U.S. Government Launches Massive Surveillance Database
The U.S. government has quietly launched a massive master database on American citizens, most of whom have no criminal records. According to the Wall Street Journal's Julia Angwin, a little-known government organization called the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has begun to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible wrongdoing. Angwin claims the NCTC is searching disparate government databases for proof of possible criminal behavior by ordinary citizens, even if they are not suspected in any crimes. Despite the NCTC's name, the organization is searching for proof of ordinary crimes, as well as terrorism.
Lists being parsed by the NCTC include flight records, casino employee lists, and the names of Americans hosting foreign exchange students. All-seeing government databases are becoming an increasingly common part of everyday life; in recent months, New York's police department created a massive citywide surveillance system and the FBI announced a billion-dollar biometric database.
Ernest Hemingway 'driven to suicide over FBI surveillance'
By Jon Swaine, New York
7:56PM BST 03 Jul 2011
Ernest Hemingway may have been driven to kill himself because of his surveillance by the FBI, his close friend and collaborator has said.
AE Hotchner said he believed the FBI's monitoring of the Nobel Prize-winning author, over suspicions of his links to Cuba, "substantially contributed to his anguish and his suicide" 50 years ago.
Hotchner wrote in The New York Times that he had "regretfully misjudged" his friend's fears of federal investigators, which were dismissed as paranoid delusions for years after his death.
In 1983 the FBI released a 127-page file it had kept on Hemingway since the 1940s, confirming he was watched by agents working for J. Edgar Hoover, who took a personal interest in his case.
Hotchner described being met off a train by Hemingway in Ketchum, Idaho, in November 1960, for a pheasant shoot with their friend Duke MacMullen.
Hemingway, struggling to complete his last work, complained "the feds" had "tailed us all the way" and that agents were poring over his accounts in a local bank that they passed on their journey.
"It's the worst hell," Hemingway said. "The goddamnedest hell. They've bugged everything. That's why we're using Duke's car. Mine's bugged. Everything's bugged. Can't use the phone. Mail intercepted."
Later that month he was committed for psychiatric care at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, where he received electric shock treatment. He attempted suicide several times before being released.
A few days after returning home to Ketchum, he shot himself in the head with his favourite shotgun aged 61.
"In the years since, I have tried to reconcile Ernest's fear of the FBI, which I regretfully misjudged, with the reality of the FBI file," wrote Hotchner, the author of 'Papa Hemingway'.
"I now believe he truly sensed the surveillance, and that it substantially contributed to his anguish and his suicide," he said.