As Andrew Snowden’s exposures have shown, the United States government – via the Pentagon and specifically the NSA – has paid the world’s leading encryption company $10 million to partially cripple it’s security software so they could more easily spy on everyone. Why am I not surprised.
It’s already accepted that WW3, if it happens, won’t be fought with blood, guts, bayonets and bullets but drones and bots, driven by programmers at keyboards, by A.I. and automated software. Yet an uncontrolled government enterprise is paying to let it happen. If this was a film it would be an unbelievable conspiracy thriller and laughed out of the box office by critics.
Talking of conspiracy theories, while it’s not made the front page of more trusted and respected papers that I’m aware of, stories abound that the United States Department of Homeland Security ordered 1.6 BILLION round of ammunition – including illegal hollow-round rounds.
But if you want trusted papers – like this Reuters article on the Pentagon and bad bookkeeping that talks of how, in 2012, the US spent $685 billion on military expenditure – more than China, Russia, France, German, the UK and others combined. Of how trillions of dollars are officially ‘unaccounted for’. And finishes off with the observation that in 2001 Donald Rumsfeld stated that:
According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. Make of the following what you will. Reuters finished with the observation that the day after he said this "al Qaeda hijacked commercial airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It would be nearly a decade before Pentagon accounting drew the attention of Congress."
As the saying goes, truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. What else does Mr Snowden have to release? Equally, bearing in mind he’s going to need insurance to keep himself, his girlfriend and his family back home safe, what’s worse that he won’t or dare not reveal?
Taking it a step further, given he’s just one contractor in a secret organisation with an army of employees, unknown numbers of black op teams, of never, ever to be disclosed clandestine branches and hierarchies, that has untold trillions of dollars for R&D and expenditure and a blank cheque from Congress and interested (equally undisclosed) conglomerates if that’s not enough in the slush funds…
Sobering thought if you put it in those terms, eh?
The reason given, plausibly enough, is accounting errors. It’s not ‘missing’ or ‘lost’ it’s just mis-filed.
It’s eye-opening if you Google ‘what does a trillion dollars look like?’ You are talking about an area the size of an airport filled with pallets of $100 bills. One of the graphs I found was on Crisis HQ and charts US National debt. For decades it hovered around a few billion, slowly, over 40 years rising to a trillion by the early 80’s and – coincidentally? – the rise in the use of computers. By the 90’s (and the introduction of the Internet) it has quadrupled. If you now Google ‘current us national debt’ you’ll see it’s at or way past $17trillion and rising at more than a trillion a year (by $2.6 billion a day, every day).
Just how much is a trillion dollars? Well, round here, you can buy a 2 or 3 bedroom house easily for £50 to 60,000 (Nov 20013). So that would buy you about 10 million houses. If you wanted to go with the ‘national average’ it’s currently around £242,415 – that would still buy over 2.5 million homes. (If you are curious, there are about 25 million houses in the UK).
(Source: BBC, based on house prices: April to June 2013, looking at 171,378 sales, with a terrace at £202,972 (yeh, right!) and a detached house at £329,600)
Shopping around, like to do to get value for money, a trillion US dollar will buy you around ten million houses 2-3 bedroom terrace houses like this :
Or if you want to be a bit more upmarket and have room for all your books, consoles, in-laws and friends stopping over visiting, you could have two and a half million 3-to-8 bedroom houses like the six bedroom end home shown below for £210,000 :
( You can read wikipedia about the US debts )
2001: 2.3 Trillion Dollars Missing from the Department of Defence
2006: Cynthia McKinney Nails Donald Rumsfeld On The Missing Trillions $
2009: Alan Grayson Grills Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Foreign Lending. A small matter of half a trillion dollars they are being shady about.