In the early 70s, the Watergate scandal forced US President Richard Nixon to resign. This was the only one, so far, resignation by an American president. Only the fact that the "president's men" broke into the offices of the Democratic party to photograph documents and install listening devices, was enough to create a big scandal that went down in history, and shocked the American public.
This was shocking of course, not because interceptions were something new, but because Americans were used to justify such practices only in cases where the security of the US was threatened, mainly of course, by the communist threat, as they were "trained" to believe since the McCarthyism era. The Watergate was a scandal that went down in history, exactly because every US government since then, permanently downgraded in the eyes of the US citizens, as proved that ultimately was not oriented exclusively to defend the US against external enemies, but also to stay in power, using every means against political opponents .
In the post-civil war Greece, mainly during 50s, 60s and 70s, interceptions of citizens from para-state agents and all kinds of informers had become a routine. Indeed, the Greeks who lived during that time have plenty, often grotesque, stories to tell around this issue. This phenomenon, which peaked during the seven years of junta, has influenced Greek society in such a degree that even today, even the younger generations who have no memories of such situations, "inherited" the syndrome of distrust against state institutions, from the older ones. This is something that governments exploit because the citizens take for granted the para-state practices and gradually become familiar with them.
Therefore, over the decades, Western societies began to get used to the idea that interceptions is a common practice of governments. After the attacks of September 11 of 2001, things changed very quickly. Western societies are "trained" not to be shocked by cases of interceptions. Within the Western neo-rationalism, is included the necessity of interceptions for security reasons.
As technology has made it possible to monitor millions of phone calls, the acceptance that any phone can be monitored, comes naturally. Despite the assurances of the head of the NSA, that intercepts refer to governments and not citizens, most of us have been "trained" to view as natural the fact that our telephone conversations, e- mails or any other form of communication with others, such as through social media, can be monitored.
Some examples of ways in which governments are "training" citizens
- Controlled leaks of possible interceptions so that citizens to become familiar with them
Controlled leaks are very useful, as the leaking information is usually something which almost everyone suspects. So, for example, the revelation that the telephone conversations of the embassy of an Arab country were recorded by NSA or Mossad, is something that more or less everyone expects. It's not a big revelation. But in this way, people gradually "trained" to take for granted the interceptions between governments. The recent claim of the ex-MP with PASOK socialist party, Theodoros Pangalos, that Greece spied on US Ambassadors, is coordinated with this direction, giving an excuse to the American side and trying to downgrade the omnipotence of the superpower to monitor everyone without itself be monitored.
- Exploiting conspiracy theories
Governments are usually characterize some revelations or uncontrolled leaks as conspiracy theories. On the other hand, conspiracy theories, whether are real, or inaccurate, or constructed, play their own role in "training" citizens and getting used to interceptions, and this is something which governments exploit.
- Inaccurate information about the capability of governments to conduct interceptions
Controlled information that reaches the media and reproduced by them, may include the overestimated capability of governments to monitor, for example, an extremely large number of phone conversations. Even if there is such a possibility, such huge amount of data is extremely difficult to be processed. However, the technology is evolving rapidly, and possibly will allow processing of large amount of data in very short time, in the near future. When technology will allow this, people will have already become familiar with the idea that any conversation can be investigated and processed any time.
Where did scandals go?
The media increasingly avoid using the word "scandal" regarding interceptions. It is more likely for you to hear the word scandal for the extramarital relationships of a famous Hollywood star, than for the fact that the NSA intercepted the main communication links that carry data of millions of users of Google and Yahoo. This is also a tactic within the "training" of societies. Since people must become familiar with monitoring of everything, the word "scandal" should disappear from such cases.
Technology has created a pluralism of easy and fast communication, but also opened new channels for interceptions. This is another parameter which makes interceptions a common situation in people's minds.
In fact, during recent months have been revealed so many scandals of interceptions, in Greece and abroad that citizens, not only become familiar with them, but often bypass them and focus on other events, with some exceptions, including isolated and spasmodic protests. Perhaps nothing is eventually accidental.
Thus, governments today do not have to apply violence. Conflicts in streets are risky, nobody can predict perfectly their ending. But the suitable "education" of societies is ultimately a much more secure method for the enforcement of the so-called "new world order".