Who Watches the Watchers?

When the Roman poet Juvenal first used the phrase Quis custodiet ipsos custodes in the sixth of his second-century Satires, he was referring playfully to critics of his relationship with his wife. The phrase’s passage to its current status as a political lock-and-guard mechanism came via its misattribution to Plato’s Republic. But the observation of those whose role it is to observe, whether or not they are sanctioned by the state, is itself worthy of observation. Watching needs watching.

The idea is a simple one but it is a central supporting wall in the edifice of any entity that wishes to call itself a democracy; that those who are tasked with regulating the behavior of the citizenry must also be subject to the same level of scrutiny. This safeguard has been exponentially expanded and therefore complicated by the global success of the internet, and the rise of and ease of access to online information has led to the replacement of a culture in which political news and views were accessed solely via reading the newspaper and watching TV. Today, your telephone, even your child’s telephone, can allow you to watch world events unfolding in real time, and this small unit is a portal into a vast labyrinth of opposing political views and opinions. Juvenal’s conundrum (which leads, of course, to an infinite regress) has never been more pertinent than in our cyber-environment. This is an arena in which the watchers are able to do a lot more watching, but are becoming increasingly alarmed that this political voyeurism is reciprocal, and that they are being watched right back.

Watching, and being watched, is rapidly becoming the instinctive human activity which should concern us most. In our cyber world, the ability to watch increases steadily, and it is perfectly suited to the technocratic organization of control in which no one goes unobserved. In Martin Scorsese’s movie Casino, the boss – Sam “Ace” Rothstein, played by Robert de Niro – explains the surveillance system in his Las Vegas casino:

“In Las Vegas everybody’s got to watch everybody else. The players are looking to beat the casino. The dealers are watching the players. The box-men are watching the dealers. The floor-men are watching the box-men. The pit bosses are watching the floor-men. The shift bosses are watching the pit bosses. The casino manager is watching the shift bosses, I’m watching the casino manager, and the eye in the sky is watching us all”.

Rothstein is referring to a central, revolving bank of cameras watching everything that takes place in the casino and monitored from a control room. This is a modern version of English philosopher Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon, intended to control and secure prisons using the centralized ability to observe all the inmates and guards all the time. Bentham summarizes his design:

“The essence of it consists then, in the centrality of the inspector’s situation, combined with the well-known and most effectual contrivances for seeing without being seen.

But now this centrality and invisibility are under threat as everyone gets to join in. Modern online observation evokes the “sphere of nature” suggested by French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal, in which “the center is everywhere, the circumference nowhere”. Anyone can be a watcher now, even of the other watchers.

Watching is a response to the need for security, beginning with physical security. The need to watch and thereby ensure one’s own safety and that of others is what links the soldier on guard duty with the visual entry-phone. Security, however, the making secure of something, is no longer concerned simply with the safety of the person. We hear much about national security, cyber-security, data security. The more security is required, in whatever different forms, the more watching will get done, and there will be more watchers to be watched.

The increasing invasiveness of Western states in the lives of its citizens is undeniable, and Big Brother is watching closely. The surveillance of citizens’ hitherto private lives, much of which now takes place online, seems to be a globalist objective in the West, and this is increasingly reflected in its legislation. Observation is moving away from being a physical transaction and becoming a virtual operation. Policing is shifting from the observation of what is usually accepted as criminality and towards the monitoring of statement and opinion, particularly online. The British police are increasingly criticized for, to use a contemporary phrase, “policing Tweets and not streets”. Definitive figures are hard to come by, but it seems clear that more people are currently being arrested in the UK for comments made on social media than in Russia. And it is not just the written word that is being monitored, but also the spoken.

As any hunter will tell you, hearing is as important as seeing, and so listening is as important as watching, and this certainly applies to the new Scottish Hate Crimes Bill, which was passed by the Scottish Parliament but is having a very hard time of it with those irritating people, the electorate. Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf’s pet project passed into law on April Fool’s Day and means that a household conversation can now be reported by a family member (or anyone else) if they find it to be actually, or even potentially, offensive to themselves or others. A vast network of police patrol points was set up whereby ordinary people could make a complaint about comments either online or at the dinner-table, if families still dine together.

There were 8,000 complaints in the first week, just 0.6% of which have been shown as legitimate, and Police Scotland have admitted this is straining already failing police resources. Scotland has the highest rate of drug deaths in Europe, for example, and a rising crime rate in line with the rest of the UK, and so many feel that watching drug dealers and burglars may be a more worthwhile occupation for the police. Be careful what you watch for.

To allay slightly our Orwellian fears, there are organizations who are watching the state. With some, the clue is in the name, as with London-based Big Brother Watch, who have been monitoring state surveillance in the UK for 15 years. Another meticulous observer is Biased BBC, who have much to observe. These are single-issue watchers, set up precisely to monitor and with watching as their mission statements. It is not quite as obvious, however, that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK’s largest regulator of the finance industry, should be monitoring the employment quotas of private companies in the interests of financial probity, which is supposed to be their remit. A press release outlines their new policy:

The FCA has finalised rules requiring listed companies to report information and disclose against targets on the representation of women and ethnic minorities on their boards and executive management, making it easier for investors to see the diversity of their senior leadership teams.

We might want to challenge the suggestion that investors make their decisions on how much a company’s board of directors resembles a 1980s Benetton ad, but with DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Equality) just as intrusive in the UK as the US, the FCA is just one example of monitored affirmative action among many.

So, sometimes the watchers are themselves watched, and are not reveling in the spotlight. HOPE Not Hate (HnH) is an organization dedicated to exposing Britain’s “far Right”, a movement they invent in its absence, as I wrote about for Occidental Observer here two years ago. This year, HnH have had a gain of function, moving from a wagging finger in the background to a political fist. Within three hours of the publication of their 2024 annual report, British political party Reform UK had de-selected three of their candidates for the upcoming General Election. Once HnH got a taste for this political power at one remove, they kept going.

The watchers, however, are being watched by someone becoming increasingly adept at the art. Tommy Robinson is a leading hate figure on the Left, and divides those on the Right. He has produced a video which makes several allegations about HnH for which they would surely sue if Robinson has got his facts wrong. They started the cycle by devoting a huge slice of their report to denouncing Robinson, as well as gloating about his legal and financial struggles. Now he is watching them right back. So much for the “watchdogs”, as observational and regulatory bodies are often referred to in the UK. How far can they see?

The ability to watch improves as quickly as technology, and the current European drive towards digital identity is panoptical. The entire financial infrastructure of an individual’s life can now be monitored, and implications drawn from it which may not be to the advantage of that person. I saw an early example in Sweden 30 years ago. In Gothenburg, there were two systembolagets, or large government-run liquor stores. Identity must be shown and recorded when purchasing alcohol and, if the amount bought is considered too high for the household in question, social workers are sent to the home address to discuss issues around alcohol with the family or individual concerned. Under “digital identity” measures, there is nothing to stop the great panopticon of state from watching which books you buy, which organizations’ newsletters you receive, or whose lectures you attend. The European Union is building its own Chinese-style social credit system, and the de-banking of individuals and businesses for holding the “wrong” political opinions proceeds apace, at least in the UK.

The arrival of IT also means that American philosopher John Dewey’s classical observation is far more relevant than in the era of paper. Litera scripta manet translates as “That which is written down, remains”. But that was then. Now, paper documentation, shredders and waste-paper bin (or trashcan) fires are antique. Paper can be destroyed, as Scottish essayist Thomas Carlyle found out to his cost in 1834 when his servant accidentally burned the first draft of Carlyle’s great work, The French Revolution. There was no backing it up then, but online documentation is not so easy to dispose of.

The state is increasingly out-sourcing its ability to watch its citizens to big-tech companies, and their level of monitoring can be retrospective as well as current. So-called “forensic” examination of a person’s past on social media can be used to bring someone down. When an account is banned by Twitter/X, you can’t start another, but they don’t expunge your Tweets. The account – including my own – is described as “permanently suspended”, but it is more like suspended animation. They keep all your Tweets in case they ever come in useful, in case you become one of those people who, as school-teachers once said of errant pupils, needs watching.

As for supposedly private communications, how can you know whether someone is reading your emails other than the intended recipient? I was advised to change to an encrypted service after being warned by an editor that one well-known email platform was allegedly partly staffed by diligent SJWs who see it as their duty to regulate their company’s service in an unofficial capacity by flagging up what they deem to be “problematic” correspondence, and subsequently closing accounts.

Then there is the natural defense of the reluctantly observed, a prohibition against watching, from the banning of a speaker or film to more subtly technocratic means. Freedom of Information requests (FOIs) made to the UK Government may by their name seem straightforward, but they are fitted with locks and guards to protect certain ethnic minorities from unwanted scrutiny. In June 2023, the reply to FOI reference number 2023 1066 was published on the website of the Office for National Statistics, The query was as follows:

“I would like to request data on violent crime in England and Wales broken down by the ethnicity of the perpetrator from 2016 to the most recent available year”.

The British police are already hobbled by the ludicrously exhaustive amount of documented information that must accompany each arrest, which means that the information requested will almost certainly be available. The response is interesting, and summed up in the first paragraph:

Our publications and data concern crime as it is experienced by the victim, or as it is recorded by police. Unfortunately, we do not, generally, produce statistics or details on the offender.

So, we have a victim-based report focusing on the experience of the person suffering the criminal act. This is not much use to a murder victim, but it is at least an attempt at a procedural approach. But collected data exists “as it is experienced by the victim or as it is recorded by police” [italics added]. As football fans say of referees who they feel have treated their team unfairly, he must be watching a different game to the rest of us.

In the UK, as in many other Western countries, illegal immigrants are watched far less than tax-paying indigenous citizens, and Migration Watch is another self-explanatory name for an organization that does just that. In 2022, their research showed that just 2% of immigrants arriving in the UK held passports. It is estimated that up to 90% of illegal migrants throw their passports into the English Channel, thereby rendering useless a globally recognized method by which people can be monitored. No English person returning from abroad would be allowed into the country without a passport. Do you ever get the feeling you are not being watched?

So, if you are online in any way, you are watching and being watched. For the data-harvesters, the swing of the scythe never stops. A variety of colloquialisms are appropriate for those just logging in: “Watch out”, “watch it”, “watch your step”, “watch what you say”. If you wish to assist someone who requires such a warning, you “watch their back”. And we should heed all of those warnings.

Finally, we should not get too carried away with our newly acquired super power of being able to watch the watchers. Don’t underestimate exactly who it is watching you. The ruling elites don’t have binoculars and your license number jotted down somewhere, they command the most technologically advanced panopticon in history. Don’t be over-confident when it comes to your locks and guards. Those comforted by the security blanket of their VPNs and unregistered phones may be exhibiting the same psychology as very small children who think that by covering their eyes, no one else can see them. So, watch yourselves.

2 replies
  1. Lord Snooty
    Lord Snooty says:

    I recently reread Marshall McLuhan’s photo book “The Medium is the Massage” (1967). It’s oh-so-sixties, but I enjoyed this snippet:

    “Electrical information devices for universal, tyrannical womb-to-tomb surveillance are causing a very serious dilemma between our claim to privacy and the community’s need to know. The older, traditional ideas of private, isolated thoughts and actions…are very seriously threatened by new methods of instantaneous electric information retrieval, by the electrically computerized dossier bank – that one big gossip column that is unforgiving, unforgetful and from which there is no redemption, no erasure of early ‘mistakes’.”

    If I’d read that in 1967—when the most advanced tech in the home was a 405-line monochrome TV with just three channels—I’d have wondered what this pseud was going on about. But the Canadian has proved to be a prophet.

  2. Alan
    Alan says:

    The eye of Sauron.Pt.5′ Americans ,not just Heroic houthis ,using AI to fight AI** attention new and younger disillusioned disenfranchised incontinent
    readers of TOO… Are we really .all actors on a global stage?*…’The unimpeachable inimitable hyper rational importance of Mark Collett and morgoth..2024..*
    A very different view to revolutionary American kristallnacht , the collapse of hyper jewish national security state apparatus** First respectfully a nesecery diversion:… A vote for jewish flaming mentally ill zionist dj.trump,is a vote for cyborg beta male dysphoric Jared Kushner and satanic Chabad.,*,We aren’t here to talk trash against the loud proud and wrong jew race supremacist whore dj.trumpdog. No. Elsewhere many of our extreme armed very articulate. rightwing brothers and sisters have testified..yea..and..”amen…contra
    the.would be antichrist jew false messiah trump clown”
    …..these we we. refer. to.arent”….amen hotep fans ,adam cadmon, types …baal….quatziquotal ..la raza..ms 13..or baphomet molock morlock red bracelet kabala folks,…no,
    …not even a little bit. Their.minds are sharp as a sharks bite…straight. as an arrow destined to find its mark”…. first..Dj.trumpdog supported all expansion of natl security .state stalinism while simultaneously.peddling the fiction that he, the brazen loud mouthed. amoral solipsistic opportunistic grifter.the best friend of michael jackson..pedophile turned muslim….was a quasi….woodstock,.fan…footloose and fancy free old hippie capitalist.. the poorly hidden pseudo elitist libertine jew..etc.*.Then after lying..lock her up..bumpstock bans. Red fag laws..he said..no midevil wall,*while building 3 walls for Isreal,*….Now…on to this topic ..
    ..TOO posted a fabulous internet supersurveillance article but politely we see the diametric opposite results exploding and evolving right here and right now contra this ultra jewish superpolice state ..isreali
    supersurveillance state scam.The jews previously dominated the planet thru fractional reserve banking usury..printing fiatpetrodollars and remilitarizing by dint of overprinted money…back in the day prior to the jew controligarch billionaire parasites imposing luciferian leftwingnut woke anticulture..which obviously is just Talmud..kabala..schizophrenic masturation and gay rabbinical wet dreams for more of the same old judeao bolshevic totalitarianism.Fact is.the money printing hyperinflation, stagflation..constant bail outs of jew banksters and their..would be..watch out!_bail ins””digital dollar jewdevil scam..dont think that’s over just yet…**(,see Fed Coin jew scam,)
    …deliberate devaluing of purchasing power of the dollar..chasing evaporating goods…. and..the ultra Jewish natl security state is a **scarecrow*they know they can’t even afford… let alone back up with enough illegals and freemason moron cops and isreali. american antifa perverts and with BLM brownshirts..to achieve much of anything more than trying to say..take over Portland oregon.*Fact..people know the names and addresses and the whereabouts of the support systems for both the nat’l securit. state thought fuhrer jews,…and wef blackrock….the “other “globohomosexual jew. cyborgs…… .sure dumb non Christian blacks will go on out to ultra jewish Columbia University and Crack
    some adolescent skulls of the **Stop the Genocide Free Palestine” kids”..but that also has. backfired. Strange but true.. .newsflash!
    America (ameruca,) the north american union.isn’t Europe”
    The E.U. is much tighter than the current iteration of the USSA** note that europeans riot much more consistently than Americans but now the disconnect in the u.s..a. is so horribly estranged , all hell is starting to break loose…..now!”..,,no
    slave money reparations will suffice ,becausecwhen the jew whores who concepted. initiate and impose these blood money scams to obfuscate their
    own original.culpability..its a bottomless pit. like.the whore on the street that can never ever have enough..**,thats how the bloodshed starts..with classic overindulged overplayed talmudic bolshevist jew scams .””…..only problem is
    .the jew never knows when or how to stop the cyclone he started ” and ..again
    .fact is..the
    jewish natl security state apparatchic s…the apparatus..cannot do what idiotic Scotland has done or what the Jew -K has done.Why,,?
    .Too many Armed Americans*
    Now that real Americans are finding out that by digitizing all material assets the JEWS ,the JEW CONTROLIGARCH BANKSTERS are soon to try to seize all private assets..including property..all hell cannot be contained..its already started as. the summer of pure discontent looms….too many homeless too.much black on white murders…too many
    … gaza s…too many Ukraines..too many dead men walking..satanyahoo ..zelensky
    .etc..too many isreal bail outs..no jobs no food no freedom only fake money and prison wages***dont be afraid..-..the worst damage to freedom is done… but we can make them pay..not just tremble in their ..preternatural jewish darkness…be sure…be very sure.” Retribution is coming and no boston dynamoc 10thousand $
    robo fire breathing dog is going to. stop it.**,
    ..when there’s nothing left to steal many will reject depression and jew inculcated learned helplessness….Violent rage cannot be contained when millions know where gates zuckerfarce lives..
    .where l..soros fink schwarsmen chertoff ..house negro lloyd austin..chipman dettleback greenblatt etc live…dont be so sure that THE JEWS behind the natl sec.state ,like the mulatto stalin…the. blood clot falasha jew obama..cant. stop bullets.He bleeds like all the rest of us do…even if he and Michael don’t think so..some imagine what a 10 mm.cartridge can do. when slamming into totalitarian flesh….
    Stranger things have happened when totalitarians get too drunk on perceived power..think the goths by day and slaughtered by night.. and vlad the impaler.* so much for jewish communist thought crimes…
    Dont fear!
    “The Jews “and their satanic natl sec.state have shot themselves in the foot! * Not to be digressive. or anticlimactic ,but the jews in the long term always bark up the wrong tree..always bite off more than they can chew…. **
    .too bad for pfizer…for google gulag…for Lara larry loomer…eat your black hearts out..Jews!….hasbara troll Scum! Youre exposed! You’ve bern outed.”.. .Links..Catherine austin fitts..”Whitney Webb..,,”Harry Vox.,,*Jeff Rense. See also. Eric Prince”,Rearm Now,* Its not. too late… to Rearm Now**

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