Thoughts on Symbols of Collection in America

NSA LogoThere are times you really have to wonder at the awareness levels of the sheep in America, or at how clearly arrogant the wolves think of themselves within it. Often, to convey intentions or meaning, any number of historic movements or organizations use symbols to represent their capabilities, objectives, or significance. So perhaps you heard (or didn’t) of a recent example where a division within the National Security Agency (NSA) launched a new intelligence satellite? Again it was given little fanfare by the press which is typical of launches, but on this satellite is an organizational logo that illustrates just how the American spy agency sees its role in the emerging US Police State. But in light of all the recent NSA revelations on its collection efforts on US citizens, I guess such blatant disregard for the logo’s historic implications shouldn’t be much of a surprise no matter how fitting it may be – it is after all, it’s only an octopus.

In early December, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) posted pictures on Twitter of the new Atlas-5 rocket in its final preparations at the National Reconnaissance Office’s (NRO) deployment hangar. The rocket’s payload was described as, “…spy satellites that will likely be used to gather communications “flotsam” and who knows what else from people around the world”. (Hill) The ODNI included a picture of the logo for the satellite: a simple cartoon octopus wrapping its arms around the world, emblazoned, “Nothing is beyond our [the NSA’s] reach.” Karen Furgerson, a spokesman for the NRO said, ‘Nothing is beyond our reach’ defines this mission and the value it brings to our nation and the war fighters it supports, who serve valiantly all over the globe, protecting our nation.” (Hill) (Sledge)

Problem is, apparently no one in the NSA ever stopped to consider the historical implications of using this type of symbolism to represent their eavesdropping and collection program. In addition, with a recent federal judge citing the NSA’s collection of American’s cellular data as unconstitutional (calling it “Orwellian”) the symbolism of NSA [the octopus] collections spreading over the globe is even more disturbing. (Mears and Perez) The octopus has been used frequently in history, often to represent a sense of sinister intent creeping along and grabbing everything with its multi-legged reach. Each of the legs are also seen as working independently towards an overall singular purpose. And while not all uses of symbolism were legitimate; at the time and in the given society it was intended for, the message conveyed was often a clear and singular one.

The octopus has been used in the following (click on each for a brief description):

Overall the use of the octopus has a consistently negative connotation. It is seen as something lurking, reaching out, and spreading its unseen influence. When placed in comparison to a globe however, the implications give the octopus a much larger perspective where no one is safe from its grasp. So when the NSA, a federal US intelligence agency charged with “the global monitoring, collection, decoding, translation and analysis of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, including surveillance of targeted individuals on U.S. soil” chooses a logo for its new collection satellite with historic associations to Anti-Semitism, Communism, Nazism, and excessive abuses in authority, I really have to wonder if anyone at the NSA ever bothered to think they might want to do a hint of research on the symbolism of its logo before associating it with their collection program gathering “flotsam” – or basically anything digital that is being transmitted. Or perhaps…they did?

But even more worrisome is that very few sheep in the public domain saw this and recognized the historic implications of what was/wasn’t intentionally being promoted. Perhaps this is what led Bill Boney, a 32-year NSA veteran and executive who created the agency’s surveillance program, to publicly state the US has now become a Police State. (Global Research) While our ability to influence the NSA is limited at the public level, citizens need to get seriously informed and remember how their freedoms are being exploited. The exposure from information by Edward Snowden and others have really cast light on just how intrusive these methods of control have invaded the everyday lives of Americans, and just how outside the Constitution some organizations are willing to go. Hopefully through the democratic process we can promote individuals who are genuine about returning the levers of control back to the People and effect legitimate change vice today’s power-driven, special interest backed, and Socialist/Progressivist movement bent on population control.

Works Cited

Global Research. “Former Top NSA Official: “We Are Now In A Police State”.” 18 December 2013. GlobalResearch.ca. 19 December 2013 <http://www.globalresearch.ca/former-top-nsa-official-we-are-now-in-a-police-state/5362080&gt;.

Hill, Kashmir. “U.S. Spy Rocket Has Octopus-Themed ‘Nothing Is Beyond Our Reach’ Logo. Seriously.” 5 December 2013. Forbes. 219 December 2013 <http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2013/12/05/u-s-spy-rocket-launching-today-has-octopus-themed-nothing-is-beyond-our-reach-logo-seriously/&gt;.

Mears, Bill and Evan Perez. “Judge: NSA domestic phone data-mining unconstitutional .” 16 December 2013. CNN: Justice. 20 December 2013 <http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/16/justice/nsa-surveillance-court-ruling/&gt;.

Sledge, Matt. “America is Launching a Giant, World-Sucking Octopus into Space.” 5 December 2013. The Huffington Post. 20 December 2013 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/05/nro-satellite-logo_n_4394577.html&gt;.

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