Nobody Cares

Surveillance in the 1970s. Assassin Jonathan (Bruno Ganz) in Wim Wender’s Der Amerikanische Freund (1977) is being watched by numerous surveillance cameras in a metro station in Paris. But nobody seems to care when he shoots his prey. Go to 8:00 min and see yourself.

Patricia Highsmith, who wrote the fictional setting (Ripley’s Game, 1974) knew that you may get away with murder although leaving plenty of evidence behind (that applies actually only to arch villain Tom Ripley; terminally ill Jonathan soon demises: of leukemia and distress in Wender’s movie, in a shootout in Highsmith’s novel).

In the ongoing, even after one year, NSA scandal, which has alerted people around the world of Orwell’s Big Brother and Jeremy Benthem’s Panopticon, one important question has not really been answered. Mass surveillance has not, so we learned, prevented a single terrorist attack after 9-11. As has been argued by Glenn Greenwald (and furiously rejected by, well, former NSA and CIA director General Michael Hayden), that’s why 9-11 must be regarded just a pretext for a greater aim: the surveillance state. But what about criminal plots? Is the NSA involved at least in crime detection? Is anybody looking at what surveillance cameras record? Does anybody care?

We have to wait until Greenwald reports, as promised, on real people in America and around the world who have been real NSA targets. Maybe (and hopefully) the list will include not only burglars and serial killers but also tax fugitives, Wallstreet banksters, sex offenders.

7 June 2014 @ 8:53 pm.
Last modified June 7, 2014.
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