I have been battered and booted and trampled on and fried and laid out to dry, and made to cry so often.

But I have also seen the good in the world. And I want more of us to see more of it.

This, then, is my model for progress:

  1. A UN investigation, totally independent of me, scoped historically back into the 1970s and upto the present day, into the use of virtual tools by mafias – state, corporate, and the more obviously criminal – where the goal has manifestly been to interact and interfere (in what I am sure will be revealed as taking place in coordinated ways) with our most sacred democratic rights and process across the world.
  2. On the back of the investigation, once properly completed, sovereign nation-states will be strongly encouraged to sign up to a process of ongoing indictments, in the terms of reference the investigation may determine, but always under the control of the due legislative processes of these states.
  3. In all cases, the security and safety of democratic and other citizens should determine the aforementioned terms of reference and scoping. I am not against security measures at all: I am against dynamics which augment inefficiencies, and consequently increase the chances of corruption and citizen abuse, leading inevitably to reduced levels of national and international security all around the globe.

With all this, I look for us to fashion a better future out of understanding far more accurately our recent past. Corporations can only provide governments with innovative tools if they have already used them privately. If corporations can do – have done – so, criminal organisations can equally deliver. It is therefore inconceivable that when Snowden assured us his story had been happening in government for the previous decade, that it had not been happening a long time before, and engineered by far more insalubrious forces than even those Snowden expressed such distaste for.

The real revelations of Snowden lie not in the PowerPoints, the programme names, or the ease with which tech gave up on its clients. The real revelations lie in how long ago the virtual world, in the hands of the mafias I describe, began to truly shape the real: and by this, I mean our democracies.

The NSA and GCHQ were wrong to focus on terrorism. Really, intelligently, rightly and assertively, they should have realised the biggest threat to the fabric of our societies lies in what I have started to call neo-terrorism: the criminal destruction of discrete people’s lives. People the mafias identify, concrete individuals I mean, and whom they determine could impact their interests long-term – if, that is, these individuals ever became successful in life.

It is my supposition, then, that from at least the 1970s onwards, these mafias of all the kinds I mention have deliberately undermined, shaped and re-engineered our democracies to their own ends: by stealthily, passive-aggressively – essentially as per any historical fascism – targeting particular individuals and their potential to become threats to the mafias’ natural activities.

Because history is actually NOT made of mass movements alone. Specific moments in time, specific individuals and incidents, words spoken famously, ideals borne bravely … all these can change the directions of our societies dramatically. The mafias know this. We should act accordingly.

So. That is where we need now to look. That is our task for the future. And it is here we all can find the common ground that we so richly, so surely, deserve.

Also published on Medium.

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