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9/11 and the Expansion of the Security State
After thoughts 20+ years later
I remember vividly sitting in class, it was Grade 8 on September 11, 2001 and a normal day in Canadian School. Living in Windsor, Ontario my family made several trips a year to Detroit for the Car Show, the Red Wings games, occasionally the Tigers Stadium and we usually skipped the Detroit Lions. My cousin would drive me and my friend over for various concerts given the cities known moniker of “Detroit Rock City.” I loved listening to Drew and Mike in morning on 101 WRIF because it was as obscene as you could get without being taken off the air. The city itself was fascinating, one short tunnel or bridge and suddenly you were in an entirely different culture. Of course Detroit is not without its problems but I have fond memories from my visits there as a child and our increasingly infrequent visits after September 11, 2001. This article is typed out with the utmost respect for the American people overall and share of mourning for those who have lost their lives and continue to lose their lives as a consequence of the cowardly attack on the West which still effects us to this day.
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As we were sitting in class, the days before the cellphone as a common tool for people to have on their person, one of the other teachers came into the room and whispered something to our teacher. The teacher told us to stay quiet and left the room. No one thought of anything at first and we started whispering to each other then the teacher brought in one of those old CRT’s on a wheelie cart into the classroom. He plugged it in and got the AV port plugged in. In a few moments everything changed for us, we began watching the beginning of the end of relative peace and prosperity in our times, although we didn’t know it at the time. That attack damaged us psychically, spiritually and mentally. We watched as the towers fell over and over again, we watched the infamous videos of people diving to certain death. We watched the footage on the ground level of concrete dust spewing throughout the streets and people running screaming in terror. It was terror, my mother came and picked us up from school and we went home and sat there glued to the television watching the towers fall over and over. My mother crying and holding us tight, all of us waiting for the other foot to drop. We heard about the Pentagon and the passengers that took down the Plane headed for Camp David which only added to the fear. We didn’t know what was happening and what was going to happen.
The security apparatus expands
Following the initial shock and terror the United States promised retaliation and soon we were engaged in a new Operation Desert Storm. Canada, which has generally been regarded as a “peacekeeping” force took an active role in Afghanistan and other areas. The war garnered a high level of support from just about everyone, even the war detractors seemed to be a small voice. It didn’t take long for the conspiracy theories to start, one of the most famous of course is the Michael Moore documentary. This article is not meant to dive into the conspiracy aspect too much however I will say that people would rather believe in a conspiracy then accept the Government’s general level of overall incompetence.
What we gladly did in North America was sacrifice our privacy for more protection with the Patriot Act. This act, an extreme kneejerk reaction to the event was cheered on. I cheered it on because I thought it meant more safety, what I and many other’s didn’t anticipate was just how far the privacy abuse would go. I remember the Ontario “enhanced driver’s license” program I joined to help secure easier travel to the USA, I had to answer a flurry of questions and opened myself up to an expansive background check. Later on that wasn’t even good enough with the advent of the “Nexus Pass” and the requirement to use Passports to cross the border. One of the key things I remember is just how aggressive Border Services became, crossing the border which had never bothered me before became probably the most stressful event of the trip. We travelled across the border far less frequently after 9/11 and then we stopped all together. Airports became hostile zones which continue to this day, more on that below.
Waking up from the slumber
In College I began to take a keen interest in politics and social/cultural issues. This was before many of the mainstream cultural commentators of today. Cultural commentary was to be sought on online forums and within the Legacy Media. I was commonly heard espousing my increasingly “right leaning” views as I began to leave the left spheres I had grown disillusioned at. I had joined my College newspaper to write on College life and campus issues as a freelance writer. My editor came up to me and asked if I was interested in attending a radio session put on by a local radio show for an upcoming election. I agreed to go. When I showed up in the morning I was put across from two university political science students. Both of course had left wing leanings. We had been talking for a bit on the air and I had been mostly quiet until the subject of border crossings and border security came up. I remember disagreeing with the host and the other political science students on this point. I told them along the lines that I believed that we won’t be able to see better cross border relations because the US still believed that we were terrorists. It certainly seemed to have had a shock, like I had said something that wasn’t supposed to be said. I remember one of the political science students from the university looking at my aghast and told me, “do you actually believe that"?”
Increasingly I witnessed more and more encroachments on personal freedoms and liberties. My friend who shared part of the name of someone on a terrorist watch list had to apply for special paperwork as he was almost always held up at the border. Purchases made using your credit card would be tracked through the NSA under the Patriot Act as the base of operations for date storage was in the USA. As if this wasn’t bad enough, as the internet rose higher and higher in social prominence the collection of user data by Government and Private Companies that was shared with each other became an accepted method of doing business. My liberal friends travelled further to the left and the phrase, “If you have nothing hide why are you concerned?” became an increasing trope that was trotted out. My left leaning friends seemed to become more and more accustomed to the interference of Government in our daily lives. This prototypical Nanny like environment in which we are entrusted so little to manage our own day to day lives and our own risk. This would reach panic levels in 2019 with the Pandemic. The right became more and more libertarian wanting less Government intervention, more individualism and less invasion of our privacy.
The Airport Incident
This all came to a head for me when I was travelling for work a few years ago. Although I thought I was awake, I hadn’t realized just how much I had been sleeping. The ultimate red pill moment for me for which I will never come back from. I was heading for, and dreading, airport security. I was getting everything ready, my shoes untied, laptop ready to throw into the container (they had infrequently began requesting laptops be put in a separate container which is now standard practice) and ready for the potential of a random rub down. I then saw the sign just before security. It was printed in bright cheery colors with large lettering that read out,
“Yes, you might have to take your shoes off, but imagine how good your feet will feel!”
The absurdity hit me at once, it almost floored me. At first it was a shock, I remember going through the security section but it all looked different now. Everyone around me, grim faced and sullen. The Screener’s with their false polite decorum shadowed with the idea of a no fly list or even worse if tho dost protest their invasion of your privacy and a potential fondling of your genital region. I had to travel by air for work, my work was forcing me to participate in this theater.
I sat after waiting for my flight contemplating what I had seen. A mockery, the sign was a mockery of the process and showcased the absurdity as a company made an advertisement out of it. I was supposed to equivalate this act of privacy invasion with feeling good, like this theater was good for me. My feet didn’t feel good and frankly none of this felt good. I was not excited to visit that company, after being fondled by a Security Agent, to participate in Capitalism in the airport. This was even more apparent by the inability of you being able to bring your own food past security so you were forced to pay more to buy past the security checkpoint. It was Orwellian in nature, a private company gone to bed with the security theater to make advertising off of the enforcement of an egregious violation of your personal rights under the guise of safety in the air. Knowing that we were almost forced to buy their products after screening or go without until the conclusion of our trip.
It’s only gotten worse and every year it gets more absurd. The last few times I have had to fly for work they are now requiring you to remove your laptop and other electronics for a rub down to test for “explosive material”. I was once chastised by some CATSA agent because my liquids: Tooth paste, shampoo and body wash in the tiniest of containers were in my tiny hygiene bag and not the clear plastic bag provided by CATSA. I just laughed and held up the line as I carefully removed them and placed them into the clear bag to the disgruntlement of the screener as the line up grew longer. I watched as the metal detector went off on some 95 year old man and they gave him a good feel up, bent down to crotch level as their hands slowly felt him up and down, what did they intend to find on this old man? He just stood looking straight ahead mindlessly, attempting to disengage himself from this pre-flight humiliation ritual.
There is no doubt we still continue to live in a post 9/11 world. The wound has never really healed and the laws that were created in Western Countries to ensure that nothing like 9/11 would happen again has slowly turned inwards. Insider threats are the Security hot topic now along with Political agitation. Despite the apparatus pointed directly at us, they have been unable to stop the riots of 2020, the January 6th incident or any of the mass shootings or daily shootings because the apparatus isn’t there to stop those things. It is a system that permeates every aspect of our lives to stop us from questioning a system that is ok with political and cultural violence as long as it doesn’t interrupt the status quo. The system is there to punish the lower classes into subjection. You are free to question the system as long as the questioning doesn’t actually resolve anything, as long as there is no actual meaning to your actions.
In Canada we saw this with the “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa, the facial recognition software testing that got minimal blowback, Tim Hortons tracking you with their app to scrape your data and sell it, the location tracking software used by google and other companies who then turn it over to the Police at a whim. The blending of Government and Private industry to control “disinformation” online. We are currently seeing this now with the Arrive Canada App and the Digital ID program.
The digital ID is the ultimate wet dream of the security state. The final end product of the Patriot Act. A ever constant tracking ID that can be validated/invalidated in real time, limiting your services based on your social standing. Say something the Government doesn’t like? They shut your credit cards down until you absolve yourself through some form of struggle session. The ever tracking method can be used in all sorts of humiliating and degrading ways to ensure your compliance while constantly touting the “its for protection, it’s for societies protection, look how easy it makes buying things” mantras. Yet while this ID will constantly track you, you will still be victimized by violent criminals in the streets as our homeless and drug populations continue to rise. The protection this ID affords you is a lie, it’s a social prison. Get mugged by a drug addict? better not go to social media to complain or your digital ID might get flagged and you will have to go for sensitivity training. Yet the actual criminal that mugged you won’t be caught or if they are, thrown pity by the system for their state of impoverishment, while you are told to just be more careful next time. In the end the only people who will actually be free are ironically the lower class and the 0.1% upper class because both groups don’t have to play by the social rules, although for different reasons.
The future line might say something such as, “Yes, you might have no privacy but imagine how safe you’ll be!” An insidious double speak phrase indeed.
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