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Some People’s Taxpayer-Funded Star Trek Fantasies Are A-OK With US Big Media

Photo from www.dbia.com

Remember a few months ago when some conservatives looking to beat up on the IRS leaked a Star Trek parody video, which was used as a part of an IRS training conference back in 2010, to all the major US TV networks, radio networks, and newspapers?

There was a firestorm of orchestrated outrage. Darrell Issa freaked out and held a hearing. All the major networks, like ABC and NBC and CBS (and of course FOX), dutifully piled on.

All over a video that cost a few tens of thousands of dollars. Yeah, the poutragers say that it was about the whole conference, but really, it was about the Star Trek parody video — that was the hook on which their poutrage hung.

Meanwhile, I have to go to either the PBS website or an overseas news source (in this case, a Guardian column by Glenn Greenwald) to find out about a much more expensive and far less benign taxpayer-funded Star Trek parody — although in this case, I think it’s more of an obsession:

It has been previously reported that the mentality of NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander is captured by his motto “Collect it All”. It’s a get-everything approach he pioneered first when aimed at an enemy population in the middle of a war zone in Iraq, one he has now imported onto US soil, aimed at the domestic population and everyone else.

But a perhaps even more disturbing and revealing vignette into the spy chief’s mind comes from a new Foreign Policy article describing what the journal calls his “all-out, barely-legal drive to build the ultimate spy machine”. The article describes how even his NSA peers see him as a “cowboy” willing to play fast and loose with legal limits in order to construct a system of ubiquitous surveillance. But the personality driving all of this – not just Alexander’s but much of Washington’s – is perhaps best captured by this one passage, highlighted by PBS’ News Hour in a post entitled: “NSA director modeled war room after Star Trek’s Enterprise”. The room was christened as part of the “Information Dominance Center”:

“When he was running the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command, Alexander brought many of his future allies down to Fort Belvoir for a tour of his base of operations, a facility known as the Information Dominance Center. It had been designed by a Hollywood set designer to mimic the bridge of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek, complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a ‘whoosh’ sound when they slid open and closed. Lawmakers and other important officials took turns sitting in a leather ‘captain’s chair’ in the center of the room and watched as Alexander, a lover of science-fiction movies, showed off his data tools on the big screen.

“‘Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard,’ says a retired officer in charge of VIP visits.”

So what does it look like? Allegedly, like this:

But now, on the website of DBI Architects, Inc. of Washington and Reston, Virginia, there are what purports to be photographs of the actual Star-Trek-like headquarters commissioned by Gen. Alexander that so impressed his Congressional overseers. It’s a 10,740 square foot labyrinth in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The brochure touts how “the prominently positioned chair provides the commanding officer an uninterrupted field of vision to a 22′-0” wide projection screen”…

The glossy display further describes how “this project involved the renovation of standard office space into a highly classified, ultramodern operations center.” Its “primary function is to enable 24-hour worldwide visualization, planning, and execution of coordinated information operations for the US Army and other federal agencies.” It gushes: “The futuristic, yet distinctly military, setting is further reinforced by the Commander’s console, which gives the illusion that one has boarded a star ship”…

See also the photo above, or just click here before DBI pulls the link. I’ll bet turning 10,740 square feet of boring old office space into Alexander the Not-So-Great’s imperial fantasy cost a lot more than the whole 2010 IRS training budget did.

As a PBS website commenter said: “He really needed the ‘whoosh’ sound on the doors. How many kids didn’t get to go to Head Start to pay for that?”

And yet you won’t hear a word about this on FOX, CBS, NBC, or ABC.

CommunityMy FDL

Some People’s Taxpayer-Funded Star Trek Fantasies Are A-OK with US Big Media

Photo from www.dbia.com

Remember a few months ago when some conservatives looking to beat up on the IRS leaked a Star Trek parody video, which was used as a part of an IRS training conference back in 2010, to all the major US TV networks, radio networks, and newspapers?

There was a firestorm of orchestrated outrage. Darrell Issa freaked out and held a hearing. All the major networks, like ABC and NBC and CBS (and of course FOX), dutifully piled on.

All over a video that cost a few tens of thousands of dollars. Yeah, the poutragers say that it was about the whole conference, but really, it was about the Star Trek parody video — that was the hook on which their poutrage hung.

Meanwhile, I have to go to either the PBS website or an overseas news source (in this case, a Guardian column by Glenn Greenwald) to find out about a much more expensive and far less benign taxpayer-funded Star Trek parody — although in this case, I think it’s more of an obsession:

It has been previously reported that the mentality of NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander is captured by his motto ‘Collect it All.’ It’s a get-everything approach he pioneered first when aimed at an enemy population in the middle of a war zone in Iraq, one he has now imported onto US soil, aimed at the domestic population and everyone else.

But a perhaps even more disturbing and revealing vignette into the spy chief’s mind comes from a new Foreign Policy article describing what the journal calls his ‘all-out, barely-legal drive to build the ultimate spy machine.’ The article describes how even his NSA peers see him as a ‘cowboy”‘ willing to play fast and loose with legal limits in order to construct a system of ubiquitous surveillance. But the personality driving all of this – not just Alexander’s but much of Washington’s – is perhaps best captured by this one passage, highlighted by PBS’ News Hour in a post entitled: ‘NSA director modeled war room after Star Trek’s Enterprise.’ The room was christened as part of the ‘Information Dominance Center:’

‘When he was running the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command, Alexander brought many of his future allies down to Fort Belvoir for a tour of his base of operations, a facility known as the Information Dominance Center. It had been designed by a Hollywood set designer to mimic the bridge of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek, complete with chrome panels, computer stations, a huge TV monitor on the forward wall, and doors that made a ‘whoosh’ sound when they slid open and closed. Lawmakers and other important officials took turns sitting in a leather ‘captain’s chair’ in the center of the room and watched as Alexander, a lover of science-fiction movies, showed off his data tools on the big screen.

‘”Everybody wanted to sit in the chair at least once to pretend he was Jean-Luc Picard,” says a retired officer in charge of VIP visits.’

So what does it look like? Allegedly, like this:

But now, on the website of DBI Architects, Inc. of Washington and Reston, Virginia, there are what purports to be photographs of the actual Star-Trek-like headquarters commissioned by Gen. Alexander that so impressed his Congressional overseers. It’s a 10,740 square foot labyrinth in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The brochure touts how ‘the prominently positioned chair provides the commanding officer an uninterrupted field of vision to a 22′-0″ wide projection screen’ …

The glossy display further describes how ‘this project involved the renovation of standard office space into a highly classified, ultramodern operations center.’ Its ‘primary function is to enable 24-hour worldwide visualization, planning, and execution of coordinated information operations for the US Army and other federal agencies.’ It gushes: ‘The futuristic, yet distinctly military, setting is further reinforced by the Commander’s console, which gives the illusion that one has boarded a star ship’ …

See also the photo above, or just click here before DBI pulls the link. I’ll bet turning 10,740 square feet of boring old office space into Alexander the Not-So-Great’s NSA imperial fantasy cost a lot more than the whole 2010 IRS training budget did.

As a PBS website commenter said: “He really needed the ‘whoosh’ sound on the doors. How many kids didn’t get to go to Head Start to pay for that?”

And yet you won’t hear a word of condemnation over this from FOX, CBS, NBC, or ABC.

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