A sobering assessment by @seanmdav of post-9/11 actions by the US government in response to that fateful day. https://thefederalist.com/2023/09/11/was-9-11-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-the-american-empire/

There was a time after 9/11 I was all about those actions: the War on Terror, the Patriot Act, and so on, justifying every aspect, annoyingly so I might add. My brother fought in both theatres. In Iraq twice. It had to mean something, in light of 9/11, but also for our soldiers’ sacrifices.

Hindsight is 20/20 though. Patriot Act. DHS. TSA. NSA expansion. And now to the present: Disinformation Governance Boards. How did we get here? America really did change that day on 9/11. None of our actions rescinded or with an expiration date.

During the war years of the late 2000’s, two documentaries from Adam Curtis, The Power of Nightmares and Century of the Self, were eye-opening for me, causing me to analyze my own convictions, gradually to be sure.

However, in 2005 in particular, four years after 9/11, while I was still solidly in support of the wars, reports came out from a former AT&T tech of a data room (641A) in an AT&T CO building in downtown San Fran, housing a Narus data mirroring device. What it did I didn’t fully understand at the time. Data splitting and mirroring on fiber lines sounded ominous though. It was like a rock in my shoe. But it was too conspiratorial right? Couldn’t be.

Digging further, it was alleged to be related to NSA surveillance, data mining, and analytics. Those initial claims and reports turned out to be true a year later when former NSA exec @Thomas_Drake1 blew the whistle and said as much. And then @Snowden, 12 years after 9/11, regardless of what you think of what he did and how he did it, exploded the truth onto the world and confirmed it all beyond a shadow of a doubt: a vast array of warrantless data aggregation and mining programs within our own nations’ communications and internet infrastructure that is now all likely a permanent fixture, and expanding, improving.

And that brings us to the present: was it… is it all worth it? Has entrenched power formed and is centralized government growing stronger to the point where one can’t resist these mechanisms, even at the ballot box? And so the debate goes on: liberty vs. security. How much is the populace willing to tolerate regarding privacy in order to be protected? Is the populace willing to relinquish basic civil liberties in the cause of greater supposed security? Or are the tools now becoming more of a threat to the populace than a protector?

The debate really hasn’t changed much in all these years. The tools have. And I don’t know how much choice we really have.