While George W. Bush has been occupying the White House, the U.S. military has been caught spying against innocent Americans on multiple occasions through multiple surveillance efforts. Starting with the Eagle Eyes domestic surveillance program and the Pentagon’s Total Information Awareness project to this summer’s decision to redirect military spy satellites to conduct surveillance on Americans within the borders of the United States, and military spy infiltration of American political dissident groups the military’s spying eyes have been all over the USA, looking into the private affairs of law-abiding Americans.
Now, it seems, the U.S. Army is starting to worry that Americans are finding ways to fight back against military spies. In a report written eleven days ago, entitled Sample Overview: alQaida-Like Mobile Discussions & Potential Creative Uses, the Army’s 304th Military Intelligence Battalion writes with concern,
“Twitter has also become a social activism tool for socialists, human rights groups, communists, vegetarians, anarchists, religious communities, atheists, political enthusiasts, hacktivists and others to communicate with each other and to send messages to broader audience… Twitter was recently used as a counter-surveillance, command and control, and movement tool by activists at the Republican National Convention (RNC). The activists would Tweet each other and their Twitter pages to add information on what was happening with Law Enforcement near realtime.”
Do we really need the Army’s spies to save us from human rights groups, vegetarians and atheists? The Army frets that terrorists might use Twitter as a tool to coordinate their attacks, but there has never been such a Twitter-terror attack on American soil. It’s a worrying sign when the Army, with its record of spying against Americans in recent years, starts to look at political activists in the United States as a model of terrorist activity.
If military spies are worried that political protesters are using Twitter as a tool to counter surveillance against them, then they ought to consider that activist anti-spy tools have only become necessary because the military, and other agencies of the American government, have been treating political protest as if it is a form of terrorism, and spying against its peaceful practitioners.
When the government abuses its powers and spies against us, it is the sensible and right thing for politically active citizens to develop methods of resistance. I hope to see activists develop yet more tools to thwart the Big Brother that our government has become.