Sunday, December 31, 2006

Top Ten Orwellian Moments of 2006

Refers to 1984, but if it refers to Animal Farm, it's an accident.

1) Fox News airs an infomercial for torture. On the November 3rd Greta Van Susteren show, reporter Steve Harrigan submitted himself to waterboarding

2) Federal semantics eliminates the hunger problem. In November, The United States Department of Agriculture replaces the word "hunger" with the phrase "low food security" in its annual report on hunger in America.

3) Defending the First Amendment by proposing that we scrap it. At a New Hampshire event dedicated to freedom of speech, Newt Gingrich declares that the United States will have to re-examine that particular constitutional right as it fights terrorism.

4) Halliburton contracts to build large detention camps in the US. In January, KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton was awarded a 385 million dollar contract from the Department of Homeland Security to build "Detention and Removal" facilities to help "in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs that require additional detention space."

5) The Inexorable Worldwide Rollout of RFID Chips. Although it's not moving as quickly as the RFID industry would like, 2006 saw the addition of electronic ID chips to US passports, Nikes and iPods, Florida pythons, Japanese schoolchildren, German hospital patients and boozing Brits.

6) Stay What? After years of characterizing US policy in Iraq as "Stay the course," the Bush administration not only drops the phrase, but denies it ever existed. On October 23rd, Bush declared "We've never been 'stay the course.'"

7) Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Carrying Cash is a Crime. In August, a federal court ruled that the government can seize cash from an individual, even if that individual has not been accused of a crime and has no criminal record.

8) The Automated Targeting System. In November, the Federal Register revealed the existence of the Automated Targeting System, a Department of Homeland Security program for identifying terrorists and criminals, which cross references all people entering or leaving the country with a host of personal data which they are not allowed to see or correct.

9) NSA Warrantless Surveillance and Crypto-City. Although the NSA's secret spying program broke in late 2005, the controversy took up much of 2006, culminating in the August ruling by Detroit District Court that the program was unconstitutional and illegal under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It continues nonetheless. And yet, through all of this, there's been almost no discussion of the NSA's secret city north of Washington, DC, called Crypto-City.


All links, videos and articles can be found by following the link to WFMU.

1 comment:

Alex said...

I only count 9...
Still frightening