - what comes next?"

He also questioned the use of DNA and other evidence held by the police for the lifetime of the donor. "We are in a society where if the police arrest a 15-year-old for a recordable offence we can retain their DNA and their fingerprints.

"Now my real worry is that 15 years from now we are still holding that DNA and that arrest information. Should we be doing that?

"Is it right that it may impede that person - who has never been arrested again - from getting a job?

"I'm not sure that sits comfortably with me. I don't think the police should be the ones who regulate it and the telling point is: just how powerful do you want your police to be? Where does it end?"

Mr Readhead's fears were echoed by the government's information commissioner, Richard Thomas, in the same programme.

"Do we want CCTV cameras hidden in lamp posts? Do we want chips embedded in people's clothes so that every time we go into a shop people know who we are, what our shopping preferences are?" he said.
"I think there are some really important questions to be asked there."

7:44am Monday 21st May 2007

Brittany L said...

The novel by George Orwell called 1984 is not meerly a book of fiction but a warning to the future generations and of what is to come. A central focus within the book is of the constant surveillance that the people are under. Where ever you go and what ever you do, you are always being watched or in fear that you are being watched. There is always the underlying fear that Big Brother is watching you.

Although many think that what has happened in 1984 could never happen to us the sad truth is that it already has. A prime example of this is the CCTV cameras in Britain. CCTV means closed circuit television, these CCTVs are places all over Britain and so far have totaled up to 4.2 million cameras; which equals about one camera for every fourteen people. Within the book 1984 they have something very similar to the CCTV and it is called a telescreen, they are used to observe the entire country of Oceania. Oceania is on twenty four hour survelliance and the residents never know when they are being watched and are always in a state of fear that they will be caught for something as simple as a wrong look in the direction of the telescreen. The amount and locations of the CCTV’s are found by many such as Ian Readhead the deputy chief constable of Hampshire Police very unnecessary.

The extent of the surveillance on Britain is not as severe as that of the world in 1984 but it still serves the same purpose of trying to control people by fear. Supporters of the CCTV say that the cameras reduce crime and can deter it completely in time. But as Readhead mentions “a village in his area had installed CCTV, despite crime rates being low.” Which shows that they are being put in unnecessary places such as a village which was not even that bad when it came to crime to begin with. Britain is just trying to overrule their entire society and it is slowly turning into a very good example of what happens in 1984.

Along with the CCTV the British also have a disturbingly large DNA database that totals around 3.6 million samples. This database is the largest in the entire world and is only getting bigger. Furthermore the DNA samples taken are being taken from anyone who has ever been arrested regardless if they are charged with anything. The obvious reasoning behind this could only be that if the person was to make a repeat offence they can find them much easier and be able to pin them to a crime and so forth. This just goes back to the idea of trying to instill fear in society, they are doing this as a way to stop crime. If they have a persons DNA then they assume that it will make people think twice about doing anything wrong. But it is not only DNA that is now being used to keep track of people every minute of their lives now there is also credit card analysis and travel tracking too and Information Commissioner Richard Thomas warns that this will all lead to Britian being a "surveillance society". And it is a surveillance society that the world of Oceania was created to be.

The British are well on their way to becoming the next Oceania and are only steps away from having a figure such as Big Brother. The Big Brother idea has already started to form withing Britain and other countries who follow it with the beginnings of the CCTV. Privacy of the people is slowly being demolished and has put Britain at the bottom of the list along with Russia for their completely blatant lack of protecting individual privacy.

===================================

Britain risks becoming 'Orwellian society'
From correspondents in London
The Australian
May 20, 2007

AN increase in closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras risks turning Britain into an Orwellian society, a senior police officer said in an interview broadcast today.

The deputy chief constable of Hampshire Police, in south-east England, Ian Readhead, said he did not want to live in a country like that in author George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984, with surveillance on every street corner.

"I'm really concerned about what happens to the product of these cameras and what comes next," he told BBC television, highlighting the fact that a village in his area had installed CCTV, despite crime rates being low.

"If it's in our villages, are we really moving towards an Orwellian situation with cameras on every street corner? I don't think it's the kind of country I want to live in."

He also called for a review of speed cameras and limits to the retention of DNA, which is taken from anyone arrested even if they are not charged. Britain's DNA database is the largest in the world, with 3.6 million samples.

There are an estimated 4.2 million CCTV cameras in Britain – one for every 14 people. Every person is caught on camera about 300 times each day. A new system of "talking" CCTV was unveiled earlier this year.

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas last year warned that Britain was becoming a "surveillance society" where CCTV cameras, credit card analysis and travel movements are used to track people's lives minute by minute.

A study by human rights watchdog Privacy International last November ranked Britain bottom of the democratic Western world and alongside Russia for its record on protecting individual privacy.

Police and supporters of CCTV argue that the system plays a crucial role in deterring crime and catching criminals and that the innocent have nothing to fear.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21764337-1702,00.html

David S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cory K said...

http://www.thisisdorset.net/misc/print.php?artid=1412354

Taylor S said...

The article taken from the Minnesota Daily written by Matthew Brophy discusses how President Bush is using the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 to create an Orwellian society portrayed in the novel 1984. Brophy explains that the Bush Administration created new laws like the USA Patriot Act to protect national security/freedom. This relates directly back to Orwell’s famous Big Brother quote “Freedom is Slavery; War is Peace; Ignorance is Strength”. Brophy accuses Bush of plagiarizing from Orwell’s book because the parallels in the events are so closely related. This is thought as an eye opener and can be shocking to one when our society is viewed like this. Orwell is able to open eyes with his novel to the world of what is happening around us but, even when people realize what is going on they are unable to do anything as Winston is not able to in the novel.

Brophy states “The Bush administration has heavily promoted the idea of ignorance as strength.” this is very true by keeping the American public ignorant they are able to be hidden from the truth. The censorship of media is used just like the telescreens throughout Orwell’s novel are all controlled. Brophy uses the example of CNN display the victims of 9/11 not the casualties of the American soldiers in the United States. The party states “Proles and animals are free”(75) this quote is very far from the truth because with all the censorship and control no one is free.

The article also tells how fear is instilled in the people to control them, and how terrorism is created from the fear of fear it self. Once fear is created, people will help by giving money or fighting for there country to get rid of the fear, but the bubble of fear we live in will never go away. The fear will be recreated and keep reoccurring in other forms to keep the bubble of fear in tacked. Brophy finishes off by explaining we have to sacrifice to be successful in the war, much the like sacrifices Winston makes to the party for victory.

Without control no society can function but when the controller gets out of control and fear is placed upon us, we are able to be horded like animals that believe anything and do anything we are told. Those who speak out and rise against are eliminated never to be heard from again much the same as a Thoughtcrime.

_________Article_________

Bush creates Orwellian society

By Matthew Brophy
Minnesota Daily
September 27, 2002

Freedom is Slavery; War is Peace; Ignorance is Strength. This is the motto heralded by Big Brother in George Orwell’s book, “1984.” This motto might as well be from the George W. Bush administration. Since the tragic Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has incrementally been seizing power, desecrating the U.S. Constitution and subordinating our civil rights in the name of national security.

We are told that to protect freedom, we must forfeit our liberties. To have peace, we must fight a prolonged war. To be strong, we must be kept ignorant of our government’s actions. In short, to be good Americans we must believe in apparent contradictions and submit to our government entirely.

The parallels between Orwell’s dystopian vision and Bush’s post-Sept. 11 governmental policies are so striking some journalists have facetiously accused Bush of plagiarism. Orwell’s book depicts a society dominated by a totalitarian government in which citizens’ liberties are suppressed on the basis of an endless war. In post-Sept. 11 America, the same reasoning is being used to justify turning our nation into a police state.

In Orwell’s society, a person can be arrested not just for public speech, but for their private thoughts as well. In our nation, this nightmare has come to life through Bush’s USA Patriot Act. This act enables law enforcement departments to spy on citizens and non-citizens alike: To read private e-mail correspondence, monitor Internet usage, tap into phone conversations, delve into computer files and conduct “sneak-and-peak” searches of homes and offices without immediately, if ever, presenting residents with a search warrant. Law enforcement no longer needs judicial oversight or probable cause. So, be careful: Big Brother is watching.

Furthermore, this act states that citizens and non-citizens can be detained on mere suspicion. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, more than 1,100 immigrants have been imprisoned. The charges against them remain undisclosed; even their names and identities remain largely unknown. The Bush administration admits these prisoners are not terrorists. So far, the FBI has racially profiled and interrogated more than 5,000 recent immigrants. Those immigrants Bush deems “terrorists” can be tried before closed military tribunals rather than in open court.

In Orwell’s society, citizens join the government in the suppression of speech and thought; citizens constantly monitor neighbors and coworkers, informing the government if a person seems “suspicious.” Bush’s “Operation TIPS” makes such paranoid spying a reality. This program asks mail deliverers, utility meter readers, truckers and other citizens to spy on their neighbors and customers, and report any suspicious activity that could be related to terrorism. A recent example of TIPS in action occurred just two weeks ago. Three men were detained, searched and interrogated for being overheard apparently joking about Sept. 11 at a restaurant in Georgia. Bush and a federal law enforcement official in Washington eventually exculpated the men, reporting they had no evident ties to terrorism.

Increasingly, it seems we must all be wary of saying or doing anything that could be construed as subversive; after all, your neighbor might turn you in to the thought police. The reach of the thought police has even extended to academia, where certain factions have attempted to stifle the free exchange of ideas. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, for example, has sought to “blacklist” more than 40 professors who were deemed “anti-American.” One professor, an emeritus from the University of Oregon, was blacklisted for recommending that “we need to understand the reasons behind the terrifying hatred directed against the U.S. and find ways to act that will not foment more hatred for generations to come.” Even one of the Daily columnists has received threatening letters for suggesting that U.S. foreign policy might be somewhat casually responsible for terrorism.

It seems that to be strong and united, we must silence all dissenting voices. Attorney General John Ashcroft has declared that critics of the Bush administration’s post-Sept. 11 measures “only aid terrorists” and “give ammunition to America’s enemies.” For this reason, the Bush administration has explained we need to “suspend” certain liberties for the duration of the war.

The message is clear: To criticize America, right or wrong, is either to be unpatriotic or, worse, to be a terrorist sympathizer (Does anyone smell McCarthyism yet?). It seems ignorant patriotism has become a virtue.

The Bush administration has heavily promoted the idea of ignorance as strength. On this basis, it is making sure the media and American public are kept ignorant. Invoking the excuse of national security, the Bush administration has imposed heavy restrictions on what we can know. For example, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security includes an exemption from the Freedom from Information Act. Additionally, the military has disallowed journalists from accompanying American forces fighting in Afghanistan and even from interviewing military personnel after their missions.

In addition to this governmental censorship, the media has even censored itself. CNN Chairman Walter Isaacson, for instance, ordered his news staff to limit reports of Afghan casualties and to use World Trade Center deaths to justify the killing abroad. Furthermore, the largest U.S. radio station owner, Clear Channel, sent out an internal memo prohibiting certain songs from being played on the air — including “Imagine” by John Lennon.

In Orwell’s society, the duration of the war is never-ending, waged against an enemy that is ever-changing and ambiguous. The same is true of Bush’s declared “war on terrorism.” This war has no fixed, geographical definition. It is directed against an expansive “axis of evil” and a shadowy faction known as al-Qaida. Moreover, this war has been estimated to continue indefinitely (current estimates say at least 10 years).

This ambiguous, protracted crusade is an efficient way to fuel the hatred and fear necessary to justify the Bush administration’s seize of power. With the winds of war behind him, and a 90 percent approval rating, Bush has hurdled the checks and balances of the other two governmental branches and has used “war” as an excuse to increase his dominance and serve his administration’s interests — for example, finishing his dad’s business in Iraq or squelching opposition to NAFTA and the WTO.

To rally the war cry, Bush spews monosyllabic propaganda, simplistically characterizing the terrorists’ purpose to be to “attack our freedom,” and that those individuals and nations who oppose our policies are satanically “evil.” We, of course by contrast, are righteous and good. Disregard our past alliances with these “evil” regimes, our training and financing of radical Islamist terrorists, our forcible replacements of democracies with dictatorships or any instances of our past foreign policy that might be relevant to understanding why the United States is resented in many parts of the world.

Terrorism isn’t what terrifies me. I fear fear itself. As a result of our nation’s fear, our constitution is being desecrated, civil rights are being trampled, and our democratic nation is degenerating into a fascist regime. Disturbingly, it seems the only inaccuracy of Orwell’s prescient book is that it was 17 years off.

Surely we must make some sacrifices in times of war, yet we must not sacrifice the very principles upon which the United States was founded. In the words of one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

© 2002 The Minnesota Daily

link: http://foi.missouri.edu/bushinfopolicies/bushorwellian.html

Angela S said...

Summary/Response of “Concern over Orwellian CCTV”

The Orwellian society is indeed a society characterized by the misery and oppression of the citizens living within such a scrutinized environment, in which the slogan is “War is peace freedom is slavery ignorance is strength” (18). Doubtless to say, that there is absolutely no freedom and privacy within this society. Indeed, there are patterns present within our society that are evident in George Orwell’s 1984. This in fact relates to the article found on the News 24, “Concern over Orwellian CCTV”. As the article explains that due to the vast amounts of cameras in London, made for the conveniences of police officers, London is very much moving towards an Orwellian society. Nonetheless, this becomes a concern to people in London as they talk about their lack of privacy, how they question the powers of the police and how in the end, they show a sense of acceptance of the vast amounts of cameras that surround their area.

Due to the high amounts of surveillance in both the Orwellian society and in London, there is no privacy and it is clearly impossible to act against the law without being punished as every movement is seen by authorities. The article tells how there are approximately 4.2 million cameras in Britain, that is, 1 camera for every 14 people. In the same way, the fictitious society created in 1984, states how there are telescreens on every corner and every room, watching every individual. The novel describes the telescreens by saying, “Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the mental plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard” (4).Here, it is clear that the telescreens described within the novel, shows that every man lives in fear- in fear of being punished for simply thinking and doing anything that the party disapproves of.

Within the article, it appears as though they begin to question the powers of the police. It appears as though they believe that the police have too much knowledge of their personal life. This is evident when someone states that, “And I really don’t think that’s the kind of country I want to live in”. That is, people would not consciously prefer to live in a society where they are constantly scrutinized as their every movement is watched. Moreover, the article even shows how the people begin to realize that the police seem to know much of their personal lives. The article states that the authorities would even know their habits, preferred books and the holidays that they like to take. As people living within the Orwellian society did not question the telescreens, this shows a contrast within the novel and the article. However, it was only, protagonist, Winston who would question the power of the police, which exemplifies a connection between the article and the novel.

Although it appears as though they question the powers of the police and their rights, they also seem to show acceptance towards the fact that there are cameras within every corner and do not revolt against it. It is mentioned that the cameras are necessary for police officers to effectively do their job. In fact, they find it reasonable and although it appears to violate their privacy, it also seems as though they allow it. Likewise in the novel, the people living within the Orwellian society do not revolt against the party even though they know that their every move is scrutinized and each action is merely just out of obedience towards the party.

Therefore the article shows how people move towards an Orwellian society because of the growing surveillance and how people fail to take action. It is already evident that people become more ignorant and tend to live out of routine. People must continuously take action and fight what they know is shortening their privacy, thus their freedom.

Article

Concern over 'Orwellian' CCTV

London - A senior British police officer questioned on Sunday the use of CCTV security cameras on the country's streets.

Deputy chief constable of Hampshire Police Ian Readhead said Britain is in danger of becoming an "Orwellian" society because of growing surveillance.

There are 4.2 million closed circuit TV cameras in Britain - about one for every 14 people.

But Readhead cast doubt on their necessity in areas that do not suffer from high levels of crime.

His force area includes the small town of Stockbridge, where councillors recently spent £10 000 installing CCTV cameras.

Speaking on the BBC's Politics show, Readhead said: "I'm really concerned about what happens to the product of these cameras, and what comes next?

"If it's in our villages, are we really moving towards an Orwellian situation where cameras are at every street corner?

'Big Brother'

"And I really don't think that's the kind of country that I want to live in."

Others also questioned the level of "Big Brother" style surveillance in Britain.

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said: "We know that the commercial sector, for example, know from our habits what sort of books we like to read, what holidays we like to take.

"Do we want the same approach to be taken by social services, by education, by the police?

"I think again there are some really important questions to be asked there."

However, the Home Office said there was "no doubt" that CCTV plays a "vital" role in the fight against crime.

"It provides police with a valuable tool in protecting the public and the law-abiding majority through identifying offenders and bringing them to justice," a spokesperson said.

Balance

"While we need to maintain the crucial balance between civil liberties and the powers of the police, it is vital that law enforcement agencies are equipped with the technology they need to enable them to do their jobs properly and effectively."

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett also supported the use of the cameras.

"It's perfectly reasonable for the community protection to have the kind of surveillance no more than would be available if there was a police officer or a community officer on the beat," he said.

http://www.news24.com/News24/
World/News/0,,2-10-1462_2116179,00.html

David S said...

Response

In the article, the reporter is able to show exactly why George Orwell was both very right and very wrong, in terms of his predictions as to how the world would evolve. In terms of if whether or not I agree with the article, I do in terms of what he says about why it is likely to not happen in North America, but it seems he excludes the poorer, less fortunate countries and even those that are unique such as China and India. The fact that Orwell did not predict that, at least in North America, the people would be watching Big Brother is a very good argument. The fact that reporters and even the government itself are keeping tabs on each other is something that Orwell neglected to mention in his novel.

But yet again back to the fact that this writer is discussing Orwell’s theory in North America. What Orwell did not think about as mentioned in the article is this, “If somebody wants it, somebody will sell it. And the corollary: if somebody sells it, somebody will buy it.” I agree very much with this considering the effect that prohibition had on people all over the world, which was it did not have an affect at all. People wanted alcohol the mafia supplied it and ultimately the government had to give in.

I agree in some ways with the writer in which the majority is with the supply and demand of consumers and the fact that even the leaders of nations are threatened by reporters and the paparazzi.

Article

Big Brother Couldn't Forsee the Big C - Consumerism

Jay Scott
In a way, everything George Orwell predicted in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four has come true. In a way, nothing he predicted has come true

. ("Doublethink", he wrote, means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them." The power to doublethink has come triumphantly true.)

When Orwell predicted that Big Brother would have technology to watch us, he was right. He was the Jules Verne of sociology. But he was wrong. He did not predict that citizens would be keeping tabs on Big Brother. He did not predict -- how could he? Who would have believed him? -- that two reporters would watch a U.S. President so closely he would be forced to resign, that a woman comedian would call a U.S. Secretary of the Interior an "idiot" on nationwide television and refuse to apologize ("Oh grow up, America!"), or that Big Brother would watch other Big Brothers - that politicians would live in mortal fear of having their secrets discovered by other politicians, the press, the people. Orwell predicted the equivalent of government dossiers, FBI files, CIA snooping. He did not predict That's Incredible, People Magazine or the National Enquirer

. Orwell was a pessimist, a dystopian suspicious of Marxism's promise of Eden on earth, and he was able to imagine all too well a society in which everything was sacrificed to the state, a society in which every move was monitored and engineered to echo every other move, a society in which individualism was extinct. For Orwell, the future could be found in what Mao's China was at one time thought to be, a vast panorama of - to use the term that became popular in the fifties, the decade Orwell did not quite live to see -- conformism. "If you want a picture of the future", he wrote in Nineteen Eighty Four, "Imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever".

Maybe. But what about Pac-Man? Orwell reckoned without capitalism's confounding capacity to avoid confrontation by merchandising it. Capitalism, like Pac-Man, can munch up anything. Control and conformism, the two Orwellian bugaboos, reckoned without behavioural psychology, which teaches that the most effective form of control is achieved by rewarding the organism, not by punishing it. Capitalism understands behavioursim as totalitarianism does not. In totalitarian countries, there are coups and revolutions and liberation movements. In capitalist countries, there are sales.

Consumer capitalism hopes to attract consumers to things that make them feel good, to things, that, in the language of behaviourisms, are "reinforcing". (The dark side of the system is that the search for profits leads capitalists to market things that look good but aren't good -- cigarettes, the Corvair, militarism -- and to resist discarding them as long as somebody is making a buck from them.)

Consumer capitalism stands ready to push ideas, ideologies and revolutionary strategies with the same acumen it brings to marketing perfume and defence contracts; in street lingo, consumer capitalism is an equal-opportunity whore. If it makes consumers feel good to avoid Big Brother. If it makes them feel good to think they are fighting against the system, the system will sell them that feeling.

Hollywood makes movies that call into question the morality of the corporations that own Hollywood, rock singers sing against the corruption of the record companies that record them, TV talk shows talk about TV as a menace. (Try to imagine it: each morning as the characters in Nineteen Eighty-Four get up, Big Brother announces over the loudspeaker, "Beware, Big Brother"). The law Orwell never took into account when foreseeing the future was this: If somebody wants it, somebody will sell it. And the corollary: if somebody sells it, somebody will buy it.

Orwell himself is marketed: Newspeak, doublethink and the adjective Orwellian are part of the culture. Individuality is accorded prime importance in the West, in the belief that individuality is the thing the West has that the East wants, the thing that spells the secret of its unprecedented ability to market life with such demographic exactitude that it is called a style. Lifestyle. The system has institutionalized the diversity Orwell feared would die out. The system is devoted to the proliferation of variety - to superficial variety (are those buns by Calvin Klein or Valente?) perhaps, but to variety nonetheless.

The desires of minorities generate marketing strategies - Jet and Ebony magazines for blacks, Blueboy and Numbers for gays. Within limits, the outsider is honoured and occasionally revered, especially if his jacket is black and made of leather and especially if he dies young and in it, with his Frye boots on.

Orwell's novel is a cautionary fable about a land in which everybody in the same class had the same things, did the same things, a land that exterminated any variation from the norm. (The Outer Party members lived by strict rules: the Inner Party members had rules slightly less strict; and the proles, the uneducated lower class, lived by few rules except that they were exterminated, if they showed signs of intelligence or of causing trouble.) The sequel he never lived to write could have been about a land where nobody was the same. In this non-Orwellian strange new world, there would be one law, and it would not be to revere Big Brother, and there would be one measure of success, and it would not be the ability to conform. Success and its measure would be found in one slogan, a slogan that would be found for a time on T-shirts sold only at the chicest of boutiques in the chicest of burgs: "whoever has the most things when he dies, wins."

http://www.empathicparenting.org/bigbrother.html

Katie S said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caley M said...

There seems to be a great amount of concern to people who are aware of the government controlling society the problem is no one is doing anything about it. There are others who are clueless and in denial about the outcome it will bring towards society and the lives of every individual. With learning and reading the novel “1984” there’s a clear cut image of how in a few years the world will soon be and how already we are living in an Orwellian State. The connection of this article “Big Brother is shouting at you” and the novel “1984” is the surveillance that Britain’s government is putting on amongst the people and how clueless they are about it; the disturbing thing about this is that Canada is already starting to do the same thing. There is no doubt that we are and will be living in an Orwellian State where anything and everything will be monitored and watched.

The article “Big Brother is shouting at you” by the Daily Mail deals with the CCTV cameras in Britain that not only watch and monitor the streets but as well talk publicly when bad behavior is being conducted; as the article states, “Shaming offenders into acting more responsibly.” Not only will this new technology be in Britain but if it turns out to be a success it will extend into other areas. This is relative to the novel “1984” because it seems to be just the beginning that is leading to the end humanity. Soon there will be something close to the “Thought Police” as well “Thought Crime”, it’s not just starting but it is already happening right here right now. “The patrols don’t matter. Only the thought police mattered.”(4) With being watched on the streets will soon turn into being watched in the class rooms, being watched while working, being watched in a non-public place, then right down to being watched in your very own home; and the excuse seems to be that its protecting society from crime and those who might commit it. As the article states, “The vast majority of the people welcome these cameras”. We are already mindless humans that are unable to function without the technology that’s being brought out, soon the mindless humans will be unable to function without someone supplying there heads with what to believe and think. “To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them; to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it…”(37) Being told what to do and what to think has been taking place all throughout the ages of man kind and the most talked about one is the Roman Catholic Church and how they have controlled peoples lives during the years with being truthful to there religion and if not then your a shame to God and will not be accepted in the Kingdom of Heaven. Just how far will the human life be pushed into a controlled environment where even having a new idea or a different opinion will cost you your life, it will not be long.

This hasn’t just started with the cameras it has been happening for ages humanity has just come up with a different concept of controlling and monitoring society. With the new technology being brought out it’s only a matter of time that we will soon be living in a life of 24/7 surveillance. People are being told that this is good for them which is a prime example of them unable to think for themselves and it pushes the government to experiment on people even more. There is no such thing as “Freedom” there never was and there never will be.
___________________________________

Article:
Big Brother is shouting at you
Last updated at 21:02pm on 16th September 2006

Big Brother is not only watching you - now he's barking orders too. Britain's first 'talking' CCTV cameras have arrived, publicly berating bad behaviour and shaming offenders into acting more responsibly.

The system allows control room operators who spot any anti-social acts - from dropping litter to late-night brawls - to send out a verbal warning: 'We are watching you'.

Middlesbrough has fitted loudspeakers on seven of its 158 cameras in an experiment already being hailed as a success. Jack Bonner, who manages the system, said: 'It is one hell of a deterrent. It's one thing to know that there are CCTV cameras about, but it's quite another when they loudly point out what you have just done wrong.

'Most people are so ashamed and embarrassed at being caught they quickly slink off without further trouble.

'There was one incident when two men started fighting outside a nightclub. One of the control room operators warned them over the loudspeakers and they looked up, startled, stopped fighting and scarpered in opposite directions.
'This isn't about keeping tabs on people, it's about making the streets safer for the law-abiding majority and helping to change the attitudes of those who cause trouble. It challenges unacceptable behaviour and makes people think twice.'

The Mail on Sunday watched as a cyclist riding through a pedestrian area was ordered to stop.

'Would the young man on the bike please get off and walk as he is riding in a pedestrian area,' came the command.

The surprised youth stopped, and looked about. A look of horror spread across his face as he realised the voice was referring to him.

He dismounted and wheeled his bike through the crowded streets, as instructed.

Law-abiding shopper Karen Margery, 40, was shocked to hear the speakers spring into action as she walked past them.

Afterwards she said: 'It's quite scary to realise that your every move could be monitored - it really is like Big Brother.
'But Middlesbrough does have a big problem with anti-social behaviour, so it is very reassuring.'

The scheme has been introduced by Middlesbrough mayor Ray Mallon, a former police superintendent who was dubbed Robocop for pioneering the zero-tolerance approach to crime.

He believes the talking cameras will dramatically cut not just anti-social behaviour, but violent crime, too.

And if the city centre scheme proves a success, it will be extended into residential areas.
The control room operators have been given strict guidelines about what commands they can give. Yelling 'Oi you, stop that', is not permitted.

Instead, their instructions make the following suggestions: 'Warning - you are being monitored by CCTV - Warning - you are in an alcohol-free zone, please refrain from drinking'; and Warning - your behaviour is being monitored by CCTV. It is being recorded and the police are attending.'

Mr Bonner said: 'We always make the requests polite, and if the offender obeys, the operator adds 'thank you'. We think that's a nice finishing touch.

'It would appear that the offenders are the only ones who find the audio cameras intrusive. The vast majority of people welcome these cameras.

'Put it this way, we never have requests to remove them.'
But civil rights campaigners have argued that the talking cameras are no 'magic bullet', in the fight against crime.

Liberty spokesman Doug Jewell said: 'None of us likes litterbugs or yobs playing up on a Saturday night, but talking CCTV cameras are no substitute for police officers on the beat.'

Web Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=405477&in_page_id=1770

Kathryn B said...

CCTV fans hit back at critics
by Staff Copy
http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news?articleid=2910177

Katie S said...

This article, found on the CBC website is proof that the world is slowly evolving into an Orwellian world, becoming more and more like 1984 by George Orwell. This article is the story of former NFL player, Pvt. Pat Tilman, who was killed in the war in Afghanistan and Pvt. Jessica Lynch, who was captured in the war in Iraq. Lynch came home to America to discover she was a national hero, the story the media had been telling the world was one of a valiant war hero who fought against overcoming odds for victory for the American people. The story of Tilman’s death was also one of heroism, Pat Tillman who was said to have been killed in the line of duty by the enemy. Lynch, who was fortune enough to be alive knew that her story was not one of a national hero and took her opportunity to speak the truth by testifying in Washington D.C. Along with Chairman Waxman, who bluntly accused the American Government of creating "sensational details and stories" of the true story of both Pvt. Lynch and Pvt. Tilman. At the hearing in Washington D.C, Lynch talked about her rescue by American troops but still upheld that her story was not one of an American hero and in reaction to the ‘misinformed’ stories that were being told, Lynch said “The bottom line is the American people are capable of determining their own ideals of heroes and they don't need to be told elaborate lies". Her elaborated story told the American public that she fought until there was no ammunition left but she simply says that that is not true. Pvt. Tilman unfortunately had no opportunity to tell the truth as Lynch did because he died in combat; Army Spc. Bryan O'Neal was ordered by military officials to keep quiet about the actual event of Tilman’s death, even to Tilman’s family, who was told, by the Pentagon, the fabricated story. In death, Tilman received the Silver Star award for his efforts and death by Enemy fire but these accounts were not true. It was found that Tilman had actually been killed by ‘friendly fire’, Waxman, unsure of the how this story started said this, “we don't know what the White House knew, what we do know is these were not a series of accidents, these stories. They were calculatedly put out for a public relations purpose…” Much of the blame for the Hype of both stories has been put on the U.S government for withholding information or providing false information, Tillman’s Brother, Kevin has also blamed the Military for its “…intentional falsehoods”. The falsified story, no matter who told it first, obviously stirs up emotions of the American public, hatred for the ‘enemy’ for killing their former NFL player and false pride in their perfect citizen. This story also somewhat legitimizes both wars, and creates a story to encourage the public to ‘buy into’ the war, this story is strangely similar to the one told in the Novel 1984. The main character, Winston, who works for the Ministry of Truth, is responsible for falsifying government papers to make the government the greatest government in any sense. When a story no longer makes sense or isn’t ‘true’ Winston changes the ‘facts’ in this case, a person is to be replaced;
“Winston decided that it would not be enough simply to reverse the tendency of Big Brother’s speech…the image of …Comrade Ogilvy, who had recently died in battle, in heroic circumstances…It was true there was no such person …but a few lines of print…would soon being him into existence.” (48-49)
The deceptive stories that the government or the media have spread is leading America into an Orwellian state because it is misleading the public and leaving out details of the true story. This is important because the news should be truthful, it is insight into the world around America, it is the link between the world and a country or community. The news should be facts that educate the citizen and by controlling and misleading the public, the government or the media has control over society. Though this situation may not seem to be as bad as the Chinese Government excluding facts from the news, this is a start, withholding facts and news from the public could turn out to be very dangerous. Four generals are on trial for this mishap but it is believed that they are just scapegoats for higher up members of the military or of the government.
Luckily there were people brave enough to set the record straight like Pvt. Jessica Lynch and O’ Neal, without these people the false stories would be known as truth, and though it shows a brave soldier in a rightfully deserved good light, it is not the truth. The facts were known by many, there were witnesses to Tilman’s death but they were not heard for years. If society is ignorant of the act of falsifying government papers and mislead information than the government will have control over everything,“Comrade Ogilvy, who had never existed in the present, now existed in the past, and once the act of forgery was forgotten, he would exist just as authentically.” (50). The frightening realization is that lies have been known to be truths; this can lead to the point in which 2 + 2 can equal anything at all because that is what the government says. “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears… His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him…the true had got to be defended.” (84).
The cover up of both Pvt. Lynch’s story and Pvt. Tilman’s story are just two examples of the corruption of the government, news and media, all truth must be defended and nothing withheld. If the government continues to cover up stories and the media continues to spread fabricated events then the world goes one step closer to 1984 by George Orwell.
______________________ ARTICLE

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/04/24/politics/main2720253_page2.shtml

Tillman's Fellow Ranger Admits Cover-Up
Last Soldier To See Tillman Alive: "I Was Ordered Not To Tell" His Brother
WASHINGTON, April 24, 2007

(CBS/AP) An Army Ranger who was with Pat Tillman when the former football star was cut down by friendly fire in Afghanistan said Tuesday a commanding officer had ordered him to keep quiet about what happened.
The military at first portrayed Tillman's death as the result of heroic combat with the enemy. Army Spc. Bryan O'Neal told a congressional hearing that when he got the chance to talk to Tillman's brother, who had been in a nearby convoy on the fateful day, "I was ordered not to tell him what happened."
"You were ordered not to tell him?" repeated Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
"Roger that, sir," replied O'Neal, dressed in his Army uniform.
The revelation came as committee members questioned whether, and when, top Defense officials and the White House knew that Tillman's death in eastern Afghanistan three years ago was actually a result of gunfire from fellow U.S. soldiers.
Tillman's death received worldwide attention because he had walked away from a huge contract with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals to enlist in the Army after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
His family was initially misled by the Pentagon and did not learn the truth for more than a month. Tillman was awarded a Silver Star based on fabricated accounts — who fabricated them still isn't clear after several investigations.
"We don't know what the secretary of defense knew, we don't know what the White House knew," Waxman said. "What we do know is these were not a series of accidents, these stories. They were calculatedly put out for a public relations purpose. ... Even now there seems to be a cover-up."
Kevin Tillman was in a convoy behind his older brother, a former NFL star, on April 22, 2004, when Pat Tillman was mistakenly shot by other Army Rangers who had just emerged from a canyon where they'd been fired upon. Kevin Tillman didn't see what happened. O'Neal said he was ordered not to tell him by then-Lt. Col. Jeff Bailey, the battalion commander who oversaw Tillman's platoon.
"He basically just said, Sir, that uh, 'Do not let Kevin know, he's probably in a bad place knowing that his brother's dead,"' O'Neal testified. "He made it known that I would get in trouble, sir, if I spoke with Kevin."
O'Neal said he was "quite appalled" by the order.
Bailey's superior officer, then-Col. James C. Nixon, has testified to the Defense Department's inspector general that he ordered that information on the facts of Tillman's death be shared with as few people as possible so that the Tillman family would not learn those facts through news media leaks. That, in turn, shaped Bailey's guidance to his troops.
The Army said initially that Tillman was killed by enemy gunfire while trying to help another group of ambushed soldiers. The family was not told what really happened until May 29, 2004, a delay the Army blamed on procedural mistakes.
Kevin Tillman and Tillman's mother, Mary Tillman, also testified Tuesday but were not in the room when O'Neal spoke.
After the hearing, Mary Tillman approached O'Neal, introduced herself, embraced him and sobbed.
Kevin Tillman, in his testimony, accused the military of "intentional falsehoods" and "deliberate and careful misrepresentations" in the portrayal of his brother's death.
"Revealing that Pat's death was a fratricide would have been yet another political disaster in a month of political disasters ... so the truth needed to be suppressed," the brother said.
"Our family will never be satisfied. We'll never have Pat back," Mary Tillman testified. "Something really awful happened. It's your job to find out what happened to him. That's really important."
Last month the military concluded in a pair of reports that nine high-ranking Army officers, including four generals, made critical errors in reporting Tillman's death but that there was no criminal wrongdoing in his shooting — a conclusion the family has disputed. The Army is reviewing the actions of the officers.
The committee also heard Tuesday from Jessica Lynch, the former Army private who was badly injured when her convoy was ambushed in Iraq in 2003. She was later rescued by American troops from an Iraqi hospital, but the tale of her ambush was changed into a story of heroism on her part.
Still hampered by her injuries, Lynch walked slowly to the witness table and took a seat alongside Tillman's family members.
"The bottom line is the American people are capable of determining their own ideals of heroes and they don't need to be told elaborate lies," Lynch said.
In questioning what the White House knew about Tillman, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., cited a memo written by a top general seven days after Tillman's death warning it was "highly possible" the Army Ranger was killed by friendly fire and making clear his warning should be conveyed to the president. President Bush made no reference to the way Tillman died in a speech delivered two days after the memo was written.
White House aides insist Mr. Bush didn't know Tillman died of friendly fire when he made a speech in May 2004 lauding the nation's highest-profile casualty, reports CBS News White House correspondent Jim Axelrod.
Questioned by Waxman, Defense Department acting Inspector General Thomas F. Gimble said he did not believe the memo ever went to the White House.
Gimble said that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sent him a letter around the time Rumsfeld left office last December saying he hadn't known Tillman's death was from friendly fire until around May 20, 2004. Abizaid told Gimble he was traveling in the war theater and didn't see the memo saying Tillman's death was possibly friendly fire until after Tillman's memorial service.
Four generals now face possible disciplinary action for their roles in perpetuating false accounts of Tillman's death, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin.
But Mary Tillman believes they're just scapegoats who were acting on orders from higher up, possibly even the White House. She dismissed the suggestion Abizaid hadn't seen the memo as "ridiculous," and said she believed Rumsfeld must have known. "The fact that he would have died by friendly fire and no one told Rumsfeld is ludicrous," she said.
The committee had wanted to hear from Lt. Gen. Philip Kensinger, the now-retired three-star general who was in charge of Army special operations and came under the heaviest criticism from military investigators for misleading information about Tillman's death.
Kensinger's attorney sent Waxman a letter last week saying that if Kensinger were called to testify he would refuse to answer questions, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Stephanie N said...

British, US Spying Draws Us Closer to Orwell's Big Brother

http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1229-35.htm

Adrian V said...

The spreading of cameras across the street corners has some people worried about what the world is becoming. Ian Readhead, a constable in Hampshire, does not want to live in a world with cameras mounted on every street corner, even in areas with a low crime rate.
A small town called Stockbridge spent £10,000 installing closed-circuit televisions (CCTV). The benefits of installing these expensive cameras are not justified in this small town. Mr. Readhead observed that the cameras did not aid in the reduction of crime rates. He observed that in Stockbridge the amount of violent crimes increased from 2005 to 2006. He questions whether the cameras actually deter crimes and make individuals feel safe.
Readhead claims to understand society’s will for the cameras, but he calls to question where the cameras will lead. It is possible that the CCTV force society towards the society depicted by Orwell in 1984. The cameras are similar to the telescreens put in place by the Party present in Nineteen-Eighty Four. It will become possible for the government to keep a constant eye on every member of society, and eventually remove all privacy and individuality from them.
David Baseley, the parish church chairman, disagrees with Readhead’s statement and believes that most people are in favour of the security system, including the police officers who contributed in funding one of the cameras. The amount of CCTV in the UK has reached an excessive 4.2 million.
Mr. Readhead is also opposed to the retention of DNA evidence from crimes committed as a minor. He claims that the retention of this could have serious repercussions through the adult life of the individual whose criminal record is on file with their DNA. This could cause difficulty in finding jobs as an adult, even if the individual’s criminal record has been empty since their first and only offence.
This move towards an always-watched society is similar to the society represented in Orwell’s 1984. The Ingsoc, or English Socialism, ideal presented in 1984 has similar qualities to that in the present day world. Ingsoc presents the idea of having every citizen watched at all hours of the day. This is accomplished by telescreens, screens that relay all noise they record, any sound louder than a soft whisper, to the Party. If any crime is committed, including the crime of thought, the criminal is arrested by the thought police. This is similar to the CCTV presented by the article. The concept of a CCTV, or a closed-circuit television, is similar to that of a telescreens because it is used to deter crime of all sorts. If evidence is needed for a crime case the CCTV can be consulted. With CCTV it is possible for the entirety of a country to be watched at any given moment. This, just like the telescreens from 1984, decreases a person’s privacy and individuality.


'Orwellian' CCTV in shires alarms senior police officer
• Benefits of wide-ranging surveillance questioned
• Deputy chief constable criticises DNA rules

Rachel Williams
Monday May 21, 2007
The Guardian
Britain risks becoming an "Orwellian" society as CCTV cameras spread to quiet villages with low crime levels, a senior police officer warned yesterday.
Ian Readhead, Hampshire's deputy chief constable, said he did not want to live in a country where every street corner was fitted with surveillance devices.
He also criticised rules which meant DNA evidence and fingerprints could be kept for the rest of a teenager's life once they have been arrested for an offence, even if they never get in trouble again, and said there was a danger that speed cameras were seen by the public as a revenue-generating process rather than a genuine effort to reduce casualties.
Mr Readhead highlighted the town of Stockbridge in Hampshire's rural Test Valley, where parish councillors spent £10,000 installing CCTV, as an example of a situation where the benefits of surveillance were questionable.
Crime went up slightly in the town after the system was installed, Mr Readhead said, although between 2005 and 2006 there were only two violent crimes against people over 60 and no one was injured in either incident. "I have to question: does the camera actually instill in individuals a great feeling of safety and does it present serious offences taking place?" he said in an interview for the BBC's Politics Show.
"I'm struggling with seeing the deployment of cameras in our local village as being a benefit to policing; I understand why the local public say this is what we want, but I'm really concerned about what happens to the product of these cameras, and what comes next? If it's in our villages - are we really moving towards an Orwellian situation with cameras on every street corner? I really don't think that's the kind of country that I want to live in."
Stockbridge parish council yesterday defended its decision to install CCTV, with its former chairman revealing that police and traders had each contributed £4,000 to the cost of installing the three surveillance cameras in the town.
David Baseley, who was parish council chairman for the past nine years, said he was amazed by Mr Readhead's comments. "I think a lot of police would disagree with him, the police have paid for some of it and the police have been behind it," he said. "We were concerned about the vulnerability of the place, although we haven't had any real crimes."
There are an estimated 4.2m CCTV cameras in the UK.
On the retention of DNA evidence, Mr Readhead said: "My concern is this - we are in a society at the moment where the police have the power that if they arrest a 15-year-old for a recordable offence we can retain their DNA and their fingerprints.
"That information would be kept for life unless there were exceptional circumstances, such as it being proved that no crime was committed.
"My real worry is this. Fifteen years from now we are still holding that DNA and that arrest information - should we be doing that?" Mr Readhead asked. "Is it right that that may impede that person - who's never been arrested again - from getting a job? I'm not sure that sits comfortably with me."
Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, welcomed Mr Readhead's comments: "Politicians like to present the police as ever hungry for more powers. Yet even the police are concerned that we are losing the value of privacy."
The Police Federation's vice-chairman, Alan Gordon, said he shared some of the concerns about the extent of CCTV use. "I have sympathy with members of the public who are not going to be committing crimes and feel they are being spied on. It should be down to consultation with people locally," he said.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/humanrights/story/0,,2084290,00.html

Jenica A said...

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four depicts a world governed by totalitarianism. A world in which all aspects of the citizens’ life are subordinate to the authority of the state. It is distinct from both authoritarianism and dictatorship because they lack a guiding ideology and the organization to pursue national goals. The novel, 1984, epitomizes the eerie truth of future society, what the present world will come to if civilization continues to thread on the path of technology, fear, and war.

Present day society mirrors the fear-mongering tendencies of the super-states of 1984. The continued explosion of surveillance in every hallway corner and street initiates the “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU” (4) apprehensiveness among the people, the fear of being scrutinized for every action and word. This allows the government to keep the growing population in check, and to maintain their supposed safety. The principles of Ingsoc, “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength” (18), are eminent in the actions that George Bush undertakes. The declaration of permanent war allows the United States government to continue to weaken the population by inducing them with propaganda-based fear. Allowing them to live in a state of doublethink and confusion.

The threats of terrorism imposed on the people, allows the government to implement war thereby allowing the continuation of “censorship, propaganda, secret police, and privation”. These serve as strategies of psychological control. George Bush heavily advocates the idea of War is Peace and Ignorance is Strength. For with war, the population is induced and controlled by fear of the unknown. And with ignorance, the people are kept hidden from the honest truth of the government’s affairs. They will be able to easily control the minds of the civilians, and instill them with responsibilities generated towards the betterment of their plans.

Article

This article was taken from CommonDreams.org

Happy New Year It’s 1984—Bush’s Orwellian Address
By Jacob Levich

Seventeen years later than expected, 1984 has arrived. In his address to Congress Thursday, George Bush effectively declared permanent war -- war without temporal or geographic limits; war without clear goals; war against a vaguely defined and constantly shifting enemy. Today it's Al-Qaeda; tomorrow it may be Afghanistan; next year, it could be Iraq or Cuba or Chechnya.

No one who was forced to read 1984 in high school could fail to hear a faint bell tinkling. In George Orwell's dreary classic, the totalitarian state of Oceania is perpetually at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia. Although the enemy changes periodically, the war is permanent; its true purpose is to control dissent and sustain dictatorship by nurturing popular fear and hatred.

The permanent war undergirds every aspect of Big Brother's authoritarian program, excusing censorship, propaganda, secret police, and privation. In other words, it's terribly convenient.

And conveniently terrible. Bush's alarming speech pointed to a shadowy enemy that lurks in more 60 countries, including the US. He announced a policy of using maximum force against any individuals or nations he designates as our enemies, without color of international law, due process, or democratic debate.

He explicitly warned that much of the war will be conducted in secret. He rejected negotiation as a tool of diplomacy. He announced starkly that any country that doesn't knuckle under to US demands will be regarded as an enemy. He heralded the creation of a powerful new cabinet-level police agency called the "Office of Homeland Security." Orwell couldn't have named it better.

By turns folksy ("Ya know what?") and chillingly bellicose ("Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists"), Bush stepped comfortably into the role of Big Brother, who needs to be loved as well as feared. Meanwhile, his administration acted swiftly to realize the governing principles of Oceania:

WAR IS PEACE. A reckless war that will likely bring about a deadly cycle of retaliation is being sold to us as the means to guarantee our safety. Meanwhile, we've been instructed to accept the permanent war as a fact of daily life. As the inevitable slaughter of innocents unfolds overseas, we are to "live our lives and hug our children."

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. "Freedom itself is under attack," Bush said, and he's right. Americans are about to lose many of their most cherished liberties in a frenzy of paranoid legislation. The government proposes to tap our phones, read our email and seize our credit card records without court order. It seeks authority to detain and deport immigrants without cause or trial. It proposes to use foreign agents to spy on American citizens. To save freedom, the warmongers intend to destroy it.

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. America's "new war" against terrorism will be fought with unprecedented secrecy, including heavy press restrictions not seen for years, the Pentagon has advised. Meanwhile, the sorry history of American imperialism -- collaboration with terrorists, bloody proxy wars against civilians, forcible replacement of democratic governments with corrupt dictatorships -- is strictly off-limits to mainstream media. Lest it weaken our resolve, we are not to be allowed to understand the reasons underlying the horrifying crimes of September 11.

The defining speech of Bush's presidency points toward an Orwellian future of endless war, expedient lies, and ubiquitous social control. But unlike 1984's doomed protagonist, we've still got plenty of space to maneuver and plenty of ways to resist.

It's time to speak and to act. It falls on us now to take to the streets, bearing a clear message for the warmongers: We don't love Big Brother.

http://www.commondreams.org/views01/0922-07.htm

Linh H said...

An Orwellian answer to all our problems
By Kerry Tomasi
Online Journal Contributing Writer

May 31, 2007, 00:27
�I don�t know, Mr. President, it doesn�t look good. They simply have too much on you, with potentially more to come, if you know what I mean. The only way, the only legal way that is, to avoid being removed from office is if some kind of �catastrophic emergency� were to occur, in which case you could invoke �Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20,� then quickly put an end to any impeachment proceedings, and any further investigations. But, unfortunately, one never quite knows when a �catastrophic emergency� might occur, now do we sir? If you know what I mean.�
On May 9, the White House issued a decree, entitled �Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20,� instituting a plan for responding to a �catastrophic emergency.�
In this directive, George W. Bush bestowed upon himself the authority to personally take control of the entire federal government -- including the judicial and legislative branches -- for the purpose of �ensuring constitutional government.�
Yes, that�s George �the Constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper� Bush we�re talking about. The same person who�s done more to dismantle the Bill of Rights, and our constitutionally mandated checks and balances, than anyone in history. This is the guy who�s going to ensure that our constitutional form of government endures by seizing control of it.
I swear, if George Orwell were alive, this BushCo crew would make him weep with envy at their machinations.
I�m sure many of you see nothing alarming about any of this, and believe I�m being overly apprehensive, to put it mildly.
But let me ask you this -- do you really think George W. Bush has put forth this directive so that Edwards, Hillary, or Obama would have the authority to take control of the entire federal government in the event of a �catastrophic emergency�?
Or do you think the puppet masters behind the scene are fairly confident that one of their own pawns -- be it George or the next one -- will be at the controls when (not if, but when) the next �catastrophic emergency� occurs?
Most Americans believe that a fascist form of government is simply inconceivable in this country. I suspect that�s only because they�re expecting to see images of goose steppers, swastikas, little rectangular mustaches, and cattle cars -- all in grainy black and white.
That�s not how it�s going to look this time around.
Twenty-first century fascism will be perfectly disguised as true blue Americanism, brought to you by friendly looking, aw-shucks types of folks, waving flags and clutching Bibles (or vice versa), and denouncing anyone who stands in their way as �un-American.�
Americanized fascism is not only possible in this country, it�s right at our doorstep, leaning in. All it will take is for just one more �catastrophic emergency� to occur, and that door is going to fling wide open, and in they�ll come, prepared to solve all our problems with just a few �minor adjustments� to the system.
The military/industrial/corporate complex that owns or controls most of this country has been maneuvering for 50 years to bring us to this point.
Dwight Eisenhower saw it coming in 1961: � . . . we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.�
Sound advice. Advice we would be wise to heed, prior to the next �catastrophic emergency� befalling us. Otherwise, be prepared for some unwelcome guests settling in. Guests who have no intention of ever leaving.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal


This article is a reminder of the current state of the United States of America and in turn, the nation of Canada in which I live in. In response to the devastation of the War on Terrorism created by the 9/11 attacks in the U.S., the mass population of working-class citizens has become enveloped in a constant condition of alertness to the slightest abnormality. In Kerry Tomasi’s An Orwellian answer to all our problems the consequences of President George W. Bush issuing a decree called Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20 are outlined. Surely, there are parallels between this article and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four in terms of the societal influences in the U.S. and Oceania. As this decree exemplifies the necessity of rousing fear in the average American citizens, the development of military strength, and the potential of a figure head as means of controlling America these same tactics are found in Orwell’s novel.

Due to the fear that hinders individuals in American society as a result of a warlike state, President Bush’s decree spreads comfort and an aura of ease throughout the country. The decree entails the responsibilities and actions that should be taken if there is ever a catastrophic emergency that threatens the safety of America. It seems only appropriate that this procedure be posted by the President and accepted by the citizens. Furthermore, as this is scene as a protective decree and the citizens are not skeptical as the “consciousness of being at war,… makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival” (199-200) illustrated by the Outer Party in Oceania’s reactions. As this article states, President Bush is using the societal angst to benefit the agenda he must execute. That is, Bush underestimates the citizens’ abilities of comprehension and he devalues their input or control on societal issues. Bush is not intimidated by the mass population as the proles in Nineteen Eighty Four are disregarded by the Inner and Outer Party. The proles and the American citizens are “…masses [whom] will never revolt of their own accord, and they will never revolt merely because they are oppressed” (216) by a society which does not encourage personal thought and is swarmed with unknown fear.

In the event of war there is a collective production industrially and militarily as the entire district being affected prepares their defensive lines. The article suggests that President Bush and his supporters intend to abuse the conditions of the decree. With this opportunity to enforce the policy of the Constitution, President Bush would be able to contrive any type if society that he desires in which the article suggests will not develop into an advantageous quality of living for the mass populations. As a result this would allow an “Americanized Facism..[to be] possible in this country” (Tomasi) of America where President Bush could manipulate the mass population in any fashion he desires, solely benefiting the upper class of society. President Bush would be able to further fuel the war atmosphere and increased production would be aimed towards supporting the war. The mentality that “Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed.” (199) would be an Orwellian tactic in which President Bush would be capable of instilling in citizens. All economic advancements would be centered on the war effort, that is, to control the mass populations. As with the Outer party of Oceania, consumption shortages would become apparent and citizens would respect the leaders that strive to create a better society for them to live in. The article quotes Eisenhower in underlining that “the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists” (Tomasi) in this particular form of society and this is what the article intends to stress.

Orwell names Oceania’s main authoritative figure Big Brother whom is an example of President Bush pushed to the extreme limit of exploiting a war tormenting society. At present Bush can pass any decrees he feels fit and ultimately has the final veto on all the issues that affect America as does Big Brother. Assuming that Big Brother is not a live human, the majority of the Outer party would be equivalent to the ‘puppets’(Tomasi) and the think tank running the elite of the totalitarian society in Oceania, the Inner Party would be the ‘puppet masters’(Tomasi). They are the most proficient in doublethink, effectively grasping the “the belief that Big Brother is omnipotent and that the Party is infallible.”(221) and this is what President Bush appears to intend. With this decree he grants himself and his colleagues the right to take over the country in any form necessary. This is similar to the fact that Big Brother controls everything that goes in, out, and on in the four Ministries, without a slight complaint by an Outer party member. The severe domination of President Bush will be tolerated with effortlessness and relief. When Bush is in this position he can eliminate the number of intellectuals’ privately in power and prove them to turn obsolete. Thus, a successful development will be instated.

In conclusion this article simply suggests what could evolve from President Bush’s behaviour. If his main intention is to gain complete mental rule over the citizens of the U.S. he is following the process which guides him to his goal. From Tomasi’s An Orwellian answer to all our problems President Bush demonstrates a thirst for control by using the American citizens’ aversions of war, a targeted production of military stockpile, and a powerful, promising leader. Tomasi’s title sarcastically insults the decision of President Bush to approve this decree along with the procedure to follow. This should spurn the audience to contemplate what the true answer to our societal problems is, thus presenting one of the most aggravating of human struggles in that first, the audience must analyze themselves.

Zack D said...

Police chief's 'Orwellian' fears

A senior police officer has said he fears the spread of CCTV cameras is leading to "an Orwellian situation".
Deputy chief constable of Hampshire Ian Readhead said Britain could become a surveillance society with cameras on every street corner.
He told the BBC's Politics Show that CCTV was being used in small towns and villages where crime rates were low.
Mr Readhead also called for the retention of some DNA evidence and the use of speed cameras to be reviewed.
His force area includes the small town of Stockbridge, where parish councillors have spent £10,000 installing CCTV.
Mr Readhead questioned whether the relatively low crime levels justified the expense and intrusion.
'Every street corner?
"I'm really concerned about what happens to the product of these cameras, and what comes next?" he said.
"If it's in our villages, are we really moving towards an Orwellian situation where cameras are at every street corner?
"And I really don't think that's the kind of country that I want to live in."
There are up to 4.2 million CCTV cameras in Britain - about one for every 14 people.
The UK also has the world's biggest DNA database, with 3.6 million DNA samples on file.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk/6673579.stm

Published: 2007/05/20 06:33:12 GMT

© BBC MMVII

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The CCTV camera stands for closed-circuit television camera. It is used as surveillance equipment which broadcast's a video signal to a select set of monitors. It's main use is to aid in the capture of criminals and in the reduction of crime. This article by the BBC news show's one man's belief in another man's fear. Ian Redhead, Police cheif constable shares with us his view on Britain in an Orwellian state. It is easy to see where Redhead draws his comparison to Oceana because of the constant video surveillance, large DNA database and an unnecessary amount of CCTV that Britain has. This is the perfect comparison to Orwell's dystopian world and so Redhead then asks us the question "what comes next?" there is no definite answer to this question, but we see that Orwell's theory is beginning to prove itself as truth. As Canadian's we may not be openly watched at the moment but this article shows that Big Brother is watching Britain.

In Newspeak it is called facecrime, where even a flicker of the eye could give you away. In English we would call this suspicious behavior; regardless of the name it is the instrument which is important and whether in Oceana or Britain, it does the same job. It is the video surveillance camera, also known as CCTV or the Telescreen. With the amount of CCTV in Britain the public is being watched almost constantly "Deputy chief constable of Hampshire Ian Readhead said Britain could become a surveillance society with cameras on every street corner. " and just like 1984 people are conscious that someone is watching, although not to the same extent as Orwell shows in his novel, any private life that is carried out outside of the home is essential not private anymore. Redhead then shares his opinion of this extensive surveillance saying "If it's in our villages, are we really moving towards an Orwellian situation where cameras are at every street corner? And I really don't think that's the kind of country that I want to live in." an ironic comment coming from a police officer showing that there is something more behind these camera's then just stopping crime.

The thought process of a person can be easily controlled with fear. If you know that you we be caught for committing a crime the likely hood of committing it is reduced. Redhead tells us how this fear can work in the United Kingdom "The UK also has the world's biggest DNA database, with 3.6 million DNA samples on file" this means that if a crime is committed they will have a much easier time finding out who you are. This instills fear in the public, but Redhead contemplates it's extensiveness "Mr Readhead also called for the retention of some DNA evidence and the use of speed cameras to be reviewed." as most would he believes that the government should reconsider the abundance of these items. It seems that people do not have any privacy anymore. It is necessary to stop crime and danger, but from this article it is evident that there is not even an access amount of crime to begin with. So it is a mystery that there would be so many camera if there is really no need for them. The reason goes back to the central idea that fear is control and if you can control the people the boundaries to what you can do become endless. We see this in the rule of Hitler, Stalin, and Big Brother. We also see this possible control in the government of Britain and the society we all live in today, but this is just one police cheifs opinion of his community. It could be completely wrong, but Orwell seems to be right thus far, so it would be ignorant not to relate these two stories.

The party just like Britain announced the 2+2=5 and so people in Britain decided that to be safe you need to have surveillance camera's. This is a basic instinct of human beings where we follow the leader "There are up to 4.2 million CCTV cameras in Britain - about one for every 14 people." and this will only continue to grow, and continue to influence but for the wrong reasons; it is not that we need this many camera's but people feel safe with them. the thought is that in order to be safe it is a necessity to have this. Even when the amount of crime is low and there is no danger posed to the community, the people will believe what they hear and believe what they are told. When everyone is buying CCTV camera's the person without one feels that in order to be safe they must also get one. Redhead talks about a case similar to this where CCTV installation was not necessary "His force area includes the small town of Stockbridge, where parish councillors have spent £10,000 installing CCTV. Mr Readhead questioned whether the relatively low crime levels justified the expense and intrusion." obviously it was alot of money for a church to spend this much money on surveillance equipment but it proves the point that 2+2=5.

We have discussed before that Big Brother is merely a construct and if he truly does exist it is not important. What is important is that the idea remain's. That being said, the idea could be presented by most anyone and if followed exactly would still have the same effect. Again, if this idea was introduced to Britain for example it could take a while to perfect it's self but soon enough it will start to happen. As we can see it has already started to happen and the theory Orwell presents to us is not so farfetched as it once may have seemed. With a camera watching you every time you go out in public and a database that contains millions of DNA samples a person is not hard to locate. It is possible that we are all being watched just as much Britain but it seems that we as Canadians are more safe. This is not certain but what is certain is that Big Brother in someway or another is watching us all.

Robyn E said...

Eliza Strickland's 2005 article 'Thoughtcrime on campus? Call Students for an Orwellian Society,' taken from the Columbia News Service website directly addresses the relation between the dystopia George Orwell conveys in his novel 1984 and the postmodern world we currently live in. It portrays a clear example of Orwellian society existing in present day and examines the thought processes of these young adults who view the society in 1984 as an ideal for the United States of America. With their campaign for camera surveillance in every college dorm and the necessity to report political dissent to their imitation of the 'Thought Police', this group has grown immensely to support and spread increased aspects of Orwellian life across America. This article depicts an obvious model of the Orwellian state rather than subtle and discreet similarities that can be observed in everyday life.

The members of the Students for an Orwellian Society group admire the omnipotent totalitarian government system that exists in 1984. They celebrate and embrace parallels between American life and life under the tyrannical rule of ‘Big Brother’ in Orwell’s satire- where the government uses a combination of fear of the unknown and the scapegoat Goldstein with intense propaganda and signage. The members rejoice in the unquestioned justification of the U.S. democratic system for their war on terror through their own propaganda that reads, “Have you seen lack of support for the U.S. military? Concern for Iraqi citizens? Outright dissent? Report thoughtcrime! It’s your patriotic duty!”

These students have gone as far as to hold their own ‘Hate Week’ during the previous November presidential elections in the U.S. This is yet another Orwellian imitation as real as the propaganda the students created to remind fellow students to hate ‘dissidents, poor people and terrorists’. This, however, is not the only group that idealizes the totalitarian techniques of ‘Big Brother’ in 1984. Another group of radical protestors called themselves ‘Billionaires for Bush’ during the most recent Republican National Convention where they proceeded to tip their top hats to the masses while wielding signs reading, ‘Leave No Billionaire Behind’ and ‘4 More Wars!’

Whether it be Columbia college, the University of California or the Metropolitan State College in Denver, Orwellian society is the society of today. Though it may be seen more clearly by some or embraced more than shunned by others, it is here. One fine example presented in the article by a student by the name of Alan Franklin is the dismissal of the U.S. supporting Saddam Hussein in the 1983 Iran-Iraq War where the now secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, shook hands with Hussein himself. This is directly relatable to the Orwellian rewriting of history to fit in with beliefs of the present day. These students swear by the Orwellian principle of: “The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible,” especially after the United States government deemed Iraq the newest enemy for North American society to hate.

This article shows a more frightening, radical example of Orwellian society existing today. Not only is it alive through a flawed democratic system, a world programmed to materialism and consuming- where we believe we have freedom and power in a society where we have none, it is here in exact replicas of Orwell’s 1984- from Thought Police to Hate Week.

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Thoughtcrime on campus? Call Students for an Orwellian Society

By Eliza Strickland
CLICK THIS TEXT for high-resolution
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The Students for an Orwellian Society believe that the war on terror has led to a sinister increase in surveillance. (Sara Blask/CNS)


The Students for an Orwellian Society believe that the war on terror has led to a sinister increase in surveillance. (Sara Blask/CNS)



The Students for an Orwellian Society believe that the war on terror has led to a sinister increase in surveillance. (Sara Blask/CNS)


The Students for an Orwellian Society believe that the war on terror has led to a sinister increase in surveillance. (Sara Blask/CNS)

They demand surveillance cameras in every dorm room. A halt to casual sex, especially between homosexuals. And the immediate reporting of any political dissent to the Thought Police.

It’s high time the U.S. government got serious about controlling the lives and minds of its citizens, according to this unusual student group.

With more than a score of chapters on college campuses around the country, Students for an Orwellian Society is creating a new breed of campus radical--satirists who camouflage liberal sentiment in fascist rhetoric. The student activists claim George Orwell’s novel “1984” is their model for an ideal society.

Orwell’s book imagines an omnipotent totalitarian government that keeps its population docile through a mixture of fear and patriotic propaganda. By pretending to celebrate the parallels they see between American society and “1984,” the activists hope to encourage students to ask hard questions about steps taken by the government in the name of homeland security and the war on terror.

“Have you seen: Question asking? Lack of support for the U.S. military? Concern for Iraqi citizens? Outright dissent?” reads one poster on the national organization’s Web site. “Report thoughtcrime! It’s your patriotic duty!”

The first chapter was founded in October 2001 at Columbia by a handful of students who were alarmed by the Bush administration’s response to Sept. 11. The students were worried that the terrorist attacks were being used as an excuse for a crackdown on civil liberties and a new level of intrusion into the private lives of citizens that reminded them of the dystopia pictured in “1984.”

Michael Castleman, one of the founders of the group, continues to run the national Web site although he graduated in 2003. In the spirit of the shadowy and paranoid government of "1984" that he celebrates, he did not respond to interview requests.

Of the decentralized organization’s many branches, the outpost at the University of California, Davis, is one of the most active. During the November presidential election, the group hosted Hate Week, an event modeled after a celebration described in “1984” that was meant to whip crowds into a patriotic frenzy. The activists covered the campus with posters reminding students to hate dissidents, poor people and terrorists.

Last spring, they invaded a festival that Brent Laabs, one of the organizers at UC-Davis, described as a “hippie convention.”

“We had a table out there and spent a couple of afternoons trying to convince people that fascism was the way to go,” Laabs said. But not everyone got the joke. One of their flyers on the same-sex marriages being performed in San Francisco concluded, “Rain fire from sky like Sodom and Gomorrah," a comment that attracted particular concern.

“The propaganda sounds close enough to what some extremists are saying that people believe we could actually be serious,” Laabs said.

Laabs says he was attracted to the group because he believed that in an environment saturated with media and messages, satire had a better chance of being noticed. The outlandish messages trumpeted on their flyers attract attention when earnest appeals fail. A similar approach was evident during the Republican National Convention in August, when protesters calling themselves Billionaires for Bush doffed their top hats to the crowd while brandishing signs reading, “Leave No Billionaire Behind” and “4 More Wars!”

Humor also keeps up the spirits, says Alan Franklin, a junior majoring in history at Metropolitan State College of Denver and the leading Orwellian on campus. He draws attention to what “1984” called the malleability of the past: the rewriting of history to conform to present-day beliefs. In 1983, during the Iran-Iraq War, the United States supported Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and Donald Rumsfeld, who is now secretary of defense, shook hands with him, Franklin said. “Either you sit there with your mouth hanging open, or you laugh it off,” he said.

To the Orwellians, when President Bush labeled Iraq part of the “axis of evil,” he drew tantalizingly close to a principle stated in Orwell’s novel: “The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible.”

E-mail: eas2121@columbia.edu

http://jscms.jrn.columbia.edu/cns/2005-03-15/strickland-orwelliansociety/

Alex R said...

George Orwell’s 1984 is set in a utopian society, a world where one has to control their own words in their sleep, in essence, a police state. In this post-9/11 world, it can be seen that Orwell’s fear of Ingsoc coming true is slowly becoming a reality. An exception to this is the country of Burma, as it has been a Orwellian state for the past few decades. The article from the BBC website, by Kate McGeown, is the first part in a series of five has her explaining her trip to the military governed country. At first, when Ms. McGeown gets off the plane, she has to be aware of the government spies among the populace. This relates to how Big Brother has people, telescreens, and even your children watching you, with not a moment’s peace. When the friendly nature of the locals hit her, Ms. McGeown forgot where she was, until she saw the military road block leading to the opposition leader’s (Aung San Suu Kyi) house, whose house arrest sentenced was increased. It like the totalistic idea, that if you do not go with the party’s plan, then you will be arrested. The interesting thing about this part of the article is that in the 90’s the one time elections since the military coup did take place and the opposition party did win. The problem was that as soon as the results were it, Aung San Suu Kyi was and has been under house arrest since. The entire country is being run by the military since the early 60’s, and since then has been an Orwellian state. Ms. San Suu Kyi has been a political prisoner for the last 10 years, but she has been a symbol of resistance, like how Goldstein is to Winston in 1984. The whole idea of this is absurd. In this post-modern age, society looked like it was gaining freedom after the fall of the Soviet Union. The world however forgot this one country which is like Airstrip One in a bottle. The people in Burma are angry about the shape of their country, but will not step up due to fears of what may happen. The locals talking to the author had no problem talking about the problems of the state, something of which Winston would find a luxury. One problem the citizens to have, they have to be cautious in what they say to whom. The military regime has spies, like the Thought Police, to watch, and listen to people’s conversations, and if they don’t like what they here, you will be arrested, and sometimes never seen again. A person the author talks to is a cab driver. He gets so angry about the subject about his homeland he has to stop the car. Another talk leads another man to call these secret police men a “virus on the country”. The author was even spied upon at her hotel. Luckily the spies was not very experienced, as he did not tun the page of a newspaper he was reading for 20 minutes, as well as have the paper upside down. The whole experience would be horrifying, losing a sense of privacy like that. In the country we have now, we have many rights; we can speak out against our government, as well as have the right to an opposition party. We have to become more aware of these injustices of the world, so that we maybe able to help them in the future.


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Burma: Orwellian state, with teashops

The BBC's Kate McGeown has just returned from Burma, where she talked to people about life under its repressive military regime. In the first of a series of articles, she gives her impressions of a nation the international community seems at a loss to know what to do with.

As I stepped down from the plane onto Burmese soil, my head full of warnings about spies watching my every move, I was pleasantly surprised to find friendly faces rushing to greet me.

"Thank you so much for coming," said an elderly man, smiling through betel-stained teeth.

Where was the Orwellian nightmare I had been warned about? Where were the police ready to cart me off to jail because they had found out I was a journalist?

The sun was shining, the people were open and friendly... it seemed like any other Asian country. I found it hard not to wonder what all the fuss was about.

But it did not take long to find evidence of Burma's darker side.

Barely 20 minutes along the main highway from the airport, I saw a road leading off to the right that was completely shut off by heavily-armed police.

The tight security was not surprising, given that the road led to the home of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose term of house arrest had been extended just days before my arrival.

Local people never mention Ms Suu Kyi by name - they just call her The Lady, a term of deference towards a woman whom many Burmese, probably the vast majority, believe is the rightful leader of their nation.

Despite spending more than 10 of the last 17 years as a prisoner, she remains the main symbol of resistance against the military regime that has ruled Burma for four decades, and which often uses fear and intimidation to keep people in line.

Gossip

Against this backdrop, Burma's 50 million citizens carry on with their daily lives as best they can.

Down the road from Aung San Suu Kyi's house, the people of Rangoon queue for the city's crowded buses, huddle in shops with working generators during the frequent power cuts or play their own version of the Thai national lottery.

Then they do what all Burmese do, and stop in one of the many teashops to gossip about the weather and the football.

But that does not mean that their anger at the military regime has disappeared. If you talk to someone about their life, any veneer of contentment will usually evaporate.
One day, as we drove past a peaceful rural scene of villagers ploughing paddy fields with their oxen, I asked my taxi driver for his views on the political situation.

He had been singing a song to himself, but his face suddenly turned red and angry, and he said: "I hate the people who rule this country. My hatred of the government knows no bounds."

In fact he got so upset that we had to stop the car so he could calm down.

Another man became equally animated when I asked him about the secret military informants who lurk around ever corner.

"They're like a virus - a disease ripping this country apart," he said. "They are everywhere, and they see everything we do.

"So many of my friends have been caught and jailed over the years - some for doing hardly anything. So many lives have been ruined."

Speaking out

It is hardly surprising that emotions run so high.

I was only in Burma for a short time, but I quickly found out how uncomfortable it is to be under surveillance - albeit by a somewhat amateur spy.

On my first day, a man walked into the lobby of my hotel and pretended to read a newspaper near where I was sitting.

He did not turn the page for 20 minutes, but the real giveaway was that the paper - a week-old copy of The Straits Times - was upside-down.

Despite the obvious personal risks of talking to a foreigner, many Burmese people were still willing to put aside their fears and share their lives with me.

They told me about their healthcare system, their schools, their views on the government and the extraordinary decision to move the country's capital to what was, until a few years ago, a rural backwater.

One day a tour guide showing me round one of the Burma's many pagodas turned to me and whispered: "Please let other people know what it's like for us here. We need the outside world to understand."

In this series of articles, I will do my best to answer his request.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5071288.stm

James Y said...

The following article entitled “China’s Orwellian Internet” written byError! Bookmark not defined.them.
The article also talked about a young group of students who participated in a group discussion forum at Beijing University. They participated in conversations all relating to China’s abuse to human rights. As a result, China’s “cyber police”, beat, interrogated and sentenced them to prison,. This chilling story is a reminder to the people of China that their governments are watching them. This relates back to the slogan in 1984 “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU”(4). This constant surveillance prevents its people from their freedom of speech, and ultimately, their right to be human beings. This allows the state control over its people
China’s internet is not only watching whatever its people are saying, it is also eliminating all forms of information that lead to the truth or “disseminate political rumors” as the government would say. On September 13, 2004, the Ministry of Information Industry and the Ministry of Education. Closed down all access to a popular University Bulletin Board System (or BBS) called Yi Ta Hutu or “One Big Mess.” The Government accused the Bulletin Board System for Spreading rumors about the Chinese government. Professors of the University of Beijing wrote letters to both the president and premier of China saying that the Bulletin System was “an important channel by which the party and government can understand the feelings of the people”. They also accused the Chinese government for “ suppressing Freedom of speech” and declared their actions as “illegal” and “regrettable”. The letter was not published on any Chinese website and had to be emailed to correspondents outside China. By doing this, the Chinese will not be made aware of their oppression and their prevention to freely say whatever they want. The Chinese government’s purpose of closing down a Bulletin that helps “understand the feelings of its people” is to make sure that no one has any form of access to the truth. This relates to 1984 when the Ministry of Truth ironically eliminates all forms of truth and replaces it with lies associated with whatever the government wants. In both China and Oceania, the government controls the truth and makes sure that no one has access to it.
Conclusively, China’s government and Oceania’s Government are both alike seeing as how they both cover up the truth and maintain control by watching over its people. However, the situations in 1984 not only relate to China’s situation but also have people living outside China asking if we are headed towards the same path and if we are, how do we aim to stop it? Orwell’s predictions of 1984 are beginning to seem more and more like a reality and even though his predictions are being made true in China, they may be made true throughout the world.

*Article*
China's Orwellian Internet
by John J. Tkacik, Jr.
Backgrounder #1806
The Internet once promised to be a conduit for uncensored information from beyond China’s borders, and for a brief, shining instant in modern Chinese history, it was a potential catalyst for political and human rights reform in China. However, for China’s 79 million Web surfers—the most educated and prosperous segment of the country’s population—the Internet is now a tool of police surveillance and official disinformation. If a stable, democratic China remains a key goal of America’s global strategy, the Bush Administration and Congress must consider ways to penetrate China’s “Great Firewall.” The United States must restrain the transfer of sensitive and often proprietary cybertechnology from Western—including American—firms to Chinese police agencies. Just as the United States established Radio Free Asia to provide a source of uncensored news, so too must the U.S. minimize the obstructions that the Chinese face in acquiring and disseminating news and information via the Internet.Big Brother Is WatchingFor several years during the 1990s, Chinese Internet users gained increasing amounts of information from the Internet. By 1998, according to an insider’s account of China’s Internet development, the Chinese Public Security Ministry and its police stations around the country found that their resources for monitoring the Internet were becoming overwhelmed.[5] Several major U.S. firms came to the aid of the Chinese security services by constructing a new Internet architecture that enabled China’s cyberpolice to monitor Internet sites in real time and identify both the site owners and visitors.The inevitable result is that suppression of Internet dissent has increased in recent years. China is said to have the largest prison population of “cyberdissidents” in the world. As of June 2004, the Reuters news service reported there were 61 cyberdissidents in jail for criticizing the Chinese government.[6] In January 2004, Amnesty International documented 54 cases of individuals arrested for “cyberdissent,” but concluded that the 54 cases were probably just “a fraction” of the actual number detained.[7] According to another report, 13 Internet essayists were tried, sentenced, and denied appeals between October and December of 2003 alone.[8]In April 2004, The Washington Post described a typical cyberdissidence case involving a group of students who were arrested for participating in an informal discussion forum at Beijing University. It was a chilling report that covered the surveillance, arrest, trial, and conviction of the dissidents and police intimidation of witnesses.Yang Zili, the group’s coordinator, and other young idealists in his Beijing University circle were influenced by the writings of Vaclav Havel, Friedrich Hayek, and Samuel P. Huntington. Yang questioned the abuses of human rights permitted in the “New China.” His popular Web site was monitored by police, and after letting him attract a substantial number of like-minded others, China’s cyberpolice swept up the entire group. Relentlessly interrogated, beaten, and pressured to sign confessions implicating each other, the core members nevertheless withstood the pressure. The case demonstrated that stamping out cyberdissent had become a priority state function. According to the Post, Chinese leader Jiang Zemin considered “the investigation as one of the most important in the nation.” In March 2003, the arrestees were each sentenced to prison terms of between eight and ten years—all for exchanging opinions on the Internet.[9]Popular Web Sites Shut DownIn other cases, when it is difficult for the state to discern whether or not certain Internet activity is a clear and present danger, the cyberpolice simply shut down Web sites. For example, on September 13, 2004, officials from the State Council News office, the ministry of information industry, and the ministry of education suddenly appeared at Beijing University to announce the closure—for no stated reason—of Yi Ta Hutu (One Big Mess), a popular university bulletin board system (BBS). It was understood that the BBS was shut down for “disseminating political rumors.” At the same time, the government ordered all Web sites in China to delete Internet links to One Big Mess. Six days later, three Beijing University law instructors wrote an open letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao praising the closed BBS site as “an important channel by which the party and government can understand the feelings of the people.” The professors then condemned the BBS closure as “suppressing freedom of speech” and decried the state action as “illegal” and “regrettable.” Needless to say, the professors’ open letter was not published on Chinese sites and had to be e-mailed to correspondents outside China.[14]One Big Mess was host to over 800 separate discussion boards, boasted an average of 20,000 page viewers at any one time, and had over 300,000 regular viewers on its list.[15] Instead of being a vehicle for democratic reform, Chinese security services now use the Internet to identify and eliminate networks of dissent.Surveys conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences show that in metropolitan areas more than one in three people has Internet access.[16] Even in small cities, 27 percent of residents have access to the Internet.[17] Given these numbers and the determination of the Chinese Communist Party to stamp out each and every vestige of dissent and opposition, it is not surprising that China has the most extensive Internet censorship in the world.[18]At last estimate, access was blocked to 19,000 political Web sites considered threatening.[19] These blocked sites include popular foreign news, political, religious, and educational Web sites, including fairly innocuous Web sites of church and religious organizations serving foreign businessmen and residents.[20

Stephanie N said...

The article written by T.J. Rodgers discusses the frighteningly massive obsession of the GPS system that has been publicly admitted by the British and US governments. This topic deems to be one of high interest in both countries regarding its obvious security problems. This article is one of the many that causes citizens to question the future of the society in which we live in.

In America, President Bush is “acting under apparently self-granted powers to ‘authorize the NSA to spy on Americans.” (T.J Rodgers) The use of the GPS system is to be regulated within all cellular phones and vehicles. In Britain they are mandating the use of a GPS sensor within every vehicle. Both governments use the excuse that this act is in the name of safety for all their citizens. The once “dark philosophical concept” (T.J Rodgers) of George Orwell is very quickly becoming a reality for the people of America and Britain. The fact is true that when you weren’t in your homes your whereabouts could now be observed as you drove around in your car.

Having the government watching or at least even being able to gain knowledge of your global positioning every minute of each day should be unnerving enough to raise questions of your own security. The belief is that it would begin with these sensors and slowly progress into more Big Brother-esque inventions. If society allows there to be sensors used in everything they used such as cell phones and vehicles what is there to stop the governments from installing telescreens everywhere you turn.

In the world which Winston lives in, the one which seems worlds apart from ours is creeping upon us at an alarming rate. The plan in which the governments are discussing is an example of a first step to morphing our society today, to a society where Orwell’s view would no longer be fiction but something found in a textbook.



------------------Article---------------------------

British, US Spying Draws Us Closer to Orwell's Big Brother
by T.J. Rodgers

My waking thought on Christmas Day was that George Orwell's vision of Big Brother was no longer a hypothetical possibility but an actual near-term threat. That realization was synthesized from two news events, one here and one in Britain.
In Britain, the government recently decided to deploy global positioning system (GPS) technology to track every vehicle in the U.K. every minute of the day. Just as GPS sensors are mandated for use in every cell phone in the near future in the United States (for our safety, of course), Britain will mandate the use of a GPS sensor in every car. ``Has Reginald White arrived at the grocery store yet?'' will become a question answerable by the security division of Britain's DMV.
The British government promises safeguards to prevent spying on ordinary citizens, but who will follow up on those promises?
In the United States, President Bush is acting under apparently self-granted powers to ``authorize'' the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on Americans -- of course, only on Americans threatening terrorist acts.
In an act of high integrity, one of the judges of the secret court that grants Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act search warrants resigned, citing the fact that Bush was now bypassing even that minimal civil rights guarantee by directly authorizing NSA spying on U.S. citizens. One can only imagine that this troublesome judge will be replaced with one more friendly to the administration.
With only the need to combine two real-world technologies for spying and tracking, the vision of 1984 -- once just a dark philosophical concept -- becomes an engineering project.
The president and those to whom he delegates his authority can now authorize government spooks to listen to us in our homes and on our cell phones. When we are not home, they can track us in our automobiles. The system could be airtight and could be used to control our actions.
It's simple enough for most Silicon Valley companies to create a chip to detect a valid GPS signal and disable an automobile's ignition system to prevent citizens from the ``unauthorized use'' of their own vehicles.
The final move into the totality of 1984 requires only a bit of philosophical drift, as exemplified by J. Edgar Hoover's directive to spy on the Rev. Martin Luther King because he was a subversive. If Bush's latest acts are left unchallenged, the government will become bolder at spying on whomever it wants and secretly jailing those it deems a threat to national security -- all with no troublesome warrants or messy public trials.
In this environment, acts other than terrorism will certainly be put on the subversive activities list, all in the name of protecting our freedom.
Why should law-abiding citizens fear these trends? Because the government cannot be trusted. I don't trust President Bush to honor my rights, nor did I trust President Clinton, who was caught with secret FBI files on his political enemies.
It's not that I'm unpatriotic. The founders of our country did not trust any government -- either that of George III or an uncontrolled democracy. That's why we have the Bill of Rights to protect American citizens from their own government -- by demanding, for example, that ``Congress shall make no law abridging the right of free speech.''
Our property is also protected from illegal search and seizure, and we are not to be put in jail without knowing the charges against us or having the right to confront our accusers in a public trial. Secret courts are inconsistent with the Bill of Rights, the defining document of American freedom.
What's the worst thing that Al-Qaida can do to America? We have probably already seen it. Of course, the government can talk about bigger things, like the use of weapons of mass destruction, to justify its use of totalitarian tactics.
I would much rather live as a free man under the highly improbable threat of another significant Al-Qaida attack than I would as a serf, spied on by an oppressive government that can jail me secretly, without charges. If the Patriot Act defines the term ``patriot,'' then I am certainly not one.
By far, our own government is a bigger threat to our freedom than any possible menace posed by Al-Qaida.
T.J Rodgers is the CEO of Cypress Semiconductor in San Jose. He wrote this article for the Mercury News.


http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1229-35.htm

Paula I said...

In many countries around the world it is latent that freedom is stifled by those in authority while citizens cease to resist this on going process. In a world of continual wars, debasing of privacy and eradication of civil rights, one cannot help but feel overwhelmed by the absurdity of it all. This is what motivated George Orwell to write his book, nineteen eighty-four, about totalitarian government—to warn people in dangers of sacrificing freedom to such a regime. It is with this predicament in mind that Nimer Sultany writes his article ‘War is Peace’, he utilizes the previously mentioned George Orwell novel to parallel his reality as a Palestinian in Israel. He feels that life for the Palestinians is comparably Orwellian because of the Israeli ‘Big Brother’ government, the General Security Service (GSS) Thought Police, and the representation of Goldstein through Azmi Bishara.

Asmi Bishara is a Palestinian scholar in the National Democratic Assembly who was part of the Israeli governing body and who can be paralleled to Goldstein. Bishara was persecuted by the state because of his political agenda. The state was able to criminalize him by creating stigma “by reframing his political agenda as treason, incitement to violence and support of terrorism, his ideas will lose legitimacy, his community will be intimidated” (Sultany), in this manner the state evades damage to their ideology which refuses to grant Palestinian demands for equality. This resembles Goldstein because “his theories were refuted, smashed, ridiculed, held up to the general gaze for the pitiful rubbish that they were” (15) this was done to instill hate in the people and deface his ideologies so that no others follow it. He opposed the Israeli attack on Lebanon he was accused by the GSS of being a traitor with a foreign agent contact. These supposed crimes are punishable by law and incorporate the death penalty… Thoughtcrime is death. However, in the end Bishara and Goldstein are both ultimately scapegoats for the problems embedded in the ideology of the prominent ruling government of their societies. They both advocated freedom of speech, and universal equality which unfortunately was seen as dangerous and subversive; “equality remains outside Israeli legislation” (Sultany) and the government has no intention of having it any other way because the only way to have stable hierarchy is by the oppression of a minority class.

The General Security Service (GSS) in Israel monitors civilians and propagates propaganda just like the Thought Police. It is referred to has “a culture of lies and fabricated files (even against their own men…” (Sultany) as in the Bus 300 affair. The GSS has control over the Arab education system in Israel which it monitors closely and as even gone as far as to declare Palestinian citizens as “a strategic and demographic threat to the state” (Sultany) just like the Brotherhood is seen as a threat to Big Brother. Ra’ed Salah, for example, is a minority leader who was assaulted and interrogated by the police because of restrictions on political speech and participation. For Bishara privacy has been assaulted through the GSS wiretapping of his personal conversations which where used to incarcerate him. It is obvious that for these people political freedom is no longer a choice but a force to obey by, “It was conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to” (5) the Thought Police (the GSS) abolish privacy under the pretext of social security. As long as people are willing to keep giving up their civil rights to fill the void of insecurity—systematically created by the government, there can never be any real privacy.

The Israeli government is portrayed by Sultany like a Big Brother regime. Under the disguise of security the Israeli government has managed to confiscate the land of Palestinian citizens. These same citizens have been victims of a military administration, like those of Big Brother. In both cases an infallible strict rule is kept that sacrifices civil rights and there is no longer ownership—everything belongs to the state. Discrimination is openly applauded, “cabinet ministers who routinely issue racist statements against the Palestinian citizens are not held accountable. In fact, they become more popular in the Jewish community after such statements” (Sultany) that resembles the two minutes hate in which the more a person shouts and shows aggression the more likely they are to be seen as a model citizen. Cabinet ministers who advocated the destruction of Lebanese villages, and in doing so disregarded morality, were seen as patriots and ‘men of peace’. This goes back to the whole war mentality of Oceania, “war hysteria … and such acts as raping, looting , the slaughter of children, reprisals against prisoners… are looked upon as normal, and, when they are committed by one’s own side and not by the enemy, meritorious” (193) ethics become compromised by political will. As well, because of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law—Palestinians are restricted to marry citizens of approved countries, the Big Brother aspect (marriages must be approved by the Party) of dehumanizing the family institution is present. The Palestinians are segregated like the Outer Party and the Proles, “Israel has always discriminated against the Palestinian minority, isolated it from its larger Arab milieu and employed a multi-layered control system” as a form of control so that power remains in the hands of the few. They have to isolate the minorities so that they do not influence the majority.
Sultany lives in 1984 because his government is Big Brother, the GSS the thought police and Bishara the infamous Goldstein. He feels it necessary to use the Orwellian backdrop to express his living conditions. Privacy and civil rights are slowly becoming eradicated under the hallucination of being protected, and what is most worrisome is the gateway that is being created that could allow for even further more extreme measures. It is clear that this is happening all around the world and that laws which were laughable because of the absurdity which they process are becoming a concrete reality. It is one thing to read about George Orwell’s 1984 but quite another to realize were living in it.


ARTICLE:
'War is peace'
Orwellian theories are being acted out in Israel - as persecution against Palestinians begins to echo 1984.


May 8, 2007 5:00 PM | Printable version


It is one thing to read George Orwell and Franz Kafka, it is quite another to live their texts. For us - Palestinians - Orwell and Kafka are not works of fiction but concrete reality.

Israel's persecution of Azmi Bishara, the prominent Palestinian scholar, head of the National Democratic Assembly and - until recently - member of the Israeli Knesset, is only the recent articulation of this reality. After all, this is not the first Israeli attempt to criminalise Bishara or other Palestinian political leaders. The state hopes that by reframing his political agenda as treason, incitement to violence and support of terrorism, his ideas will lose legitimacy, his community will be intimidated and the establishment will not need to deal with the challenge that the Palestinian citizens of Israel present to the ideology of the state through their demands for equality.

Bishara rightly claims that he will not have a fair trial. Indeed, we know from the history of the General Security Service (GSS) of a culture of lies and fabricated files (even against their own men as in the Bus 300 affair, which was hijacked by Palestinian militants in 1984). We also know that even in cases unrelated to "security", the Arab citizen is twice as likely to be indicted, convicted and imprisoned compared to his fellow Jewish citizen. Professors Aryeh Rattner and Gideon Fishman of Haifa University write: "Being an Arab may lead to a presumption of guilt without facts and the rules of evidence."

We also know that security is the sacred cow to which Israeli judges bow. Security has always been an important tool for the maintenance of the Jewish and Zionist character of the Israeli state. It was a major pretext for the confiscation of Palestinian citizens' lands. Israel's persecution of Bishara is part and parcel of this security mindset of the Israeli state vis-รก-vis its Palestinian citizens. Those citizens were denied their basic rights and were subjected to a military administration for 18 years (1948-1966). Since then, the GSS has been the main state organ in charge of viewing us as a "fifth column." Bishara has already had his trial(s) without knowing. The justices of the Israeli Supreme Court have authorised more than once the wiretapping of his private conversations. "parliamentary immunity", "freedom of expression" and "democracy" are all tricks through which Big Brother comes to haunt you in the end.

Not only does the GSS closely monitor and control the Arab education system inside Israel, but it has publicly declared that the Palestinian citizens of Israel are a "strategic and demographic threat" to the state. In fact, it can be said that Big Brother is not only patrolling "thoughtcrimes" but has "telescreens" in the bedrooms of the Palestinian citizens, penetrating our private realms and controlling some of the most intimate aspects of our family and love lives. The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law forbids family unification and effectively prohibits Arab citizens from marrying citizens of more than half of the countries in the Middle East. In this dehumanising context, the law declares that marriage and children are not humanitarian affairs.

Had Israel been a democratic state, one would have expected the legal apparatus to criminalise and outlaw anti-democratic movements. Israel, however, persecutes Bishara for his democratic agenda. "State of all its citizens" and "universal equality" would be considered a trivial and possibly conservative agenda in any normal democratic state. Strangely, in Israel, such an agenda has been labelled as dangerous, subversive and extremist. The Knesset rejected several times an "equal protection" clause that Bishara had proposed. Equality remains outside Israeli legislation.

After all, these are unorthodox ideas in Israel. The Zionist "Newspeak" is supposed to turn them into unthinkable ideas. The fact that three groups of Palestinian elites inside Israel - National Committee of the Heads of the Arab Local Municipalities, Adalah and Mada al-Carmel - have recently issued "vision documents" articulating our demands for equality, expressing our grievances and presenting an alternative historical narrative meant that Bishara had risen in prominence and influence.

On the other hand, anti-democrats and racists who openly propagate violence against as well as the expulsion of Palestinians (including those who are citizens) serve in the Knesset and the government, and cabinet ministers who routinely issue racist statements against the Palestinian citizens are not held accountable. In fact, they become more popular in the Jewish community after such statements.

It is thus hard to escape understanding the Israeli irony without the Orwellian backdrop. Bishara, vocal in his opposition to Israel's brutal assault on Lebanon last summer, is accused by the Thought Police (the GSS) of helping the enemy in times of war through contact with a foreign agent. The "enemy" here stands for the Arab world to which the Palestinian citizens belong and the "foreign agent" is defined retroactively as such by the Thought Police. These alleged crimes are punishable according to Israeli law by life imprisonment or death penalty. "Thoughtcrime is death."

On the contrary, cabinet ministers who urged the Israeli military - still ironically called the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) - to wipe out dozens of Lebanese villages and not feel morally restricted during the war were heralded as patriots. Those who perpetrate war crimes are considered "men of peace". The Big Brother is persecuting Bishara because "war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength."

What might be bewildering in recent developments is Israel's disregard for the impact that these policies might have on its future. Israel has always discriminated against the Palestinian minority, isolated it from its larger Arab milieu and employed a multi-layered control system. Since October 2000, however, Israel has been moving rapidly towards a collision by continuously pushing this minority further into the corner. Most of the minority's leaders were incessantly interrogated and at times physically assaulted by the police; Ra'ed Salah, a prominent religious and political leader, was imprisoned; several laws further restricted political speech and participation; Bishara faced two political trials; and more Arab houses have been demolished. More persecution of Bishara and his party will take Israel one step closer toward collision with its Palestinian citizens.

Israel is in effect presenting Azmi Bishara with two similar "options": to end up as either a Kafkaesque or an Orwellian protagonist. The former was executed, the latter was brainwashed and forced to betray his world waiting for an impending execution.

Meanwhile Bishara, as a genuine civil rights leader, is resisting the attempt to drag him into Kafka's Trial by Big Brother and his Thought Police. He courageously holds his ground: "We will not be intimidated. We will not bow to permanent servitude in the land of our ancestors or to being severed from our natural connections to the Arab world."

Ghassan F said...

George Orwell’s literary nightmare is expressed in his book, 1984. That nightmare is also available around the world. A particular region that defines the nightmare is Israel. In 1984, Oceania is a nation that is governed with complete control, and anyone who tries to escape, will meet doom. According to Lawrence Davidson, the same concept is also applied in Israel. The main Orwellian mind set in Israel’s government, is to create a political language that is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectful. Israel’s political language has met with a new level of intensity, which matches “newspeak” from 1984. Palestinians are completely denied by Israel. Israel views Palestinians as the greatest and eternal enemy that exists from a different planet.

The idea of newspeak is to eliminate the thoughts of a human being, which eliminates questioning and rebelling. Israel is using that same concept to their benefit, so that they may be at an advantage for getting their land. The same thing that happens with rebellions in 1984 is the same thing that occurs in Israel. For instance, if someone, in 1984, thought that the government is corrupt, they were to be vaporized- killed. This also occurs in Israel. If someone in Israel doubts the government of Israel, they are to be hated, ignored, unemployed, and rejected from the community making it very hard for them to survive.


Weekend Edition
April 3 / 5, 2004

Welcome to Their Nightmare
Orwell and Kafka in Israel/Palestine
By LAWRENCE DAVIDSON

http://www.counterpunch.org/davidson04032004.html


In the last two years I have made three trips to Israel and Occupied Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza Strip). Each trip represents a journey into an approximation of the literary nightmares of George Orwell and Franz Kafka. To a certain extent we are all subject to the Orwellian version of these nightmares. It was Orwell's conviction that "political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectful." Here in the United States we ought to recognize the truth of this maxim for we have once again been drawn into deadly foreign adventures based on lies and exaggeration. However, in Israel the influence of "political language" has reached a unique level of intensity. Increasingly, many Israelis live in a "closed information environment" wherein an insidious Orwellian "newspeak" (a language of propaganda aimed at creating ideologically determined boundaries for thought), shapes thinking and perception relative to the Palestinians. This is just not true of ! your average citizen manipulated by mendacious politicians and a censured press. In Israel, as in Orwell's novel 1984, society's leaders are as shaped by the prevailing "political language" as those they rule. Thus, descriptions of Palestinians by Israeli leaders range from "there are no such thing as Palestinians" (Prime Minister Golda Maier, June 15, 1969), to "beasts walking on two legs" (Prime Minister Menahim Begin, June 25, 1982), to "drugged cockroaches in a bottle" (Raphael Eitan, Chief of Staff, April 14, 1983), to "people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy (Israeli President Moshe Katsav, May 10, 2001). For a man like Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, "peace" for Israel comes through dominating and controlling "the enemies of humanity" (January 5, 2004). Oppression and war making becomes peace making in the land of Zion.
With the Palestinians, on the other hand, the use of language is much more descriptive of their reality. Just about every Palestinian has been negatively impacted by the Israeli occupation, and thus no propaganda can hide the truth from them. Any politician, of whatever nationality, who tries to tell the Palestinians that the Israelis have their best interests at heart and are in "Judea and Samaria" to raise Arab standards of living, introduce progress, and otherwise help the Palestinians into the modern world (all claims made by Zionists in the last 50 years) would be laughed at and thoroughly despised. Thus, deceptive language that substitutes for reality, is not what defines the world of those in Occupied Palestine. Instead, the particular nightmare of the Palestinians is best described in the pages of Franz Kafka. In Kafka's world the prevailing theme is uncertainty and unpredictability. There are no set rules for behavior and the orders given by authorities se! em arbitrary and even contradictory. You do not know what the laws are. The "authorities" in Kafka's work sit in their fortresses and periodically intrude upon the lives of the confused and apparently helpless protagonists.
This Kafkaesque situation describes life in Occupied Palestine. Israeli authorities suddenly intrude themselves into the lives of the Palestinian population, and do so in an unpredictable and arbitrary manner. They also destroy in an arbitrary manner. Israel's message to the Palestinians reflects one of Kafka's more depressing maxim's, "why build knowing destruction is inevitable?" A Palestinian might be safe one moment and in danger the next. You cannot predict if you will make it to work, the grocer, or school, or for that matter back again. As a result many Palestinians could identify with Kafka's character Joseph K in the novel The Trial who, "without having done anything wrong was arrested one fine morning."
ISRAEL
Israel has entered into an Orwellian world of inbred perceptions and unanalyzed assumptions. These appear to make sense from inside Israeli society (and the Zionist community worldwide as well), but from the outside seem to be out of touch with reality. The inside "reality" is dominated by the obsessive concept of fortress Israel¬that is Israel against the world. This mental paradigm, which ascribes all criticism of Israeli behavior to eternal anti-Semitism, is assimilated from childhood, taught to you by your family and your teachers at school. It is a belief commonly shared, and thus reinforced, by your neighbors, your coworkers, the newspapers, television and radio, and those with whom you do your military service (some of the army induction ceremonies are held at site of the 73 CE mass suicide of Jewish Zealots at Masada). It is a constant part of your consciousness and defines patriotic thought.
Nonetheless, the belief in fortress Israel is fraught with Orwellian contradictions. Here are some of the things this paradigm teaches (as against what reality looks like from outside of Israel and the Zionist perspective): the Palestinian Arabs are eternal enemies and want to push the Jews into the sea (even though it is the Palestinians who are being slowly but surely pushed into bantustans behind a ghetto like "separation" wall). Given half a chance the Palestinians can accomplish this new holocaust with the help of allied Arab hordes (even though Israel is among the strongest military powers on the globe, is allied to the world's only superpower, and has never lost a war). The Palestinians, both inside and outside Israel proper, are ersatz Nazis (even though, for hundreds of years before the rise of Zionism, they lived peacefully with their Jewish neighbors and only turned hostile when the Zionists started appropriating Palestine ! under the protection of British imperialism). Arafat is the devil incarnate and also as Prime Minister Sharon likes to put it, "the greatest obstacle to peace" (even though, since 1988, he has tried repeatedly to make peace with the Jewish state. All these efforts have been replaced in the Israeli collective memory by Arafat's refusal to accept the treaty offered at Camp David II. Israeli rejection of all previous Palestinian efforts at peace have been forgotten). Israel is just a little place with "fragile" borders (which since 1947 have repeatedly expanded just as David Ben Gurion, speaking at the time of the founding of Israel, predicted they would). Only war can bring Israel peace (Which characterizes the thinking and policies of the present Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, a man who is generally recognized outside of Israel and the U.S. to be a war criminal.)1
These beliefs approach the strength of a religious doctrine in Israel. They also restrict the range of thought, and narrow the possibilities for action for many Israelis and other Zionists. Most have also shown an inability to critically examine Israel's behavior and how it has evolved from this siege mentality. They have held fast to a selective use of history in order to support the fortress Israel paradigm and its corollaries. As a consequence of this closed mindedness, those who, for a variety of reasons, do break free of the nationally sanctified blinkers and publically contradict accepted doctrine are seen as heretics or traitors and risk social isolation and the ruination of their careers, and sometimes worse. One can see this clearly in the case of tenured Israeli professors who publically oppose the occupation. Academics like Ilan Pappe of Haifa University, are periodically harassed by their university administration by being brought up on disciplinary charges fo! r alleged seditious activity. They are denied promotion. Their graduate students have found it hard to get jobs, so now few will work with such professors. Untenured professors are reluctant to take a public stand against government policies because they are more vulnerable and could lose their positions. And finally, Jews outside of Israel who publically criticize the Israeli government and the Zionist ideology are accused of being "self-hating Jews." Nonetheless, so horrid is Israeli behavior toward the Palestinians that the number of such Jews, best exemplified by the "refuseniks" is slowly increasing both in Israel and abroad.
Behind the wall of fortress Israel, most Israeli Jews are scared and depressed. Popular feelings are affected by a constant concern for personal and family safety. Israelis tend to look over their your shoulders and worry about riding the bus or going to a restaurant. Britain's Daily Telegraph ( September 30, 2003) has reported on the poll conducted by the Israeli hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth. The report concludes that "Israelis are in a state of open despair about their country's future." 73% of Israelis do not think that their children will have a better future. Under these conditions one can ask why the Israelis simply do not negotiate a just peace with the Palestinians? Give them their state on the 22% of Palestine on the other side of the 1967 border (the Green Line). This is an offer the vast majority of Palestinians will readily accept. Also, such a move would very likely make an ally of a Palestinian government which, predictably, would go to great lengths to con! trol anyone whose actions would threaten to bring the IDF back across the border. Just such a scenario was described to this author as the basis for peace by Yasir Arafat in June of 2003. This is also the arrangement Israel has with the Jordanians who control their border with Israel quite effectively. And, in a quiet way, the same arrangement prevails with the Syrians and the Egyptians.
Yet the Israelis insist that allowing the Palestinians a state of their own on the West Bank and Gaza Strip is impossible and mortally dangerous as well. How do they know? The Orwellian political language that dominates their "closed information environment" tells them so. Remember, such an environment binds one to internal references only. These references become inbred and self-serving so that one's major sources of information function like sycophants telling one only what supports and rationalizes one's actions. Information that undermines or contradicts a priori points of view remain unseen, unheard, or are magically reinterpreted to fit the set parameters in one's mind.
This closed information environment has led most Israeli (and diaspora) Jews to believe that :
1) It is the Palestinians do not want peace.
The Israelis make two claims for this assertion. First they point out that the Palestinians have a long history of attacks against Israelis. The second point is that Arafat rejected Ehud Barak's supposed "generous offer" at Camp David II in 2000.
The Israelis reject the Palestinian claim that the intifadas (the word means to "shake off") are episodes of resistence against Israel's aggression and occupation. They point out that Palestinian attacks pre-date 1967 and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. This was the position taken in December of 2002 by Major General Isaac Ben-Israel at a Tel Aviv University discussion in which the author participated. Because there was violence prior to the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, there must be violence if Israel withdraws from the territories. It should be noted, however, most of the cross border incidents, particularly in the ten years following 1948, involved Palestinians who were simply seeking to return to their homes. According to the Israeli historian Avi Shlaim hundreds of these unarmed Palestinians were shot down by the Israelis. Statistically the number of Palestinian armed attacks on Israel before 1967 was low and relatively infrequent, and reflec! ted the slow Palestinian recovery from the shock of the Nakba (or 1948 catastrophe). The Jewish Virtual Library (a Zionist source) lists only 27 Israeli fatalities as a result of Palestinian attacks between 1958 and 1966. In the same period Israeli retaliatory raids into Jordanian and Egyptian territory killed many hundreds of people. Nonetheless, from the Israeli point of view, these pre-1967 attacks were not a response to anything the Zionists did, but rather the expression of an undying a priori desire to destroy the Jewish state. Unfortunately, this line of thinking requires a negation of the history of Zionist goals and behavior, and an assumption that past Palestinian behavior will continue indefinitely into the future.
Israelis and other Zionists simply take it for granted that, from 1917 onward, the history of the occupation of Israel proper (that is the 78% of Palestine that is Israel behind the Green Line) was benign and any Zionist military action associated with it was purely defensive. In reality, as any number of Israeli historians (Benny Morris, Ilan Pappe, Avi Shlaim, etc.) have shown, large Jewish immigration under the protection of British imperialism initiated the displacement of Palestinians. Palestinian resentment of and reaction to this process was natural and led to resistence that began as early in the 1920s. In truth all Zionist history in Palestine is the history of occupation which has been and is offensive rather than defensive in nature.
However, today the situation is not the same as it was in the 1920s or in 1948. In 1988 the PLO recognized the state of Israel within its 1967 borders. This constituted a supreme compromise in that by this recognition they voluntarily forfeited 78% of their historic homeland and restricted their claims to the remaining 22% that make up the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip. It is the refusal of Israel to seriously respond to this recognition and the sacrifice it represents, and cease its occupation of Palestine beyond the Green Line, that has led to a new level of violent resistence on the part of the Palestinians.
Of course the Israelis do not believe they have failed to respond. They believe that in the year 2000, at Camp David II, Ehud Barak put forth a "generous offer." This belief has taken on mythic proportions not only in Israel but throughout the world's Jewish communities and in the United States as well. It now stands as an excellent example of political language restricting the range of thought and thus resulting in mass self-deception within a closed information environment. According to the Zionist story, this "generous" offer gave the Palestinians the Gaza Strip and almost the entire West Bank. Instead of accepting this deal the Palestinians, under the leadership of Yasir Arafat, rejected it and launched the on going and deadly Second Intifada (2000 to the present).
2) Arafat is the one who is responsible for this rejection and the subsequent violence.
While Israelis believe they are willing to make peace through "historic compromises," there is, in their view, no "partner" on the Palestinian side to negotiate with. Yasir Arafat, a man who is shut up in two buildings in Ramallah, amidst acres of rubble, his communications monitored and his travel restricted, is responsible for on-going terror and, according to the Israeli novelist and political pundit Eyal Megged, "employs tactics that remind us of Hitler."
Essentially what one has here is an alternate history which, is accepted by the majority in Israel and also by the present U.S. government. In the Summer of 2002 National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice stated on national television that "Arafat is somebody who...failed to lead when he had a chance....Ehud Barak, the former prime minister of Israel, gave him a terrific opportunity to lead. And what did he get in return? Arafat started the second Intifada instead and rejected that offered hand of friendship." Unfortunately, both the Israelis and Ms Rice are wrong about their facts. The "generous offer" has been disproved by both American and Israeli experts. For instance, among others, Robert Malley, President Clinton's advisor on Israeli-Arab affairs who was at Camp David II; Ron Pundak, Director of the Peres Center for Peace; Professor Jeff Halper (Ben Gurion University); Uri Avnery, head of Gush Shalom, Israel's foremost peace organization; and finally Ehud Bara! k himself has twice (in the New York Times of May 24, 2001 and in the Israeli hebrew newspaper Yedi'ot Ahronoth of August 29, 2003) denied that his offer was anywhere near "generous."
What did Barak really offer? According to the above reports his offer gave the Palestinians a little over 80% of the West Bank carved into nearly discontinuous cantons. The Israeli government would have controlled all the Palestinian borders (none of which would touch on another Arab state), it would have controlled the air space above the Palestinian territory, most of the major aquifers, retained sovereignty over East Jerusalem, maintained almost all Israeli settlements and access roads, controlled immigration into the Palestinian "state," and retained the Jordan Valley through an indefinite "long term lease." This is an offer that no Israeli would ever accept. However, most Israelis and Americans do not know these details and believe instead in the myth of generosity.
Unfortunately, what is true is not as important as what one thinks is true. Believing that the Palestinians rejected a generous peace at Camp David II, and opted instead for the violence of the Second Intifada, the Israelis now look to other ways to achieve security. How this is to be done is dictated by their Orwellian weltanschauung. Thus:
1. You insist on Palestinian elimination of militancy while systematically destroying the Palestinian Authority's police capabilities. The Israeli army attacks Palestinian police in uniform on sight and most police facilities have been destroyed. Simultaneously the Israeli government demands that what is left of the Palestinian Authority direct whatever security forces they still have to the job of "fighting terrorism" which are code words for defending Israeli borders and settlers. Given the position of the Palestinians as an oppressed people facing illegal colonization, this is amounts to a demand for the Palestinian authority to take it upon itself to eliminate Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation. Within this scenario Palestinian resistence to land confiscations, home demolitions, and settlement activities become offensive actions, and the invasion of towns and villages by Israeli tanks and helicopter gunships becomes defensive action.
2. You build a "Security Wall" to separate yourself from the bulk of the Palestinians. However, you do not do this along the 1967 Green Line which most of the world recognizes as the defacto border between Israel and Palestine. Rather you build this barrier deep inside of the Palestinian West Bank. Its construction thus facilitates ongoing land confiscations. You build it so as to confine the Palestinians into a series of walled off areas of concentration. De facto, this transforms the "security wall" into a "ghetto wall." Those West Bank Palestinians who find themselves on the Israeli side of the wall are to eventually be transferred into the Palestinian ghettos. This will produce future peace and security for Israelis in the same way that prisons prevent crime.
3. And you enforce a harsh collective punishment on the Palestinians, entailing draconian curfews, roadblocks and checkpoints, "security" sweeps leading to mass arrests, house demolitions, denial of access to medical facilities, mass shut down of education, and the "legal" use of torture, etc. until they "come to their senses" and negotiate peace on "acceptable terms." This tactic at once brutalizes the Palestinians and Israelis as well. As the Israelis visit violence and destruction on their Palestinian victims, there own levels of domestic violence¬spouse abuse, child abuse, violence in the schools, road rage, and violent crime--have gone up.
Maya Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Hebrew University and a member of Checkpoint Watch, attributes this downward spiral of Israeli society and culture to the fact that "a military discourse has taken over in Israel." Within the context of this militarized society who can best achieve peace and security? It continues to be the case that a majority of Israelis believe it is Ariel Sharon (a general who made his reputation based upon his personal brutality) and his right-wing coalition. This seems to be so not despite the fact that these politicians are ideologically committed to retaining the West Bank and Gaza Strip (and also the Golan Heights), but because they are determined to continue the occupation.
This would seem, from an outside perspective, to be yet another Orwellian proposition-- that is, the road to peace lay through demanding the right of permanent occupation. Yet this notion does not appear to be contradictory to most Israelis. Among the reasons for this is that Zionist perceptions of reality deny the true nature and consequences for the Palestinians of 37 years of colonial occupation in Gaza and the West Bank. Indeed, for a long time the Israelis refused to even entertain the word occupation for what they were doing. As the Israeli writer David Grossman explained in an interview with Bill Moyers in March of 2002, "there was a whole machinery of fabricating names to the situation, there was a whole narrative that in a way used words not to describe reality but rather to camouflage it, to protect us the Israelis from the harshness of what we are doing." This is what the Israel Lawyer Leah Tsemel calls the "laundering of language." In Hebrew "occupation! " became "release" or "salvation," while "colonizing" became "peaceful settlement" and "killing" became "targeting." Orwell would have recognize this use of "political language" without much trouble.
Another Zionist trick of the mind is to assign the blame for any negative consequences arising out the occupation to the Palestinians themselves. For instance in an August 2002 editorial in the Israeli newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, the common assertion was made that "...the Palestinians' current malaise is no one's fault but their own, considering that they started and are continuing the war that is exacting from them such a hefty price." That the "war" is actually resistence against colonial occupation is lost on the Jerusalem Post editors.
In Israeli eyes the occupation is a warranted defensive action driven by a pervasive national fear and suspicion of Palestinians as terrorists. It should be noted that to most Israelis, and Americans too, the terrorist is the essential Palestinian. Each Palestinian whether man, woman, or child is just a body potentially encased in dynamite. The Israelis point to Occupied Palestine as the place from which suicide bombers come and thus they feel they must "control" these lands. That the occupation and its accompanying colonizing policy are in fact the sources of suicide bombings and overall Palestinian violence is simply not accepted by most Israelis. Instead, they ascribe these actions to Muslim religious fanaticism. This came out clearly in a January 2002 interview by the author and others with Ben El Eliazar, the former Israeli Defense Minister. Ben El Eliazar described how he would go and interrogate prisoners suspected of being! failed suicide bombers. "If you interrogate them long enough you can see the religious fanaticism surface." His interrogations may well result in self-deception. Push long enough and hard enough and you can get a prisoner to tell you anything, particularly what they soon realize you want to hear.
There are other ways in which the Israelis manage to promote the occupation, arguably the source of their insecurity , as a source of security. Here is how the Likud leader and member of the Knesset, Yuval Steinwitz conceptualized the situation to the author in December 2002: the occupation is necessary because it alone can give Israel, "this little land with impossible borders" defensive depth. According to Steinwitz Israel is a "great regional power" that is at the same time "fragile" enough to be destroyed by the Palestinian terrorists allied to the Egyptians. This is a variation on the notion that the Israel is in perpetual danger of being "kicked into the sea." One can locate the origins of this fear in the Holocaust and understand how deep rooted it is, but it nonetheless defies reality. There is no military intelligence service outside of Israel who believes this myth. No military engagement (including those in 1947-1948) has ever come close to suggesting this scen! ario was or is possible. Yet the myth is pervasive in Israel and among the Jewish diaspora community as well. So, acting on what you believe is real (not, in this case, what is in fact real) you justify colonial occupation, the brutal destruction of Palestinian society, and the slow by sure ethnic cleansing of Occupied Palestine of its non-Jewish population (all of which is overtly offensive and brutally aggressive in nature) in the name of needing "defensive depth."
The Israelis and their supporters have other rationalizations for occupation. There is the biblically based claim that "Judea and Samaria" are "covenant lands," that is lands given to the Jews by God. This, of course, is a matter of faith and not provable fact. Many people take the bible, where this covenant is to be found, as the word of God. However, this too is faith and not provable fact. Nonetheless, such faith put forth as fact allows some Israelis to see the indigenous population as "strangers in the land" and Jewish folks from Brooklyn as rightful inhabitants. This leads to more tricks of the mind. For instance, Carolyn Glick, the Associate Editor of the Jerusalem Post told this author and others that the removal of the West Bank colonies would constitute the "ethnic cleansing of Judea and Samaria."
Whether it is for imagined military reasons (which entails a denial that occupation is the source of their insecurity), or faith based religious reasons (which entails exoneration from responsibility for brutal actions because they are doing the work of God), the majority of Israelis have come to the conclusion that there is no alternative to a hard line, right wing government which can only conceptualize a peace treaty that ghettoizes, economically emasculates, and subordinates any eventual Palestinian political entity. And even then most Israelis do not believe such a treaty will lead to real peace, not because it fails to satisfy Palestinian needs, but because the Palestinians are all anti-Semites who will forever want to destroy all of Israel.
PALESTINE
Palestine is a land of deep despair, growing poverty, and pervasive insecurity. In a slow but sure fashion the Israelis are reducing the Palestinians to an impoverished cheap labor pool within ghetto-like areas of concentration. Here is how they are doing it:
1. The ancestral lands of the Palestinians are being confiscated: 78% of Palestine was taken in 1948. According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics the over 1 million Israeli Palestinians who now live in Israel proper (behind the Green Line) make up 20% of the country's population (and 40% of Israel's population growth rate) are confined to 3% of the land. And, this 3% is subject to continuing periodic and unpredictable confiscations. Israel's Palestinian communities are not allowed to geographically expand. In 1967 the Israelis took over the remaining 22% of Palestine (now designated the Occupied Territories) and immediately began a colonization program that is illegal under international law. To date they have confiscated some 40% of this remaining 22% of Palestine and now operate over 200 colonies which hold nearly 400,000 illegal residents. They are continuing to expand these "settlements" through the continuous confiscation of land in Occupied Palestine (that is! beyond the Green Line). This means that the Palestinians, both within and without of Israel proper, are being relentlessly ghettoized into smaller and smaller areas.
2. Besides the land, the people in Occupied Palestine are experiencing the destruction of their property on a daily basis. According to B'Tsalem, Israel's own civil rights organization, hundreds of thousands of olive and other fruit trees have been and continue to be destroyed; hundreds of water wells have been sealed (90% of all the water resources of Occupied Palestine is now reserved for exclusive use by the occupier); according to the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions about 11,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished since 1967; the population is subjected to periodic indiscriminate artillery shelling and automatic weapons fire; American made jet planes and helicopters discharge high explosive missiles and bombs in crowded civilian areas. Some of these bombs and missiles are made of depleted uranium infused metals. All of this is illegal under international law as promulgated in the Hague Conventions of 1907 and 1987, and the 4th Geneva Conventio! n.
3. Palestinians have seen their rights of free movement, free association, access to education, access to medical care, ability to transport and market goods (most of which rights are guaranteed by the Declaration of Universal Human Rights adopted by the United Nations after World War II) severely restricted by the creation of some 480 checkpoints and roadblocks. Most of these are not placed between Israel and Palestinian towns and villages, but rather between Palestinian locales. These checkpoints, the purpose of which seems to be harassment rather than security, attack the most basic personal rights. The most tragic example of this is the resulting collapse of the Palestinian medical system. According to Human Rights Watch, Israeli soldiers purposely harass and sometimes target for injury or death Palestinian doctors and medical personnel. Checkpoints prevent ambulances from getting to hospitals or the residences of ill people and they prevent pregnant women about to gi! ve birth from going to hospitals. The soldiers at the checkpoints do not prevent these things all the time, but rather they do so in an unpredictable, random fashion that heightens the sense of uncertainty and vulnerability of the Palestinian population. I asked Ben Eliazar, the former Defense Minister, about this practice in the January of 2002 interview mentioned above. He asserted that the Palestinians use ambulances to transport weapons and "wanted criminals." When I pointed out to him that there was a qualitative difference between stopping an ambulance and searching it for weapons or wanted individuals and stopping an ambulance until the patient inside it died, he became sullen and said that he did not need any help from me when it came to security. Since their tactics have left the Israelis continuously insecure, this is a questionable claim. At the very least the Israelis need help in maintaining a basic level of humanity. As a result of the policies just described ! the rate of death from curable diseases is on the rise among West Bank and Gaza Strip Palestinians, and vaccination and preventive medicine is almost non-existent.
In addition to the checkpoints, draconian curfews which keep the entire populations of cities and towns under forced house arrest for weeks on end contribute to the breakdown of medical care, education, and employment (According to United Nations Relief and Works Agency reports unemployment in the Occupied Territories now stands over 65% and more than half the population lives in poverty).
It bears repeating that much of this harassment and destruction occurs in a random and arbitrary fashion. One does not know if one can get through a checkpoint to go to school or work. If one gets through, one does not know if one can return home again through the same checkpoint. One does not know when the curfews will come. One can be arrested anytime for any reason. It is a Kafkaesque world wherein one cannot predict the consequences of one's daily behavior.
Under these circumstances, 90% of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories see no hope in their future without international intervention. Yet intervention is consistently blocked by the United States which vetoes any UN resolution that seeks the creation of such a policy. It is because they are not "balanced" says the U.S. State Department, but this is ridiculous in the face of Israel's brutal behavior. The U.S. uses its veto to protect Israel because Zionist interest groups have such powerful influence with the American government and political parties. In any case, the Israeli government is adamantly against such intervention and would resist it by force. As a consequence there is no choice for the Palestinians but to continue their resistence to Israeli occupation, for to concede defeat would mean to acquiesce in the death of Palestinian society and culture.
When it comes to resistence, it is historically the case that the violence of the oppressed usually rises to the level of the violence of the oppressor. That is what has happened in Palestine. The Israeli occupation constitutes 37 years of institutionalized terror which has just about destroyed the economic, social, and political lives of all Palestinians under Israeli rule. Civil society and its infrastructure are nearly gone. Civilian deaths due to direct military action and indirect consequences of Israeli colonial policies now (November 2003) stands at just over 2700 people (compared to about 800 Israelis). Palestinian civilian injuries due to Israeli action stand at over 47,000. Resistance is all that remains.
This brings us to the issue of suicide bombings. The context for understanding this tactic is the occupation itself. The consequences of the occupation do not discriminate between men and women, adults and children. Confiscations impact them all, home demolitions displace them all, curfews confine them all, Israeli violence targets them all. This is the truth. The author has seem much of this with his own eyes. Americans and many Israelis may not believe it, but their disbelief does not change the Palestinian reality. That reality produces deep despair, feelings of humiliation and unavoidable hatred. It is from this context that the bombers come. Their tactic is the reverse coin of Israel's own practices and not the product of some innate religious fanaticism.
It is this despair and rage, and not religious fanaticism, that also leads to popular support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They are supported so widely not because they are Islamic fundamentalists, but because, in an atmosphere of despair, they serve the needs of the rapidly growing numbers of poor and they resist the Israelis. Give the Palestinians back their hope of a just settlement by moving concretely toward the satisfaction of their basic demands, and the support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad will diminish. This is not mere conjecture. Right after the Oslo Accords were signed, and despite their serious flaws, there was much hope for peace among the Palestinians. As a consequence support for groups like Hamas fell to under 10% of the population in the West Bank and Gaza. By the middle of 2003, in an atmosphere of near hopelessness that still prevails, polls taken by the Palestine Center for Policy and Survey Research indicated that support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad s! tood at 58%.
ANY HOPE?
It is important to realize that most ordinary people on both sides say they want many of the same things: normal lives, security for themselves and their families, acceptance by the other side. And while the majority of Israelis, and a number of Palestinians cannot get past perceptual barriers dominated by fear, suspicion, and anxiety there are factors that can, at least in theory, result in movement toward real peace if given a chance to come to the fore.
1. The vast majority of Palestinians know (even if the Israelis do not) that they cannot destroy the Israeli state.
2. Most Palestinians in the Occupied Palestine are willing to negotiate compromise solutions to all issues (including the controversial issue of the "right of return") except their right to a viable state occupying roughly the 22% of Palestine beyond Israel's 1967 borders. For the Palestinians, this is the sine qua non of a just peace. This is not a new stance on the part of the Palestinians or their leaders. Here is a list of peace initiatives that the Palestinians have welcomed (and various Israeli governments have rejected): The Rogers Plan (1969); The Scranton Mission on behalf of President Nixon (1970); Sadat's land for peace mutual recognition proposal (1971); Carter's call for a Geneva international conference (1977); Saudi King Fahd's peace offer (1981); The Reagan Plan (1982); The Shultz Plan (1988); The Baker Plan (1989); A continuation of the Taba negotiations (2001); The Saudi Peace proposal on behalf of the Arab League (2002); The unofficial Geneva peace init! iative of November/December 2003. And, of course, in 1993 Arafat signed the Oslo Accords which unraveled after Yitzhak Rabin's assassination (November 1995) and the subsequent return to power of the Likud party
To the extent that the Israelis block the possibility of a viable Palestinian state, Palestinian leaders and intellectuals put forth the idea of a one state solution. That is, the acceptance of one state from "the sea to the river" with the struggle then directed toward bringing about equal rights for all citizens. This would of necessity negate the idea of a "Jewish state." I do not believe this is the preference of most Palestinians but it may be made inevitable by the short sighted policies of the Zionist movement.
3. The recent Geneva Initiative (November/December 2003) is at least a sign that Israelis and Palestinians can work together to come to a settlement. It certainly is not the end game for it fails to give adequate attention to the fate of millions of Palestinian refugees who have rights under international law. If this initiative is to be seriously pursued negotiators need, at the very least, to improve the water rights package, and add onto the initiative an Israeli acceptance of responsibility for the Palestinian refugee problem plus a pledge of compensation. It is to be noted that the Geneva initiative has been endorsed by Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. It has, however, been attacked by the Sharon government as a traitorous act.
4. On the Israeli side there are a growing number of influential military men (such as Amram Mitzna and Ami Aylon), who have credibility with the Israeli public, and understand that continuing the occupation will not bring security and normality, but rather a continuing brutalization of Israeli society. There is also a very small, but growing, number of resisters both within and without the army who refuse to cooperate with the Israeli government's occupation policies.
The problem is that while those who are ready to take risks for peace appear to be a majority on the Palestinian side, they are as yet a minority on the Israeli side. In the end what we have is a horrible process of physical and emotional destruction that can only be overcome by a psychological leap¬and that mostly among Israelis. They must come to a realization that the occupation is the source of Israeli insecurity and only by giving it up can there be security and normality. If you will, only through peace with the Palestinians, can Israel be a safe haven for Jews. Whether the Israelis can achieve this level of awareness while in the grips of an historically rooted, paralyzing fear and anxiety (played upon by a Likud government and right-wing factions which are determined to stay in "Judea and Samaria" forever) remains to be seen. Nonetheless, it is their occupation. It is they who have brought to life the nightmare worlds of Orwell and Kafka. If things are to change, it is they who must wake up.