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Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs

Silicon Valley now can be renamed to Surveillance Valley
Mass surveillance is equal to totalitarism with the classic slogan of Third Reich
"if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear"

The slide above is courtesy of The Guardian

News National Security State Recommended Links Big Uncle is Watching You Nephophobia: avoiding clouds to reclaim bits of your privacy Privacy is Dead – Get Over It Is Google evil? "Everything in the Cloud" Utopia
Reconciling Human Rights With Total Surveillance Issues of security and trust in "cloud" env Facebook as Giant Database about Users Blocking Facebook Email security MTA Log Analyzers HTTP Servers Log Analyses Cookie Cutting
Potemkin Villages of Computer Security Total control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance Cyberstalking Search engines privacy How to collect and analyze your own Web activity metadata Steganography Anomaly detection Notes on Search Engines and Google
Malware Spearphishing Podesta emails hack Cyberwarfare Data Stealing Trojans Flame Duqu Trojan Google Toolbar
Nation under attack meme Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Search engines privacy Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Nineteen Eighty-Four Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Prism-related humor Etc
Version 1.2, November 20, 2013

Introduction

"As a totalitarian society, the Soviet Union valued eavesdropping and thus developed ingenious methods to accomplish it."

This NSA document

J. Edgar Hoover - Wikipedia

Americans live in Russia, but think they live in Sweden

Chrystia Freeland

You have nothing to fear, if you have nothing to hide

--Joseph Goebbels

I was always suspicious about the success of "cloud" Web mail services starting with Hotmail. There was something fishy here including the purchase of Hotmail by Microsoft. The problem is that if your emails are being stored "in the cloud" each single email is exposed as if it is permanently "in transit".

Moreover the collection of email in your Inbox and, especially, your email address book constitute a more valuable set of information than any single email and tells much more about you that any single intercepted email can.  Now you see why the future won’t be like Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.  Mechanisms were invented that provoke people voluntary spy on themselves.  Pretty ingenious mechanism I would say. The elevates the importance of denial of snooping  ( Hide the Real ) and misrepresentation ("Show the False") practices  to thwart over-intrusive collection capabilities.

This brief examination of the internet reaction on Snowden revelations suggests that we should cultivate the heresies of secrets and silence. May people had been promoting the idea of lean email usage for a while. It's about recognizing both that emails are valuable and that it is a dangerous thing to put sensitive information in it or to overuse it. No email should be send, when phone call suffice. Extending this to "lean data principles" forces you to clarify the data you want to store and think hard about the minimal set of information you need. Do you really need to use email as often as you currently do? Probably not.  If you can accomplish anything without sending email, then do not send email.

Do you need to have your cellphone switched on all the day? Probably not. You should have "off hours" during the day when no cell phone calls are allowed. 

Facebook  ("Facebook "like" button is watching you ) along with Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo are kings of "passive surveillance".  That means that they are able to keep a pretty detailed, day-to-day dossier on your actions and (in case Google and Android phones) your movements by just analyzing data that are automatically streaming into their databases due to the fact that you have an account.  That's pretty embarrassing to be snooped 24 x7.  And it is plain vanilla stupid to enhance their capabilities by buying products that  can easily be abused like Amazon Echo (which should be put in a box when you do not use it, if you consider this device useful)

Report Amazon hires employees to listen to customers through products

If you have an Amazon Echo product, you aren't the only person privy to your private conversations

Thousands of people across the globe are employed by Amazon.com to listen to Echo recordings, transcribe and annotate them and feed them back to the software so that Alexa can better grasp human speech, according to a report from Bloomberg.

... ... ...

An Amazon spokesperson responded to USA TODAY with a statement that reads, "By default, Echo devices are designed to detect only your chosen wake word (Alexa, Amazon, Computer or Echo). The device detects the wake word by identifying acoustic patterns that match the wake word. No audio is stored or sent to the cloud unless the device detects the wake word (or Alexa is activated by pressing a button).”

Critics of Amazon's Echo products have pointed to potential privacy violations. In 2015, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) asked the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to conduct a “comprehensive investigation" into Alexa and other home-listening devices, according to Marc Rotenberg, president and executive director of EPIC.

Integration of those activities is NSA domain, but Facebook is pretty nasty in a sense that it tried to get more information about you then you wish to provide.

“I don't want to live in a world where everything I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity and love or friendship is recorded.”

~Edward Snowden

While Amazon connection to intelligence agencies is very well known (and only a complete idiot can assume that history of your purchases on Amazon or using any credit card is not goes directly to NSA, Langley, and several other places), the extent of Facebook and Google connections became known only after Snowden revelations.  The fact that your mail is readily assessable to NSA and their contractors via PRISM program was a real bomb.

But from purely technical standpoint PRISM program is only logical and just utilized available technological capabilities for surveillance. The dream of total surveillance was always present in any state apparatus, democratic or totalitarian.  Moreover PRISM is an improvement over dystopia of 1984. After all, Big Brother needed electroshock, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, drugs and propaganda broadcasts to keep power. Now confessions obtained by force has been replaced by voluntary disclosure due to new technologies available. And crushing of dissent became more sophistically and utilizes much less brute force (look how effectively Occupy Wall Street movement was suppressed).  All you need is the cooperation of several large Internet  companies with intelligence agencies, control of MSM and infiltration. 

Returning to the issue of email. Contrarily to widespread myth, it not exactly necessary to read your email to understand who you are and what views you are holding. Just the set of headers of your email messages (along with the content of your address book) constitute something revealing (and from the point of view of your privacy more dangerous) collection of information. Please take into account that all email you ever wrote are stored somewhere forever (or at least for your lifetime.)  Rephrasing well known quote we can say: "Give me access to your email headers,  and I will say who you are". This technology, which was initially developed during Iraq war proved to be very powerful method of surveillance.

 "Give me access to your email headers, and I will say who you are"

All this talk about NSA or CIA ability to listen to your smartphone microphone or via microphones in your laptop, TV or other  devices looks like grossly exaggerated threat. Those are intrusive and expensive options and those agencies actually they do not need them, except is cases when the "suspect" needs 24 x 7 surveillance.  Other then pursuing "real suspects" this measure clearly is an overkill. Passive surveillance via data provided by big four (Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo) and your smartphone (along with information from your credit card companies) is enough so that you have no secrets from the government ;-).

At any day of the  year government can tell what are your interests, political views and the circle of fiends probably better then your close relatives.  STASI operatives would die to have this capability.  In other words just due to technology progress we are all now living in the "national security state", which as you can guess is governed by intelligence agencies brass. The latter along with financial oligarchy and top CEOs represents  what Orwell called "inner party".  And its existence was clearly revealed during Russiagate color revolution, launched after the election of Trump. With the explicit goal to depose of at least neuter elements of his election program that represent deviation from neocon/neolib policies (the latter goal was quickly achieved; Trump folded in just three months). 

It not accidental that some prominent politicians have their career interlinked or even managed by intelligence agencies (George H. W. Bush,  Vladimir Putin, Theresa MayBarak Obama, Mike Pompeo, Hillary Clinton). There is even term "CIA democrats" which has dual meaning.  With the second one more menacing then the first. To a certain extent, politicians who fight and win or lose election are just figureheads or puppets of the Deep State because since the time of J. Edgar Hoover there is enough dirt of each of them to keep them in check (think about Lolita Express).  And if not, it can be fabricated, as was the case with Steele dossier.

In other words, the emergence of powerful intelligence agencies after WWII (as well as technological progress, especially in the areas of computers and  communications) make transition to the national security state the "natural" path of the Western societies  evolution. Whether we can talk about democracy in such a state is an interesting question, but it is clearly beyond the scope of this  page.

Please note that your purchases history, the collection of just email headers and other information that which can be collected automatically and inexpensively is probably  stored "for the duration of your life."   And that includes all your emails not only those voluntarily stored by you on your "cloud" provider. The latter is the place over which you've absolutely no control (and as such you should have no expectation of privacy) . 

The same is true about your phone calls. The ability to listen to your phone calls in most cases is immaterial. The list of your connections is enough to tell everything about you, sometimes even better then the content of your conversations via phone.  And I doubt that the work of transcribing and analyzing your calls is done without some serious reason, just for completeness. On the current level of technology correct transcribing of a phone call costs serious money and I doubt that NSA if far ahead of Google, Apple and  similar companies in this technological area. For a very limited vocabulary ( specific subject area), huge distributed array or computers the progress probably is more impressive (think about IBM win of IBM Watson Final Jeopardy!, which probably was partially staged by heavy tuning of Big Blue toward the particular game, but still)

The key probably for NSA now is that those guys who suspect that their phones are listened behave more carefully. Actually most of us no longer view smartphone as a device suitable for communicating anything really private. At the same time rumors about phone converted into a listening device against your will looks like paranoia. This is not simple, as you need to wake up your phone to do that and running phone consumes battery life; which allows detection of such activity. also microphone in your jeans is not a good place to conduct the recording which you need to transcribe.  You can access the resulting quality by switching on smartphone recorder and putting the phone into the pocket and reading a couple of pages of some book.  Also if your fully changed phone that was on 100% and was switched off all the time had shown 80% of change when you switch if on, you would instantly understand that something is wrong. Moreover putting a cell phone into a metal box or a metal mesh, or metalized plastic envelope used for computer parts,  completely disables the communication with the tower (recoding still can be conducted if it was initiated before that, but transmission of recoding is possible only after the phone is extracted from the mesh).  Foam lining pretty much disables sound too. Both those materials are cheap and widely available.  Keeping phone is a closed zipped padded container (often used for camera ), lady pouch or waistpack kills microphone sensitivity and is a useful method if you have some concerns. In this case your phone still can get external calls and this does not goes as far as Faraday cage.  But in most cases switching phone off is more then enough. 

The same is true about your usage of internet: as soon as you switch off your home router there is no way to spy on you at home via Internet, no matter how many computers that are connected to your home network. Of course theoretically there is a possibility of using Wi-Fi from hacked router of your neighbor, but that's complex and costly path which is justified only for very valuable targets.

So the main danger is your own Internet activity. But here the situation is a little bit more complex as from now on the life of intelligence agencies is not that easy -- there is no guarantee that after Snowden revelation people do not try to distort their browsing profiles. In other words NSA now does not know whether visiting particular site is a prank (possibly automated to distort your browsing profile) or a real activity. 

Usage of your Amazon account by other members of family distort you profile enough to make making conclusion from it more difficult.  Sharing a single Amazon account for a family blurs your purchasing activity with "noise" as it is difficult automatically distinguish between your activities and activities of individual members of the family. You can see how confused are automatic algorisms from the advertisements that are presented to you.  Actually you can easily "change your gender" for advertising purposes by clicking several wrong "targets" on Amazon and this change is pretty sticky.   In a way, experimenting on Amazon and seeing the advertizing for the particular set of browsing behaviors (for example, pretend that you are interesting in particular type of books, or jewelry, or fragrance )  gives you same level of understanding how your Amazon browsing activity is interpreted by NSA.

In this sense Snowden revelations were a severe hit, almost a knockdown for NSA. Because is very easy to inject fake activity on your browsing profile, less so in your email and purchases profile. The simplest way for Internet is to use any programmable keyboard, or a scripting language with the Expect-like module (Perl, Python, etc).  You can visit arbitrarily website at your will, but you can't just call random people (actually you can, but the result will be disappointing ;-). As it's easy imitate "fake visits to sites"  analyzing web activity in "after-Snowden" world became more involved and complex task. You need to use additional more complex metrics to separate signal from noise.

I can see why Brazil and Germany are now concerned about NSA activities. What I can't understand is why they are not concerned about stupidity of their citizens opening accounts on Gmail or Facebook and putting confidential information on the Webmail systems such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail  (all three are mentioned in Prism slide above ;-). Is not this a new mass form of masochism?   Or this is the case when they are more afraid of their own government.

I would like to repeat that fundamental "After Snowden" rule again and again. Do not write email when something can be accomplished via phone call, and do not use phone, if something can be accomplished by personal contact.  Limit your Internet activity -- in most cases this is just a waste of time and electrons anyways. For example if you can purchase something for cash just do it (for example, alcoholic beverages). In no way use Amazon for trivial things that can be purchased locally, which is actually both expensive and counterproductive.  This is just a new  form  of exhibitionism.

If you can purchase something for cash just do it (for example, alcoholic beverages). In no way use Amazon for trivial things that can be purchased locally, which is actually both expensive and counterproductive.  This is just a new form of exhibitionism.

Trust in cloud providers is completely misplaced

As we have all found out, that trust in cloud providers is completely misplaced, as "cloud" services were systematically abused.  So when I read that some high level honcho emails were infiltrated (directly via  broken password, or indirectly or special interface in software) and published  the only reaction is -- Ohh God, yet another  idiot was caught in  this net and now will pay for his  transgressions. 

Accounts in Hotmail or Gmail has their value, but they are most useful as "spam folders." Do not behave like this highly placed idiot Podesta, who later of course regretted about his own stupidity, but it was too late.  Or another highly placed idiot  --  David Petraeus who decided that that internet mail is secure enough to communicate with his mistress.

You can direct all emails from your subscriptions on newspapers, sites and magazines to Gmail or Hotmail, but that's about  it. For any valuable email you need to buy your own domain and account on one of dozens reputable ISPs with ssh access. If you are more or less knowledgeable in computers there is no excuse for you to use services like Gmail (which is a very bad email client in any case; Google proved to be mediocre developer in this  particular case).

If you are knowledgeable about computers, the account you use for private emails should always be the account at one of small ISP on your own domain, and possibly using special DNS server. 

People who still remember what POP3 is, can download email to their laptops, which does not store any emails on the server.  Only the last week of email or even less should be stored on Web accessible storage, because sometimes it is vital to access email from your smartphone. Storing older emails on Internet servers is recommended only, if those emails do not represent any value to you. In this case why to store them at all? 

No "private mail" should not be stored in Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or similar accounts if you are concerned about consequences of leaking them. The simplest example is what a person has mistress like  General David Petraeus. and if you are unable to get rid of bad habit of using Google or similar "intelligence friendly" outlets, you at least should use dual authentication and systematically delete all emails older then a week.

Links in email as the source of troubles and the possibility of braking into your cloud-based email account

Email is a very old (it predates TCP/IP) and inherently insecure protocol that allow spearphishing -- sending you plausible emails with links with the text that entice you to click on them (for example spoofed Google information about attempt to access your account, say, from Ukraine  and request to change your password immediately). Links generally should be displayed with both name and actual URL (not only as the name as on Webpages), and clicking on them should be blocked automatically in your email client, like this is done in Thunderbird. But Microsoft Outlook pretends  to be "user-friendly".  At your expense.  Also additional NSA money for keeping Windows "less secure" (or adding obviously suicidal from security standpoint features are automatic scanning of USB drives, making them a new generation of floppy disks with theirs boot viruses; I doubt that Microsoft developers were that stupid, it was probably a request from NSA or similar organization ) does not hurt.

In case  Podesta emails hack  the most amazing fact is not only his stupidity of using Google mail for pretty sensitive communications, but that he failed to purchase $15 key for two factor authentication for Gmail.  Also Podesta  made a very common and stupid mistake -- clicking on the link in email, especially a email with the security alerts is really reckless.  It is undesirable even if you can verify that the URL used is not spoofed.

Anyway this is very surprising that such person was Bill Clinton Chief of Staff (1998-2001) -- essentially former Grey Cardinal of the USA with the power comparable with the President (and in certain areas exceeding it).  Such a  person is as close to trained in computer security professional as one can get, taking into account the  sensitively of his position: Podesta at one time has access to highest level of US security clearness and needed to listens to all respective briefing and signing documents that his understands what he was told.  Is not this a sign of degeneration of the USA neoliberal elite?  As a result of this  blunder on October 7, 2016, WikiLeaks started to publish thousands of emails reportedly retrieved from Podesta's private Gmail account, some of which contained controversial material regarding Clinton's positions or campaign strategy.

If publishing of your email box can cause you even slight embarrassment never keep it on Internet even if you use two factor authentication (may be outside the recent week or two). Use an encrypted thumb drive that is inserted in your laptop/desktop strictly for the period of your working with your email archive.

If publishing of your email box can cause you embarrassment or more serious harm the only place to keep this mailbox (may be outside the recent week or two) in encrypted thumb drive that is inserted in your laptop/desktop strictly for the period of your working with your email.

Similarly it is stupid to purchase anything that can compromise you with the credit cards, like was the case in Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal

The investigation of Spitzer was initiated after North Fork Bank[2] reported the suspicious transactions to the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network as required by the Bank Secrecy Act, which was enhanced by Patriot Act provisions, enacted to combat terrorist activity such as money laundering.[3] Spitzer had at least seven liaisons with prostitutes from the agency over six months, and paid more than $15,000 for their services. Federal agents had him under surveillance twice in 2008.[4][5][6] According to published reports, investigators believe Spitzer paid up to $80,000 for prostitutes over a period of several years – first while he was attorney general, and later as governor. Governor Spitzer, referred to as "Client 9" in an affidavit filed in US Federal Court,[10] arranged to meet at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on February 13, 2008 with a prostitute named "Kristen". "Kristen" was later identified as 22-year-old Ashley Dupré.[11][12] She intended to travel from New York City for the planned tryst and Spitzer agreed in advance that he "would be paying for everything—train tickets, cab fare from the hotel and back, mini-bar or room service, travel time and hotel".[13] After the meeting on February 13, 2008, Spitzer paid her $4,300 in cash.[14] The payment included $1,100 as a deposit with the agency toward future services.[15]

See also Zipper, a 2015 political thriller film, is a thinly veiled dramatization of the Spitzer scandal.

The newly acquired value of Aesop language

People have nation aversion to invasions to their privacy and  invented  various methods to evade snooping even in "tightly controlled" environments. One of the simplest and proven method is to use Aesop language. 

The Soviet-era writer Lev Loseff noted that the use of Aesopian language remained a favorite technique of writers (including himself) under Soviet censorship.[2] Maliheh Tyrell defines the term in the Soviet context and observes that the use of Aesopian language extended to other national literatures under Soviet rule:

"In short, this form of literature, like Aesop's animal fables, veils itself in allegorical suggestions, hints, and euphemisms so as to elude political censorship. 'Aesopian language' or literature is a technical term used by Sovietologists to define allegorical language used by Russian or nationality [that is: non-Russian] nonconformist publicists to conceal antiregime sentiments. Under Soviet rule, this 'Aesopian' literature intended to confuse the Soviet authorities, yet illuminate the truth for native readers."[3]

According to one critic, "Censorship... had a positive, formative impact upon the Aesopian writers' style by obliging them to sharpen their thoughts."[4]

In a way after Snowden revelations we all now need to learn Aesop language (slang is actually almost in-penetratable to computer analysis; unless they are specifically programmed for the particular one) and be more careful.  Many people now understand why after Snowden revelation Facebook users should be very concerned. Facebook is nothing but an intelligence database about their users. That's their primary business model -- collect and sell the data about you to advertisers, and not only advertisers. 

The users data is what Facebook actually sells

Yahoo, Microsoft and Google are no different.

Strangely enough, even after Snowden revelations the usage of Facebook/Yahoo/Gmail was not affected and the number of active accounts continued to grow. Nothing changes even after several high profile email leaks happened after Snowden revelations. So it looks like in cyberspace a large number of people is more reckless then they behave in a "normal" environment. 

So now it make sense to use context that is understandable only to you and your counterpart in particular electronic communication -- making is less understandable to outsiders. Please always use nicknames instead of real names in the first step. Mapping your organization to some film of novel is another simple step.

While it is stupid to try to guess how NSA pick up "interesting posts" it might make sense do not abuse words in your posts that might trigger surveillance  without necessity. Such as "attack", "epidemic" and like. 

Social sites as promoters of "exhibitionism orgy"

Social sites, especially "Fecebook" skillfully promote what can be called "exhibitionism orgy"  People affected generally get what they deserve, but some teenagers paid with their life for this blunder. Not to say that feeling like each and every your "wall" post is like scrolled on NYC Times square is not very comfortable feeling for anybody except status hungry adolescent girls. 

To say nothing that due to ubiquity of electronic communications all your life is watched anyway, as if East Germany STASI now became a universal world-wide phenomenon. Actually some details now available via electronic communications (your relocation data via your smartphone) were unavailable to STASI. It’s the digital equivalent of tailing a suspect, See Big Uncle is Watching You.

In a current NSA-inspired debate about the moral consequences of digital technologies, it is important to realize the danger of seamless integration of services under Google (especially within Android) as well as other Internet Oligopolies (I doubt that Microsoft with its Windows 10 is much better).  Everyone using an Android smartphone is forced to wear Google's digital straitjacket. This  can be a very bad thing. Why we should tell everything about yourself to Google? That's humiliating.

From this point of view a combination of a "regular phone" (and  and a 7 inch tablet that accepts the same simcard (in rare case when  WiFi is not available; you can also use it as navigator, if necessary) is much more attractive then a smartphone and available at a fraction of the cost: $30 (for example Alcatel Go flip)  + $150 Samsung tablet instead of $300 or more for a decent smartphone).

Android smartphones with GPS essentially invites snooping on you, especially government snooping as the less is the number of types of devices the government need to deal with, the cheaper is such mass collection of information on each citizen.

Smartphones essentially invites snooping on you, especially government snooping as the less type of devices the government need to deal with, the cheaper is such mass collection of information on each citizen

Whether this is done in the name of fighting terrorism, communist agents, or infiltration of Martians does not matter. As long as access to such data is extremely cheap, as is the case with both Android and Apple smartphones,  it will be abused by the government and some activities will be done without any court orders. In other words if technical means of snooping are cheap they will be  abused. It is a duty of concerned citizens who object this practice to make them more expensive and less effective.

If technical means of snooping are cheap they will be  abused. It is a duty of concerned citizens who object this practice to make them more expensive and less effective.

First of all we must fight against this strange "self-exposure" mania under which people have become enslaved to and endangered by the "cloud" sites they use. Again this nothing more nothing less then digital masochism.

First of all we must fight against this strange "self-exposure" mania under which people have become enslaved to and endangered by the "cloud" sites they use. Again this nothing more nothing less then digital masochism. But there is another important aspect of this problem which is different from the problem of unhealthy self-revelation zeal that large part of Facebook users demonstrates on the Net.

This second problem is often discussed under the meme Is Google evil ? and it is connected with inevitable corruption of Internet by large Internet oligopolies such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, etc. And they become oligopolies because we agree to use them as primary sources, for example Google for search, independently whether it is good for all types of searches or not.  Actually if you compare the quality of retuned results Google is not good for all searches. Bing often beats Google on searches connected with Windows (and even some pure Linux topics) and  duckduckgo.com while not bad in most categories really excels if you search information about Eastern Europe, as well on several political themes (I suspect some searches in Google are censored).

In any case after Snowden revelations it does not make sense to use a single search engine and in no way the default search engine should Google. You need  to spread your searches over several

After Snowden revelations it does not make sense to use a single search engine. You need  to spread your searches over several  with your primary/default search engine being anything but Google. The diversification (including diversification of search engines) is now a duty of concerned Internet users.

 IMHO if you did not put several search providers like say, duckduckgo.com in your browser and don't rotate them periodically, you are making a mistake. First of all you deprive yourself from the possibility to learn strong and weak point of different search engines. The second Google stores all searches, possibly indefinitely despite your ability to delete them from your personal history, so you potentially expose yourself to a larger extent by using a single provider.

And according to PRISM NSA is only one of possibly several agencies that can access your data.  Using three search engines you create the need to merge and correlate for example three sets of your activities (if you separates searches between different engine by topics), which slightly complicates the task. Also at least according to advertizing  duckduckgo.com does not store the history of your searches at all. Also if you use VPN there is no guarantee that those activities represent actions of a single person or a group of persons (especially, if you use a local proxy).  See Alternative Search Engines to Google

“Internet solutionism” exemplified by Google and push to the cloud services is the dangerous romantic utopia of our age. Google-style "cloud uber alles" push is often counter-productive, even dangerous

As Eugeny Morozov argued in The Net Delusion The Dark Side of Internet Freedom Internet solutionism” exemplified by Google, is the dangerous romantic utopia of our age. He regards Google-style "cloud uber alles" push as counter-productive, even dangerous:

...Wouldn’t it be nice if one day, told that Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” we would finally read between the lines and discover its true meaning: “to monetize all of the world’s information and make it universally inaccessible and profitable”? With this act of subversive interpretation, we might eventually hit upon the greatest emancipatory insight of all: Letting Google organize all of the world’s information makes as much sense as letting Halliburton organize all of the world’s oil.

The reason why the digital debate feels so empty and toothless is simple: framed as a debate over “the digital” rather than “the political” and “the economic,” it’s conducted on terms that are already beneficial to technology companies. Unbeknownst to most of us, the seemingly exceptional nature of commodities in question – from “information” to “networks” to “the Internet” – is coded into our language.

 It’s this hidden exceptionalism that allows Silicon Valley to dismiss its critics as Luddites who, by opposing “technology,” “information” or “the Internet”-- they don’t do plurals in Silicon Valley, for the nuance risks overwhelming their brains – must also be opposed to “progress.”

Internet started as a network of decentralized servers, able to withstand a nuclear attack. Now it probably will eventually return to a similar model on a new level as the danger to privacy of cloud providers exceed their usefulness. And from the point of view of enterprise cloud providers are not cheap, even calculating in additional cost of manpower (which is more loyal, if they are local) for administration of such servers. 

In any case now it looks like anybody who is greedy enough to use "free" (as in "The only free cheese is in the mouse trap") Gmail instead of getting webmail account via ISP with your own (let it call vanity, but it's your own :-) domain and the website which is used instead of Facebook is playing with fire. Even if they are nothing to hide, if they use Hotmail of Gmail for anything but spam (aka registrations, newsletters, etc) they are living in a virtual room with multiple hidden camera that record and store information including all their emails and address book forever. Private emails (if it is necessary to send email, often phone is enough)  should probably now be limited to regular SMTP accounts with client like Thunderbird (which actually is tremendously better then Gmail Web mail client with its Google+ perversions).  Of course, you can use pictures with handwriting instead of text , but this is too little too late as for your privacy concerns. In any case on Samsung tablets with  pen (like Tab A, Galaxy Tab S4, etc) this is very convenient  way to communicate, although images in email send to PC are generally a source of danger, as Microsoft Windows executes malicious attachment masquerading as images.

For personal, private information, you need to have your own servers and keep nothing in the "cloud". The network was originally designed to be "peer-to-peer" and the only hold back has been the cost of local infrastructure to do it and the availability of local technical talent to keep those services running. Now cost of hardware is trivial and services are so well known that running them is not a big problem even at home, especially a pre-configured virtual machines with "business" cable ISP account ( $29 per month from Cablevision).

Maybe the huge centralized services like Google and Yahoo have really been temporary anomalies of the adolescence of the Internet and given the breach of trust by governments and by these large corporations the next step will be return on a new level to Internet decentralized roots. Maybe local services can still be no less viable then cloud services. Even email, one of the most popular "in the cloud" services can be split into a small part of pure SMTP delivery (important mails) and bulk mail which can stay on Webmail (but preferably at your private ISP, not those monsters like Google, Yahoo or Microsoft). That does not exclude using "free" emails of this troika for storing spam :-). In short we actually don't have to be on Gmail to send or read email. And again, Google search is not the best search engine for everything. Moreover it is not wise to put all eggs in one basket. Microsoft Bing might be as bad and duckduckgo.com claims that they provide additional privacy and do not store your searches, but spreading your searches makes perfect sense. TCP connection to small ISP is as good as to Google or Yahoo and if you do not trust ISP you can use you home server with cable provider ISP account.

Where I have concern is if the network itself got partitioned along national borders as a result of NSA snooping, large portions of the net can become unreachable. That would be a balkanization we would end up regretting. It would be far better if we take a preemptive action against this abuse and limit the use of our Gmail, hotmail, Yahoo accounts for "non essential" correspondence, if we spread our search activities among multiple search engines and have our web pages, if any on personal ISP account. We need to enforce some level of privacy ourselves and don't behave like lemmings. Years ago there was similar situation with telephones wiretaps, and before laws preventing abuse of this capability were eventually passed people often used public phones for important calls they wanted to keep private.

Legally, if you join Google or Facebook you should have no expectations
 of privacy for any information you share on those sites

In Australia any expectations of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once people voluntarily offered data to the third party. And I think Australians are right. Here is a relevant Slashdot post:

General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Robert S. Litt explained that our expectation of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once we've offered it to a third party.

Thus, sifting through third party data doesn't qualify 'on a constitutional level' as invasive to our personal privacy. This he brought to an interesting point about volunteered personal data, and social media habits. Our willingness to give our information to companies and social networking websites is baffling to the ODNI.

'Why is it that people are willing to expose large quantities of information to private parties but don't want the Government to have the same information?,' he asked."

... ... ...

While Snowden's leaks have provoked Jimmy Carter into labeling this government a sham, and void of a functioning democracy, Litt presented how these wide data collection programs are in fact valued by our government, have legal justification, and all the necessary parameters.

Litt, echoing the president and his boss James Clapper, explained thusly:

"We do not use our foreign intelligence collection capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies in order to give American companies a competitive advantage. We do not indiscriminately sweep up and store the contents of the communications of Americans, or of the citizenry of any country. We do not use our intelligence collection for the purpose of repressing the citizens of any country because of their political, religious or other beliefs. We collect metadata—information about communications—more broadly than we collect the actual content of communications, because it is less intrusive than collecting content and in fact can provide us information that helps us more narrowly focus our collection of content on appropriate targets. But it simply is not true that the United States Government is listening to everything said by every citizen of any country."

It's great that the U.S. government behaves better than corporations on privacy—too bad it trusts/subcontracts corporations to deal with that privacy—but it's an uncomfortable thing to even be in a position of having to compare the two. This is the point Litt misses, and it's not a fine one.

Loss of privacy as a side effect of cloud-based Internet technologies

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Maybe Dante had some serious vision.

The Guardian

Technology development create new types of communications and simultaneously with those new types of communication, new types of government surveillance mechanisms emerge sooner  or later (you can call them "externalities" of new methods of communication). Those externalities, especially low cost of mass surveillance using the fact that owner smartphones are connected to Internet all the time, unfortunately, bring us closer to the Electronic police state (Wikipedia) or National Security State whether we want it or not. The same, but to a lesser extent is true about Microsoft Windows, especially Windows 10.

A crucial element of such the national security state is that blanket data gathering, sorting and correlation are continuous, cover the majority (or all)  citizens. With special attention to foreigners and cross-border communications (which actually is a part of protection of state sovereignty). Those activities are little known, little understood and are seldom exposed.  In this sense Snowden revelations represent a huge  anomaly.

Cloud computing as a technology that presuppose storing the data "offsite" on third party servers have several security problems, and one of them is that it is way too much "surveillance friendly" (Misunderstanding of issues of security and trust). With cloud computing powers that be do not need to do complex job of recreating TCP/IP conversations on router level to capture, say, all the emails or all your SMS. They can access Web-based email mailbox directly with all mails in appropriate mailboxes and spam filtered. Your address book is a bonus ;-). This is a huge saving of computational efforts.

It means two things:

Not only the USA government with its Prism program is involved in this activity. British security services are probably even more intrusive. Most governments probably try to do some subset of the above. Two important conclusions we can get are:

It puts you essentially in a situation of a bug under microscope on Big Brother. And please understand that modern storage capabilities are such that it is easy to store several years of at least some of your communications, especially emails.

The same is true about your phone calls metadata, credit card transactions and your activities on major shopping sites such as Amazon, and eBay. But here you can do almost nothing. Still I think our support of "brick" merchants is long overdue. Phones are traditional target of government three letter agencies (WSJ) since the WWII. Smartphones with GPS in addition to land line metadata also provide your current geo location. I do not think you can do much here.

I think our support of "brick" merchants is long overdue. And paying cash in the store in not something that you should try to avoid because credit card returns you 1% of the cost of the purchase. This 1% is actually a privacy tax ;-)

The centralization of searches on Google (and to lesser extent on Bing) are also serious threats to your privacy. Here diversification between three or more search engines might help a bit. Other then that and generally limited your time behind the computer I do not think much can be done. Growth of popularity of Duckduckgo suggests that people are vary of Google monopolizing the search, but it is unclear how big are the advantages. You can also save searches as many searches are recurrent and generally you can benefit from using your personal Web proxy with private cashing DNS server. This way to can "shrink" your radar picture, but that's about it. Search engines are now an integral part of our civilization whether we want it or not.

Collection of your searches for the last several years can pretty precisely outline sphere of your interests. And again technical constrains on storage of data no longer exists: how we can talk about privacy at the age of 3 TB harddrives for $99. There are approximately 314 million of the US citizens and residents, so storing one gigabyte of information for each citizen requires just 400 petabytes. For comparison

Adding insult to injury: Self-profiling

Facebook has nothing without people
silly enough to exchange privacy for photosharing

The key problem with social sites is that many people voluntarily post excessive amount of personal data about themselves, including keeping their photo archives online, etc. So while East Germany analog of the Department of Homeland Security called Ministry for State Security (Stasi) needed to recruit people to spy about you, now you yourself serves as a informer voluntarily providing all the tracking information about your activities ;-).

Scientella, palo alto

...Facebook always had a very low opinion of peoples intelligence - and rightly so!

I can tell you Silicon Valley is scared. Facebook's very existence depends upon trusting young persons, their celebrity wannabee parents and other inconsequential people being prepared to give up their private information to Facebook.

Google, now that SOCIAL IS DEAD, at least has their day job also, of paid referral advertising where someone can without divulging their "social" identity, and not linking their accounts, can look for a product on line and see next to it some useful ads.

But Facebook has nothing without people silly enough to exchange privacy for photosharing.

... ... ...

Steve Fankuchen, Oakland CA

Cook, Brin, Gates, Zuckerberg, et al most certainly have lawyers and public relations hacks that have taught them the role of "plausible deniability."

Just as in the government, eventually some low or mid-level flunkie will likely be hung out to dry, when it becomes evident that the institution knew exactly what was going on and did nothing to oppose it. To believe any of these companies care about their users as anything other than cash cows is to believe in the tooth fairy.

The amount of personal data which users of site like Facebook put voluntarily on the Web is truly astonishing. Now anybody using just Google search can get quit substantial information about anybody who actively using social sites and post messages in discussion he/she particulates under his/her own name instead of a nickname. Just try to see what is available about you and most probably your jaw would drop...

Google Toolbar in advanced mode is another common snooping tool about your activities. It send each URL you visit to Google and you can be sure that from Google several three letter agencies get this information as well. After all Google has links to them from the very beginning:

This is probably right time for the users of social sites like Facebook, Google search, and Amazon (that means most of us ;-) to think a little bit more about the risks we are exposing ourselves. We all should became more aware about the risks involved as well as real implications of the catch phase Privacy is Dead – Get Over It.

This is probably right time for the users of social sites like Facebook, Google search, and Amazon (that means most of us ;-) to think a little bit more about the risks we are exposing ourselves.

As Peter Ludlow noted in NYT (The Real War on Reality):

If there is one thing we can take away from the news of recent weeks it is this: the modern American surveillance state is not really the stuff of paranoid fantasies; it has arrived.

Citizens of foreign countries have accounts at Facebook and mail accounts in Gmail, hotmail and Yahoo mail are even in less enviable position then the US citizens. They are legitimate prey. No legal protection for them exists, if they use those services. That means that they voluntarily open all the information they posted about themselves to the US government in addition to their own government. And the net is probably more wide then information leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggests. For any large company, especially a telecom corporation, operating is the USA it might be dangerous to refuse to cooperate (Qwest case).

Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio, convicted of insider trading in April 2007, alleged in appeal documents that the NSA requested that Qwest participate in its wiretapping program more than six months before September 11, 2001. Nacchio recalls the meeting as occurring on February 27, 2001. Nacchio further claims that the NSA cancelled a lucrative contract with Qwest as a result of Qwest's refusal to participate in the wiretapping program.[13] Nacchio surrendered April 14, 2009 to a federal prison camp in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania to begin serving a six-year sentence for the insider trading conviction. The United States Supreme Court denied bail pending appeal the same day.[15]

It is not the case of some special evilness of the US government. It simply is more agile to understand and capitalize on those new technical opportunities. It is also conveniently located at the center of Internet universe with most traffic is flowing via US owned or controlled routers (67% or more). But it goes without saying that several other national governments and a bunch of large corporations also try to mine this new gold throve of private information on citizens. Probably with less sophistication and having less financial resources.

In many cases corporations themselves are interested in partnership with the government. Here is one telling comment:

jrs says on June 8, 2013

Yea in my experience that’s how “public/private partnerships” really work:

  1. Companies DO need protection FROM the government. An ill-conceived piece of legislation can put a perfectly decent out of business. Building ties with the government is protection.
  2. Government represents a huge market and eventually becomes one of the top customers for I think most businesses (of course the very fact that a government agency is a main customer is often kept hush hush even within the company and something you are not supposed to speak of as an employee even though you are aware of it)
  3. Of course not every company proceeds to step 3 -- being basically an arm of the government but ..

That means that not only Chinese citizens already operate on the Internet without any real sense of privacy. Even if you live outside the USA the chances are high that you automatically profiled by the USA in addition to your own government. Kind of neoliberalism in overdrive mode: looks like we all are already citizens of a global empire (Let's call it "Empire of Peace"  in best 1984 tradition ;-) with the capital in Washington.

It is reasonable to assume that a massive eavesdropping apparatus now tracks at least an "envelope" of every electronic communication you made during your lifetime. No need for somebody reporting about you like in "old" totalitarian state like East Germany with its analog of the Department of Homeland Security called the Ministry for State Security (Stasi). So in this new environment, you are like Russians used to say about dissidents who got under KGB surveillance is always "under the dome". In this sense this is just an old vine in a new bottles. But the global scope and lifetime storage of huge amount of personal information for each and every citizen is something new and was made possible the first time in world history by new technologies.

It goes without saying that records about time, sender and receiver of all your phone calls, emails, Amazon purchases, credit card transactions, and Web activities for the last decade are stored somewhere in a database and not necessary only government computers. And that means that your social circle (the set of people you associate with), books and films that you bought, your favorite websites, etc can be easily deducted from those records.

That brings us to an important question about whether we as consumers should support such ventures as Facebook and Google++ which profile you and after several years have a huge amount of pretty private and pretty damaging information about you, information which can get into wrong hands.

Recent discoveries about Prism program highlight additional possibilities of what Google and Facebook can do with our data

The most constructive approach to NSA is to view it as a large government bureaucracy that expanded their snooping activities due to new technological possibilities to the extent that "quantity turned into quality."  -- the state was converted into national security state.  Expansion of power on intelligence agencies since Truman is the key for understanding the evolution of the USA and other countries. Very soon (in the USA in early 60th with JFK assassination) they became political players. Latest saga of spying on Trump just confirms this by providing fascinating details of false flag operation  attempted in order  to enhance the scope of surveillance such  as DNC email break-in and Steele dossier.

Any large bureaucracy is a political coalition with the primary goal of preserving and enhancing of its own power (and, closely related to power, the level of financing), no matter what are official declarations. And if breaching your privacy helps with this noble goal, they will do it.

Which is what Bush government did after 9/11. The question is how much bureaucratic bloat resulting in classic dynamics of organizational self-aggrandizement and expansionism happened in NSA is open to review. We don't know how much we got in exchange for undermining internet security and the US constitution. But we do know the intelligence establishment happily appropriated billions of dollars, had grown by thousand of employees and got substantial "face lift" and additional power within the executive branch of government. To the extent that sometimes it really looks like a shadow government (with three branches NSA, CIA and FBI). And now they will fight tooth-and nail to protect the fruits of a decade long bureaucratic expansion. It is an Intelligence Church of sorts and like any religious organization they do not need facts to support their doctrine and influence.

Typically there is a high level of infighting and many factions within any large hierarchical organization, typically with cards hold close the west and limited or not awareness about those turf battles of the outsiders. Basically any hierarchical institution corporate, religious, or military will abuse available resources for internal political infighting. And with NSA "big data" push this is either happening or just waiting to happen. This is a danger of any warrantless wiretapping program: it naturally convert itself into a saga of eroding checks and disappearing balances. And this already happened in the past, so in a way it is just act two of the same drama (WhoWhatWhy):

After media revelations of intelligence abuses by the Nixon administration began to mount in the wake of Watergate, NSA became the subject of Congressional ire in the form of the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities—commonly known as the “Church Committee” after its chair, Senator Frank Church (D-ID)—established on January 17, 1975. This ad-hoc investigative body found itself unearthing troves of classified records from the FBI, NSA, CIA and Pentagon that detailed the murky pursuits of each during the first decades of the Cold War. Under the mantle of defeating communism, internal documents confirmed the executive branch’s use of said agencies in some of the most fiendish acts of human imagination (including refined psychological torture techniques), particularly by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Cold War mindset had incurably infected the nation’s security apparatus, establishing extralegal subversion efforts at home and brutish control abroad. It was revealed that the FBI undertook a war to destroy homegrown movements such as the Black Liberation Movement (including Martin Luther King, Jr.), and that NSA had indiscriminately intercepted the communications of Americans without warrant, even without the President’s knowledge. When confronted with such nefarious enterprises, Congress sought to rein in the excesses of the intelligence community, notably those directed at the American public.

The committee chair, Senator Frank Church, then issued this warning about NSA’s power:

That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. Telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology. I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capability that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

The reforms that followed, as enshrined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, included the establishment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC): a specially-designated panel of judges who are allowed to review evidence before giving NSA a warrant to spy on Americans (only in the case of overseas communication). Hardly a contentious check or balance, FISC rejected zero warrant requests between its inception in 1979 and 2000, only asking that two warrants be “modified” out of an estimated 13,000.

In spite of FISC’s rubberstamping, following 9/11 the Bush administration began deliberately bypassing the court, because even its minimal evidentiary standard was too high a burden of proof for the blanket surveillance they wanted. So began the dragnet monitoring of the American public by tapping the country’s major electronic communication chokepoints in collusion with the nation’s largest telecommunications companies.

When confronted with the criminal conspiracy undertaken by the Bush administration and telecoms, Congress confirmed why it retains the lowest approval rating of any major American institution by “reforming” the statute to accommodate the massive law breaking. The 2008 FISA Amendments Act [FAA] entrenched the policy of mass eavesdropping and granted the telecoms retroactive immunity for their criminality, withdrawing even the negligible individual protections in effect since 1979. Despite initial opposition, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama voted for the act as one of his last deeds in the Senate. A few brave (and unsuccessful) lawsuits later, this policy remains the status quo.

Similarly we should naturally expect that the notion of "terrorist" is very flexible and in certain cases can be equal to "any opponent of regime" (any "dissident" n soviet terms). While I sympathize NYT readers reaction to this incident (see below), I think it is somewhat naive. They forget that they are living under neoliberal regime which like any rule of top 0.01% is afraid of and does not trust its own citizens. So massive surveillance program is a self-preservation measure which allow the neoliberal elite to crush or subvert the opposition at early stages. This is the same situation as existed with Soviet nomenklatura, with the only difference that Soviet nomenklatura was more modest in pushing the USSR as a beacon of progress and bright hope for establishing democratic governance for all mankind ;-). As Ron Paul noted:

Many of us are not so surprised.

Some of us were arguing back in 2001 with the introduction of the so-called PATRIOT Act that it would pave the way for massive US government surveillance—not targeting terrorists but rather aimed against American citizens. We were told we must accept this temporary measure to provide government the tools to catch those responsible for 9/11. That was nearly twelve years and at least four wars ago.

We should know by now that when it comes to government power-grabs, we never go back to the status quo even when the “crisis” has passed. That part of our freedom and civil liberties once lost is never regained. How many times did the PATRIOT Act need renewed? How many times did FISA authority need expanded? Why did we have to pass a law to grant immunity to companies who hand over our personal information to the government?

And while revealed sources of NSA Prism program include Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and others major Internet players, that's probably just a tip of the iceberg. Ask yourself a question, why Amazon and VISA and MasterCard are not on the list? According to The Guardian:

The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

... ... ...

Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan "Your privacy is our priority" – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007. It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online.

Collectively, the companies cover the vast majority of online email, search, video and communications networks

... ... ...

A chart prepared by the NSA, contained within the top-secret document obtained by the Guardian, underscores the breadth of the data it is able to obtain: email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype, for example) chats, file transfers, social networking details, and more.

So while the document does not list Amazon, but I would keep fingers crossed.

Questions that arise

To be aware about a situation you need to be able to formulate and answer key questions about it. The first and the most important question is whether the government is engaged in cyberstalking of law abiding citizens. Unfortunately the answer is definite yes, as oligarchy needs total control of prols. As a result National Security State rise to prominence as a dominant social organization of neoliberal societies, the societies which characterized by very high level of inequality.

But there are some additional, albeit less important questions. The answers to them determine utility or futility of small changes of our own behavior in view of uncovered evidence. Among possible set of such question I would list the following:

There are also some minor questions about efficiency of "total surveillance approach". Among them:

The other part of understand the threat is understanding is what data are collected. The short answer is all your phone records and Internet activity (RT USA):

The National Security Agency is collecting information on the Internet habits of millions of innocent Americans never suspected of criminal involvement, new NSA documents leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden suggest.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported Monday that top-secret documents included in the trove of files supplied by the NSA contractor-turned-leaker Edward Snowden reveal that the US intelligence community obtains and keeps information on American citizens accumulated off the Internet without ever issuing a search warrant or opening an investigation into that person.

The information is obtained using a program codenamed Marina, the documents suggest, and is kept by the government for up to a full year without investigators ever having to explain why the subject is being surveilled.

“Marina has the ability to look back on the last 365 days' worth of DNI metadata seen by the Sigint collection system, regardless whether or not it was tasked for collection,” the Guardian’s James Ball quotes from the documents.

According to a guide for intelligence analysts supplied by Mr. Snowden, “The Marina metadata application tracks a user's browser experience, gathers contact information/content and develops summaries of target.”

"This tool offers the ability to export the data in a variety of formats, as well as create various charts to assist in pattern-of-life development,” it continues.

Ball writes that the program collects “almost anything” a Web user does online, “from browsing history – such as map searches and websites visited – to account details, email activity, and even some account passwords.”

Only days earlier, separate disclosures attributed to Snowden revealed that the NSA was using a massive collection of metadata to create complex graphs of social connections for foreign intelligence purposes, although that program had pulled in intelligence about Americans as well.

After the New York Times broke news of that program, a NSA spokesperson said that “All data queries must include a foreign intelligence justification, period.” As Snowden documents continue to surface, however, it’s becoming clear that personal information pertaining to millions of US citizens is routinely raked in by the NSA and other agencies as the intelligence community collects as much data as possible.

In June, a top-secret document also attributed to Mr. Snowden revealed that the NSA was collecting the telephony metadata for millions of Americans from their telecom providers. The government has defended this practice by saying that the metadata — rough information that does not include the content of communications — is not protected by the US Constitution’s prohibition against unlawful search and seizure.

“Metadata can be very revealing,” George Washington University law professor Orin S. Kerr told the Times this week. “Knowing things like the number someone just dialed or the location of the person’s cellphone is going to allow them to assemble a picture of what someone is up to. It’s the digital equivalent of tailing a suspect.”

According to the Guardian’s Ball, Internet metadata picked up by the NSA is routed to the Marina database, which is kept separate from the servers where telephony metadata is stored.

Only moments after the Guardian wrote of its latest leak on Monday, Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project read a statement before the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs penned by none other than Snowden himself.

When I began my work, it was with the sole intention of making possible the debate we see occurring here in this body,” Snowden said.

Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia after being charged with espionage in the US, said through Raddack that “The cost for one in my position of returning public knowledge to public hands has been persecution and exile.”

Infoglut and the limits to spying via data collected about you

If the NSA's mining of data traffic is so effective, why weren't Tsarnaev's family's overseas calls predictive of a bombing at the Boston Marathon?

-Helen Corey WSJ.com

There are limits of this "powerful analytical software" used. First of all Snowden revelations constitute a blow (but not a knockout) for all NSA activities against really serious opponents. Now they are forewarned and that mean forearmed. That simply means that they might start feeding NSA disinformation and that's a tremendous danger for NSA that far outweigh the value of any real information collected.

The main danger for NSA is the deliberate feeding of false information into the collection stream

There is another side of this story. As we mentioned above, even if NSA algorithms are incredibly clever they can't avoid producing large number of false positives taking into account that they are drinking from a fire hose. Especially now when people will try to bury useful signal in noise. And it is not that difficult to replay somebody else Web logs on a periodic basis -- that means that the task of analysis of web logs became not only more complex. It changed. The assumption that that the set of visited sites represents real activity of a particular user is now just a plausible hypothesis. Not  more then that. 

Inefficiency is another problem. After two year investigation into the post 9/11 intelligence agencies, the Washington Post came to conclusion that they were collecting far more information than anyone can comprehend (aka "drowning is a sea of data"):

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billions e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases"

Such volume along creates a classic problem of "signal vs. noise" (infoglut).  And this is insolvable problem, which became only worse with the availability of more information. In this  sense Prism program which deals with already filtered by user information is a great help to NSA (and that  means that Goggle, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and fiends are very valuable for NSA partners and will remain partners despite all claims of their top honchos).

Unless special care is exercised by collection everything from the "line" NSA is like drinking from  the firehose:  

...Infoglut raises disturbing questions regarding new operations of power and control in a world of algorithms." —Jodi Dean, author of Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies

...Andrejevic argues that people prioritize correlation over comprehension - "what" and facts are more important than "why" and reasons.

As Washington Post noted:

Analysts who make sense of document and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year -- a volume so large that many are routinely ignored

In plain English that means that analysts produce reports, lion share of which is never read. The enormity of the database exacerbate the problems. That's why NSA is hunting for email on cloud providers, where they are already filtered from spam, and where processing required is so much less than for the same information intercepted from the wire. Still even with the direct access to user accounts, the volume of data, especially graphic info (pictures), sound and video data, is really huge and that stress the limits of processing capabilities and storage.

Which means that  switch to hieroglyphs in communication theoretically creates serious problems in intercepting the data stream.  Deciphering a meaning of pictograms used is not that easy. Classic captcha methods can be used to make direct conversion to text impossible. This method was actually widely used in letters in the past (when some words were deliberately replaced by hand written pictures. ). For one thing  that approach make it more difficult "keyword-based" searches for relevant information in email as "trigger-words" can be replaced by pictograms.  Add to this that the meaning of pictograms can be individualized and you can see that this is an approach close to stenography.

Presence of noise in the channel also makes signal much more difficult to detect. Now you can be sure that any serious opponent will try to disguise the traffic by all means available. So getting a "clean" stream of data for a given IP is now a pipe dream.

Problems typical for large bureaucracies also place limits of effective large scale data collection

Existence of Snowden saga when a single analyst was able to penetrate the system and extract considerable amount information with impunity suggests that the whole Agency is a mess with a lot of incompetents at the helm. Which is typical for large government agencies and large corporations. Still the level of logs collection and monitoring proved to be surprisingly weak, and those are indirect signs of other rot. It looks like the agency does not even know what reports Snowden get into his hands. Unless this is a very clever insider operation, we need to assume that Edward Snowden stole thousands of documents, abused his sysadmin position in the NSA, and was never caught. The fact that he was able to bypass logs tells that the whole place is a complete  mess. In other words "The shoemaker’s children go barefoot."

the level of logs collection and monitoring proved to be surprisingly weak, and those are indirect signs of other rot. It looks like the agency does not even know what reports Snowden get into his hands.

 Here is one relevant comment from The Guardian

carlitoontour

Oh NSA......that´s fine that you cannot find something......what did you tell us, the World and the US Congress about the "intelligence" of Edward Snowden and the low access he had?

SNOWDEN SUSPECTED OF BYPASSING ELECTRONIC LOGS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. government's efforts to determine which highly classified materials leaker Edward Snowden took from the National Security Agency have been frustrated by Snowden's sophisticated efforts to cover his digital trail by deleting or bypassing electronic logs, government officials told The Associated Press. Such logs would have showed what information Snowden viewed or downloaded.

The government's forensic investigation is wrestling with Snowden's apparent ability to defeat safeguards established to monitor and deter people looking at information without proper permission, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the sensitive developments publicly.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NSA_SURVEILLANCE_SNOWDEN?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-08-24-09-41-24

On the other hand government agencies were never too good in making huge and complex software projects work. And any large software project is a very difficult undertaking in any case, which require talented and dedicated manager at the helm. In large bureaucracies such people are filtered out long before that get to the necessary position. Mostly sycophants, "yes men", or people who can well mask their real identities,  prosper. 

Even in industry 50% of software projects fail, and anybody who works in the industry knows, that the more complex the project is the higher are chances that it will be mismanaged and its functionality crippled due to architectural defects ("a camel is a horse designed by a committee"). The Conway law also suggest that the structure of software product reflect communication channels in the organization.

With pretty bizarre communication channels in a large hierarchical organization like NSA you can expect huge problems on architectural level. There are also counterexamples to that. Google Earth was initially a project of three letter agencies, which was "donated" to Google.  And this is a very good software product. Still it is given that large projects will be over budget. Possibly several times over. But if money is not a problem such system will eventually be completed ("with enough thrust pigs can fly").

Any large software project is a very difficult undertaking in any case, which require talented and dedicated manager at the helm. In large bureaucracies such people are filtered out long before that get to the necessary position. Mostly sycophants, "yes men", or people who can well mask their real identities,  prosper.

Still there’s no particular reason to think that corruption (major work was probably outsourced) and incompetence (on higher management levels and, especially on architectural level as in "camel is a horse designed by a committee") don't affect the design and functionality of such government project. Now when this activity come under fire some "ad hoc" adjustments might be especially badly thought out and could potentially cripple even the existing functionality. As J. Kirk Wiebe, a NSA insider, noted

"The way the government was going about those digital data flows was poor formed, uninformed. There seen to be more of a desire to contract out and capture money flow then there was a [desire} to actually perform the mission".

See the interview of a trio of former National Security Agency whistle-blowers to USA TODAY ( J. Kirk Wiebe remarks starts at 2:06 and the second half of it continues from 6:10):

... ... ...

In military organizations the problem is seldom with the talent (or lack of thereof) of individual contributors. The problem is with the bureaucracy that is very effective in preventing people from exercising their talents at the service of their country. Such system is deformed in such a way that it hamstrings the men who are serving in it. As a results, more often then not the talents are squandered or misused by patching holes created by incompetence of higher-up or or just pushed aside in the interdepartmental warfare.

In a way, incompetence can be defined as the inability to avoid mistakes which, in a "normal" course of project development could and should be avoided. And that's the nature of military bureaucracy with its strict hierarchy, multiple layer of command and compete lack of accountability on higher levels.

In addition, despite the respectable name of the organization many members of technical staff are amateurs. They never managed to sharpen their technical skills, while at the same time acquiring the skills necessary to survive the bureaucracy. Many do not have basic academic education and are self-taught hackers and/or "grow on the job" type of personnel. Such people often have difficulties seeing "the bigger picture".  Typically people at higher level of hierarchy, are simply not experts in software engineering, but more like typical corporate "PowerPoint warriors." They can be very shred managers and accomplished political fighters, but that's it.  Death by PowerPoint  of good ideas in large bureaucracies is a fact of life.

This is the same situation that exists in security departments of large multinationals, so we can extrapolate from that. The word of Admiral Nelson "If the enemy would know what officer corps will confront them, it will be trembling, like I am". Here is Bill Gross recollection of his service as a naval officer (The Tipping Point) that illustrate the problems:

A few years ago I wrote about the time that our ship (on my watch) was almost cut in half by an auto-piloted tanker at midnight, but never have I divulged the day that the USS Diachenko came within one degree of heeling over during a typhoon in the South China Sea. “Engage emergency ballast,” the Captain roared at yours truly – the one and only chief engineer.

Little did he know that Ensign Gross had slept through his classes at Philadelphia’s damage control school and had no idea what he was talking about. I could hardly find the oil dipstick on my car back in San Diego, let alone conceive of emergency ballast procedures in 50 foot seas.

And so…the ship rolled to starboard, the ship rolled to port, the ship heeled at the extreme to 36 degrees (within 1 degree, as I later read in the ship’s manual, of the ultimate tipping point). One hundred sailors at risk, because of one twenty-three-year-old mechanically challenged officer, and a Captain who should have known better than to trust him.

Huge part of this work is outsourced to various contractors and this is where corruption really creeps in. So the system might be not as powerful as many people automatically assume when they hear the abbreviation of NSA. So in a way when news about such system reaches public it might serve not weakening but strengthening of the capabilities of the system. Moreover, nobody would question the ability of such system to store huge amount of raw or semi-processed data including all metadata for your transactions on the Internet.

Also while it is a large agency with a lot of top mathematic talent, NSA is not NASA and motivation of the people (and probably quality of architectural thinking about software projects involved) is different despite much better financing. While they do have high quality people, like most US agencies in general, large bureaucracies usually are unable to utilize their talent. Mediocrities with sharp elbows, political talent, as well as sociopaths typically rule the show.

That means two things:

So even with huge amount of subcontractors they can chase mostly "big fish". Although one nasty question is why with all those treasure trove of data organized crime is so hard to defeat. Having dataset like this should generally expose all the members of any gang. Or, say, network of blue collar insider traders. So in an indirect way the fact that organized crime not only exists and in some cities even flourish can suggest one of two things:

There is also a question of complexity of analysis:

Possibility of abuses of collected data

Mass collection of data represent dangers outside activities of three letter agencies. Data collected about you by Google, Facebook, etc are also very dangerous. And they are for sell. Errors in algorithms and bugs in data mining programs can bite some people in a different way then branding them as "terrorists". Such people have no way of knowing why all of a sudden, for example, they are paying a more for insurance, why their credit score is so low no matter what they do, etc.

In no way government in the only one who are using the mass of data collected via Google / Facebook / Yahoo / Microsoft / Verizon / Optonline / AT&T / Comcast, etc. It also can lead to certain subtle types of bias if not error. And there are always problems of intentional misuse of data sets having extremely intimate knowledge about you such as your medical history.

Corporate corruption can lead to those data that are shared with the government can also be shared for money with private actors. Inept use of this unconstitutionally obtained data is a threat to all of us.

Then there can be cases when you can be targeted just because you are critical to the particular area of government policy, for example the US foreign policy. This is "Back in the USSR" situation in full swing, with its prosecution of dissidents. Labeling you as a "disloyal/suspicious element" in one of government "terrorism tracking" databases can have drastic result to your career and you never even realize whats happened. Kind of Internet era McCarthyism .

Obama claims that the government is aware about this danger and tried not to overstep, but he is an interested party in this discussion. In a way all governments over the world are pushed into this shady area by the new technologies that open tremendous opportunities for collecting data and making correlations.

That's why even if you are doing nothing wrong, it is still important to know your enemy, as well as avoid getting into some traps. As we already mentioned several times before, one typical trap is excessive centralization of your email on social sites, including using a single Webmail provider. It is much safer to have mail delivery to your computer via POP3 and to use Thunderbird or other email client. If your computer is a laptop, you achieve, say, 80% of portability that Web-based email providers like Google Gmail offers. That does not mean that you should close your Gmail or Yahoo account. More important is separating email accounts into "important" and "everything else". "Junk mail" can be stored on Web-based email providers without any problems. Personal emails is completely another matter.

Email privacy

I do not like when stranger is reading my mail,
overlooking over my shoulder

Famous Russian bard Vladimir Vissotsky,
Also on YouTube

Email security is a large and complex subject. It is a typical "bullet vs. armor" type of topic. In this respect the fact the US government were highly alarmed by Snowden revelations is understandable as this shift the balance from dominance of "bullet" by stimulating the development of various "armor" style methods to enhance email privacy. It also undermines/discredits cloud-based email services, especially large one such as Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo mail, which are the most important providers of emails.

You can't hide your correspondents so recreation of network of your email correspondents is a fact of life that you can do nothing about. But you can make searching emails for keywords and snooping of the text of your email considerably more difficult. And those methods not necessary means using PGP (actually from NSA point of view using PGP is warning sign that you has something to hide and that increase interest to your mailbox; and this is a pretty logical assumption).

First of all using traditional POP3 account now makes much more sense (although on most ISPs undelivered mail is available via Web interface). In case of email security those who know Linux/Unix have a distinct advantage. Those OSes provide the ability to have a home server that performs most functions of the cloud services at a very moderate cost (essentially the cost of web connection, or an ISP Web account; sometime you need to convert you cable Internet account to "business" to open ports). Open source software for running Webmail on your own server is readily available and while it has its security holes at least they are not as evident as those in Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail. And what is the most important you escape aggregation of your emails on a large provider.

IMHO putting content in attachment, be it gif of a handwritten letter in DOC document, or MP3 file presents serious technical problems for snoopers. First of all any multimedia attachment, such a gif of your handwriting (plus a jpeg of your favorite cat ;-), dramatically increase the necessary storage and thus processing time. Samsung Note 10.1 and Microsoft Surface PRO tablets provide opportunity to add both audio and handwriting files to your letter with minimal effort. If you have those device, use them. Actually this is one of few areas when tablets are really useful. Sending content as a multimedia file makes snooping more difficult for several reasons:

Another important privacy enhancing feature of emails is related to a classic "noise vs. useful signal" problem. In this respect the existence of spam looks like a blessing. In case of mimicry filtering "signal from noise" became a complex problem. That's why NSA prefers accessing mail at final destination as we saw from slides published in Guardian. But using local delivery and Thunderbird or any other mail client make this avenue of snooping easily defeatable. Intercepted on the router, spam can clog arteries of automatic processing really fast. It also might slightly distort your "network of contacts" So if you switch off ISP provided spam filter and filter spam locally on your computer, the problem of "useful sig   le border="2" width="90%" bgcolor="#FFFF00">   " is offloaded to those who try to snoop your mail. And there are ways to ensure that they will filter out wrong emails ;-). Here is a one day sample of spam:

Subject: Hello!
Subject: Gold Watches
Subject: Cufflinks
Subject: Join us and Lose 8-12 lbs. in Only 7-10 Days!
Subject: New private social network for Ukrainian available ladies and foreign men.
Subject: Fresh closed social network for Russian attractive girls and foreigners.
Subject: hoy!
Subject: Daily Market Movers Digest
h=Content-Transfer-Encoding:Content-Type:MIME-Version:Subject:To:Message-ID:From:Date; bh=rabQUxPZjHIp1RwoC7c+cj41NudW37VFkMlmNcq4yig=;
Subject: =?utf-8?Q?=E1=B9=BD=E2=80=8D=C7=8F=E2=80=8D=E1=BE=B6=E2=80=8D=C4=A0=E2=80=8D=E1=B9=99=E2=80=8D=E1=BE=B6?=
Subject: IMPORTANT - WellsFargo
Subject: =?Windows-1251?B?z29j8nBv5e3o5SBj6GPyZez7IO7v62Hy+yDvbyBwZefz6/zy4PLz?=
Subject: New private social network for beautiful Ukrainian women and foreign men.
Subject: Fresh closed social network for Russian sexy women and foreign men.
Subject: Cufflinks
Subject: (SECURE)Electronic Account Statement 0558932870_06112013
Subject: (SECURE)Electronic Account Statement 0690671601_06112013
Subject: Returned mail: see transcript for details
Subject: Bothered with censorship restrictions on Social networks?
Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Failure) - [AKO Content Violation - SPAM]Are
Subject: (SECURE)Electronic Account Statement 0355009837_06112013
Subject: You need Ukrainian with large breasts that Madame ready to correspond to intimate topics?
Subject: =?Windows-1251?B?wfPy/CDjb/Lu4iDqIO/wb+Ll8Org7A==?=
Subject: You need a Russian woman with beautiful eyes is ready to correspond to private theme?
Subject: Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender
Subject: Are you bored with censorship limits at Social networks?
Subject: =?windows-1254?B?U0VSVN1G3UtBTEkgWUFOR0lOIEXQ3VTdTd0gSEVNRU4gQkHeVlVSVU4=?=
Subject: Join us and Lose 8-12 lbs. in Only 7-10 Days!
Subject: Important Activation needed
Subject: Hi!
Subject: WebSayt Sadece 35 Azn
Subject: Join us and Lose 8-12 lbs. in Only 7-10 Days!

Note the line "Subject: Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender". That means that in the spam filter you need to fight with the impersonalization (fake sender) as well. While typically this is easy based on content of "Received:" headers, there are some complex cases, especially with bounced mails and "onetime" identities (when the sender each time assumes a different identity at the same large provider). See also Using “impersonalization” in your email campaigns.

BTW fake erotic spam provides tremendous steganography opportunities. Here is a very simplistic example.

Subject: Do you want a Ukrainian girl with large breasts ready to chat with you on intimate topics?

New closed social network with hot Ukrainian ladies is open. If you want to talk on erotic themes, with sweet women then this is for you!

I dropped my previous girlfriend. Things deteriorates dramatically here and all my plans are now on hold.

So I decided to find a lady friend for regular erotic conversations! And I am now completely satisfied customer.

Give it is try. "http://t.co/FP8AnKQOyV" Free Registration and first three sessions !!!

Does the second paragraph starting with the phrase "I dropped my previous girlfriend..." in the email below contain real information masked in erotic spam, or the message is a regular junk?

Typical spam filter would filter this message out as spam, especially with such a subject line ;-).

You can also play a practical joke imitating spammer activity. Inform a couple of your friends about it and then send similar letter from one of your Gmail account to your friends. Enjoy change in advertisements ;-).

In many cases what you want to send via email, can be done more securely using phone. Avoid unnecessary emails like a plague. And not only because of NSA existence. Snooping into your mailbox is not limited to three-letter agencies.

Facebook Problem

I always wondered why Facebook -- a cluelessly designed site which imitates AOL, the hack written in PHP which provide no, or very little value to users, other then a poorly integrated environment for personal Web page (simple "vanity fair" pages), blog and email. It is definitely oriented on the most clueless or at least less sophisticated users and that's probably why it has such a level of popularity. They boast almost billion customers, although I suspect that half of those customers check their account only once a month or so. Kind of electronic tombstone to people's vanity...

The interface is second rate and just attests a very mediocre level of software engineering. It is difficult to imagine that serious guys are using Facebook. And those who do use it, usually are of no interest to three letter agencies. Due to this ability of the government to mine Facebook might be a less of a problem then people assume, much less of a problem than mining Hotmail or Gmail.

But that does not mean that Facebook does not have value. Just those entities for whom it provides tremendous value are not users ;-) Like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stated Facebook, Google, and Yahoo are actually extremely powerful tools for centralized information gathering that can used by advertisers, merchants, government, financial institutions and other powerful/wealthy players.

Such sites are also very valuable tools for advertisers who try to capitalize of the information about your Facebook or Google profile, Gmail messages content, network of fiends and activities. And this is pretty deep pool of information.

"Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented," Assange said in the interview, which was videotaped and published on the site. "Here we have the world's most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible ..."

That's why Google, who also lives and dies by advertising revenue put so much efforts at Google+. And promotes so heavily +1 button. They sense the opportunity for additional advertising revenue due to more precise targeting and try to replicate Facebook success on a better technological platform (Facebook is a hack written in PHP -- and writing in PHP tells a lot about real technological level of Mark Zuckerberg and friends).

But government is one think, advertisers is another. The magnitude of online information Facebook has available about each of us for targeted marketing is stunning. In Europe, laws give people the right to know what data companies have about them, but that is not the case in the United States. Here is what Wikipedia writes about Facebook data mining efforts:

There have been some concerns expressed regarding the use of Facebook as a means of surveillance and data mining. The Facebook privacy policy once stated,

"We may use information about you that we collect from other sources, including but not limited to newspapers and Internet sources such as blogs, instant messaging services and other users of Facebook, to supplement your profile."[23]

However, the policy was later updated and now states: "We may use information about you that we collect from other Facebook users to supplement your profile (such as when you are tagged in a photo or mentioned in a status update). In such cases we generally give you the ability to remove the content (such as allowing you to remove a photo tag of you) or limit its visibility on your profile."[23] The terminology regarding the use of collecting information from other sources, such as newspapers, blogs, and instant messaging services, has been removed.

The possibility of data mining by private individuals unaffiliated with Facebook has been a concern, as evidenced by the fact that two Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students were able to download, using an automated script, over 70,000 Facebook profiles from four schools (MIT, NYU, the University of Oklahoma, and Harvard University) as part of a research project on Facebook privacy published on December 14, 2005.[24] Since then, Facebook has bolstered security protection for users, responding: "We’ve built numerous defenses to combat phishing and malware, including complex automated systems that work behind the scenes to detect and flag Facebook accounts that are likely to be compromised (based on anomalous activity like lots of messages sent in a short period of time, or messages with links that are known to be bad)."[25]

A second clause that brought criticism from some users allowed Facebook the right to sell users' data to private companies, stating "We may share your information with third parties, including responsible companies with which we have a relationship." This concern was addressed by spokesman Chris Hughes, who said "Simply put, we have never provided our users' information to third party companies, nor do we intend to."[26] Facebook eventually removed this clause from its privacy policy.[27]

Previously, third party applications had access to almost all user information. Facebook's privacy policy previously stated: "Facebook does not screen or approve Platform Developers and cannot control how such Platform Developers use any personal information."[28] However, that language has since been removed. Regarding use of user data by third party applications, the ‘Pre-Approved Third-Party Websites and Applications’ section of the Facebook privacy policy now states:

In order to provide you with useful social experiences off of Facebook, we occasionally need to provide General Information about you to pre-approved third party websites and applications that use Platform at the time you visit them (if you are still logged in to Facebook). Similarly, when one of your friends visits a pre-approved website or application, it will receive General Information about you so you and your friend can be connected on that website as well (if you also have an account with that website). In these cases we require these websites and applications to go through an approval process, and to enter into separate agreements designed to protect your privacy…You can disable instant personalization on all pre-approved websites and applications using your Applications and Websites privacy setting. You can also block a particular pre-approved website or application by clicking "No Thanks" in the blue bar when you visit that application or website. In addition, if you log out of Facebook before visiting a pre-approved application or website, it will not be able to access your information.

In the United Kingdom, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has encouraged employers to allow their staff to access Facebook and other social-networking sites from work, provided they proceed with caution.[29]

In September 2007, Facebook drew a fresh round of criticism after it began allowing non-members to search for users, with the intent of opening limited "public profiles" up to search engines such as Google in the following months.[30] Facebook's privacy settings, however, allow users to block their profiles from search engines.

Concerns were also raised on the BBC's Watchdog programme in October 2007 when Facebook was shown to be an easy way in which to collect an individual's personal information in order to facilitate identity theft.[31] However, there is barely any personal information presented to non-friends - if users leave the privacy controls on their default settings, the only personal information visible to a non-friend is the user's name, gender, profile picture, networks, and user name.[32]

In addition, a New York Times article in February 2008 pointed out that Facebook does not actually provide a mechanism for users to close their accounts, and thus raised the concern that private user data would remain indefinitely on Facebook's servers.[33] However, Facebook now gives users the options to deactivate or delete their accounts, according to the Facebook Privacy Policy. "When you deactivate an account, no user will be able to see it, but it will not be deleted. We save your profile information (connections, photos, etc.) in case you later decide to reactivate your account." The policy further states: "When you delete an account, it is permanently deleted from Facebook."[23]

A third party site, USocial, was involved in a controversy surrounding the sale of fans and friends. USocial received a cease-and-desist letter from Facebook and has stopped selling friends.[34]

Inability to voluntarily terminate accounts

Facebook had allowed users to deactivate their accounts but not actually remove account content from its servers. A Facebook representative explained to a student from the University of British Columbia that users had to clear their own accounts by manually deleting all of the content including wall posts, friends, and groups. A New York Times article noted the issue, and also raised a concern that emails and other private user data remain indefinitely on Facebook's servers.[35]

Facebook subsequently began allowing users to permanently delete their accounts in 2010. Facebook's Privacy Policy now states: "When you delete an account, it is permanently deleted from Facebook."[23]

... ... ...

Quit Facebook Day

Quit Facebook Day was an online event which took place on May 31, 2010 (coinciding with Memorial Day), in which Facebook users stated that they would quit the social network, due to privacy concerns.[54] It was estimated that 2% of Facebook users coming from the United States would delete their accounts.[55] However, only 33,000 users quit the site.[56]

... ... ...

Tracking cookies

Facebook has been criticized heavily for 'tracking' users, even when logged out of the site. Australian technologist Nik Cubrilovic discovered that when a user logs out of Facebook, the cookies from that login are still kept in the browser, allowing Facebook to track users on websites that include "social widgets" distributed by the social network. Facebook has denied the claims, saying they have 'no interest' in tracking users or their activity. They also promised after the discovery of the cookies that they would remove them, saying they will no longer have them on the site. A group of users in the United States have sued Facebook for breaching privacy laws.[citation needed]

Read more at Facebook as Giant Database about Users

Google search monopoly

Google wants to be a sole intermediary between you and Internet. As Rebecca Solnit pointed out (Google eats the world):

Google, the company with the motto "Don't be evil", is rapidly becoming an empire. Not an empire of territory, as was Rome or the Soviet Union, but an empire controlling our access to data and our data itself. Antitrust lawsuits proliferating around the company demonstrate its quest for monopoly control over information in the information age.

Its search engine has become indispensable for most of us, and as Google critic and media professor Siva Vaidhyanathan puts it in his 2012 book The Googlization of Everything,

"[W]e now allow Google to determine what is important, relevant, and true on the Web and in the world. We trust and believe that Google acts in our best interest. But we have surrendered control over the values, methods, and processes that make sense of our information ecosystem."

And that's just the search engine. About three-quarters of a billion people use Gmail, which conveniently gives Google access to the content of their communications (scanned in such a way that they can target ads at you).

Now with Prism-related revelations, those guys are on the defensive as they sense a threat to their franchise. And the threat is quite real: if Google, Microsoft, Yahoo all work for NSA, why not feed them only a proportionate amount of your searches. And why not feed them with "search spam"?

Now with Prism-related revelations, those guys are on the defensive as they sense a threat to their franchise. And the threat is quite real: if Google, Microsoft, Yahoo all work for NSA, why not feed them only a proportionate amount of your searches. And why not feed them with "search spam"?

One third to Google and one third to Bing with the rest to https://duckduckgo.com/ (Yahoo uses Bing internally). You can rotate days and hope that the level of integration of searches from multiple providers is a weak point of the program ;-). After all while Google is still better on some searches, Bing comes close on typical searches and is superior in searches about Microsoft Windows and similar Microsoft related themes. It is only fair to diversify providers.

Here is one take from Is Google a threat to privacy from Digital Freedoms

Google’s motto may be ‘don’t be evil’ but people are increasingly unconvinced that it is as good as it says it is. The Guardian is currently running a poll asking users ‘Does Google ‘do evil’?’ and currently the Guardian reading public seems to think yes it does. This is partially about Google's attempt to minimize taxes in the UK but there are other concerns that are much more integral to what Google is about. At its core Google is an information business, so accusations that it is a threat to privacy strike at what it does rather than just its profits.

Google recently got a slap on the wrist by Germany for its intrusion of privacy through its street view and received a $189,225 fine. This was followed in April with several European privacy regulators criticizing the company for how it changed its privacy policy in 2012. Google attempted to simplify its privacy policy by having one that would operate across its services rather than the 70 different ones it had. Unfortunately it was not transparent in how it implemented the changes bringing the ire of the European regulators. This was followed by not implementing their suggested changes leading to the regulators considering more fines.

Facebook’s inventory of data and its revenue from advertising are small potatoes compared to Google. Google took in more than 10 times as much, with an estimated $36.5 billion in advertising revenue in 2011, by analyzing what people sent over Gmail and what they searched on the Web, and then using that data to sell ads. Hundreds of other companies (Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon to name a few) have also staked claims on people’s online data by depositing cookies or other tracking mechanisms on people’s browsers. If you’ve mentioned anxiety in an e-mail, done a Google search for “stress” or started using an online medical diary that lets you monitor your mood, expect ads for medications and services to treat your anxiety.

In other words stereotyping rules in data aggregation. Your application for credit could be declined not on the basis of your own finances or credit history, but on the basis of aggregate data — what other people whose likes and dislikes are similar to yours have done. If guitar players or divorcing couples are more likely to renege on their credit-card bills, then the fact that you’ve looked at guitar ads or sent an e-mail to a divorce lawyer might cause a data aggregator to classify you as less credit-worthy. When an Atlanta man returned from his honeymoon, he found that his credit limit had been lowered to $3,800 from $10,800. The switch was not based on anything he had done but on aggregate data. A letter from the company told him, “Other customers who have used their card at establishments where you recently shopped have a poor repayment history with American Express.”

Even though laws allow people to challenge false information in credit reports, there are no laws that require data aggregators to reveal what they know about you. If I’ve Googled “diabetes” for my mother or “date rape drugs” for a mystery I’m writing, data aggregators assume those searches reflect my own health and proclivities. Because no laws regulate what types of data these aggregators can collect, they make their own rules.

In another post Frank Schaeffer (Google, Microsoft and Facebook Are More of a Threat to Privacy Than the US Government, June 7, 2013) thinks the Google and other companies actually represent a different threat then the government due to viewing themselves as a special privileged caste:

It’s amazing that there are naive people who worry about government intrusion into our privacy when we already gave away our civil rights to the billionaires in Silicon Valley. The NSA is taking note of our calls and emails, but anyone – me included! — who uses the internet and social media has already sold out our privacy rights to the trillion dollar multinational companies now dominating our lives and – literally – buying and selling us.

The NSA isn’t our biggest worry when it comes to who is using our calls, emails and records for purposes we didn’t intend. We are going to pay forever for trusting Google, Facebook. Microsoft, AOL and all the rest. They and the companies that follow them are the real threat to liberty and privacy.

The government may be wrong in how it is trying to protect us but at least it isn’t literally selling us. Google’s and Facebook’s et al highest purpose is to control our lives, what we buy, sell, like and do for money. Broken as our democracy is we citizens at least still have a voice and ultimately decide on who runs Congress. Google and company answer to no one. They see themselves as an elite and superior to everyone else.

In fact they are part of a business culture that sees itself not only above the law but believes it’s run by superior beings. Google even has its own bus line, closed to the public, so its “genius” employees don’t have to be bothered mingling with us regular folk. A top internet exec just ruined the America’s Cup race by making it so exclusive that so far only four groups have been able to sign up for the next race to be held in San Francisco because all but billionaires are now excluded because this internet genius changed the rules to favor his kind of elite.

Google and Facebook have done little-to-nothing to curb human trafficking pleading free speech as the reason their search engines and social networks have become the new slave ships “carrying” child rape victims to their new masters internationally. That’s just who and what these internet profiteers are.

Face it: the big tech companies aren’t run by nice people even if they do make it pleasant for their workers by letting them skateboard in the hallways and offering them free sushi. They aren’t smarter than anyone else, just lucky to be riding a new tech wave. That wave is cresting.

Lots of us lesser mortals are wondering just what we get from people storing all our private data. For a start we have a generation hooked on a mediated reality. They look at the world through a screen.

In other words these profiteers are selling reality back to us, packaged by them into entertainment. And they want to put a computer on every desk to make sure that no child ever develops an attention span long enough so that they might actually read a book or look up from whatever tech device they are holding. These are the billionaires determined to make real life so boring that you won’t be able to concentrate long enough pee without using an app that makes bodily functions more entertaining.

These guys are also the world’s biggest hypocrites. The New York Times published a story about how some of the top executives in Silicon Valley send their own children to a school that does not allow computers. In “A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute” (October 22, 2011) the Times revealed that the leaders who run the computer business demand a computer-free, hands-on approach to education for their own children.

Usage of home Web Proxy is a must

This new situation makes usage of Web proxy at home a must. Not to protect yourself ( this is still impossible ), but to control what information you release and to whom. See Squid. It provides powerful means to analyze your Web traffic as well as Web site blocking techniques:

In my experience, Squid’s built-in blocking mechanism or access control is the easiest method to use for implementing web site blocking policy. All you need to do is modify the Squid configuration file.

Before you can implement web site blocking policy, you have to make sure that you have already installed Squid and that it works. You can consult the Squid web site to get the latest version of Squid and a guide for installing it.

To deploy the web-site blocking mechanism in Squid, add the following entries to your Squid configuration file (in my system, it’s called squid.conf and it’s located in the /etc/squid directory):

acl bad url_regex "/etc/squid/squid-block.acl"
http_access deny bad

The file /etc/squid/squid-block.acl contains web sites or words you want to block. You can name the file whatever you like. If a site has the URL or word listed in squid-block.acl file, it won’t be accessible to your users. The entries below are found in squid-block.acl file used by my clients:

.oracle.com
.playboy.com.br
sex
...

With the squid-block.acl file in action, internet users cannot access the following sites:

You should beware that by blocking sites containing the word “sex”, you will also block sites such as Middlesex University, Sussex University, etc. To resolve this problem, you can put those sites in a special file called squid-noblock.acl:

^http://www.middlesex.ac.uk
^http://www.sussex.ac.uk 

You must also put the “no-block” rule before the “block” rule in the Squid configuration file:

...
acl special_urls url_regex "/etc/squid/squid-noblock.acl"
http_access allow admin_ips special_urls

acl bad url_regex "/etc/squid/squid-block.acl"
http_access deny bad
...

Sometimes you also need to add a no-block file to allow access to useful sites

After editing the ACL files (squid-block.acl and squid-noblock.acl), you need to restart Squid. If you install the RPM version, usually there is a script in the /etc/rc.d/init.d directory to help you manage Squid:

# /etc/rc.d/init.d/squid reload

To test to see if your Squid blocking mechanism has worked, you can use your browser. Just enter a site whose address is listed on the squid-block.acl file in the URL address.

In the example above, I block .oracle.com, and when I try to access oracle.com, the browser returns an error page.

Limiting your activity on social sites

Vanity fair posting should probably now be severely limited. Self-exposure entails dangers that can became evident only in retrospect. The key problem is that nothing that you post is ever erased. Ever. Limiting your activity in social network to few things that are of real value, or what is necessary for business or professional development, not just vanity fair staff or, God forbid, shady activities is now a must.

And remember that those days information about your searches, books that you bought on Amazon, your friends in Facebook, your connections in LinkedIn, etc are public. If you want to buy a used book without it getting into your database, go to the major city and buy with cash.

Also getting you own email address and simple web site at any hosting site is easy and does not require extraordinary technical sophistication. Prices are starting from $3 per month. Storing your data on Facebook servers might cost you more. See Guide for selecting Web hosting provider with SSH access for some ideas for programmers and system administrators.

Conclusions: Death of Privacy

In a way the situation with cloud sites providing feeds to spy on the users is a version of autoimmune disease: defense systems are attacking other critical systems instead of rogue agents.

As we mentioned before, technological development has their set of externalities. One side effect of internet technologies and, especially, cloud technologies as well as wide proliferation of smartphones is that they greatly simplify "total surveillance." Previously total surveillance was a very expensive proposition, now it became vey cheap. In a way technological genie is out of the bottle. And it is impossible to put him back. Youtube (funny, it's another site targeted by NSA) contains several informative talks about this issue. From the talk:

“This is the current state of affairs. There is no more sense of privacy. Not because it’s been ripped away from you in some Orwellian way, but because you flushed it down the toilet”.

All-in-all on Internet on one hand provides excellent, unique capability of searching information (and search sites are really amplifiers of human intelligence) , but on the other put you like a bug under microscope. Of course, as so many Internet users exists, the time to store all the information about you is probably less then your lifespan, but considerable part of it can be stored for a long time (measured in years, not months, or days) and some part is stored forever. In other words both government and several large companies and first of all Facebook and Google are constantly profiling you. That's why we can talk about death of privacy.

Add to this a real possibility that malware is installed on your PC (and Google Bar and similar applications are as close to spyware as one can get) and situation became really interesting.

Looking at the headlines about the government’s documents on how to use social networking and it’s surprising that anyone thinks this is a big deal. Undercover Feds on Facebook? Gasp! IRS using social networking to piece together a few facts that illustrate you lied about your taxes? Oooh.

Give me a break. Why wouldn’t the Feds use these tools? They’d be idiots if they didn’t. Repeat after me:

Let’s face it; folks are broadcasting everything from the breakfast they eat to their bowel movements to when and where they are on vacation. They use services that track every movement they make (willingly!) on Foursquare and Google Latitude. Why wouldn’t an FBI agent chasing a perp get into some idiot’s network so he can track him everywhere? It’s called efficiency people.

Here are some simple measures that might help, although they can't change the situation:

Again, none of those measures change the situation dramatically, but each of them slightly increase the level of your privacy.


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For details of NSA collection of Internet traffic and major cloud provider data see Big Brother is Watching You

[Sep 18, 2019] US wants to seize all money Edward Snowden makes from new book - Reuters

Notable quotes:
"... The United States is seeking all proceeds earned by Snowden for the book, the Justice Department said. The lawsuit also names the "corporate entities" behind the book's publication as nominal defendants. ..."
"... Ben Wizner, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who represents Snowden, said the lawsuit was without merit. "This book contains no government secrets that have not been previously published by respected news organizations," he said in a statement, adding that Snowden would have submitted it for review if he thought the government would review it in good faith. ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | uk.reuters.com

The United States filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked secret documents about U.S. telephone and internet surveillance in 2013, saying his new book violates non-disclosure agreements.

The Justice Department said Snowden published his memoir, "Permanent Record," without submitting it to intelligence agencies for review, adding that speeches given by Snowden also violated nondisclosure agreements. In 2013, Snowden wrote "Everything You Know about the Constitution is Wrong."

The United States is seeking all proceeds earned by Snowden for the book, the Justice Department said. The lawsuit also names the "corporate entities" behind the book's publication as nominal defendants.

Ben Wizner, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who represents Snowden, said the lawsuit was without merit. "This book contains no government secrets that have not been previously published by respected news organizations," he said in a statement, adding that Snowden would have submitted it for review if he thought the government would review it in good faith.

Representatives for the book's publisher, Macmillan Publishers, and its unit Henry Holt & Co, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Snowden has lived in Russia since he revealed details of U.S. intelligence agencies' secret surveillance programs.

Though he is viewed by some as a hero, U.S. authorities want him to stand in a criminal trial over his disclosures of classified information.

Speaking by video link at an event in Berlin to promote the book, Snowden said that while he had signed a non-disclosure agreement to maintain secrecy, he had also sworn an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

"You've told the government you're not going to talk to journalists. You've told them you're not going to write a book," Snowden said. "At the same time you have an oath to defend the Constitution. And the secret that you are asked to protect is that the government is violating that Constitution and the rights of people around the world."

Reporting by Makini Brice; Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball in Washington and Paul Carrell in Berlin; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Lisa Shumaker Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

[Sep 14, 2019] 48 States to Investigate Google Anti-Trust or Politicking

the important side effect of dominance in advertizing is a huge surveillance mechanism of Big Brother type that come with it. Google essentially is able to see what particular individual is viewing, unless special steps like blocking Google advertizing server IPs, modifying the page of the fly or disabling Javascript are taken. It does not need access to web server logs, his own advertizing servers produce logs that are equitant if not better.
Sep 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Fifty Attorney Generals from 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico announced on Monday that they are launching an anti-trust investigation into Google. This investigation would be in addition the one that the Justice Department's already conducting. Here's what Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who's leading the case, had to say when he made the announcement on Monday.

KEN PAXTON: This is a company that dominates all aspects of advertising on the internet and searching on the internet as they dominate the buyer side, the seller side, the auction side and even the video side with YouTube. And right now, we're looking at advertising, but the facts will lead to where the facts lead. And even as we speak, been up here about a minute, there'll be 3.8 million searches and a lot of advertising dollars just made in every minute that one of these people speaks.

GREG WILPERT: Other major tech companies that have come into the crosshairs of various state and federal government agencies for anti-trust investigations are Facebook, Apple and Amazon. According to a New York Times analysis, Google is facing five major investigations, Facebook eleven, and Apple and Amazon are each facing three. Each area of anti-competitive behavior is different, depending on the market that each one of these companies dominates.

Joining me now to discuss the wave of anti-trust investigations against Google and other tech companies is Bill Black. He is a white-collar criminologist, former financial regulator, and Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He's also the author of the book The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One . Thanks for joining us again, Bill.

BILL BLACK: Thank you.

GREG WILPERT: So it's interesting that a Republican State Attorney General is taking the lead on this, Ken Paxton. And that California isn't even a part of the case, along with Alabama. What's going on here? What's your analysis?

BILL BLACK: Okay, so the reason the state AGs are getting involved in general in lots of different things, and going all the way back to the runup to the great financial crisis, is that the United States Department of Justice has basically abandoned cracking down significantly on elite white-collar crimes in general and anti-trust in particular. Now, there's an exception -- cartels. They actually are moderately vigorous until the Trump administration, but in lots of other areas, not so. And so the states felt that the only way that you could have any effective action was to have the states take the lead. But the states lack the capacity to take the lead.

They just don't have -- All the 50 states plus Puerto Rico and DC together do not have the resources in anti-trust, for example, that the federal government has just in its anti-trust division. And that's not even mentioning the FBI, which does the real investigations, and which the states have no real counterpart to. And so the only way the states could even try to be effective was to link together. And they did this in the runup to the great financial crisis sufficiently, effectively, that the federal government actually sought to block the states from bringing this action, claiming that it was preempted, so this is continuing that practice.

They weren't able to get California and they weren't able to get Alabama. So they weren't able to get Alabama on the usual conservative grounds of "why should we sue anybody, the powerful?" But they weren't able to get California of course in part because the state AG is a Democrat, and his leading source of contributions, or among his three leading sources of contributions is Google. And this is one of the real problems with state AGs. They're statewide races, you have to get elected, and they're expensive races, so you're always seeking political contributions and such. That, of course, is something that the US Attorney General doesn't have to do and allows him or her to be more independent.

Then the next question is the states have to face the question always in these kinds of cases that the federal government doesn't face. And that's "who's going to be in charge?" It's obviously that the US Attorney General, unless he has to recuse himself, is in charge at the federal level. But the state level, it's a matter of negotiation. For reasons that pass all understanding, they put Paxton, one of the absolute most notorious state Attorney Generals in the United States, in charge. Paxton is trying to raise political contributions on the basis of this investigation. He sent out an email seeking funds, and I quote "we will continue to fight for your rights and to protect you from monopolistic practices by liberal elites in DC or in Silicon Valley." Now here's a hint, Attorney Generals are not supposed to go after liberals or conservatives or moderates.

That is completely antithetical to the idea of justice, but Paxton is not functioning like an independent, honest person. He's someone who is intensely politically ambitious, who hates anybody who he perceives as even moderate -- much less, liberal or progressive and such -- and he wants to use this investigation as a weapon to go after his political opponents. And on top of that, get paid off, to get a fine that he can use to tout as a success, and to use that resources to do the same type of thing in going after other folks. So again, I have no idea why the state AGs who are Democrats were willing to allow Paxton to take the lead role because it's going to discredit the entire investigation.

GREG WILPERT: I think that's really interesting to see this kind of battle going on, essentially within the elite circles of the United States. It's really breaking out into the open in this case, if that's the real motivation behind -- Well, he said it himself. His real motivation is to go after the liberal elites, which he sees Google and Facebook as being a part of. But I want to turn to the actual issue of anti-trust and monopolies. Now, clearly Google dominates the search market. There's no doubt about that. It's practically the only search engine anyone uses. However, in advertising, Google is not actually a monopoly, at least if one looks at its market share by revenues, where it has a 38% share of digital advertising revenues and Facebook has 22%. Now, give us an idea as to why Google's dominance in search and advertising should actually perhaps be a concern. Is that concern real? And also, if advertisers can simply go elsewhere if they feel that Google isn't treating them fairly, why should their practices in this area be of concern?

BILL BLACK: Okay, so one of the things I teach is anti-trust and such. Monopoly is not the same thing as monopoly power. When we use the word "monopoly," we typically mean one entity that controls nearly everything. There are cases, but they're rare in life where there is actually a monopoly. Long before you have exclusive control over a market, however, you have some degree of market power. How much is incredibly complex and depends on the inner play. But one of the things is, say, use your numbers, we have somewhere around 30 to 40% of control here. We've got a competitor who has 20 and another competitor who has 20. Well then that makes it pretty easy for the three of us to collude. And we can collude implicitly, right? Just don't rock the boat. Anybody that really tries to undercut on fees, then we rush in and we match that and maybe we even cut a little more to show them how vigorous we're going to be. So economists have long been concerned anytime a company gets even close to the degree of market domination that you talked about, so it's not silly in the least that they're worried about it.

Now here's the kicker: people may remember Bork and the phrase "to be Borked." Well one of the reasons he was not approved by the Senate to be a Supreme Court Justice is that he was leading the right-wing movement to say that essentially we should get rid of anti-trust. In the specific context of Silicon Valley and any high tech entity in which numbers matter, penetration matters, the argument from the Right is that there are "network effects." In other words, when I use my email, it's much more valuable if I can talk to everybody than if I can just talk to the 10,000 people who have to be subscribers, in the old days, of some particular email service. And those kind of network effects are fairly common within tech, typically because of this desire to communicate and to search, in this case, much more broadly. So that leads to something close to what, in the old days in economics we would refer to as a "natural monopoly." A natural monopoly just means that there are so many economies of scale, that whoever gets big actually gets cheaper, and they have a competitive advantage over any rivals in those circumstances.

But we want the efficiency of that network and the conservatives are unwilling to do a hybrid, saying, "Okay, we'll have a network that covers everybody, but we'll treat it like a common carrier, and we'll make sure that the private entity doesn't become the multi-billionaire because of the profit from these things." So the conservatives want us just to walk away and let some people become extraordinarily rich and then use their market power, if they choose, to say "I actually don't want those people spreading their views, so I'm going to make life difficult for them." So there's also a political rationale, political science rationale, freedom rationale for saying "you shouldn't let a private company that is not subject at least to the duties of treating everyone fairly have this kind of monopoly power position."

GREG WILPERT: I want to dig a little bit deeper exactly on that issue actually. In the past, major anti-trust cases simply broke up the monopoly; such as, happened with Standard Oil in 1911 and AT&T in 1982. But is that even an option in cases for Facebook and Google? You're speaking about the network effects and they're obviously quite strong in the case of Facebook and Google. That is, do we really want a dozen different search engines or a dozen different baby Facebooks? In other words, wouldn't turning over the company to its users or to some other -- What would a possible alternative look like instead of breaking it up, or is that the only solution?

BILL BLACK: I don't think it is the only solution, but it's been the only solution that the Right has been willing to contemplate and to oppose as well, by the way. Again, their position is "we should just allow this network to be created and allow private parties to gain supernormal profits." In economic jargon, that just means a hell of a lot of money. This is why these people are multi-multi-billionaires, is they control something that has immense monopoly power, and therefore is able to charge more than they should, and that's inefficient. So the efficiency condition should be, "Yes, you create the network, but you don't allow a particular party to become immensely rich from it. You run it instead as essentially a regulated public utility." That says, "No, you can just get a normal return out of all of this. But yes, we'll allow a fully efficient network to be created,"

When you treat it like a public utility, then it has traditionally at law, doctrines of fairness and such that you can't discriminate against the use, that you can't use it as a weapon against your enemies and such, so you have to take all customers on the same terms whether they're big customers or little customers and such. Of course, that harks back to an earlier dispute and one of the first things that the Trump administration sought to eliminate, was any duty on the part of these private monopolies to treat people fairly. So it's quite interesting that the Trump administration is now investigating that which it previously blessed. And of course, the Trump administration has announced that it's going to use the anti-trust laws as a weapon against their political enemies -- the car companies, for daring to agree with California to produce fewer greenhouse gases.

GREG WILPERT: Yeah. I just want to return to the issue of this particular case now with Ken Paxton and Google because obviously, or not obviously, but presumably, he would probably favor a decision that would actually weaken the power of Google and Facebook by breaking it up, which I would think the Democratic state Attorney Generals that are behind this case probably wouldn't necessarily favor. So how are they ever going to come to a resolution in this case, or is this just going to be tied up in the courts forever?

BILL BLACK: So this issue actually cuts across all kinds of ideological dimensions. You have the Texas AG, arguably the most conservative state AG in the country, someone who doesn't care about anti-trust at all, suddenly becoming the great enforcer of antitrust because it's his political opponents. You've got Democrats who often think that monopoly power has gone too far going, "Okay, I'll do a deal with the devil -- Paxton -- on this."

But now, and I mean just like today, the Koch Brothers Foundation has gotten involved. And it's sending out this major effort to get the population to turn against their state AGs because of this very investigation and the Facebook investigation as well. The Koch brothers fear that if this precedence gets created, of actually reinvigorating the anti-trust laws, they could be in the sights of particular Attorney Generals as well. I don't want to say that only conservative or Republican AGs use these laws against their political opponents because there have been a series of scandals involving Democrats as well and it's not so much political there. It's fundraisers. Whoever raises money for them, they help out. You draw the money largely from plaintiff's lawyers and the plaintiff lawyers would really, really, really love it if the state AGs would bring an action against the very folks that they too are suing. That would help their litigation a great deal. So, there are a series of scandals involving Democrats and Republicans in these Attorney General-type suits.

[Sep 13, 2019] Antiwar.com wins legal case against FBI

Notable quotes:
"... The Inteligence elite mistake their power over people -- and the unspeakable sums of money that are flooded into their agencies -- for success. As you might imagine, that has spelled disaster where ever in the world that they operate. God help the society where they gain the upper hand. Like in the United States, for example. Their minds are broken beyond repair because reality actively lies to them. ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/court-fbi-must-destroy-...

Court: FBI Must Destroy Memos Calling Antiwar.com a Threat
Ruling comes after a eight-year battle over secret surveillance of the popular website after 9/11.
By KELLEY BEAUCAR VLAHOS • September 12, 2019

In a major victory for Antiwar.com, free speech and journalism, a federal appeals court has ruled that the FBI must expunge surveillance memos that agents had drafted about the website's co-founders Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo in the early years following the 9/11 attacks.

"It's been a long fight and I'm glad we had an outcome that could might affect future FBI behavior," said Garris, who runs Antiwar.com, based in the San Francisco Bay area. "I just wish Justin was still here to know that this has happened."

Raimondo, 67, passed away in June from a long bout with cancer. He and Garris had sued the FBI in 2013 demanding it turn over all the memos and records it was keeping on the two men and the website, which has been promoting anti-interventionist news and views from a libertarian-conservative perspective since 1995

They won their case, and in 2017 the FBI agreed to turn over all the memos and settle their legal fees, $299,000, but the final expungement of two key memos involving intelligence gathered on the men and Antiwar.com, had yet to be expunged from the agency's record...

It all began when an observant reader brought a heavily redacted 2004 memo to Antiwar.com's attention in 2011. It was part of a batch of documents the reader had obtained through FOIA requests. It was clear from the documents' contents that the FBI had been collecting information and records on Raimondo and Garris for some time. At one point the FBI agent writing the April 30, 2004 memo on Antiwar.com recommended further monitoring of the website in the form of opening a "preliminary investigation to determine if [redaction] are engaging in, or have engaged in, activities which constitute a threat to national security."

Why? Because the website was questioning U.S. war policy ...

Agents noted that Antiwar.com had, or linked to, published counter-terrorism watch lists (already in the public domain). The FBI noted at least two of Raimondo's columns and wondered openly, "who are (Antiwar.com's) contributors and what are the funds utilized for?" This, after acknowledging there was no evidence of any crime being plotted or committed.

Other things noted in the documents::

-- Garris had passed along a threat he received on Sept. 12, 2001 from a Antiwar.com reader obviously disgruntled with the website's coverage of 9/11. The subject line read, "YOUR SITE IS GOING DOWN," and proceeded with this missive: "Be warned assholes, ill be posting your site address to all the hack boards tonight your site is history."

Concerned, Garris forwarded the email to the FBI field office in San Francisco. Garris heard nothing, but by January 2002, it turned up again, completely twisted around, in a secret FBI memo entitled, "A THREAT BY GARRIS TO HACK FBI WEBSITE."

It turns out this "threat" went on to justify, at least in part, the FBI's ongoing interest in monitoring the website.

-- The FBI took interest in Raimondo's writing about a 2001 FBI investigation of five Israeli nationals who were witnessed smiling and celebrating and taking pictures of the burning Twin Towers from a rooftop perch across the river from Manhattan in Union City, New Jersey, on 9/11. After witnesses called the police, the individuals, who all worked for a local moving company, were taken into custody and grilled by FBI and CIA for two months after it was deemed their work visas had expired. They were eventually deported without charge.

Raimondo, in writing about the case in 2002, linked to an American-generated terror watchlist (which had been published elsewhere on the Internet) that went out to Italian financial institutions and included the name of the man who owned the New Jersey moving company in question.

-- The FBI noted Antiwar.com was cited in an article, the name of the author redacted, about U.S aid to Israel.

-- They also noted that Raimondo had appeared on MSNBC to talk about his opposition to the Iraq War.

-- It also cited an article that listed Antiwar.com as a reference was handed out in 2002 at a "peaceful protest" at a British air base in the U.K.

-- The FBI was watching a member of a domestic neo-Nazi group who had "discussed a website, Antiwar.com" while encouraging fellow members at a conference to "educate themselves" about the Middle East conflict.

-- The agency said a special agent's review of hard drives seized during an investigation of an unnamed subject, revealed that the subject had visited Antiwar.com between July 25, 2002 and June 15, 2003, "among many other websites."

The FBI acknowledged it searched the Web, as well as Lexis-Nexis, the Universal Index (FBI central records), the agency's Electronic Case File, Department of Motor Vehicles and Dunn & Bradsheet (credit reports) for information on Antiwar.com and for "one or more individuals" working for the website.

Looking back, it's hard to fathom how such tiny (Constitutionally protected) crumbs led the FBI to the conclusion that Garris and Raimondo, two dedicated activists (Raimondo was also a prolific author) with decades of time in California's political trenches, might be a "threat to national security," but there you are...

The case decided on Wednesday revolved around two remaining memos that the FBI had so far refused to expunge. One involved the call Garris made to the FBI in 2002. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Northern California found that the government did not have a compelling law enforcement reason to keep them.

"Maintenance of a record that describes only First Amendment activity and does not implicate national security is not pertinent to the FBI's authorized activities," the court concluded...

Garris said he was relieved and elated that the court was able to end this ugly chapter for the website...

>dervish
This is an example of why the innocent have nothing to fear from "all surveillance, all the time" is patently untrue.

Not to mention that casual erasures of any part of the Bill of Rights by government are frickin' scary, as are casual acceptance and rationalization of same by ordinary Americans (and/or those seeming like ordinary Americans).

In his memoir, True Compass , Ted Kennedy said that LBJ told him that LBJ considered the FBI culpable in the assassination of JFK, in that the FBI had had its eye on Oswald and considered him dangerous, but never warned the Secret Service.

Many years later, we have failures by the FBI and CIA to coordinate and act upon intel involved in 911. They did nothing about reports from citizens of the suspicious activities of the Saudi assassins while the assassins were in the US, such as taking flying lessons, but saying they didn't need to learn how to land. Moreover, the FBI and CIA had months of Arab conversations awaiting translation because of a shortage of translators cause by the FBI's and CIA's unwillingess to use Arab translators.

Then we have two warnings, not from ordinary citizens, but from the Russian government, that the Tsarnaevs were a threat. Now, that alone sure sounds to me like probable cause for surveillance. However, the FBI interviewed them and supposedly was unable to justify doing anything else.

So, we have culpability in a Presidential assassination AND two terrorist attacks. And that certainly can't be all before and after 1960. For instance, speaking of JFK, there was the Bay of Pigs fiasco. On the bright side, that taught JFK to squint at the CIA and the military, which, in turn, may have avoided nuclear disaster over the Cuban missile "crisis." (When we place missiles somewhere, it's defense on our part and a deterrent; when another nation, especially Russia, does the same, it's casus belli , unless some brilliant politicians can scale it "all the way down" to a "crisis" or a "national emergency." Our hypocrisy sickens.

BTW, according to the memoir, JFK was questioning our Vietnam involvement and Bobby Kennedy had flat out become convinced that bombing should stop immediately and peace negotiations should begin. He volunteered to negotiate the peace himself, but LBJ refused. So, that's another thing Bobby and Jack had in common. (Interestingly to me, by Ted's own account, he was the last of the three Kennedy brothers to lose support for the Vietnam War!)

jim p on Thu, 09/12/2019 - 7:20pm

Doubtless there are other agencies with files and stalking
Pluto's Republic on Thu, 09/12/2019 - 8:34pm
Thanks for reporting on this, Linda

The socially destructive solutions designed by the Intelligence Communities since the mid-20th century are paying off in one way:

There is now a copious amount of research and data, that once harnessed and put to work, will clearly demonstrate without doubt how tragic and destructive their outcomes have been. They have accomplished precisely the opposite of the goal they were reaching for. For example, apply their social engineering to reduce the number of terrorists in a region, and in less than a decade the region will be overrun with terrorists.

Use their strategic genius to stop the flow of drugs from hot-spots of the world, and in another decade, much of the world will be saturated with illegal drugs.

Humanity throughout the world are the losers, and they pay dearly for the blindness of Nazi-mentored techniques and strategies that are embraced by intelligence agencies and military intelligence. In the long term, they are bringers of chaos.

The nazis always lose. Ever since we brought them to America after World War II to teach us their techniques -- the US has lost every war it attempted. The effects of this influence has turned America into a prison complex.

The Inteligence elite mistake their power over people -- and the unspeakable sums of money that are flooded into their agencies -- for success. As you might imagine, that has spelled disaster where ever in the world that they operate. God help the society where they gain the upper hand. Like in the United States, for example. Their minds are broken beyond repair because reality actively lies to them.

If you ask them to send a rocket to the moon, they'll wait until the full moon is directly overhead, then fire the rocket. They are void of subtlety. The failure will be classified and forgotten.

We need Taoist leaders if we want to solve real world problems.

[Sep 13, 2019] Before 9/11 it would have been illegal for CIA to be operating within the U.S.

Sep 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

Durruti says: September 12, 2019 at 12:05 am GMT 200 Words @Tony Ryals

Before 9/11 it would have been illegal for CIA to be operating within the U.S.

Yes, the Central Intelligence Agency -CIA, was prohibited by Law to operate within the USA, This Law/limitation of the power of a Spy Agency, was designed to limit Government intrusion into the lives of American Citizens. [Bitter laughter in this space]

1. Imagine how much more illegal it must be for a Spy Agency of any Foreign Government to operate within the territorial limits of the United States.

2. Does the Zionist Spy Agency, MOSSAD , come to mind? Indeed.

3. In 2019, we Americans suffer the daily intrusion into our private affairs of as many as 16 Secret Agencies, in addition to the most powerful Spy Agency MOSSAD , (which certainly controls the CIA, NSA, FBI, many local Police Departments, and the other Secret Agencies- those of the Armed forces, etc.).

*Good political news goes in this space [ ]. The dismissal of one Yahoo – by a Yahoo – to be replaced by another Yahoo – does not count.

Restore our American Republic!

Justvisiting , says: September 12, 2019 at 6:24 am GMT

@Durruti The many whistleblowers (Snowden etal) have explained that international intelligence agencies have circumvented local government restrictions on domestic surveillance by trading data.

So, England can legally spy on Americans. America can legally spy on English folks.

Swap data.

Voila!

(Mossad can spy on everybody and trade with everybody–fun, fun, fun.)

[Sep 12, 2019] Israel Accused Of plating StingRays swvices near White House

Sep 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Though it's easy to imagine the outpouring of fury and wall to wall media coverage -- complete with urgent Congressional hearings -- should such allegations center on any other foreign country caught spying on the White House (let's say Russia for example), the bombshell Politico report has barely made a dent in the mainstream media or big cable networks' coverage.

This is partly because the administration's own reaction has been muted, as the report notes that "the Trump administration took no action to punish or even privately scold the Israeli government" after being informed by US intelligence that Israel likely planted the devices.

Politico's sources in most instances held top intelligence and national security posts, who describe the following of the recovered spy devices :

The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as "StingRays," mimic regular cell towers to fool cell phones into giving them their locations and identity information . Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use .

The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates -- though it's not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful.

From the moment the report was unveiled early Thursday, Israel's stance has been to vehemently deny, and to even suggest the accusations are tinged with "anti-Semitism".


Pure Speculation , 7 minutes ago link

The statement from the prime minister's office added, "There is a longstanding commitment, and a directive from the Israeli government not to engage in any intelligence operations in the U.S. This directive is strictly enforced without exception."

Uh huh... Sure. So how do you explain Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell then?

Vuke , 19 minutes ago link

Come on readers. Next they'll be saying Israel controls all levels of government through political donations. Possible from the $2 Billion a year they get? Anybody know how much total Israeli contributions go to the Pres, Congress etc?

africoman , 21 minutes ago link

How sweet & bitter this revelation come on the anniversary of 911 & perps are free solidifying their grips over America etc

it would be ironically surprising if the MSM took it for repointing to Americans on such a day or we

How could you deprogram Americans especially trumptards when others such as Ilhan Omar tried to hint them who did 911?

i commemorate the anniversary of 911 cos it happened on the eve of my new year and at least 3 of my people died in that fateful event

i wish isisrahell annexed their strong holds DC and leave Palestinians alone

attah-boy-Luther , 32 minutes ago link

... ... ...

http://themillenniumreport.com/2019/09/9-11-truth-exploding-worldwide-perps-desperate-to-distract-populace-and-disarm-patriots/#more-84351

Mustafa Kemal , 33 minutes ago link

I was hoping to see a comment from Einstein, but cant find him. Wonder where he is. I guess we will just have to lower our standards and look to ZD1 for the real scoop.

[Sep 11, 2019] Video Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 The Bamboozle Has Captured Us

Highly recommended!
David Warner Mathisen definitely know what he is talking about due to his long military career... Free fall speed is documented and is an embarrassment to the official story, because free fall is impossible for a naturally collapsing building.
Now we need to dig into the role of Larry Silverstein in the Building 7 collapse.
Notable quotes:
"... Below is a video showing several film sequences taken from different locations and documenting multiple angles of World Trade Center Building 7 collapsing at freefall speed eighteen years ago on September 11, 2001. ..."
"... The four words "Building Seven Freefall Speed" provide all the evidence needed to conclude that the so-called "official narrative" promoted by the mainstream media for the past eighteen years is a lie, as is the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report of 2004. ..."
"... Earlier this month, a team of engineers at the University of Alaska published their draft findings from a five-year investigation into the collapse of Building 7 ..."
"... This damning report by a team of university engineers has received no attention from the mainstream media outlets which continue to promote the bankrupt "official" narrative of the events of September 11, 2001. ..."
"... its rate of collapse can be measured and found to be indistinguishable from freefall speed, as physics teacher David Chandler explains in an interview here (and as he eventually forced NIST to admit), beginning at around 0:43:00 in the interview. ..."
"... the collapse of the 47-story steel-beam building World Trade Center 7 into its own footprint at freefall speed is all the evidence needed to reveal extensive and deliberate premeditated criminal activity by powerful forces that had the ability to prepare pre-positioned demolition charges in that building ..."
"... Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming, to the point that no one can any longer be excused for accepting the official story. Certainly during the first few days and weeks after the attacks, or even during the first few years, men and women could be excused for accepting the official story (particularly given the level to which the mainstream media controls opinion in the united states). ..."
"... Additionally, I would also recommend the interviews which are archived at the website of Visibility 9-11 , which includes valuable interviews with Kevin Ryan but also numerous important interviews with former military officers who explain that the failure of the military to scramble fighters to intercept the hijacked airplanes, and the failure of air defense weapons to stop a jet from hitting the Pentagon (if indeed a jet did hit the Pentagon), are also completely inexplicable to anyone who knows anything at all about military operations, unless the official story is completely false and something else was going on that day. ..."
"... In addition to these interviews and the Dig Within blog of Kevin Ryan, I would also strongly recommend everybody read the article by Dr. Gary G. Kohls entitled " Why Do Good People Become Silent About the Documented Facts that Disprove the Official 9/11 Narrative? " which was published on Global Research a few days ago, on September 6, 2019. ..."
"... on some level, we already know we have been bamboozled, even if our conscious mind refuses to accept what we already know. ..."
"... Previous posts have compared this tendency of the egoic mind to the blissfully ignorant character of Michael Scott in the television series The Office (US version): see here for example, and also here . ..."
"... The imposition of a vast surveillance mechanism upon the people of this country (and of other countries) based on the fraudulent pretext of "preventing terrorism" (and the lying narrative that has been perpetuated with the full complicity of the mainstream media for the past eighteen years) is in complete violation of the human rights which are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and which declare: ..."
"... David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Below is a video showing several film sequences taken from different locations and documenting multiple angles of World Trade Center Building 7 collapsing at freefall speed eighteen years ago on September 11, 2001.

The four words "Building Seven Freefall Speed" provide all the evidence needed to conclude that the so-called "official narrative" promoted by the mainstream media for the past eighteen years is a lie, as is the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report of 2004.

  1. Building.
  2. Seven.
  3. Freefall.
  4. Speed.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mamvq7LWqRU

Earlier this month, a team of engineers at the University of Alaska published their draft findings from a five-year investigation into the collapse of Building 7, which was not hit by any airplane on September 11, 2001, and concluded that fires could not possibly have caused the collapse of that 47-story steel-frame building -- rather, the collapse seen could have only been caused by the near-simultaneous failure of every support column (43 in number).

This damning report by a team of university engineers has received no attention from the mainstream media outlets which continue to promote the bankrupt "official" narrative of the events of September 11, 2001.

Various individuals at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) tried to argue that the collapse of Building 7 was slower than freefall speed, but its rate of collapse can be measured and found to be indistinguishable from freefall speed, as physics teacher David Chandler explains in an interview here (and as he eventually forced NIST to admit), beginning at around 0:43:00 in the interview.

Although the collapse of the 47-story steel-beam building World Trade Center 7 into its own footprint at freefall speed is all the evidence needed to reveal extensive and deliberate premeditated criminal activity by powerful forces that had the ability to prepare pre-positioned demolition charges in that building prior to the flight of the aircraft into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (Buildings One and Two), as well as the power to cover up the evidence of this criminal activity and to deflect questioning by government agencies and suppress the story in the mainstream news, the collapse of Building 7 is by no means the only evidence which points to the same conclusion.

Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming, to the point that no one can any longer be excused for accepting the official story. Certainly during the first few days and weeks after the attacks, or even during the first few years, men and women could be excused for accepting the official story (particularly given the level to which the mainstream media controls opinion in the united states).

However, eighteen years later there is simply no excuse anymore -- except for the fact that the ramifications of the admission that the official story is a flagrant fraud and a lie are so distressing that many people cannot actually bring themselves to consciously admit what they in fact already know subconsciously.

For additional evidence, I strongly recommend the work of the indefatigable Kevin Robert Ryan , whose blog at Dig Within should be required reading for every man and woman in the united states -- as well as those in the rest of the world, since the ramifications of the murders of innocent men, women and children on September 11, 2001 have led to the murders of literally millions of other innocent men, women and children around the world since that day, and the consequences of the failure to absorb the truth of what actually took place, and the consequences of the failure to address the lies that are built upon the fraudulent explanation of what took place on September 11, continue to negatively impact men and women everywhere on our planet.

Additionally, I would also recommend the interviews which are archived at the website of Visibility 9-11 , which includes valuable interviews with Kevin Ryan but also numerous important interviews with former military officers who explain that the failure of the military to scramble fighters to intercept the hijacked airplanes, and the failure of air defense weapons to stop a jet from hitting the Pentagon (if indeed a jet did hit the Pentagon), are also completely inexplicable to anyone who knows anything at all about military operations, unless the official story is completely false and something else was going on that day.

I would also strongly recommend listening very carefully to the series of five interviews with Kevin Ryan on Guns and Butter with Bonnie Faulkner, which can be found in the Guns and Butter podcast archive here . These interviews, from 2013, are numbered 287, 288, 289, 290, and 291 in the archive.

Selected Articles: 9/11: Do You Still Believe that Al Qaeda Masterminded the Attacks?

I would in fact recommend listening to nearly every interview in that archive of Bonnie Faulkner's show, even though I do not of course agree with every single guest nor with every single view expressed in every single interview. Indeed, if you carefully read Kevin Ryan's blog which was linked above, you will find a blog post by Kevin Ryan dated June 24, 2018 in which he explicitly names James Fetzer along with Judy Woods as likely disinformation agents working to discredit and divert the efforts of 9/11 researchers. James Fetzer appears on Guns and Butter several times in the archived interview page linked above.

In addition to these interviews and the Dig Within blog of Kevin Ryan, I would also strongly recommend everybody read the article by Dr. Gary G. Kohls entitled " Why Do Good People Become Silent About the Documented Facts that Disprove the Official 9/11 Narrative? " which was published on Global Research a few days ago, on September 6, 2019.

That article contains a number of stunning quotations about the ongoing failure to address the now-obvious lies we are being told about the attacks of September 11. One of these quotations, by astronomer Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996), is particularly noteworthy -- even though I certainly do not agree with everything Carl Sagan ever said or wrote. Regarding our propensity to refuse to acknowledge what we already know deep down to be true, Carl Sagan said:

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken.

This quotation is from Sagan's 1995 text, The Demon-Haunted World (with which I have points of disagreement, but which is extremely valuable for that quotation alone, and which I might suggest turning around on some of the points that Sagan was arguing as well, as a cautionary warning to those who have accepted too wholeheartedly some of Sagan's teachings and opinions).

This quotation shows that on some level, we already know we have been bamboozled, even if our conscious mind refuses to accept what we already know. This internal division is actually addressed in the world's ancient myths, which consistently illustrate that our egoic mind often refuses to acknowledge the higher wisdom we have available to us through the reality of our authentic self, sometimes called our Higher Self. Previous posts have compared this tendency of the egoic mind to the blissfully ignorant character of Michael Scott in the television series The Office (US version): see here for example, and also here .

The important author Peter Kingsley has noted that in ancient myth, the role of the prophet was to bring awareness and acknowledgement of that which the egoic mind refuses to see -- which is consistent with the observation that it is through our authentic self (which already knows) that we have access to the realm of the gods. In the Iliad, for example, Dr. Kingsley notes that Apollo sends disaster upon the Achaean forces until the prophet Calchas reveals the source of the god's anger: Agamemnon's refusal to free the young woman Chryseis, whom Agamemnon has seized in the course of the fighting during the Trojan War, and who is the daughter of a priest of Apollo. Until Agamemnon atones for this insult to the god, Apollo will continue to visit destruction upon those following Agamemnon.

Until we acknowledge and correct what our Higher Self already knows to be the problem, we ourselves will be out of step with the divine realm.

If we look the other way at the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children on September 11, 2001, and deliberately refuse to see the truth that we already know deep down in our subconscious, then we will face the displeasure of the Invisible Realm. Just as we are shown in the ancient myths, the truth must be acknowledged and admitted, and then the wrong that has been done must be corrected.

In the case of the mass murder perpetrated on September 11, eighteen years ago, that admission requires us to face the fact that the "terrorists" who were blamed for that attack were not the actual terrorists that we need to be focusing on.

Please note that I am very careful not to say that "the government" is the source of the problem: I would argue that the government is the lawful expression of the will of the people and that the government, rightly understood, is exactly what these criminal perpetrators actually fear the most, if the people ever become aware of what is going on. The government, which is established by the Constitution, forbids the perpetration of murder upon innocent men, women and children in order to initiate wars of aggression against countries that never invaded or attacked us (under the false pretense that they did so). Those who do so are actually opposed to our government under the Constitution and can be dealt with within the framework of the law as established by the Constitution, which establishes a very clear penalty for treason.

When the people acknowledge and admit the complete bankruptcy of the lie we have been told about the attacks of September 11, the correction of that lie will involve demanding the immediate repeal and dismantling of the so-called "USA PATRIOT Act" which was enacted in the weeks immediately following September 11, 2001 and which clearly violates the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Additionally, the correction of that lie will involve demanding the immediate cessation of the military operations which were initiated based upon the fraudulent narrative of the attacks of that day, and which have led to invasion and overthrow of the nations that were falsely blamed as being the perpetrators of those attacks and the seizure of their natural resources.

The imposition of a vast surveillance mechanism upon the people of this country (and of other countries) based on the fraudulent pretext of "preventing terrorism" (and the lying narrative that has been perpetuated with the full complicity of the mainstream media for the past eighteen years) is in complete violation of the human rights which are enumerated in the Bill of Rights and which declare:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That human right has been grievously trampled upon under the false description of what actually took place during the September 11 attacks. Numerous technology companies have been allowed and even encouraged (and paid, with public moneys) to create technologies which flagrantly and shamelessly violate "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" and which track their every move and even enable secret eavesdropping upon their conversation and the secret capture of video within their homes and private settings, without any probable cause whatsoever.

When we admit and acknowledge that we have been lied to about the events of September 11, which has been falsely used as a supposed justification for the violation of these human rights (with complete disregard for the supreme law of the land as established in the Constitution), then we will also demand the immediate cessation of any such intrusion upon the right of the people to "be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects" -- including the cessation of any business models which involve spying on men and women.

Companies which cannot find a business model that does not violate the Bill of Rights should lose their corporate charter and the privilege of limited liability, which are extended to them by the people (through the government of the people, by the people and for the people) only upon the condition that their behavior as corporations do not violate the inherent rights of men and women as acknowledged in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

It is well beyond the time when we must acknowledge and admit that we have been lied to about the events of September 11, 2001 -- and that we continue to be lied to about the events of that awful day. September 11, 2001 is in fact only one such event in a long history which stretches back prior to 2001, to other events which should have awakened the people to the presence of a very powerful and very dangerous criminal cabal acting in direct contravention to the Constitution long before we ever got to 2001 -- but the events of September 11 are so blatant, so violent, and so full of evidence which contradicts the fraudulent narrative that they actually cannot be believed by anyone who spends even the slightest amount of time looking at that evidence.

Indeed, we already know deep down that we have been bamboozled by the lie of the so-called "official narrative" of September 11.

But until we admit to ourselves and acknowledge to others that we've ignored the truth that we already know, then the bamboozle still has us .

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University.

The original source of this article is Global Research Copyright © David W. Mathisen , Global Research, 2019 Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

David Warner Mathisen graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point and became an Infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 4th Infantry Division. He is a graduate of the US Army's Ranger School and the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course, among many other awards and decorations. He was later selected to become an instructor in the Department of English Literature and Philosophy at West Point and has a Masters degree from Texas A&M University.

[Sep 07, 2019] Think of the internet as a tollway with booths at either end and monitoring along the way

Sep 07, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

anonymous , August 17, 2018 at 9:25 am

Think of the internet as a tollway with booths at either end and monitoring along the way. When you control a booth, for example, you can see which cars pass by.

I have seen that process in action and am in favor of privacy tools (VPN, control of Java scripts, ad/malware blockers, etc) to preserve some semblance of anonymity. Even with those in place, there are still ways for actors to observe. Be guided accordingly.

Epistrophy , August 17, 2018 at 10:29 am

Very difficult to provide choke points – but I am sure they are working on it. Because almost everything depends upon instantaeous network connectivity, such as power systems, logistics systems, communication systems, transport systems, defence systems and banking systems, among others, any interference is going to have side effects that could be quite serious.

In addition, systems are becoming more and more distributed, with no central control point – blockchain being a recent example.

For example, I stopped using youtube.com years ago. Mostly I use bitchute to watch some things directly, view videos through a search engine like DuckDuckGo or view videos embedded in websites like NC.

Bitchute uses bittorrent to transmit videos – meaning that the viewers of the videos also provide the bandwidth to each other – a peer to peer transmission method – so there is almost no bandwidth cost to Bitchute and no central point of control. The more users or 'nodes', the better the system works.

Youtube, on the other hand, can control or 'choke' content, but it has huge central server bandwidth costs.

As I see it, YouTube is going to morph into a proprietary Netflix-type of service in just a few years. Garage-produced indie content and alternative media startups will probably move to a different platform.

[Sep 07, 2019] 9-11 The Road To America's Orwellian Hell by James Bovard

Those measures are nothing special. They are typical for any war or any coup d'état to install totalitarian regime in the country. Fritened people are easily manipulated. . The only question against whom the war was launched and what was real origin of 9/11. Here 1984 instantly comes to mind.
Sep 06, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by James Bovard via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

Next week will be the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Politicians and bureaucrats wasted no time after that carnage to unleash the Surveillance State on average Americans, treating every person like a terrorist suspect. Since the government failed to protect the public, Americans somehow forfeited their constitutional right to privacy. Despite heroic efforts by former NSA staffer Edward Snowden and a host of activists and freedom fighters, the government continues ravaging American privacy.

Two of the largest leaps towards "1984" began in 2002. Though neither the Justice Department's Operation TIPS nor the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness program was brought to completion, parcels and precedents from each program have profoundly influenced subsequent federal policies.

In July 2002, the Justice Department unveiled plans for Operation TIPS -- the Terrorism Information and Prevention System. According to the Justice Department website, TIPS would be "a nationwide program giving millions of American truckers, letter carriers, train conductors, ship captains, utility employees, and others a formal way to report suspicious terrorist activity." TIPSters would be people who, "in the daily course of their work, are in a unique position to serve as extra eyes and ears for law enforcement." The feds aimed to recruit people in jobs that "make them uniquely well positioned to understand the ordinary course of business in the area they serve, and to identify things that are out of the ordinary." Homeland Security director Tom Ridge said that observers in certain occupations "might pick up a break in the certain rhythm or pattern of a community." The feds planned to enlist as many as 10 million people to watch other people's "rhythms."

The Justice Department provided no definition of "suspicious behavior" to guide vigilantes. As the public began to focus on the program's sweep, opposition surfaced; even the U.S. Postal Service briefly balked at participating in the program. Director Ridge insisted that TIPS "is not a government intrusion." He declared, "The last thing we want is Americans spying on Americans. That's just not what the president is all about, and not what the TIPS program is all about." Apparently, as long as the Bush administration did not announce plans to compel people to testify about the peccadilloes of their neighbors and customers, TIPS was a certified freedom-friendly program.

When Attorney General John Ashcroft was cross-examined by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on TIPS at a Judiciary Committee hearing on July 25, he insisted that "the TIPS program is something requested by industry to allow them to talk about anomalies that they encounter." But, when George W. Bush first announced the program, he portrayed it as an administration initiative. Did thousands of Teamsters Union members petition 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue over "anomalies"? Senator Leahy asked whether reports to the TIPS hotline would become part of a federal database with millions of unsubstantiated allegations against American citizens. Ashcroft told Leahy, "I have recommended that there would be none, and I've been given assurance that the TIPS program would not maintain a database." But Ashcroft could not reveal which federal official had given him the assurance.

The ACLU's Laura Murphy observed, "This is a program where people's activities, statements, posters in their windows or on their walls, nationality, and religious practices will be reported by untrained individuals without any relationship to criminal activity." San Diego law professor Marjorie Cohn observed, "Operation TIPS will encourage neighbors to snitch on neighbors and won't distinguish between real and fabricated tips. Anyone with a grudge or vendetta against another can provide false information to the government, which will then enter the national database."

On August 9, the Justice Department announced it was fine-tuning TIPS, abandoning any "plan to ask thousands of mail carriers, utility workers, and others with access to private homes to report suspected terrorist activity," the Washington Post reported. People who had enlisted to be TIPSters received an email notice from Uncle Sam that "only those who work in the trucking, maritime, shipping, and mass transit industries will be eligible to participate in this information referral service." But the Justice Department continued refusing to disclose to the Senate Judiciary Committee who would have access to the TIPS reports.

After the proposal created a fierce backlash across the political board, Congress passed an amendment blocking its creation. House Majority Leader Richard Armey (R-Tex.) attached an amendment to homeland security legislation that declared, "Any and all activities of the federal government to implement the proposed component program of the Citizen Corps known as Operation TIPS are hereby prohibited." But the Bush administration and later the Obama administration pursued the same information roundup with federally funded fusion centers that encouraged people to file "suspicious activity reports" for a wide array of innocuous behavior -- reports that are dumped into secret federal databases that can vex innocent citizens in perpetuity.

Operation TIPS illustrated how the momentum of intrusion spurred government to propose programs that it never would have attempted before 9/11. If Bush had proposed in August 2001 to recruit 10 million Americans to report any of their neighbors they suspected of acting unusual or being potential troublemakers, the public might have concluded the president had gone berserk.

Total Information Awareness: 300 million dossiers

The USA PATRIOT Act created a new Information Office in the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In January 2002, the White House chose retired admiral John Poindexter to head the new office. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer explained, "Admiral Poindexter is somebody who this administration thinks is an outstanding American, an outstanding citizen, who has done a very good job in what he has done for our country, serving the military." Cynics kvetched about Poindexter's five felony convictions for false testimony to Congress and destruction of evidence during the investigation of the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages exchange. Poindexter's convictions were overturned by a federal appeals court, which cited the immunity Congress granted his testimony.

Poindexter committed the new Pentagon office to achieving Total Information Awareness (TIA). TIA's mission is "to detect, classify and identify foreign terrorists -- and decipher their plans -- and thereby enable the U.S. to take timely action to successfully preempt and defeat terrorist acts," according to DARPA. According to Undersecretary of Defense Pete Aldridge, TIA would seek to discover "connections between transactions -- such as passports; visas; work permits; driver's licenses; credit cards; airline tickets; rental cars; gun purchases; chemical purchases -- and events -- such as arrests or suspicious activities and so forth." Aldridge agreed that every phone call a person made or received could be entered into the database. With "voice recognition" software, the actual text of the call could also go onto a permanent record.

TIA would also strive to achieve "Human Identification at a Distance" (HumanID), including "Face Recognition," "Iris Recognition," and "Gait Recognition." The Pentagon issued a request for proposals to develop an "odor recognition" surveillance system that would help the feds identify people by their sweat or urine -- potentially creating a wealth of new job opportunities for deviants.

TIA's goal was to stockpile as much information as possible about everyone on Earth -- thereby allowing government to protect everyone from everything. New York Times columnist William Safire captured the sweep of the new surveillance system: "Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book, and every event you attend -- all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as 'a virtual, centralized grand database.'" Columnist Ted Rall noted that the feds would even scan "veterinary records. The TIA believes that knowing if and when Fluffy got spayed -- and whether your son stopped torturing Fluffy after you put him on Ritalin -- will help the military stop terrorists before they strike."

Phil Kent, president of the Southeastern Legal Foundation, an Atlanta-based public-interest law firm, warned that TIA was "the most sweeping threat to civil liberties since the Japanese-American internment." The ACLU's Jay Stanley labeled TIA "the mother of all privacy invasions. It would amount to a picture of your life so complete, it's equivalent to somebody following you around all day with a video camera." A coalition of civil-liberties groups protested to Senate leaders, "There are no systems of oversight or accountability contemplated in the TIA project. DARPA itself has resisted lawful requests for information about the Program pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act."

Bush administration officials were outraged by such criticisms. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declared, "The hype and alarm approach is a disservice to the public . I would recommend people take a nice deep breath. Nothing terrible is going to happen." Poindexter promised that TIA would be designed so as to "preserve rights and protect people's privacy while helping to make us all safer." (Poindexter was not under oath at the time of his statement.) The TIA was defended on the basis that "nobody has been searched" until the feds decide to have him arrested on the basis of data the feds snared. Undersecretary Aldridge declared, "It is absurd to think that DARPA is somehow trying to become another police agency. DARPA's purpose is to demonstrate the feasibility of this technology. If it proves useful, TIA will then be turned over to the intelligence, counterintelligence, and law-enforcement communities as a tool to help them in their battle against domestic terrorism." In January 2003, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) learned that the FBI was working on a memorandum of understanding with the Pentagon "for possible experimentation" with TIA. Assistant Defense Secretary for Homeland Security Paul McHale confirmed, in March 2003 testimony to Congress, that the Pentagon would turn TIA over to law-enforcement agencies once the system was ready to roll.

DARPA responded to the surge of criticism by removing the Information Awareness Office logo from the website. The logo showed a giant green eye atop a pyramid, covering half the globe with a peculiar yellow haze, accompanied by the motto "Scientia est Potentia" (Knowledge is Power).

Shortly after DARPA completed a key research benchmark for TIA, Lt. Col. Doug Dyer, a DARPA program manager, publicly announced in April 2003 that Americans are obliged to sacrifice some privacy in the name of security: "When you consider the potential effect of a terrorist attack against the privacy of an entire population, there has to be some trade-off." But nothing in the U.S. Constitution entitles the Defense Department to decide how much privacy or liberty American citizens deserve.

In September 2003, Congress passed an amendment abolishing the Pentagon's Information Office and ending TIA funding. But by that point, DARPA had already awarded 26 contracts for dozens of private research projects to develop components for TIA. Salon.com reported, "According to people with knowledge of the program, TIA has now advanced to the point where it's much more than a mere 'research project.' There is a working prototype of the system, and federal agencies outside the Defense Department have expressed interest in it." The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is already using facial recognition systems at 20 airports and the Transportation Security Administration is expected to quickly follow suit.

Two weeks after the 9/11 attacks, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo sent a secret memo to the White House declaring that the Constitution's prohibition on unreasonable searches was null and void: "If the government's heightened interest in self-defense justifies the use of deadly force, then it also certainly would justify warrantless searches." That memo helped set federal policy until it was publicly revealed after Barack Obama took office in 2009. Unfortunately, that anti-Constitution, anti-privacy mindset unleashed many federal intrusions that continue to this day, from the TSA to the National Security Agency to the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

[Sep 04, 2019] The Future of the Grand Spectacle which is the USA reality by C.J. Hopkins

Sep 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

If you want a vision of the future, don't imagine "a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever," as Orwell suggested in 1984 . Instead, imagine that human face staring mesmerized into the screen of some kind of nifty futuristic device on which every word, sound, and image has been algorithmically approved for consumption by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ("DARPA") and its "innovation ecosystem" of "academic, corporate, and governmental partners."

The screen of this futuristic device will offer a virtually unlimited range of "non-divisive" and "hate-free" content, none of which will falsify or distort the "truth," or in any way deviate from "reality." Western consumers will finally be free to enjoy an assortment of news, opinion, entertainment, and educational content (like this Guardian podcast about a man who gave birth , or MSNBC's latest bombshell about Donald Trump's secret Russian oligarch backers ) without having their enjoyment totally ruined by discord-sowing alternative journalists like Aaron Maté or satirists like myself.

"Fake news" will not appear on this screen. All the news will be "authentic." DARPA and its partners will see to that. You won't have to worry about being "influenced" by Russians, Nazis, conspiracy theorists, socialists, populists, extremists, or whomever. Such Persons of Malicious Intent will still be able to post their content (because of "freedom of speech" and all that stuff), but they will do so down in the sewers of the Internet where normal consumers won't have to see it. Anyone who ventures down there looking for it (i.e., such "divisive" and "polarizing" content) will be immediately placed on an official DARPA watchlist for "potential extremists," or "potential white supremacists," or "potential Russians."

Once that happens, their lives will be over (i.e., the lives of the potentially extremist fools who have logged onto whatever dark web platform will still be posting essays like this, not the lives of the Persons of Malicious Intent, who never had any lives to begin with, and who by that time will probably be operating out of some heavily armed, off-the-grid compound in Idaho). Their schools, employers, and landlords will be notified. Their photos and addresses will be published online. Anyone who ever said two words to them (or, God help them, appears in a photograph with them) will have 24 hours to publicly denounce them, or be placed on DARPA’s watchlist themselves.

The Alarmist , says: September 4, 2019 at 9:02 am GMT

@El Dato Dude, you watch RT? You may as well go turn yourself in at the local Federal Building.
The Alarmist , says: September 4, 2019 at 9:03 am GMT
I’d laugh, if this was actually satire and not the reality unfolding before our very eyes.

[Aug 30, 2019] The Ministry of Minority-Worship Gay Rights and Goals of Globohomo by Tobias Langdon

Aug 30, 2019 | www.unz.com

Totalitarian ideologies live by lies and contradiction. For example, the slave-state of North Korea , ruled by a hereditary dictatorship, proclaims itself a Democratic People's Republic when it is neither democratic, popular, nor a republic. In Nineteen Eighty-Four , Orwell wrote of how "the names of the four Ministries by which [the oppressed population is] governed exhibit a sort of impudence in their deliberate reversal of the facts. The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy; they are deliberate exercises in doublethink ."

Defending the death-machine

You could, then, call GCHQ and the NSA part of the Ministry of Morality. While breaking laws against surveillance and trying to destroy freedom of expression and enquiry, they pretend that they're caring, ethical organizations who defend the oppressed and want to build a better world. In fact, of course, GCHQ and the NSA are defending the death-machine of the military-industrial complex , which has been wrecking nations and slaughtering civilians in the Middle East (and elsewhere ) for decades. They're also defending the traitorous Western governments that first import millions of Third-Worlders , then use the resultant crime, terrorism and racial conflict to justify mass surveillance and harsh laws against free speech .


OzzyBonHalen , says: August 29, 2019 at 6:54 am GMT

Quote: Orwell didn't foresee the celebration of homosexuality by totalitarians, but he did explain it.

If you read Anthony Burgess' The Wanting Seed he writes about the roles of gays in dystopia. He also talks about race, two things that Orwell and Huxley didn't. The Wanting Seed is just as important in the world of dystopia as Brave New World or 1984.

Reg Cæsar , says: August 29, 2019 at 7:49 am GMT

one way George Orwell got the future completely wrong

That assumes he was writing about the future. He was mocking the Soviet "justice" system in the recent past. The man was a satirist, after all. How did Stalin's men treat sexual deviation?

... ... ...

Walter , says: August 29, 2019 at 9:40 am GMT
NSA needs to revist their grammar studies. They may benefit from attention to the correct use of commas.

"At NSA, talented individuals of all backgrounds, contribute to something bigger than themselves: national security. #PrideMonth."

The globol-sodomy is one thing, but the torture of grammar! Ye gods!

MarkU , says: August 29, 2019 at 2:03 pm GMT
A few points.

1) The iniquities of the members of one skyfairy cult are not evidence for the virtues of another such organisation and never will be.

2) It seems likely to me that homosexuality is a feature of overpopulation and may be a natural population control mechanism. Experiments have shown that rats kept in overcrowded conditions exhibit homosexual tendencies and also become more violent towards other rats. I doubt that it is purely a coincidence that homosexuality first became notable round about the time that humans started living in cities. Other species have means of controlling their populations, rabbits for example can reabsorb their embryos if the population count is too high, seals can freeze the development of their foetuses etc. I see no rational purpose in demonising homosexuals and I am certainly not going to let the purveyors of ancient superstitious claptrap do my thinking for me. Cue howls of outrage from both skyfairy cultists and from queers (if they are happy to use the word I don't see why I shouldn't)

3) It seems to me that the Zionist bankers have essentially bankrupted the western world in an attempt to bring the rest of the world under their control, they have failed. They are now attempting to mobilise any and all sections of the population that identify as minorities as allies against the majorities in those countries, importing as many more as they can get away with. What sense does it make to reinforce their narrative that it is heterosexual whites v everyone else? because that is exactly what some people are doing. The Zionists are making their following as broad as possible while attempting to narrow ours, why play into their hands? Opposition to immigration for example does not have to be presented as a racial issue, many people here in the UK were opposed to mass immigration from eastern Europe on purely economic grounds, Poles and Lithuanians are not a different race and hardly even a different culture. Do you really think that Blacks and Latinos that have been in the US for generations are uniformly delighted about a new influx of cheap labour? Do you really believe that Muslims are the natural allies of Jews or of homosexuals? If you actually put some thought into the struggle rather than relying on superstitious claptrap and bigotry you might be able to start pushing back.

Liza , says: August 29, 2019 at 3:50 pm GMT
@Bardon Kaldian

So, Western civilization is going to collapse because of a few fairies & fag hags?

Yes, it looks as if it will collapse. Not because the fairies and fag hags are all-powerful, but because we have had it so good & easy for so long that we've gotten weaker than any determined, focused fairy or hag.

Astonished , says: August 29, 2019 at 4:00 pm GMT
@MarkU I agree.

Leftism in general, which I characterize as a mass adoption of a "mental map" (the gross oversimplification of infinite reality people use to navigate their lives) highly estranged from underlying reality, is Nature's "suicide switch" for an organism that has grossly overgrown its ecological niche.

Today people believe palpably unreal things, in incredibly large numbers, with incredibly deep fervor. The poster-child is the belief in the efficacy of magical incantations (statute legislation) to change Actual Reality. If "we" want to end racism (however we define it in the Newspeak Dictionary) then we just pass a law and "pow!" it's gone. (When that doesn't work, we pass another law, and another and another and another, always expecting a different result.)

Ditto the banking (and monetary) system. Money used to be basically a "receipt" for actually having something IN HAND to take to the market and engage in trade. This was the essence of Say's Law, "in order to consume (buy something) you must first produce."

Some clever Machiavellians figured out that if you could "complexify" and obscure the monetary system enough, you could obtain the legal right to create from thin air the ability to enter that market and buy something, which stripped to its essence is the crime of fraud.

Banking has been an open fraud for a very long time, certainly since the era of naked fiat money was introduced in the 1960's. But as long as everyone went along with the gag, and especially once Credit Bubble Funny Money started fueling a debt orgy and rationalizing an asset price mania, everyone thought "we could all get rich."

Today we have vast claims on real wealth (real wealth is productive land, productive plant & equipment and capital you can hold in your hands, so to speak.) But we have uncountable claims on each unit of real capital. The Machiavellians think that they will end up holding title to it all, when the day comes to actually make an honest accounting. I suspect that they lack the political power to pull that off, but only time will tell.

When this long, insane boom is reconciled, a lot of productive capital will turn out to be nothing but vaporware and rusting steel. Entire industries arose to cater to credit-bubble-demand, and when the bubble eventually ceases to inflate, demand in (and the capital applied to) those industries will collapse. How many hospitals do you need when no one has the money to pay for their services, and the tax base has burned to the ground?

Nature's suicide switch.

gwynedd1 , says: August 29, 2019 at 5:36 pm GMT
Simple formula. Liberalism was the defense of the individual against the group.

All one needs to do is a simple substitution. Minorities , environment , animals etc are a means by witch one can make individuals into the institutionalized oppressor. Even better is the so called intersectional mini oppressions which make nearly all victims which in turns makes all guilty. State intervention must increase .Guilty people , as all religions of the world understand, are easily dominated and controlled.

The power the individual is destroyed by its own momentum.

Ris_Eruwaedhiel , says: August 29, 2019 at 10:25 pm GMT
@Digital Samizdat The Bolsheviks first pushed "free love" – easy divorce, abortion and homosexuality. There even was serious discussion about whether or not to abolish marriage. They reversed themselves and by the time WWII broke out, the official culture of the Soviet Union was more socially conservative than that of the US. Even in the 1980s, the Commies were tough on gays, lesbians and druggies.

[Aug 24, 2019] BigBrotherWatch Facial Recognition Epidemic in the UK Eroding freedom of association

Notable quotes:
"... Facial recognition surveillance risks making privacy in Britain extinct. ..."
Aug 24, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

TruePublica

At TruePublica we have written endlessly about the continued slow strangulation of civil liberties and human rights in Britain. We have warned about the rise of a techno-Stasi-state where technology is harnessed and used against civilians without any debate or indeed any real legal framework. We have alerted the public on the illegal mass data collections by the government and subsequent loss of much it by MI5 who should not have had it all in the first place. We warned against ' digital strip searches ' – an activity of the police of the victims in rape cases, and the fact that Britain is becoming a database state . At TruePublica we have tried to press home the story that surveillance by the state on such a scale, described as the most intrusive in the Western world – is not just illegal, it's immoral and dangerous. (see our surveillance database HERE ).

Here is more evidence of just how dangerous and out of hand this creeping surveillance architecture is becoming. An investigation by Big Brother Watch has uncovered a facial recognition 'epidemic' across privately owned sites in the UK. The civil liberties campaign group has found major property developers, shopping centres, museums, conference centres and casinos using the technology in the UK.

Millions of shoppers scanned

Their investigation uncovered the use of live facial recognition in Sheffield's Meadowhall , one of the biggest shopping centres in the North of England, in secret police trials that took place last year. The trial could have scanned the faces of over 2 million visitors.

The shopping centre is owned by British Land, which owns large areas within London including parts of Paddington, Broadgate, Canada Water and Ealing Broadway. Each site's privacy policy says facial recognition may be in use, although British Land insists only Meadowhall has used the surveillance so far.

Last week, the Financial Times revealed that the privately owned Kings Cross estate in London was using facial recognition, whilst Canary Wharf is considering following suit. The expose prompted widespread concerns and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to write to the estate to express his concerns. The Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has launched an investigation.

Last year, the Trafford Centre in Manchester was pressured to stop using live facial recognition surveillance following an intervention by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner. It was estimated that up to 15 million people were scanned during the operation.

" Dark irony" of China exhibition visitors scanned

Big Brother Watch's investigation has also revealed that Liverpool's World Museum scanned visitors with facial recognition surveillance during its exhibition, "China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors" in 2018. Director of Big Brother Watch Silkie Carlo described it as "dark irony" noting that "this authoritarian surveillance tool is rarely seen outside of China" and warning that "many of those scanned will have been school children".

The museum is part of the National Museums Liverpool group, which also includes the International Slavery Museum, the Museum of Liverpool and other museums and art galleries. The museum group said it is "currently testing the feasibility of using similar technology in the future".

" Eroding freedom of association"

Big Brother Watch's investigation also found that the Millennium Point conference centre in Birmingham uses facial recognition surveillance "at the request of law enforcement", according to its privacy policy. In recent years, the area surrounding the conference centre has been used for demonstrations by trade unionists, football fans and anti-racism campaigners. The centre refused to give further information about its past or present uses of facial recognition surveillance. Millennium Point is soon to host a 'hackathon'.

A number of casinos and betting shops also have policies that refer to their use of facial recognition technology including Ladbrokes, Coral and Hippodrome Casino London.

Director of Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo, said:

There is an epidemic of facial recognition in the UK.

The collusion between police and private companies in building these surveillance nets around popular spaces is deeply disturbing. Facial recognition is the perfect tool of oppression and the widespread use we've found indicates we're facing a privacy emergency.

We now know that many millions of innocent people will have had their faces scanned with this surveillance without knowing about it, whether by police or by private companies.

The idea of a British museum secretly scanning the faces of children visiting an exhibition on the first emperor of China is chilling. There is a dark irony that this authoritarian surveillance tool is rarely seen outside of China.

Facial recognition surveillance risks making privacy in Britain extinct.

Parliament must follow in the footsteps of legislators in the US and urgently ban this authoritarian surveillance from public spaces.

truepublica.org.uk

[Aug 24, 2019] 2084 Orwell Revisited in the Age of Trump -- Strategic Culture

Notable quotes:
"... Today, it might be argued, Americans have been plunged into our own bizarre version of 1984 . In our world, Donald Trump has, in some sense, absorbed into his own person more or less everything dystopian in the vicinity. ..."
"... In some strange fashion, he and his administration already seem like a combination of the Ministry of Truth (a ministry of eternal lies ), the memory hole (down which the past, especially the Obama legacy and the president's own discarded statements , disappear daily), the two-minutes-hate sessions and hate week that are the essence of any of his rallies ("lock her up!," " send her back! "), and recently the "hate" slaughter of Mexicans and Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, by a gunman with a Trumpian "Hispanic invasion of Texas" engraved in his brain. And don't forget Big Brother. ..."
"... In some sense, President Trump might be thought of as Big Brother flipped. In The Donald's version of Orwell's novel, he isn't watching us every moment of the day and night, it's we who are watching him in an historically unprecedented way. ..."
"... In his book, he created a nightmare vision of something like the Communist Party of the Stalin-era Soviet Union perpetuating itself into eternity by constantly regenerating and reinforcing a present-moment of ultimate power. For him, dystopia was an accentuated version of just such a forever, a "huge, accurately planned effort to freeze history at a particular moment of time," as a document in the book puts it, to "arrest the course of history" for "thousands of years." ..."
"... In other words, with the American president lending a significant hand, we may make it to 2084 far sooner than anyone expected. With that in mind, let's return for a moment to 1984 . As no one who has read Orwell's book is likely to forget, its mildly dissident anti-hero, Winston Smith, is finally brought into the Ministry of Love by the Thought Police to have his consciousness retuned to the needs of the Party. In the process, he's brutally tortured until he can truly agree that 2 + 2 = 5. Only when he thinks he's readjusted his mind to fit the Party's version of the world does he discover that his travails are anything but over. ..."
Aug 24, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Tom ENGELHARDT

I, Winston Smith I mean, Tom Engelhardt have not just been reading a dystopian novel, but, it seems, living one -- and I suspect I've been living one all my life.

Yes, I recently reread George Orwell's classic 1949 novel, 1984 . In it, Winston Smith, a secret opponent of the totalitarian world of Oceania, one of three great imperial superpowers left on planet Earth, goes down for the count at the hands of Big Brother. It was perhaps my third time reading it in my 75 years on this planet.

Since I was a kid, I've always had a certain fascination for dystopian fiction. It started, I think, with War of the Worlds , that ur-alien-invasion-from-outer-space novel in which Martians land in southern England and begin tearing London apart. Its author, H.G. Wells, wrote it at the end of the nineteenth century, evidently to give his English readers a sense of what it might have felt like to be living in Tasmania, the island off the coast of Australia, and have the equivalent of Martians -- the British, as it happened -- appear in your world and begin to destroy it (and your culture with it).

I can remember, at perhaps age 13, reading that book under the covers by flashlight when I was supposed to be asleep; I can remember, that is, being all alone, chilled (and thrilled) to the bone by Wells' grim vision of civilizational destruction. To put this in context: in 1957, I would already have known that I was living in a world of potential civilizational destruction and that the Martians were here. They were then called the Russians, the Ruskies, the Commies, the Reds. I would only later grasp that we (or we, too) were Martians on this planet.

The world I inhabited was, of course, a post- Hiroshima , post- Nagasaki one. I was born on July 20, 1944, just a year and a few days before my country dropped atomic bombs on those two Japanese cities, devastating them in blasts of a kind never before experienced and killing more than 200,000 people. Thirteen years later, I had already become inured to scenarios of the most dystopian kinds of global destruction -- of a sort that would have turned those Martians into pikers -- as the U.S. and the Soviet Union (in a distant second place) built up their nuclear arsenals at a staggering pace.

Nuclear obliteration had, by then, become part of our everyday way of life. After all, what American of a certain age who lived in a major city can't remember, on some otherwise perfectly normal day, air-raid sirens suddenly beginning to howl outside your classroom window as the streets emptied? They instantly called up a vision of a world in ashes. Of course, we children had only a vague idea of what had happened under those mushroom clouds that rose over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As we huddled under our desks, hands over heads, " ducking and covering " like Bert the Turtle while a radio on the teacher's desk blared Conelrad warnings , we knew enough, however, to realize that those desks and hands were unlikely to save us from the world's most powerful weaponry. The message being delivered wasn't one of safety but of ultimate vulnerability to Russian nukes. After such tests, as historian Stephen Weart recalled in his book Nuclear Fear , "The press reported with ghoulish precision how many millions of Americans 'died' in each mock attack."

If those drills didn't add up to living an everyday vision of the apocalypse as a child, what would? I grew up, in other words, with a new reality: for the first time in history, humanity had in its hands Armageddon-like possibilities of a sort previously left to the gods. Consider , for instance, the U.S. military's Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) of 1960 for a massive nuclear strike on the Communist world. It was, we now know, meant to deliver more than 3,200 nuclear weapons to 1,060 targets, including at least 130 cities. Official, if then secret, estimates of casualties ran to 285 million dead and 40 million injured (and probably underestimated the longer term effects of radiation).

In the early 1960s, a commonplace on the streets of New York where I lived was the symbol for "fallout shelters" (as they were then called), the places you would head for during just such an impending global conflagration. I still remember how visions of nuclear destruction populated my dreams (or rather nightmares) and those of my friends, as some would later admit to me. To this day, I can recall the feeling of sudden heat on one side of my body as a nuclear bomb went off on the distant horizon of one of those dreams. Similarly, I recall sneaking into a Broadway movie theater to see On the Beach with two friends -- kids of our age weren't allowed into such films without parents -- and so getting a glimpse, popcorn in hand, of what a devastated, nuclearized San Francisco might look like. That afternoon at that film, I also lived through a post-nuclear-holocaust world's end in Australia with no less than Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, and Fred Astaire for company.

An All-American Hate Week

So my life -- and undoubtedly yours, too -- has been lived, at least in part, as if in a dystopian novel. And certainly since November 2016 -- since, that is, the election of Donald Trump -- the feeling (for me, at least) of being in just such a world, has only grown stronger. Worse yet, there's nothing under the covers by flashlight about The Donald or his invasive vision of our American future. And this time around, as a non-member of his "base," it's been anything but thrilling to the bone.

It was with such a feeling growing in me that, all these years later, I once again picked up Orwell's classic novel and soon began wondering whether Donald Trump wasn't our very own idiosyncratic version of Big Brother. If you remember, when Orwell finished the book in 1948 (he seems to have flipped that year for the title), he imagined an England, which was part of Oceania, one of the three superpowers left on the planet. The other two were Eurasia (essentially the old Soviet Union) and Eastasia (think: a much-expanded China). In the book, the three of them are constantly at war with each other on their borderlands (mostly in South Asia and Africa), a war that is never meant to be either decisive or to end.

In Oceania's Airstrip One (the former England), where Winston Smith is a minor functionary in the Ministry of Truth (a ministry of lies, of course), the Party rules eternally in a world in which -- a classic Orwellian formulation -- "WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH." It's a world of "inner" Party members (with great privilege), an outer circle like Smith who get by, and below them a vast population of impoverished "proles."

It's also a world in which the present is always both the future and the past, while every document, every newspaper, every bit of history is constantly being rewritten -- Smith's job -- to make it so. At the same time, documentation of the actual past is tossed down "the memory hole" and incinerated. It's a world in which a "telescreen" is in every room, invariably announcing splendid news (that might have been terrible news in another time). That screen can also spy on you at just about any moment of your life. In that, Orwell, who lived at a time when TV was just arriving, caught something essential about the future worlds of surveillance and social media.

In his dystopian world, English itself is being reformulated into something called Newspeak, so that, in a distant future, it will be impossible for anyone to express a non-Party-approved thought. Meanwhile, whichever of those other two superpowers Oceania is at war with at a given moment, as well as a possibly mythical local opposition to the Party, are regularly subjected to a mass daily "two minutes hate" session and periodic "hate weeks." Above all, it's a world in which, on those telescreens and posters everywhere, the mustachioed face of Big Brother, the official leader of the Party -- "Big Brother is watching you!" -- hovers over everything, backed up by a Ministry of Love (of, that is, imprisonment, reeducation, torture, pain, and death).

That was Orwell's image of a kind of Stalinist Soviet Union perfected for a future of everlasting horror. Today, it might be argued, Americans have been plunged into our own bizarre version of 1984 . In our world, Donald Trump has, in some sense, absorbed into his own person more or less everything dystopian in the vicinity.

In some strange fashion, he and his administration already seem like a combination of the Ministry of Truth (a ministry of eternal lies ), the memory hole (down which the past, especially the Obama legacy and the president's own discarded statements , disappear daily), the two-minutes-hate sessions and hate week that are the essence of any of his rallies ("lock her up!," " send her back! "), and recently the "hate" slaughter of Mexicans and Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, by a gunman with a Trumpian "Hispanic invasion of Texas" engraved in his brain. And don't forget Big Brother.

In some sense, President Trump might be thought of as Big Brother flipped. In The Donald's version of Orwell's novel, he isn't watching us every moment of the day and night, it's we who are watching him in an historically unprecedented way. In what I've called the White Ford Bronco presidency , nothing faintly like the media's 24/7 focus on him has ever been matched. No human being has ever been attended to, watched, or discussed this way -- his every gesture, tweet, passing comment, half-verbalized thought, slogan, plan, angry outburst, you name it. In the past, such coverage only went with, say, a presidential assassination, not everyday life in the White House (or at Bedminster , Mar-a-Lago, his rallies, on Air Force One, wherever).

Room 101 (in 2019)

Think of Donald Trump's America as, in some sense, a satirical version of 1984 in crazed formation. Not surprisingly, however, Orwell, remarkable as he was, fell short, as we all do, in imagining the future. What he didn't see as he rushed to finish that novel before his own life ended makes the Trumpian present far more potentially dystopian than even he might have imagined. In his book, he created a nightmare vision of something like the Communist Party of the Stalin-era Soviet Union perpetuating itself into eternity by constantly regenerating and reinforcing a present-moment of ultimate power. For him, dystopia was an accentuated version of just such a forever, a "huge, accurately planned effort to freeze history at a particular moment of time," as a document in the book puts it, to "arrest the course of history" for "thousands of years."

Yes, in 1948, Orwell obviously knew about Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the weaponry that went with them. (In 1984 , he even mentions the use of such weaponry in the then-future 1950s.) What he didn't imagine in his book was a dystopian world not of the grimmest kind of ongoingness but of endings, of ultimate destruction. He didn't conjure up a nuclear apocalypse set off by one of his three superpowers and, of course, he had no way of imagining another kind of potential apocalypse that has become increasingly familiar to us all: climate change.

Unfortunately, on both counts Donald Trump is proving dystopian indeed. He is, after all, the president who threatened to unleash "fire and fury like the world has never seen" on North Korea (before falling in love with its dictator). He only recently claimed he could achieve victory in the almost 18-year-old Afghan War "in a week" by wiping that country "off the face of the Earth" and killing "10 million people." For the first time, his generals used the "Mother of all Bombs," the most powerful weapon in the U.S. conventional arsenal (with a mushroom cloud that, in a test at least, could be seen for 20 miles), in that same country, clearly to impress him.

More recently, beginning with its withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, his administration has started trashing the Cold War-era nuclear architecture of restraint that kept the great-power arsenals under some control. In the process, it's clearly helping to launch a wildly expensive new nuclear arms race on Planet Earth. And keep in mind that this is happening at a time when we know that a relatively localized nuclear war between regional powers like India and Pakistan (whose politicians are once again at each other's throats over Kashmir ) could create a global nuclear winter and starve to death up to a billion people.

... ... ...

And keep in mind as well that our own twisted version of Big Brother, that guy with the orange hair instead of the mustache, could be around to be watched for significantly longer, should he win the election of 2020. (His polling numbers have, on the whole, been slowly rising , not falling in these years.)

In other words, with the American president lending a significant hand, we may make it to 2084 far sooner than anyone expected. With that in mind, let's return for a moment to 1984 . As no one who has read Orwell's book is likely to forget, its mildly dissident anti-hero, Winston Smith, is finally brought into the Ministry of Love by the Thought Police to have his consciousness retuned to the needs of the Party. In the process, he's brutally tortured until he can truly agree that 2 + 2 = 5. Only when he thinks he's readjusted his mind to fit the Party's version of the world does he discover that his travails are anything but over.

He still has to visit Room 101. As his interrogator tells him, "You asked me once what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world." And that "worst thing" is always adjusted to the specific terrors of the specific prisoner.

So here's one way to think of where we are at this moment on Planet Earth: Americans -- all of humanity, in fact -- may already be in Room 101, whether we know it or not, and the truth is, by this steaming summer, that most of us should know it.

It's obviously time to act on a global scale. Tell that to Big Brother.

tomdispatch.com The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation. Tags: Big Brother Orwell

[Aug 16, 2019] Ministry of truth materialized in XXI century in a neoliberal way by Kit Knightly

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Latest is the secretive Andy Pryce squandering millions of public money on the "Open Information Partnership" (OIP) which is the latest name-change for the Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, just like al-Qaeda kept changing its name. ..."
"... In true Orwellian style, they splashed out on a conference for "defence of media freedom", when they are in the business of propaganda and closing alternative 'narratives' down. And the 'media' they would defend are, in fact, spies sent to foreign countries to foment trouble to further what they bizarrely perceive as 'British interests'. Just like the disgraceful White Helmets, also funded by the FO. ..."
"... "The Guardian is struggling for money" Surely, they would be enjoying some of the seemingly unlimited US defense and some of the mind control programmes budgets. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | off-guardian.org

OffGuardian already covered the Global Media Freedom Conference, our article Hypocrisy Taints UK's Media Freedom Conference , was meant to be all there was to say. A quick note on the obvious hypocrisy of this event. But, in the writing, I started to see more than that. This event is actually creepy. Let's just look back at one of the four "main themes" of this conference:

Building trust in media and countering disinformation
"Countering disinformation"? Well, that's just another word for censorship. This is proven by their refusal to allow Sputnik or RT accreditation. They claim RT "spreads disinformation" and they "countered" that by barring them from attending. "Building trust"? In the post-Blair world of PR newspeak, "building trust" is just another way of saying "making people believe us" (the word usage is actually interesting, building trust not earning trust). The whole conference is shot through with this language that just feels off. Here is CNN's Christiane Amanpour :
Our job is to be truthful, not neutral we need to take a stand for the truth, and never to create a false moral or factual equivalence."
Being "truthful not neutral" is one of Amanpour's personal sayings , she obviously thinks it's clever. Of course, what it is is NewSpeak for "bias". Refusing to cover evidence of The White Helmets staging rescues, Israel arming ISIS or other inconvenient facts will be defended using this phrase – they will literally claim to only publish "the truth", to get around impartiality and then set about making up whatever "truth" is convenient. Oh, and if you don't know what "creating a false moral quivalence is", here I'll demonstrate: MSM: Putin is bad for shutting down critical media. OffG: But you're supporting RT being banned and Wikileaks being shut down. BBC: No. That's not the same. OffG: It seems the same. BBC: It's not. You're creating a false moral equivalence . Understand now? You "create a false moral equivalence" by pointing out mainstream media's double standards. Other ways you could mistakenly create a "false moral equivalence": Bringing up Gaza when the media talk about racism. Mentioning Saudi Arabia when the media preach about gay rights. Referencing the US coup in Venezuela when the media work themselves into a froth over Russia's "interference in our democracy" Talking about the invasion of Iraq. Ever. OR Pointing out that the BBC is state funded, just like RT. These are all no-longer flagrant examples of the media's double standards, and if you say they are , you're "creating a false moral equivalence" and the media won't have to allow you (or anyone who agrees with you) air time or column inches to disagree. Because they don't have a duty to be neutral or show both sides, they only have a duty to tell "the truth" as soon as the government has told them what that is. Prepare to see both those phrases – or variations there of – littering editorials in the Guardian and the Huffington Post in the coming months. Along with people bemoaning how "fake news outlets abuse the notion of impartiality" by "being even handed between liars the truth tellers". (I've been doing this site so long now, I have a Guardian-English dictionary in my head).

Equally dodgy-sounding buzz-phrases litter topics on the agenda. "Eastern Europe and Central Asia: building an integrated support system for journalists facing hostile environments" , this means pumping money into NGOs to fund media that will criticize our "enemies" in areas of strategic importance. It means flooding money into the anti-government press in Hungary, or Iran or (of course), Russia. That is ALL it means. I said in my earlier article I don't know what "media sustainability" even means, but I feel I can take a guess. It means "save the government mouthpieces". The Guardian is struggling for money, all print media are, TV news is getting lower viewing figures all the time. "Building media sustainability" is code for "pumping public money into traditional media that props up the government" or maybe "getting people to like our propaganda". But the worst offender on the list is, without a doubt "Navigating Disinformation"

https://www.youtube.com/embed/1vbSj1WQqUw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

"Navigating Disinformation" was a 1 hour panel from the second day of the conference. You can watch it embedded above if you really feel the need. I already did, so you don't have to. The panel was chaired by Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian Foreign Minister. The members included the Latvian Foreign Minister, a representative of the US NGO Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Information

Have you guessed what "disinformation" they're going to be talking about? I'll give you a clue: It begins with R. Freeland, chairing the panel, kicks it off by claiming that "disinformation isn't for any particular aim" . This is a very common thing for establishment voices to repeat these days, which makes it all the more galling she seems to be pretending its is her original thought. The reason they have to claim that "disinformation" doesn't have a "specific aim" is very simple: They don't know what they're going to call "disinformation" yet. They can't afford to take a firm position, they need to keep their options open. They need to give themselves the ability to describe any single piece of information or political opinion as "disinformation." Left or right. Foreign or domestic. "Disinformation" is a weaponised term that is only as potent as it is vague. So, we're one minute in, and all "navigating disinformation" has done is hand the State an excuse to ignore, or even criminalise, practically anything it wants to. Good start. Interestingly, no one has actually said the word "Russia" at this point. They have talked about "malign actors" and "threats to democracy", but not specifically Russia. It is SO ingrained in these people that "propaganda"= " Russian propaganda" that they don't need to say it.

The idea that NATO as an entity, or the individual members thereof, could also use "disinformation" has not just been dismissed it was literally never even contemplated. Next Freeland turns to Edgars Rinkēvičs, her Latvian colleague, and jokes about always meeting at NATO functions. The Latvians know "more than most" about disinformation, she says. Rinkēvičs says disinformation is nothing new, but that the methods of spreading it are changing then immediately calls for regulation of social media. Nobody disagrees. Then he talks about the "illegal annexation of Crimea", and claims the West should outlaw "paid propaganda" like RT and Sputnik. Nobody disagrees. Then he says that Latvia "protected" their elections from "interference" by "close cooperation between government agencies and social media companies". Everyone nods along. If you don't find this terrifying, you're not paying attention. They don't say it, they probably don't even realise they mean it, but when they talk about "close cooperation with social media networks", they mean government censorship of social media. When they say "protecting" their elections they're talking about rigging them. It only gets worse. The next step in the Latvian master plan is to bolster "traditional media".

The problems with traditional media, he says, are that journalists aren't paid enough, and don't keep up to date with all the "new tricks". His solution is to "promote financing" for traditional media, and to open more schools like the "Baltic Centre of Media Excellence", which is apparently a totally real thing .

It's a training centre which teaches young journalists about "media literacy" and "critical thinking". You can read their depressingly predictable list of "donors" here . I truly wish I was joking. Next up is Courtney Radsch from CPJ – a US-backed NGO, who notionally "protect journalists", but more accurately spread pro-US propaganda. (Their token effort to "defend" RT and Sputnik when they were barred from the conference was contemptible).

She talks for a long time without saying much at all. Her revolutionary idea is that disinformation could be countered if everyone told the truth. Inspiring. Beata Balogova, Journalist and Editor from Slovakia, gets the ship back on course – immediately suggesting politicians should not endorse "propaganda" platforms. She shares an anecdote about "a prominent Slovakian politician" who gave exclusive interviews to a site that is "dubiously financed, we assume from Russia". They assume from Russia. Everyone nods.

It's like they don't even hear themselves.

Then she moves on to Hungary. Apparently, Orban has "created a propaganda machine" and produced "antisemitic George Soros posters". No evidence is produced to back-up either of these claims. She thinks advertisers should be pressured into not giving money to "fake news sites". She calls for "international pressure", but never explains exactly what that means. The stand-out maniac on this panel is Emine Dzhaparova, the Ukrainian First Deputy Minister of Information Policy. (She works for the Ministry of Information – nicknamed the Ministry of Truth, which was formed in 2014 to "counter lies about Ukraine". Even The Guardian thought that sounded dodgy.)

She talks very fast and, without any sense of irony, spills out a story that shoots straight through "disinformation" and becomes "incoherent rambling". She claims that Russian citizens are so brainwashed you'll never be able to talk to them, and that Russian "cognitive influence" is "toxic like radiation." Is this paranoid, quasi-xenophobic nonsense countered? No. Her fellow panelists nod and chuckle. On top of that, she just lies. She lies over and over and over again. She claims Russia is locking up Crimean Tartars "just for being muslims", nobody questions her. She says the war in Ukraine has killed 13,000 people, but doesn't mention that her side is responsible for over 80% of civilian deaths.

She says only 30% of Crimeans voted in the referendum, and that they were "forced". A fact not supported by any polls done by either side in the last four years, and any referenda held on the peninsula any time in the last last 30 year. It's simply a lie. Nobody asks her about the journalists killed in Ukraine since their glorious Maidan Revolution . Nobody questions the fact that she works for something called the "Ministry of Information". Nobody does anything but nod and smile as the "countering disinformation" panel becomes just a platform for spreading total lies.

When everyone on the panel has had their ten minutes on the soapbox, Freeland asks for recommendations for countering this "threat" – here's the list:

  1. Work to distinguish "free speech" from "propaganda", when you find propaganda there must be a "strong reaction".
  2. Pressure advertisers to abandon platforms who spread misinformation.
  3. Regulate social media.
  4. Educate journalists at special schools.
  5. Start up a "Ministry of Information" and have state run media that isn't controlled, like in Ukraine.

This is the Global Conference on Media Freedom and all these six people want to talk about is how to control what can be said, and who can say it. They single only four countries out for criticism: Hungary, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Russia .and Russia takes up easily 90% of that. They mention only two media outlets by name: RT and Sputnik. This wasn't a panel on disinformation, it was a public attack forum – a month's worth of 2 minutes of hate. These aren't just shills on this stage, they are solid gold idiots, brainwashed to the point of total delusion.

They are the dangerous glassy eyes of a Deep State that never questions itself, never examines itself, and will do anything it wants, to anyone it wants whilst happily patting itself on the back for its superior morality. They don't know, they don't care. They're true believers. Terrifyingly dead inside. Talking about state censorship and re-education camps under a big sign that says "Freedom". And that's just one talk. Just one panel in a 2 day itinerary filled to the brim with similarly soul-dead servants of authority. Truly, perfectly Orwellian.


Jonathan Jarvis

https://southfront.org/countering-russian-disinformation-or-new-wave-of-freedom-of-speech-suppression/

Read and be appalled at what America is up to .keep for further reference. We are in danger.

Tim Jenkins
It would serve Ms. Amanpour well, to relax, rewind & review her own interview with Sergei Lavrov:-

Then she might see why Larry King could stomach the appalling corporate dictatorship, even to the core of False & Fake recording of 'our' "History of the National Security State" , No More

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H7aKGOpSwE

Amanpour was forced to laugh uncontrollably, when confronted with Lavrov's humorous interpretations of various legal aspects of decency & his Judgement of others' politicians and 'Pussy Riots' >>> if you haven't seen it, it is to be recommended, the whole interview, if nothing else but to study the body language and micro-facial expressions, coz' a belly up laugh is not something anybody can easily control or even feign that first spark of cognition in her mind, as she digests Lavrov's response :- hilarious

Einstein
A GE won't solve matters since we have a Government of Occupation behind a parliament of puppets.

Latest is the secretive Andy Pryce squandering millions of public money on the "Open Information Partnership" (OIP) which is the latest name-change for the Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, just like al-Qaeda kept changing its name.

In true Orwellian style, they splashed out on a conference for "defence of media freedom", when they are in the business of propaganda and closing alternative 'narratives' down. And the 'media' they would defend are, in fact, spies sent to foreign countries to foment trouble to further what they bizarrely perceive as 'British interests'. Just like the disgraceful White Helmets, also funded by the FO.

Pryce's ventriloquist's dummy in parliament, the pompous Alan Duncan, announced another £10 million of public money for this odious brainwashing programme.

Tim Jenkins
That panel should be nailed & plastered over, permanently:-

and as wall paper, 'Abstracts of New Law' should be pasted onto a collage of historic extracts from the Guardian, in offices that issue journalistic licenses, comprised of 'Untouchables' :-

A professional habitat, to damp any further 'Freeland' amplification & resonance,

of negative energy from professional incompetence.

Francis Lee
Apropos of the redoubtable Ms Freeland, Canada's Foreign Secretary.

The records now being opened by the Polish government in Warsaw reveal that Freeland's maternal grandfather Michael (Mikhailo) Chomiak was a Nazi collaborator from the beginning to the end of the war. He was given a powerful post, money, home and car by the German Army in Cracow, then the capital of the German administration of the Galician region. His principal job was editor in chief and publisher of a newspaper the Nazis created. His printing plant and other assets had been stolen from a Jewish newspaper publisher, who was then sent to die in the Belzec concentration camp. During the German Army's winning phase of the war, Chomiak celebrated in print the Wehrmacht's "success" at killing thousands of US Army troops. As the German Army was forced into retreat by the Soviet counter-offensive, Chomiak was taken by the Germans to Vienna, where he continued to publish his Nazi propaganda, at the same time informing for the Germans on other Ukrainians. They included fellow Galician Stepan Bandera, whose racism against Russians Freeland has celebrated in print, and whom the current regime in Kiev has turned into a national hero.

Those Ukrainian 'Refugees' admitted to Canada in 1945 were almost certainly members of the 14th Waffen SS Division Galizia 1. These Ukie collaboraters – not to be confused with the other Ukie Nazi outfit – Stepan Bandera's Ukrainian Insurgent Army -were held responsible for the massacre of many Poles in the Lviv area the most infamous being carried out in the Polish village of Huta Pienacka. In the massacre, the village was destroyed and between 500] and 1,000 of the inhabitants were killed. According to Polish accounts, civilians were locked in barns that were set on fire while those attempting to flee were killed. That's about par for the course.
Canada's response was as follows:

The Canadian Deschênes Commission was set up to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the collaborators

Memorial to SS-Galizien division in Chervone, Lviv Oblast, western Ukraine

The Canadian "Commission of Inquiry on War Crimes" of October 1986, by the Honourable Justice Jules Deschênesconcluded that in relation to membership in the Galicia Division:

''The Galicia Division (14. Waffen grenadier division der SS [gal.1]) should not be indicted as a group. The members of Galicia Division were individually screened for security purposes before admission to Canada. Charges of war crimes of Galicia Division have never been substantiated, either in 1950 when they were first preferred, or in 1984 when they were renewed, or before this Commission. Further, in the absence of evidence of participation or knowledge of specific war crimes, mere membership in the Galicia Division is insufficient to justify prosecution.''

However, the Commission's conclusion failed to acknowledge or heed the International Military Tribunal's verdict at the Nuremberg Trials, in which the entire Waffen-SSorganisation was declared a "criminal organization" guilty of war crimes. Also, the Deschênes Commission in its conclusion only referenced the division as 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (Galizische Nr.1), thus in legal terms, only acknowledging the formation's activity after its name change in August 1944, while the massacre of Poles in Huta Pieniacka, Pidkamin and Palikrowy occurred when the division was called SS Freiwilligen Division "Galizien". Nevertheless, a subsequent review by Canada's Minister of Justice again confirmed that members of the Division were not implicated in war crimes.

Yes, the west looks after its Nazis and even makes them and their descendants political figureheads.

mark
Most of these people are so smugly and complacently convinced of their own moral superiority that they just can't see the hypocrisy and doublethink involved in the event.
Mikalina
Eva Bartlett gives a wider perspective:
https://www.globalresearch.ca/londons-media-freedom-conference-smacks-irony-critics-barred-no-mention-jailed-assange/5683808
Harry Stotle
Freedom-lover, Cunt, will be furious when he hears about this!

Apparently Steve Bell is doubleplusbad for alluding to the fact Netanyahu has got his hand shoved deep into Tom Watson's arse – the Guardian pulled Bell's most recent ouvre which suggests the media's antisemitism trope might not be quite as politically untainted as the likes of Freedland, Cohen and Viner would have you believe.
https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/guardian-cartoonist-steve-bell-specious-charge-of-antisemitism-in-email-to-all-paper-1.486570

Meanwhile Owen Jones has taken to Twitter to rubbish allegations that a reign of terror exists at Guardian Towers – the socialist firebrand is quoted as saying 'journalists are free to say whatever they like, so long as it doesn't stray too far from Guardian-groupthink'.

Tutisicecream
Good analysis Kit, of the cognitive dissonant ping pong being played out by Nazi sympathisers such as Hunt and Freeland.

The echo chamber of deceit is amplified again by the selective use of information and the ignoring of relevant facts, such as the miss reporting yesterday by Reuters of the Italian Neo-Nazi haul of weapons by the police, having not Russian but Ukrainian links.

Not a word in the WMSM about this devious miss-reporting as the creation of fake news in action. But what would you expect?

Living as I do in Russia I can assure anyone reading this that the media freedom here is on a par with the West and somewhat better as there is no paranoia about a fictitious enemy – Russians understand that the West is going through an existential crisis (Brexit in the UK, Trump and the Clinton war of sameness in the US and Macron and Merkel in the EU). A crisis of Liberalism as the failed life-support of capitalism. But hey, why worry about the politics when there is bigger fish to fry. Such as who will pay me to dance?

The answer is clear from what Kit has writ. The government will pay the piper. How sweet.

I'd like to thank Kit for sitting through such a turgid masquerade and as I'm rather long in the tooth I do remember the old BBC schools of journalism in Yelsin's Russia. What I remember is that old devious Auntie Beeb was busy training would be hopefuls in the art of discretion regarding how the news is formed, or formulated.

In other words your audience. And it ain't the public

Steve Hayes
The British government's "Online Harms" White Paper has a whole section devoted to "disinformation" (ie, any facts, opinions, analyses, evaluations, critiques that are critical of the elite's actual disinformation). If these proposals become law, the government will have effective control over the Internet and we will be allowed access to their disinformation, shop and watch cute cat videos.
Question This
The liberal news media & hypocrisy, who would have ever thought you'd see those words in the same sentence. But what do you expect from professional liars, politicians & 'their' free press?

Can this shit show get any worse? Yes, The other day I wrote to my MP regards the SNP legislating against the truth, effectively making it compulsory to lie! Mr Blackford as much as called me a transphobic & seemed to go to great length publishing his neo-liberal ideological views in some scottish rag, on how right is wrong & fact is turned into fiction & asked only those that agreed with him contact him.

Tim Jenkins
"The science or logical consistency of true premise, cannot take place or bear fruit, when all communication and information is 'marketised and weaponised' to a mindset of possession and control." B.Steere
Mikalina
I saw, somewhere (but can't find it now) a law or a prospective law which goes under the guise of harassment of MPs to include action against constituents who 'pester' them.

I've found a link for the Jo Cox gang discussing it, though.
https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/new-research-on-the-intimidation-and-harassment-of-mps-featured-in-inaugural-conference

Question This
I only emailed him once! That's hardly harassment. Anyway I sent it with proton-mail via vpn & used a false postcode using only my first name so unlikely my civil & sincere correspondence will see me locked up for insisting my inalienable rights of freedom of speech & beliefs are protected. But there again the state we live in, i may well be incarcerated for life, for such an outrageous expectation.
Where to?
"The Guardian is struggling for money" Surely, they would be enjoying some of the seemingly unlimited US defense and some of the mind control programmes budgets.
Harry Stotle
Its the brazen nature of the conference that is especially galling, but what do you expect when crooks and liars no longer feel they even have to pretend?

Nothing will change so long as politicians (or their shady backers) are never held to account for public assets diverted toward a rapacious off-shore economic system, or the fact millions of lives have been shattered by the 'war on terror' and its evil twin, 'humanatarian regime change' (while disingenuous Labour MPs wail about the 'horrors' of antisemitism rather than the fact their former leader is a key architect of the killings).

Kit remains a go-to voice when deconstructing claims made by political figures who clearly regard the MSM as a propaganda vehicle for promoting western imperialism – the self-satisfied smugness of cunts like Jeremy Cunt stand in stark contrast to a real journalist being tortured by the British authorities just a few short miles away.

It's a sligtly depressing thought but somebody has the unenviable task of monitoring just how far our politicians have drifted from the everyday concerns of the 'just about managing' and as I say Mr Knightly does a fine job in informing readers what the real of agenda of these media love-ins are actually about – it goes without saying a very lengthy barge pole is required when the Saudis are invited but not Russia.

Where to?
This Media Freedom Conference is surely a creepy theatre of the absurd.

It is a test of what they can get away with.

Mikalina
Yep. Any soviet TV watcher would recognise this immediately. Message? THIS is the reality – and you are powerless.
mark
When are they going to give us the Ministry of Truth we so desperately need?

[Aug 16, 2019] Lapdogs for the Government and intelligence agencies by Greg Maybury

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... We know our disinformation program is complete when almost everything the American public believes is false.' ..."
"... Using groundbreaking camera and lighting techniques, Riefenstahl produced a documentary that mesmerized Germans; as Pilger noted, her Triumph of the Will 'cast Adolf Hitler's spell'. She told the veteran Aussie journalist the "messages" of her films were dependent not on "orders from above", but on the "submissive void" of the public. ..."
"... All in all, Riefenstahl produced arguably for the rest of the world the most compelling historical footage of mass hysteria, blind obedience, nationalistic fervour, and existential menace, all key ingredients in anyone's totalitarian nightmare. That it also impressed a lot of very powerful, high profile people in the West on both sides of the pond is also axiomatic: These included bankers, financiers, industrialists, and sundry business elites without whose support Hitler might've at best ended up a footnote in the historical record after the ill-fated beer-hall putsch. (See here , and here .) ..."
"... The purpose of this propaganda barrage, as Sharon Bader has noted, has been to convince as many people as possible that it is in their interests to relinquish their own power as workers, consumers, and citizens, and 'forego their democratic right to restrain and regulate business activity. As a result the political agenda is now confined to policies aimed at furthering business interests.' ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Lapdogs for the Government

Here was, of course, another surreal spectacle, this time courtesy of one of the Deep State's most dangerous, reviled, and divisive figures, a notable protagonist in the Russia-Gate conspiracy, and America's most senior diplomat no less.

Not only is it difficult to accept that the former CIA Director actually believes what he is saying, well might we ask, "Who can believe Mike Pompeo?"

And here's also someone whose manifest cynicism, hypocrisy, and chutzpah would embarrass the much-derided scribes and Pharisees of Biblical days.

We have Pompeo on record recently in a rare moment of honesty admitting – whilst laughing his ample ass off, as if recalling some "Boy's Own Adventure" from his misspent youth with a bunch of his mates down at the local pub – that under his watch as CIA Director:

We lied, cheated, we stole we had entire training courses.'

It may have been one of the few times in his wretched existence that Pompeo didn't speak with a forked tongue.

At all events, his candour aside, we can assume safely that this reactionary, monomaniacal, Christian Zionist 'end-timer' passed all the Company's "training courses" with flying colours.

According to Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times, all this did not stop Pompeo however from name-checking Wikileaks when it served his own interests. Back in 2016 at the height of the election campaign, he had ' no compunction about pointing people toward emails stolen* by Russian hackers from the Democratic National Committee and then posted by WikiLeaks."

[NOTE: Rosenberg's omission of the word "allegedly" -- as in "emails allegedly stolen" -- is a dead giveaway of bias on his part (a journalistic Freudian slip perhaps?), with his employer being one of those MSM marques leading the charge with the "Russian Collusion" 'story'. For a more insightful view of the source of these emails and the skullduggery and thuggery that attended Russia-Gate, readers are encouraged to check this out.]

And this is of course The Company we're talking about, whose past and present relationship with the media might be summed up in two words: Operation Mockingbird (OpMock). Anyone vaguely familiar with the well-documented Grand Deception that was OpMock, arguably the CIA's most enduring, insidious, and successful psy-ops gambit, will know what we're talking about. (See here , here , here , and here .) At its most basic, this operation was all about propaganda and censorship, usually operating in tandem to ensure all the bases are covered.

After opining that the MSM is 'totally infiltrated' by the CIA and various other agencies, for his part former NSA whistleblower William Binney recently added , ' When it comes to national security, the media only talk about what the administration wants you to hear, and basically suppress any other statements about what's going on that the administration does not want get public. The media is basically the lapdogs for the government.'

Even the redoubtable William Casey , Ronald Reagan's CIA Director back in the day was reported to have said something along the following lines:

We know our disinformation program is complete when almost everything the American public believes is false.'

In order to provide a broader and deeper perspective, we should now consider the views of a few others on the subjects at hand, along with some history. In a 2013 piece musing on the modern significance of the practice, my compatriot John Pilger ecalled a time when he met Leni Riefenstahl back in 70s and asked her about her films that 'glorified the Nazis'.

Using groundbreaking camera and lighting techniques, Riefenstahl produced a documentary that mesmerized Germans; as Pilger noted, her Triumph of the Will 'cast Adolf Hitler's spell'. She told the veteran Aussie journalist the "messages" of her films were dependent not on "orders from above", but on the "submissive void" of the public.

All in all, Riefenstahl produced arguably for the rest of the world the most compelling historical footage of mass hysteria, blind obedience, nationalistic fervour, and existential menace, all key ingredients in anyone's totalitarian nightmare. That it also impressed a lot of very powerful, high profile people in the West on both sides of the pond is also axiomatic: These included bankers, financiers, industrialists, and sundry business elites without whose support Hitler might've at best ended up a footnote in the historical record after the ill-fated beer-hall putsch. (See here , and here .)

" Triumph " apparently still resonates today. To the surprise of few one imagines, such was the impact of the film -- as casually revealed in the excellent 2018 Alexis Bloom documentary Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes -- it elicited no small amount of admiration from arguably the single most influential propagandist of recent times.

[Readers might wish to check out Russell Crowe's recent portrayal of Ailes in Stan's mini-series The Loudest Voice , in my view one the best performances of the man's career.]

In a recent piece unambiguously titled "Propaganda Is The Root Of All Our Problems", my other compatriot Caitlin Johnstone also had a few things to say about the subject, echoing Orwell when she observed it was all about "controlling the narrative".

Though I'd suggest the greater "root" problem is our easy propensity to ignore this reality, pretend it doesn't or won't affect us, or reject it as conspiratorial nonsense, in this, of course, she's correct. As she cogently observes,

I write about this stuff for a living, and even I don't have the time or energy to write about every single narrative control tool that the US-centralised empire has been implementing into its arsenal. There are too damn many of them emerging too damn fast, because they're just that damn crucial for maintaining existing power structures.'

The Discreet Use of Censorship and Uniformed Men

It is hardly surprising that those who hold power should seek to control the words and language people use' said Canadian author John Ralston Saul in his 1993 book Voltaire's Bastards–the Dictatorship of Reason in the West .

Fittingly, in a discussion encompassing amongst other things history, language, power, and dissent, he opined, ' Determining how individuals communicate is' an objective which represents for the power elites 'the best chance' [they] have to control what people think. This translates as: The more control 'we' have over what the proles think, the more 'we' can reduce the inherent risk for elites in democracy.

' Clumsy men', Saul went on to say, 'try to do this through power and fear. Heavy-handed men running heavy-handed systems attempt the same thing through police-enforced censorship. The more sophisticated the elites, the more they concentrate on creating intellectual systems which control expression through the communications structures. These systems require only the discreet use of censorship and uniformed men.'

In other words, along with assuming it is their right to take it in the first place, ' those who take power will always try to change the established language ', presumably to better facilitate their hold on it and/or legitimise their claim to it.

For Oliver Boyd-Barrett, democratic theory presupposes a public communications infrastructure that facilitates the free and open exchange of ideas.' Yet for the author of the recently published RussiaGate and Propaganda: Disinformation in the Age of Social Media , 'No such infrastructure exists.'

The mainstream media he says, is 'owned and controlled by a small number of large, multi-media and multi-industrial conglomerates' that lie at the very heart of US oligopoly capitalism and much of whose advertising revenue and content is furnished from other conglomerates:

The inability of mainstream media to sustain an information environment that can encompass histories, perspectives and vocabularies that are free of the shackles of US plutocratic self-regard is also well documented.'

Of course the word "inability" suggests the MSM view themselves as having some responsibility for maintaining such an egalitarian news and information environment. They don't of course, and in truth, probably never really have! A better word would be "unwilling", or even "refusal". The corporate media all but epitomise the " plutocratic self-regard" that is characteristic of "oligopoly capitalism".

Indeed, the MSM collectively functions as advertising, public relations/lobbying entities for Big Corp, in addition to acting as its Praetorian bodyguard , protecting their secrets, crimes, and lies from exposure. Like all other companies they are beholden to their shareholders (profits before truth and people), most of whom it can safely be assumed are no strangers to "self-regard", and could care less about " histories, perspectives and vocabularies" that run counter to their own interests.

It was Aussie social scientist Alex Carey who pioneered the study of nationalism , corporatism , and moreso for our purposes herein, the management (read: manipulation) of public opinion, though all three have important links (a story for another time). For Carey, the following conclusion was inescapable: 'It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the twentieth century.' This former farmer from Western Australia became one of the world's acknowledged experts on propaganda and the manipulation of the truth.

Prior to embarking on his academic career, Carey was a successful sheep grazier . By all accounts, he was a first-class judge of the animal from which he made his early living, leaving one to ponder if this expertise gave him a unique insight into his main area of research!

In any event, Carey in time sold the farm and travelled to the U.K. to study psychology, apparently a long-time ambition. From the late fifties until his death in 1988, he was a senior lecturer in psychology and industrial relations at the Sydney-based University of New South Wales, with his research being lauded by such luminaries as Noam Chomsky and John Pilger, both of whom have had a thing or three to say over the years about The Big Shill. In fact such was his admiration, Pilger described him as "a second Orwell", which in anyone's lingo is a big call.

Carey unfortunately died in 1988, interestingly the year that his more famous contemporaries Edward Herman and Chomsky's book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media was published, the authors notably dedicating their book to him.

Though much of his work remained unpublished at the time of his death, a book of Carey's essays – Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty -- was published posthumously in 1997. It remains a seminal work.

In fact, for anyone with an interest in how public opinion is moulded and our perceptions are managed and manipulated, in whose interests they are done so and to what end, it is as essential reading as any of the work of other more famous names. This tome came complete with a foreword by Chomsky, so enamoured was the latter of Carey's work.

For Carey, the three "most significant developments" in the political economy of the twentieth century were: the growth of democracy the growth of corporate power; and the growth of propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.

Carey's main focus was on the following: advertising and publicity devoted to the creation of artificial wants; the public relations and propaganda industry whose principal goal is the diversion to meaningless pursuits and control of the public mind; and the degree to which academia and the professions are under assault from private power determined to narrow the spectrum of thinkable (sic) thought.

For Carey, it is an axiom of conventional wisdom that the use of propaganda as a means of social and ideological control is 'distinctive' of totalitarian regimes. Yet as he stresses: the most minimal exercise of common sense would suggest a different view: that propaganda is likely to play at least as important a part in democratic societies (where the existing distribution of power and privilege is vulnerable to quite limited changes in popular opinion) as in authoritarian societies (where it is not).' In this context, 'conventional wisdom" becomes conventional ignorance; as for "common sense", maybe not so much.

The purpose of this propaganda barrage, as Sharon Bader has noted, has been to convince as many people as possible that it is in their interests to relinquish their own power as workers, consumers, and citizens, and 'forego their democratic right to restrain and regulate business activity. As a result the political agenda is now confined to policies aimed at furthering business interests.'

An extreme example of this view playing itself right under our noses and over decades was the cruel fiction of the " trickle down effect " (TDE) -- aka the 'rising tide that would lift all yachts' -- of Reaganomics . One of several mantras that defined Reagan's overarching political shtick, the TDE was by any measure, decidedly more a torrent than a trickle, and said "torrent" was going up not down. This reality as we now know was not in Reagan's glossy economic brochure to be sure, and it may have been because the Gipper confused his prepositions and verbs.

Yet as the GFC of 2008 amply demonstrated, it culminated in a free-for all, dog eat dog, anything goes, everyman for himself form of cannibal (or anarcho) capitalism -- an updated, much improved version of the no-holds-barred mercenary mercantilism much reminiscent of the Gilded Age and the Robber Barons who 'infested' it, only one that doesn't just eat its young, it eats itself!

Making the World Safe for Plutocracy

In the increasingly dysfunctional, one-sided political economy we inhabit then, whether it's widgets or wars or anything in between, few people realise the degree to which our opinions, perceptions, emotions, and views are shaped and manipulated by propaganda (and its similarly 'evil twin' censorship ,) its most adept practitioners, and those elite, institutional, political, and corporate entities that seek out their expertise.

It is now just over a hundred years since the practice of propaganda took a giant leap forward, then in the service of persuading palpably reluctant Americans that the war raging in Europe at the time was their war as well.

This was at a time when Americans had just voted their then-president Woodrow Wilson back into office for a second term, a victory largely achieved on the back of the promise he'd "keep us out of the War." Americans were very much in what was one of their most isolationist phases , and so Wilson's promise resonated with them.

But over time they were convinced of the need to become involved by a distinctly different appeal to their political sensibilities. This "appeal" also dampened the isolationist mood, one which it has to be said was not embraced by most of the political, banking, and business elites of the time, most of whom stood to lose big-time if the Germans won, and/or who were already profiting or benefitting from the business of war.

For a president who "kept us out of the war", this wasn't going to be an easy 'pitch'. In order to sell the war the president established the Committee on Public Information (aka the Creel Committee) for the purposes of publicising the rationale for the war and from there, garnering support for it from the general public.

Enter Edward Bernays , the nephew of Sigmund Freud, who's generally considered to be the father of modern public relations. In his film Rule from the Shadows: The Psychology of Power , Aaron Hawkins says Bernays was influenced by people such as Gustave le Bon , Walter Lippman , and Wilfred Trotter , as much, if not moreso, than his famous uncle.

Either way, Bernays 'combined their perspectives and synthesised them into an applied science', which he then 'branded' "public relations".

For its part the Creel committee struggled with its brief from the off; but Bernays worked with them to persuade Americans their involvement in the war was justified -- indeed necessary -- and to that end he devised the brilliantly inane slogan, "making the world safe for democracy" .

Thus was born arguably the first great propaganda catch-phrases of the modern era, and certainly one of the most portentous. The following sums up Bernays's unabashed mindset:

The conscious, intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.'

The rest is history (sort of), with Americans becoming more willing to not just support the war effort but encouraged to view the Germans and their allies as evil brutes threatening democracy and freedom and the 'American way of life', however that might've been viewed then. From a geopolitical and historical perspective, it was an asinine premise of course, but nonetheless an extraordinary example of how a few well chosen words tapped into the collective psyche of a country that was decidedly opposed to any U.S involvement in the war and turned that mindset completely on its head.

' [S]aving the world for democracy' (or some 'cover version' thereof) has since become America's positioning statement, 'patriotic' rallying cry, and the "Get-out-of-Jail Free" card for its war and its white collar criminal clique.

At all events it was by any measure, a stroke of genius on Bernays's part; by appealing to people's basic fears and desires, he could engineer consent on a mass scale. It goes without saying it changed the course of history in more ways than one. That the U.S. is to this day still using a not dissimilar meme to justify its "foreign entanglements" is testament to both its utility and durability.

The reality as we now know was markedly different of course. They have almost always been about power, empire, control, hegemony, resources, wealth, opportunity, profit, dispossession, keeping existing capitalist structures intact and well-defended, and crushing dissent and opposition.

The Bewildered Herd

It is instructive to note that the template for 'manufacturing consent' for war had already been forged by the British. And the Europeans did not 'sleepwalk' like some " bewildered herd ' into this conflagration.

For twenty years prior to the outbreak of the war in 1914, the then stewards of the British Empire had been diligently preparing the ground for what they viewed as a preordained clash with their rivals for empire the Germans.

To begin with, contrary to the opinion of the general populace over one hundred years later, it was not the much touted German aggression and militarism, nor their undoubted imperial ambitions, which precipitated its outbreak. The stewards of the British Empire were not about to let the Teutonic upstarts chow down on their imperial lunch as it were, and set about unilaterally and preemptively crushing Germany and with it any ambitions it had for creating its own imperial domain in competition with the Empire upon which Ol' Sol never set.

The "Great War" is worth noting here for other reasons. As documented so by Jim Macgregor and Gerry Docherty in their two books covering the period from 1890-1920, we learn much about propaganda, which attest to its extraordinary power, in particular its power to distort reality en masse in enduring and subversive ways.

In reality, the only thing "great" about World War One was the degree to which the masses fighting for Britain were conned via propaganda and censorship into believing this war was necessary, and the way the official narrative of the war was sustained for posterity via the very same means. "Great" maybe, but not in a good way!

In these seminal tomes -- World War One Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War and its follow-up Prolonging the Agony: How the Anglo-American Establishment Deliberately Extended WWI by Three-And-A-Half Years -- Macgregor and Docherty provide a masterclass for us all of the power of propaganda in the service of firstly inciting, then deliberately sustaining a major war.

The horrendous carnage and destruction that resulted from it was of course unprecedented, the global effects of which linger on now well over one hundred years later.

Such was the enduring power of the propaganda that today most folks would have great difficulty in accepting the following; this is a short summary of historical realities revealed by Macgregor and Docherty that are at complete odds with the official narrative, the political discourse, and the school textbooks:

It was Great Britain (supported by France and Russia) and not Germany who was the principal aggressor in the events and actions that let to the outbreak of war; The British had for twenty years prior to 1914 viewed Germany as its most dangerous economic and imperial rival, and fully anticipated that a war was inevitable; In the U.K. and the U.S., various factions worked feverishly to ensure the war went on for as long as possible, and scuttled peacemaking efforts from the off; key truths about this most consequential of geopolitical conflicts have been concealed for well over one hundred years, with no sign the official record will change; very powerful forces (incl. a future US president) amongst U.S. political, media, and economic elites conspired to eventually convince an otherwise unwilling populace in America that U.S. entry onto the war was necessary; those same forces and many similar groups in the U.K. and Europe engaged in everything from war profiteering, destruction/forging of war records, false-flag ops, treason, conspiracy to wage aggressive war, and direct efforts to prolong the war by any means necessary, many of which will rock folks to their very core.

But peace was not on the agenda. When, by 1916, the military failures were so embarrassing and costly, some key players in the British government were willing to talk about peace. This could not be tolerated. The potential peacemakers had to be thrown under the bus. The unelected European leaders had one common bond: They would fight Germany until she was crushed.

Prolonging the Agony details how this secret cabal organised to this end the change of government without a single vote being cast. David Lloyd George was promoted to prime minister in Britain and Georges Clemenceau made prime minister in France. A new government, an inner-elite war cabinet thrust the Secret Elite leader, Lord Alfred Milner into power at the very inner-core of the decision-makers in British politics.

Democracy? They had no truck with democracy. The voting public had no say. The men entrusted with the task would keep going till the end and their place-men were backed by the media and the money-power, in Britain, France and America.

Propaganda Always Wins

But just as the pioneering adherents of propaganda back in the day might never have dreamt how sophisticated and all-encompassing the practice would become, nor would the citizenry at large have anticipated the extent to which the industry has facilitated an entrenched, rapacious plutocracy at the expense of our economic opportunity, our financial and material security, our physical, social and cultural environment, our values and attitudes, and increasingly, our basic democratic rights and freedoms.

We now live in the Age of the Big Shill -- cocooned in a submissive void no less -- an era where nothing can be taken on face value yet where time and attention constraints (to name just a few) force us to do so; [where] few people in public life can be taken at their word; where unchallenged perceptions become accepted reality; where 'open-book' history is now incontrovertible not-negotiable, upon pain of imprisonment fact; where education is about uniformity, function, form and conformity, all in the service of imposed neo-liberal ideologies embracing then prioritising individual -- albeit dubious -- freedoms.

More broadly, it's the "Roger Ailes" of this world -- acting on behalf of the power elites who after all are their paymasters -- who create the intellectual systems which control expression through the communications structures, whilst ensuring these systems require only 'the discreet use of censorship and uniformed men.'

They are the shapers and moulders of the discourse that passes for the accepted lingua franca of the increasingly globalised, interconnected, corporatised political economy of the planet. Throughout this process they 'will always try to change the established language.'

And we can no longer rely on our elected representatives to honestly represent us and our interests. Whether this decision making is taking place inside or outside the legislative process, these processes are well and truly in the grip of the banks and financial institutions and transnational organisations. In whose interests are they going to be more concerned with?

We saw this all just after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) when the very people who brought the system to the brink, made billions off the dodge for their banks and millions for themselves, bankrupted hundreds of thousands of American families, were called upon by the U.S. government to fix up the mess, and to all intents given a blank cheque to so do.

That the U.S. is at even greater risk now of economic implosion is something few serious pundits would dispute, and a testament to the effectiveness of the snow-job perpetrated upon Americans regarding the causes, the impact, and the implications of the 2008 meltdown going forward.

In most cases, one accepts almost by definition such disconnects (read: hidden agendas) are the rule rather than the exception, hence the multi-billion foundation -- and global reach and impact -- of the propaganda business. This in itself is a key indicator as to why organisations place so much importance on this aspect of managing their affairs.

At the very least, once corporations saw how the psychology of persuasion could be leveraged to manipulate consumers and politicians saw the same with the citizenry and even its own workers, the growth of the industry was assured.

As Riefenstahl noted during her chinwag with Pilger after he asked if those embracing the "submissive void" included the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? " Everyone ," she said.

By way of underscoring her point, she added enigmatically: 'Propaganda always wins if you allow it'.

Greg Maybury is a freelance writer based in Perth, Australia. His main areas of interest are American history and politics in general, with a special focus on economic, national security, military, and geopolitical affairs. For 5 years he has regularly contributed to a diverse range of news and opinion sites, including OpEd News, The Greanville Post, Consortium News, Dandelion Salad, Global Research, Dissident Voice, OffGuardian, Contra Corner, International Policy Digest, the Hampton Institute, and others.


nottheonly1

This brilliant essay is proof of the reflective nature of the Universe. The worse the propaganda and oppression becomes, the greater the likelihood such an essay will be written.

Such is the sophistication and ubiquity of the narrative control techniques used today -- afforded increasingly by 'computational propaganda' via automated scripts, hacking, botnets, troll farms, and algorithms and the like, along with the barely veiled censorship and information gatekeeping practised by Google and Facebook and other tech behemoths -- it's become one of the most troubling aspects of the technological/social media revolution.

Very rarely can one experience such a degree of vindication. My moniker 'nottheonly1' has received more meaning with this precise depiction of the long history of the manipulation of the masses. Recent events have destroyed but all of my confidence that there might be a peaceful way out of this massive dilemma. Due to this sophistication in controlling the narrative, it has now become apparent that we have arrived at a moment in time where total lawlessness reigns. 'Lawlessness' in this case means the loss of common law and the use of code law to create ever new restrictions for free speech and liberty at large.

Over the last weeks, comments written on other discussion boards have unleashed a degree of character defamation and ridicule for the most obvious crimes perpetrated on the masses through propaganda. In this unholy union of constant propaganda via main stream 'media' with the character defamation by so called 'trolls' – which are actually virtual assassins of those who write the truth – the ability of the population, or parts thereof to connect with, or search for like minded people is utterly destroyed. This assault on the online community has devastating consequences. Those who have come into the cross hairs of the unintelligence agencies will but turn away from the internet. Leaving behind an ocean of online propaganda and fake information. Few are now the web sites on which it is possible to voice one's personal take on the status quo.

There is one word that describes these kind of activities precisely: traitor. Those who engage in the character defamation of commenters, or authors per se, are traitors to humanity. They betray the collective consciousness with their poisonous attacks of those who work for a sea change of the status quo. The owner class has all game pieces positioned. The fact that Julian Assange is not only a free man, but still without a Nobel price for peace, while war criminals are recipients, shows just how much the march into absolute totalitarianism has progressed. Bernays hated the masses and offered his 'services' to manipulate them often for free.

Even though there are more solutions than problems, the time has come where meaningful participation in the search for such solution has been made unbearable. It is therefore that a certain fatalism has developed – from resignation to the acceptance of the status quo as being inevitable. Ancient wisdom has created a proverb that states 'This too, will pass'. While that is a given, there are still enough Human Beings around that are determined to make a difference. To this group I count the author of this marvelous, albeit depressing essay. Thank you more that words can express. And thank you, OffGuardian for being one of the last remaining places where discourse is possible.

GMW
Really great post! Thanks. I'm part of the way through reading Alex Carey's book: "Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty," referenced in this article. I've learned more about the obviously verifiable history of U.S. corporate propaganda in the first four chapters than I learned gaining a "minor" in history in 1974 (not surprisingly I can now clearly see). I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in just how pervasive, entrenched and long-standing are the propaganda systems shaping public perception, thought and behavior in America and the West.
Norcal
Wow Greg Maybury great essay, congratulations. This quote is brilliant, I've never see it before, "For Carey, the following conclusion was inescapable: 'It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the twentieth century.' "

Too, Rodger Ailes was the man credited with educating Nixon up as how to "use" the TV media, and Ailes never looked back as he manipulated media at will. Thank you!

nondimenticare
That is also one of the basic theses of Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize speech.
vexarb
I read in 'Guns, Germs and Steel' about Homo Sapiens and his domesticated animals. Apparently we got on best in places where we could find animals that are very like us: sheep, cattle, horses and other herd animals which instinctively follow their Leader. I think our cousins the chimpanzee are much the same; both species must have inherited this common trait from some pre-chimpanzee ancestor who had found great survival value in passing on the sheeple trait to their progeny. As have the sheep themselves.

By the way, has anybody observed sheeple behaviour in ants and bees? For instance, quietly following a Leader ant to their doom, or noisily ganging up to mob a worker bee that the Queen does not like?

Andy
Almost unbelievable that this was commisioned by the BBC 4 part series covering much of what is in Gregs essay. Some fabulous old footage too. https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-century-of-the-self/
S.R.Passerby
I'd say the elites are both for and against. Competing factions. It's clear that many are interested in overturning democracy, whilst others want to exploit it.

The average grunt on the street is in the fire, regardless of the pan chosen by the elites.

[Aug 05, 2019] US federal court exposes Democratic Party conspiracy against Assange and WikiLeaks by Eric London

Notable quotes:
"... The ruling exposes the illegality of the conspiracy by the US government, backed by the governments of Britain, Ecuador, Australia and Sweden and the entire corporate media and political establishment, to extradite Assange to the US, where he faces 175 years in federal prison on charges including espionage. ..."
"... The dismissal of the civil suit exposes massive unreported conflicts of interest and prosecutorial misconduct and criminal abuse of process by those involved. The criminal prosecution of Assange has nothing to do with facts and is instead aimed at punishing him for telling the truth about the war crimes committed by US imperialism and its allies. ..."
"... The judge labeled WikiLeaks an "international news organization" and said Assange is a "publisher," exposing the liars in the corporate press who declare that Assange is not subject to free speech protections. Judge Koeltl continued: "In New York Times Co. v. United States ..."
"... New York Times Co. v. United States ..."
"... The DNC's baseless complaint cited the New York Times ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Everyone seems to forget one thing.. Assange knows who gave Assange the DNC data. At some point you have to entertain the idea that eventually he'll play that card. ..."
"... The DNC never allowed a REAL cyber-inspection of it's servers, did they? They also never said the information contained in the supposedly 'stolen' E-Mails was "WRONG" or "INACCURATE", have they? It says volumes.... Occam's Razor points to disgruntled DNC employee Seth Rich using a large capacity flash drive to download the E-Mails, etc which he then passed to someone who got it to Wikileaks. For which he was killed!! ..."
"... No. they never did. Also, if you examine Mueller's BS indictments, the domain they claim was used to phish for Podesta's password (and others) was registered on the same day or perhaps the day before they unsealed the indictment. It's a total fabrication, start to finish! ..."
"... That's just one example of many. The Malware they allegedly 'discovered' (by a Ukranian owned security company Crowdstrike) was not Russian, it was Ukrainian and been floating around the internet for years prior to this alleged non-existent 'hack'.. The whole thing has more holes than proverbial swiss ..."
"... For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations ..."
"... Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match ..."
"... It is beyond astonishing that Democrats and the media have successfully shifted 99% of the public's attention AWAY FROM the actual content of what information was stolen from top ranking Democrats, especially the Hillary for President Campaign. ..."
"... beaglebailey > michiganderforfreedom ..."
"... ironically surely an equally damning 'leak' came from the DNCs own ex-Chair Donna Brazille in her self-serving 'memoir' Hacks ... in it she revealed Obama left DNC $24m in debt and Hillary Clinton then bailed it out and effectively bought the entire apparatus as her personal plaything. When that is understood all the 'corruption' about rigging the primaries against Sanders wasn't rigging at all, after all he was standing on Clinton's private property at the time. Blair and Brown dutifully followed the same NSA playbook and left Labour broke, presumably so Blair's 'charity' could then step in to buy it... but Corbyn then balanced the books in 6 months of his taking over ..."
"... The corporate media, having already gone to great lengths to convict Assange of such in the court of public opinion, would like to see that "conviction" stand. ..."
"... "The DNC's published internal communications allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election." That's precisely the kind of "problem" the bourgeoisie will no longer tolerate. ..."
"... Reporting the truth “undermined and distorted the DNC's ability to communicate the party's values and visions to the American electorate.” ..."
"... They're sick and tired of basic democratic rights almost as much as they're sick and tired of the working class ..."
Jul 31, 2019 | www.wsws.org

In a ruling published late Tuesday, Judge John Koeltl of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York delivered a devastating blow to the US-led conspiracy against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

In his ruling, Judge Koeltl, a Bill Clinton nominee and former assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, dismissed "with prejudice" a civil lawsuit filed in April 2018 by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) alleging WikiLeaks was civilly liable for conspiring with the Russian government to steal DNC emails and data and leak them to the public.

Jennifer Robinson, a leading lawyer for Assange, and other WikiLeaks attorneys welcomed the ruling as "an important win for free speech."

The decision exposes the Democratic Party in a conspiracy of its own to attack free speech and cover up the crimes of US imperialism and the corrupt activities of the two parties of Wall Street. Judge Koeltl stated:

If WikiLeaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC's political financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them 'secret' and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet. But that would impermissibly elevate a purely private privacy interest to override the First Amendment interest in the publication of matters of the highest public concern. The DNC's published internal communications allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election. This type of information is plainly of the type entitled to the strongest protection that the First Amendment offers.

The ruling exposes the illegality of the conspiracy by the US government, backed by the governments of Britain, Ecuador, Australia and Sweden and the entire corporate media and political establishment, to extradite Assange to the US, where he faces 175 years in federal prison on charges including espionage.

The plaintiff in the civil case -- the Democratic Party -- has also served as Assange's chief prosecutor within the state apparatus for over a decade. During the Obama administration, Democratic Party Justice Department officials, as well as career Democratic holdovers under the Trump administration, prepared the criminal case against him.

The dismissal of the civil suit exposes massive unreported conflicts of interest and prosecutorial misconduct and criminal abuse of process by those involved. The criminal prosecution of Assange has nothing to do with facts and is instead aimed at punishing him for telling the truth about the war crimes committed by US imperialism and its allies.

The judge labeled WikiLeaks an "international news organization" and said Assange is a "publisher," exposing the liars in the corporate press who declare that Assange is not subject to free speech protections. Judge Koeltl continued: "In New York Times Co. v. United States , the landmark 'Pentagon Papers' case, the Supreme Court upheld the press's right to publish information of public concern obtained from documents stolen by a third party."

As a legal matter, by granting WikiLeaks' motion to dismiss, the court ruled that the DNC had not put forward a "factually plausible" claim. At the motion to dismiss stage, a judge is required to accept all the facts alleged by the plaintiff as true. Here, the judge ruled that even if all the facts alleged by the DNC were true, no fact-finder could "draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."

Going a step further, the judge called the DNC's arguments "threadbare," adding: "At no point does the DNC allege any facts" showing that Assange or WikiLeaks "participated in the theft of the DNC's information."

Judge Koeltl said the DNC's argument that Assange and WikiLeaks "conspired with the Russian Federation to steal and disseminate the DNC's materials" is "entirely divorced from the facts." The judge further ruled that the court "is not required to accept conclusory allegations asserted as facts."

The judge further dismantled the DNC's argument that WikiLeaks is guilty-by-association with Russia, calling the alleged connection between Assange and the Russian government "irrelevant," because "a person is entitled to publish stolen documents that the publisher requested from a source so long as the publisher did not participate in the theft."

Judge Koeltl also rejected the DNC's claim "that WikiLeaks can be held liable for the theft as an after-the-fact coconspirator of the stolen documents." Calling this argument "unpersuasive," the judge wrote that it would "eviscerate" constitutional protections: "Such a rule would render any journalist who publishes an article based on stolen information a coconspirator in the theft."

In its April 2018 complaint, the DNC put forward a series of claims that have now been exposed as brazen lies, including that Assange, Trump and Russia "undermined and distorted the DNC's ability to communicate the party's values and visions to the American electorate."

The complaint also alleged: "Russian intelligence services then disseminated the stolen, confidential materials through GRU Operative #1, as well as WikiLeaks and Assange, who were actively supported by the Trump Campaign and Trump Associates as they released and disclosed the information to the American public at a time and in a manner that served their common goals."

At the time the DNC filed its complaint, the New York Times wrote that the document relies on "publicly-known facts" as well as "information that has been disclosed in news reports and subsequent court proceedings." The lawsuit "comes amid a swirl of intensifying scrutiny of Mr. Trump, his associates and their interactions with Russia," the Times wrote.

It is deeply ironic that Judge Koeltl cited the Pentagon Papers case, New York Times Co. v. United States , in his ruling.

The DNC's baseless complaint cited the New York Times eight times as "proof" of Assange and WikiLeaks' ties to Russia, including articles by Times reporters Andrew Kramer, Michael Gordon, Niraj Chokshi, Sharon LaFraniere, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Eric Lichtblau, Noah Weiland, Alicia Parlapiano and Ashley Parker, as well as a July 26, 2016 article by Charlie Savage titled "Assange, avowed foe of Clinton, timed email release for Democratic Convention."

The first of these articles was published just weeks after the New York Times hired James Bennet as its editorial page editor in March 2016. James Bennet's brother, Michael Bennet, is a presidential candidate, a senator from Colorado and former chair of the DNC's Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In 2018, Bennet signed a letter to Vice President Mike Pence noting he was "extremely concerned" that Ecuador had not canceled asylum for Assange, who was then trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

"It is imperative," the letter read, "that you raise US concerns with [Ecuadorian] President [Lenin] Moreno about Ecuador's continued support for Mr. Assange at a time when WikiLeaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes globally."

In April 2019, after the Trump administration announced charges against Assange, the New York Times editorial board, under James Bennet's direction, wrote: "The administration has begun well by charging Mr. Assange with an indisputable crime." Two weeks later, Michael Bennet announced his presidential run and has since enjoyed favorable coverage in the Times editorial page.

Additionally, the father of James and Michael Bennet, Douglas Bennet, headed the CIA-linked United States Agency for International Development in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

On Wednesday, the Times published a brief, six-paragraph article on page 25 under the headline, "DNC lawsuit against election is dismissed." In its online edition, the Times prominently featured a link to its special page for the Mueller Report, which is based on the same DNC-instigated threadbare lies that Judge Koeltl kicked out of federal court

LC • 9 hours ago

Everyone seems to forget one thing.. Assange knows who gave Assange the DNC data. At some point you have to entertain the idea that eventually he'll play that card.

Liberalism Has Failed • 2 days ago

The DNC never allowed a REAL cyber-inspection of it's servers, did they? They also never said the information contained in the supposedly 'stolen' E-Mails was "WRONG" or "INACCURATE", have they? It says volumes.... Occam's Razor points to disgruntled DNC employee Seth Rich using a large capacity flash drive to download the E-Mails, etc which he then passed to someone who got it to Wikileaks. For which he was killed!!

LC > Liberalism Has Failed • 9 hours ago

No. they never did. Also, if you examine Mueller's BS indictments, the domain they claim was used to phish for Podesta's password (and others) was registered on the same day or perhaps the day before they unsealed the indictment. It's a total fabrication, start to finish!

That's just one example of many. The Malware they allegedly 'discovered' (by a Ukranian owned security company Crowdstrike) was not Russian, it was Ukrainian and been floating around the internet for years prior to this alleged non-existent 'hack'.. The whole thing has more holes than proverbial swiss


Tradairn > SFWhite • a day ago

Then why does the US keep interfering in other countries' political processes? You've become the schoolyard bully of the world.

SFWhite > Tradairn • 18 hours ago

Quoting from JFK's speech archived in the JFK Library:
THE PRESIDENT AND THE PRESS: ADDRESS BEFORE THE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION, APRIL 27, 1961
https://www.jfklibrary.org/...

If the press is awaiting a declaration of war before it imposes the self-discipline of combat conditions, then I can only say that no war ever posed a greater threat to our security. If you are awaiting a finding of "clear and present danger," then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent.

It requires a change in outlook, a change in tactics, a change in missions--by the government, by the people, by every businessman or labor leader, and by every newspaper.

***For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.***

michiganderforfreedom • 2 days ago

It is beyond astonishing that Democrats and the media have successfully shifted 99% of the public's attention AWAY FROM the actual content of what information was stolen from top ranking Democrats, especially the Hillary for President Campaign.

Had the actual Content of what had been stolen was simply meeting schedules, work shift assignments, lawn sign purchase orders and speech notes, NONE of this scandal would have happened!!

But, the CONTENT of what was stolen revealed the upper echelon of Democrat Party leadership to be nothing but lying, conniving, cheating, law-breaking dirty politicians who are hell-bent on bringing down the American Federation at any cost.

If the actual Content had been cookie recipes and wedding plans, we would not have been put though this traumatic national wringer!!

beaglebailey > michiganderforfreedom • 7 hours ago

This was the reason Hillary's campaign came up with the idea to blame it on Russia. This kept people from focusing on their content and it worked. To this day Hillary's supporters think that her rigging the primary is a conspiracy theory. And it's why they believe that Russia interfered with the election. How sad to see people who saw through the Saddam had WMDs have fallen for the new WMDs scam.

Charlotte Ruse • 4 days ago

"The decision exposes the Democratic Party in a conspiracy of its own to attack free speech and cover up the crimes of US imperialism and the corrupt activities of the two parties of Wall Street."

One should never forget that the corrupt political duopoly is controlled by the military/security/surveillance/corporate state. Assange, published documents revealing to millions that the US committed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, murdered innocent civilians, and slaughtered two Reuter Reporters.

Revealing atrocities is BAD MARKETING for the military industry which for decades has been robbing the US Treasury blind. Assange's documents threatens the "official narrative" spread by the state-run mainstream news convincing the public to passively accept the plundering of the US Treasury to enhance the wealth of a small cabal of war profiteer gangsters.

In other words, Assange is being attacked by the US Government because he revealed that a big CON GAME is being perpetuated against the American public by the security state.

Dennis Stein > Charlotte Ruse • 3 days ago

“We’ll Know Our Disinformation Program Is Complete When Everything the American Public Believes Is False”

—CIA Director William Casey at an early February 1981 meeting of newly elected President Reagan.

Adrian • 4 days ago

Great news on Assange... but ironically surely an equally damning 'leak' came from the DNCs own ex-Chair Donna Brazille in her self-serving 'memoir' Hacks ... in it she revealed Obama left DNC $24m in debt and Hillary Clinton then bailed it out and effectively bought the entire apparatus as her personal plaything. When that is understood all the 'corruption' about rigging the primaries against Sanders wasn't rigging at all, after all he was standing on Clinton's private property at the time. Blair and Brown dutifully followed the same NSA playbook and left Labour broke, presumably so Blair's 'charity' could then step in to buy it... but Corbyn then balanced the books in 6 months of his taking over

Ed Bergonzi • 5 days ago

This is good news. But now the advantage is with Trump. What will the Democrats do if Trump presses for extradition claiming "national security" concerns, i.e., Assange's exposure of US war crimes. I think their present silence regarding Judge Koeltl's decision speaks volumes.

Greg • 5 days ago • edited

"Going a step further, the judge called the DNC’s arguments “threadbare,” adding: “At no point does the DNC allege any facts” showing that Assange or WikiLeaks “participated in the theft of the DNC’s information.”

The corporate media, having already gone to great lengths to convict Assange of such in the court of public opinion, would like to see that "conviction" stand.

"On Wednesday, the Times published a brief, six-paragraph article on page 25..."

Greg • 5 days ago • edited

"The DNC's published internal communications allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election." That's precisely the kind of "problem" the bourgeoisie will no longer tolerate.

Reporting the truth “undermined and distorted the DNC's ability to communicate the party's values and visions to the American electorate.”

They're sick and tired of basic democratic rights almost as much as they're sick and tired of the working class. They practically come out and say it: "There was no attempt by other reporters to pursue the matter, and Conway then began to rant about Trump's reasons for targeting the four congresswomen, saying, “He's tired, a lot of us are sick and tired of this country—of America coming last, to people who swore an oath of office.”

[Jul 30, 2019] 'Never-Googlers' Take Extreme Measures To Avoid Data Tracking

Jul 30, 2019 | yro.slashdot.org

(startribune.com) 248

To buy his favorite oatmeal, Gregory Kelly drives to a city 40 miles away rather than sharing his data with an online retailer, or purchasing it from the company's web site, "which he says is riddled with tracking software from Google," according to the Washington Post:

"I'm just not sure why Google needs to know what breakfast cereal I eat," the 51-year-old said. Kelly is one of a hearty few who are taking the ultimate step to keep their files and online life safe from prying eyes : turning off Google entirely. That means eschewing some of the most popular services on the Web, including Gmail, Google search, Google Maps, the Chrome browser, Android mobile operating software and even YouTube. Such never-Googlers are pushing friends and family to give up the search and advertising titan, while others are taking to social media to get the word out. Online guides have sprouted up to help consumers untangle themselves from Google.

These intrepid Web users say they'd rather deal with daily inconveniences than give up more of their data. That means setting up permanent vacation responders on Gmail and telling friends to resend files or video links that don't require Google software. More than that, it takes a lot of discipline.

While there's no data on how many people are avoiding Google, the article points out that DuckDuckGo is now averaging 42.4 million searches every day -- up from 23.5 million a year ago.

But at least one Berkeley tech consultant acknowledged that "the improvement is mostly in the category of self-righteousness." Seeking an office software with better privacy protections, he's now paying $100 a year for a subscription to Microsoft Office 365.

[Jul 27, 2019] Luongo Gabbard Going After Google Is Double Plus Good

Notable quotes:
"... Any candidate that is publicly against the empire is the enemy of not only the state, it's quislings in the media, the corporations who profit from it and the party machines of both the GOP and the DNC. That is Gabbard's crime. And it's the only crime that matters. ..."
"... This represents an intervention into her ability to speak to voters and, as such, is a violation of not only her First Amendment rights but also, more critically, campaign finance law. ..."
"... On a day when it became clear to the world that Robert Mueller led an investigation to affect the outcome of the 2018 mid-term elections (and beyond) while attempting to overthrow an elected President, Gabbard attacking the one of the main pillars of the information control system is both welcome and needed. ..."
"... Her filing this lawsuit is making it clear that even a fairly conventional Democrat on most all other issues is to be marginalized if she criticizes the empire. ..."
"... You can disagree with Tulsi on many things but she is absolutely right and the only one who gets the real problem.Military Industrial Complex & The Empire. ..."
Jul 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo,

Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is suing Google . It's about time someone did. It's one thing to for conservatives and libertarians to be outraged by their treatment by the tech giant, it's another for them to go after a female Democrat.

Since Trump's election the campaign to curtail free speech has went into overdrive and we are now far beyond Orwell's dystopian vision in 1984 in terms of technological infrastructure.

Google makes Big Brother look like George Carlin's the Hippy Dippy Weather Man with the "hippy dippy weather, man." The drive to stamp out all forms of political division has only one thing animating it, protecting the drive of the elites I call The Davos Crowd to erect a transnational superstate to herd humanity to their vision of sustainability.

Gabbard is the only person running for the Democratic nomination worth any amount of my time. Her fundamental criticisms of the U.S. warfare state are spot on. She's sincere about this. It's costing her stature within her own party.

She's a committed anti-imperialist. She's also young, inexperienced and a little bit naive. But that, to me, is part of her charm. It means she is still malleable. She's smart enough to be outraged about where we are headed and young enough to be flexible about what the solutions are to stop it from happening.

So, as such, she's the perfect champion for the defenders of free speech and critics of the U.S. empire. A young, attractive, intelligent woman of mixed-race heritage with a service record who stands athwart the mainstream on the most important issue in politics today: the U.S. empire.

The entire time I was growing up the prevailing wisdom was Social Security was the third rail of U.S. politics. That, like so many other pearls of wisdom, was nonsense.

The true third rail of U.S. politics is empire.

Any candidate that is publicly against the empire is the enemy of not only the state, it's quislings in the media, the corporations who profit from it and the party machines of both the GOP and the DNC. That is Gabbard's crime. And it's the only crime that matters.

For that crime Google acted to blunt interest in her campaign in the critical hours after the first democratic debate. So, Gabbard, rightly, sued them.

The two main points of her lawsuit are:

1) suspending her Google Ad account for six hours while search traffic for her was spiking and

2) Gmail disproportionately junked her campaign emails.

This represents an intervention into her ability to speak to voters and, as such, is a violation of not only her First Amendment rights but also, more critically, campaign finance law.

Whether this lawsuit goes anywhere or not is beside the point. Google will ignore it until they can't and then settle with her before discovery. Gabbard doing this is good PR for her as it sets her on the right side of an incredibly important issue, censorship and technological bias/de-platforming of political outsiders.

It's also good because if she does pursue this principally, it will lead to potential discovery of Google's internal practices, lending the DoJ a hand in pursuing all the big tech firms for electioneering.

On a day when it became clear to the world that Robert Mueller led an investigation to affect the outcome of the 2018 mid-term elections (and beyond) while attempting to overthrow an elected President, Gabbard attacking the one of the main pillars of the information control system is both welcome and needed.

Her filing this lawsuit is making it clear that even a fairly conventional Democrat on most all other issues is to be marginalized if she criticizes the empire.

As libertarians and conservatives it is irrelevant if she is conventional in other areas. It doesn't matter that she's been to a CFR meeting or two or that she's anti-gun. She's not going to be president.

This is not about our virtue-signaling about the purity of essence of our political figures. They are tools to our ends. And on now two incredibly important issues leading up to the 2020 election Tulsi Gabbard is on the right side of them.

She is someone we can and should reach out to and support while she makes these issues the centerpiece of her campaign. Her timing is even more excellent than what I've already stated.

Filing this lawsuit is a pre-emptive strike at Google now that she's qualified for the next two Democratic debates. And it may assist her in breaking out of the bottom tier of the Democratic field, Ron Paul style if she gets her opportunity.

Shedding light on Google's anti-free speech practices is a fundamental good, one we should celebrate. Dare I say, it's double plus good.

* * *

Join my Patreon and install Brave if you both hate big tech censorship and the empire in equal measure.


Thordoom , 8 minutes ago link

You can disagree with Tulsi on many things but she is absolutely right and the only one who gets the real problem.Military Industrial Complex & The Empire.

If you won't kill this problem you can virtue signal about your left and right opinions about your perfect candidate as much as you want without getting anything done ( Trump). Purism won't help you. It only gets you distracted and controlled by the elites.

otschelnik , 11 minutes ago link

The point of this article is that Gabbard is taking on GOOGLE, for screwing with her account. See Google demonitizes, deboosts, deplatforms people without them even knowing it, and diddles their search algorythms NOT ONLY against conservatives, but for independent democrats like Gabbard. THAT'S THE POINT, not who or what Gabbard stands for. The dem party did the same to Gabbard during the 2016 election, cut her off from financing, because she supported Bernie Sanders.

https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/3609

This is the sort of **** things dim's do, and progressive companies like Fakebook, Twatter and Goolag. Now Gabbard may not have views that we can support, but if she is taking on GOOLAG, than we should stand like a wall behind her. This is a big threat to 1st amendment rights.

chunga , 1 hour ago link

I hope this girl switches to an Independant. A lot of people are sick to death of the blues and the reds.

GoldHermit , 52 minutes ago link

Blues and reds is a sham used by the poliicians to divide the populace.

espirit , 48 minutes ago link

Throw in some greens and purples...

LetThemEatRand , 1 hour ago link

Good point, chunga. She is already being given the Ron Paul treatment by MSM (they either slam her as basically a naive fool, or just ignore her), so no way does she rise to the top of the **** pile of Blue Team candidates. Would make a good run as an independent, and maybe wake some people up.

[Jul 27, 2019] Huxley's Brave New World was published in 1931, Orwell's 1984 in 1949. Both came true ion 2019

Notable quotes:
"... I favor the notion that the Internet's gift of vastly more accessible information and greater and less expensive communication is exposing more of corruption in government that continues an ancient trend, this web site being a sterling example. ..."
Jul 27, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

LJ , July 25, 2019 at 10:38

Quite a few people couldn't help but notice that the country was shifting into a dis-informational mode several years ago. So much for the Information Age, the Internet and hand held ( communication ) devices to increase awareness. It was noticed by some folks even here at CN that tendencies had come ito play that were reminiscent of Orwell's dystopian yet fictional accounts in the novel 1984. This entire Russiagate episode could just as easily have come from 1984's Ministry of Information as our own Intelligence Services and might have been just as boring if it had . Meanwhile us , prols, just go with the flow and don't really care. Are things that much different than they have ever been? I rem,ember the Waterdate hearings and the Iran-Contra Hearings, Ken Starr's Investigation. I'm a little to young to remember the Warren Commission or Senator Joe McCarthy and the Red Scare but I do remember the 9/11 Commission and WMGs in Iraq.. I remember wrote a paper on Propaganda films in WW II. Is this episode really all that different?

Paul Merrell , July 26, 2019 at 19:11

@ "Quite a few people couldn't help but notice that the country was shifting into a dis-informational mode several years ago. So much for the Information Age, the Internet and hand held ( communication ) devices to increase awareness. "

You address a topic I've pondered long and hard. Although I can cite scant evidence, I can't help but wonder: Are we instead only noticing -- because of the far wider availability of information via the Internet -- a disinformation phenomenon that is perhaps centuries old if not still older?

Huxley's Brave New World was published in 1931, Orwell's 1984 in 1949. Dickens' Bleakhouse was serialized in 1852-53. All can be fairly said to deal with a perception that those who control government are dishonest and corrupt, based on then-current norms. E.g., Dickens noted in the preface of his first edition that his fictional Jarndyce and Jarndyce largely paralleled the sadly real Thellusson v Woodford. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thellusson_v_Woodford

Such precedents argue against the "disinformational mode" being of recent origin.

I favor the notion that the Internet's gift of vastly more accessible information and greater and less expensive communication is exposing more of corruption in government that continues an ancient trend, this web site being a sterling example.

[Jul 25, 2019] When Alex Stamos announced that the Internet Research Agency's ad buys were a drop in the ocean, Zuckerberg was promptly taken to the Congressional Woodshed and told to report to the Atlantic Council.

Notable quotes:
"... I think he fails to understand that Facebook is now an NSA asset. ..."
Jul 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

GramSci , , , July 23, 2019 at 8:04 am

When Alex Stamos announced that the Internet Research Agency's ad buys were a drop in the ocean, Zuckerberg was promptly taken to the Congressional Woodshed and told to report to the Atlantic Council. Those two billion-odd fake accounts may be a fraud perpetrated on the advertisers, but they are invaluable to US "law" enforcement and to US propaganda, where the ability to open a fake account on Facebook gives the illusion of privacy.

With all due respect to Mr. Greenspan and his Lowell House creds, I think he fails to understand that Facebook is now an NSA asset.

Summer , , July 23, 2019 at 11:55 am

+1
NSA and other law enforcement asset.
Remember stories about stupid criminals on the run who took the time to update their Facebook page?

The Rev Kev , July 23, 2019 at 10:38 am

This is a fascinating article and it certainly put a smile on my dial. As an asset for use by governments around the world, Facebook may be too invaluable to just let sink. One guy reported that he was in a meeting with Facebook’s top brass including the Zuck when a head honcho of the FBI came into the meeting and sang Zuck’s praises for all the help that Facebook gave the FBI. So the question remains. Just how many “real” Facebook accounts does Facebook have? Ones that people check on daily. Now that is the killer question.

[Jul 24, 2019] Fraud of Facebook user numbers

Jul 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

bruce , July 23, 2019 at 4:14 pm

I have three Facebook accounts. The two I never ever look at are the one for my cat and the one for my feminine alter ego. My own account is used for only one thing, watching "People You May Know" to see how far they've penetrated my graph; occasionally disturbing, occasionally hilarious. I've never looked at my "wall", issued or accepted a friend request, posted anything, messaged anyone but they have my email, and wow do I hate this company!

May 2018, a woman I loved and was ultimately going to get to move in died (age 70, natural causes). Twice a week on average I get emails from Facebook inviting me to read her most recent messages. You can imagine how I feel about that. SHE DED!

Facebook has boasted on the order of 2-3 billion users, a significant percentage of the world's population, and I don't believe a word of it. One may assume that the early adopters were people with more tech savvy, affluence and most important, leisure time to screw around on the internet, and the proles don't have a lot of leisure time. Moreover, the value to the advertiser of a set of eyeball impressions is directly related to the amount of disposable income those eyeballs have, and sure, India has about one and a half billion people, but a lot of them have zero disposable income and zero leisure time.

Die Facebook die!

otishertz , July 23, 2019 at 5:37 pm

From the cited lawsuit:

"Based on a combination of publicly available research and Plaintiffs' own analysis, among 18-34 years-olds in Chicago, for example, Facebook asserted its Potential Reach was approximately 4 times (400%) higher than the number of real 18-34 year-olds with Facebook accounts in Chicago. Based on a combination of publicly available research and Plaintiffs' own analysis, Facebook's asserted Potential Reach in Kansas City was approximately 200% higher than the number of actual 18-54 year-olds with Facebook accounts in Kansas City. This inflation is apparent in other age categories as well."

otishertz , July 23, 2019 at 5:40 pm

"These foundational representations are false. Based on publicly available research and Plaintiffs' own analysis, Facebook overstates the Potential Reach of its advertisements. For example, based on publicly available data, Facebook's purported Potential Reach among the key 18-34 year-
22 old demographic in every state exceeds the actual population of 18-34 year-olds ."

[Jul 24, 2019] If one accepts that FB user numbers are fraudulent, the Russiagate narrative falls apart.

Notable quotes:
"... Russiagate, the most extensive disinformation/propaganda campaign since Iraqi WMD, has fallen/is falling apart without any need to reference fake Facebook accounts. ..."
"... The Collusion narrative/conspiracy theory was preposterous from the get-go, riven with internal inconsistencies, and the recent Federal court ruling that prevents Mueller from continuing to publicly accuse Concord management of "undermining our democracy" (that's a hot one) discredits the second of the three bases of the narrative. ..."
Jul 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Unsympathetic , , July 23, 2019 at 8:29 am

If one accepts that FB user numbers are fraudulent, the Russiagate narrative falls apart.

What if the fake ads were only "viewed" by fake accounts?

Larry , , July 23, 2019 at 8:38 am

Bingo. But it's a great story for political elites to paper over their complete failure to maintain their control.

Michael Fiorillo , , July 23, 2019 at 9:42 am

Russiagate, the most extensive disinformation/propaganda campaign since Iraqi WMD, has fallen/is falling apart without any need to reference fake Facebook accounts.

The Collusion narrative/conspiracy theory was preposterous from the get-go, riven with internal inconsistencies, and the recent Federal court ruling that prevents Mueller from continuing to publicly accuse Concord management of "undermining our democracy" (that's a hot one) discredits the second of the three bases of the narrative.

Someday the McResistance TM and unhinged liberals possessed by magical thinking must grapple with the fact that Trump was elected in America, by Americans, and that there is no Santa Claus.

Then again, maybe not.

[Jul 24, 2019] Is Facebook a user inflation racket?

Notable quotes:
"... Facebook hasn't provided any data to clarify the matter, in fact their data further confuses it. In that respect it resembles a Madoff-style scheme. And that will become terribly relevant once revenue growth slows down. ..."
Jul 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

john BOUGEAREL , July 23, 2019 at 9:38 am

The world is a racket.

And Singer, poor fella, he was crying in his beer back in August because he probably lost money when the stock price went down following an announcement that rev growth rates would predictably slow. If the cry-baby didn't sell, the market has made him pretty much whole again.

If and when rev growth falls off a cliff instead of a natural rate of deceleration, then the fake accounts may become material. Even if revs fall off a cliff, there is little to no likelihood you will find a Madoff of Ponzi lurking around the corner.

Tsk, tsk.

False Solace , July 23, 2019 at 2:22 pm

It sounds like revenue is only growing because advertisers aren't aware of the fake accounts and related puffery.

That will only remain true for so long. Facebook hasn't provided any data to clarify the matter, in fact their data further confuses it. In that respect it resembles a Madoff-style scheme. And that will become terribly relevant once revenue growth slows down.

Fortunately, elites never go after each other so Z and friends will be fine. No worries there.

vlade , July 23, 2019 at 8:33 am

FB fake accounts were an issue for a very long time. It pops up now and then, and then is ignored. Unfortunately.

Google, TBH, has a not dissimilar problem, although it's more obvious to the buyers. That is, it can't tell how many clicks (don't even mention "impressions") are bots. And it has no incentive to put anything strong there, to the contrary, it has incentive to show some captures, but as few as possible.

After all, advertisers pay for clicks and impressions, and you don't want to drop those numbers that your revenue depends on, do you?

If you business model is "user is the product", then of course you have an incentive to fake the users..

pnongrata , July 23, 2019 at 8:57 am

FB and Google have always said that if you can't turn those clicks into customers, it's your own damn fault for not targeting properly.

Successful campaign stories serve to fuel their evil business, like all 'good' Ponzi Schemes. Shameful.

Larry , July 23, 2019 at 8:36 am

I haven't heard much about the advertiser backlash that supposedly had Blue Chip clients like P&G pulling back spend on the platform.

https://www.campaignlive.com/article/marketers-pull-back-spend-facebook-google-due-false-metrics/1463313

I still see skepticism by marketers, but it would seem that they can't quite pull themselves off the platform gravy train.

Larry , July 23, 2019 at 8:36 am

I haven't heard much about the advertiser backlash that supposedly had Blue Chip clients like P&G pulling back spend on the platform.

https://www.campaignlive.com/article/marketers-pull-back-spend-facebook-google-due-false-metrics/1463313

I still see skepticism by marketers, but it would seem that they can't quite pull themselves off the platform gravy train.

[Jul 20, 2019] Orwell, Inc. How Your Employer Spies On You From When You Wake Up Until You Go To Bed

There are a lot of exaggerations here.
While email and web activity of employees is definitely monitored, all other monitoring usually is pretty fragmentary. Often on a corporate smartphone there are two zones -- secure zone where you access corporate network and email and private zone where you have access to the internet via you provider and traffic is not monitored other then for the volume.
Keeping track of all those details (and some of them will be wrong) is just too expensive and few corporation outside FIRE sector so that.
In short anything that opens company to a lawsuit will be monitored, but outside of that companies actually are not interested in the information collection as it opens them to additional liability in save of suicides and such.
Mining data from social media is a different complex topic and requires a separate article.
Notable quotes:
"... From there, the company even sees as Chet logs onto the guest Wi-Fi connections at places like the coffee shop in the morning. Many companies require additional authentication when they try to access company information from unsecure Wi-Fi networks. ..."
"... Then, as Chet gets to his desk, his web browsing is tracked along with his email. New software breaks down how workers interact with email and how quickly colleagues reply in an attempt to see which employees are most influential . Some software on company computers even snaps screenshots every 30 seconds to evaluate productivity and hours worked. ..."
"... Even Chet's phone conversations can be recorded, transcribed and monitored. Companies use this information to find subject matter experts and measure productivity. Even conference room discussions and meetings can now be recorded and analyzed by software. ..."
Jul 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Orwell, Inc.: How Your Employer Spies On You From When You Wake Up Until You Go To Bed

An increasing number of large companies are using data from employees' electronic devices to track such personal details like when you they wake up, where they go for coffee in the morning, their whereabouts throughout the entire day, and what time they go to bed according to a new Wall Street Journal article. What's the company explanation for this type of spying?

"An increasing number of companies are keeping track of such information to flag potentially suspicious activity and measure work-life balance," the article claims.

The article walks through the day in the life of a fictional worker, Chet. It starts by noting that his employer logs the time and his location when he first wakes up to check his e-mail in the morning.

From there, the company even sees as Chet logs onto the guest Wi-Fi connections at places like the coffee shop in the morning. Many companies require additional authentication when they try to access company information from unsecure Wi-Fi networks.

Then, a Bluetooth device and his ID badge mark what time he arrives at the office while tracking his movement around the building. These technologies are supposedly used to see what teams collaborate frequently and to make sure that employees aren't accessing unauthorized areas.

Then, as Chet gets to his desk, his web browsing is tracked along with his email. New software breaks down how workers interact with email and how quickly colleagues reply in an attempt to see which employees are most influential . Some software on company computers even snaps screenshots every 30 seconds to evaluate productivity and hours worked.

Even Chet's phone conversations can be recorded, transcribed and monitored. Companies use this information to find subject matter experts and measure productivity. Even conference room discussions and meetings can now be recorded and analyzed by software.

At the end of the day, if Chet goes to the gym or for a run, the company will know that too and just how many calories he has burned: his fitness tracker logs how many steps he takes and what exercise, if any, he is doing. Companies then use that information to determine how frequently employees are exercising and whether or not they should be paying for health and fitness services.

You can view the WSJ's full animated panel here .


Xena fobe , 4 minutes ago link

They retain firms that track us on our social media accounts. Supposedly to defend against workplace violence threats. And then there are the cameras. We never really know. Just do my job and keep personal use of company resources to a minimum.

misgivings , 10 minutes ago link

Just NO. This is pretty much slavery. There should be a right to privacy, human rights. the insidious nature of ever more control must be reversed.

misgivings , 13 minutes ago link

we really ARE just cattle.

Ms No , 15 minutes ago link

Shortly Im going to start leaving my phone at home and just carrying a book with me. Screw these Bolshevik bitches.

Kefeer , 47 minutes ago link

The operation known as "LifeLog" was replaced the very day that Face Book came into being?

Life Log : The objective of the LifeLog concept was "to be able to trace the 'threads' of an individual's life in terms of events, states, and relationships", and it has the ability to "take in all of a subject's experience, from phone numbers dialed and e-mail messages viewed to every breath taken, step made and place gone". [1]

" CIA Can Selectively Disclose Information, Court Affirms " Bookmark this website Anons

My takeaway from all this is that many, perhaps most, human institutions are corrupt and that there is no basis from which most people are able to discern truth from lies or right from wrong. This explains the ability of the Power Elite to easily divide people against each other. For example, you cannot debate a Liberal because they have their basis for truth on their personal feeling or emotions. Many conservatives do as well, but they are closer in their thingking to the foundation from which truth sits upon.

PKKA , 48 minutes ago link

How to avoid electronic surveillance

Edward Snowden, former NSA employee. Snowden is an absolute supporter of encryption of all stored and transmitted content. Now there are many applications that have encryption features. And among them there are common and well-known messengers, such as, for example, WhatsApp, Telegram and others.

The former NSA agent also advises to secure his computer, in particular, the hard drive. On the Internet you can find instructions on how to do this. Usually used special software. For example, for Windows, there is a program preinstalled in advanced versions of the OS -- BitLocker, for Mac -- FileVault. Thus, if the computer is stolen, the attacker will not be able to read your data.

Password Managers A useful thing that most people do not even think about. Such programs allow you to keep your passwords in order - to create unique keys and store them. According to Snowden, one of the most common problems with online privacy is leaks.

Tor. The former NSA official calls the anonymous Tor network "the most important technological project to ensure the confidentiality of those currently used." He stated that he uses it on a daily basis. Tor allows you to "cover up traces" on the Internet, that is, it provides anonymity, making it difficult to determine the person's IP address and location.

Also, Snowden told how to avoid total surveillance. For example, special services that can remotely turn on a microphone or camera on a smartphone and start listening. The answer is simple - pull out the microphone and camera modules from the device. Instead, it is proposed to use an external accessory and disconnect from the selfie and never use it.

Kefeer , 33 minutes ago link

The only safe way is to abstain as much as possible, which is now next to impossible. Security is only as protected as the weakest link. Consider a person who uses their smart phone giving Google or Apple the permissions needed to use their OS's and apps; we do not even know exactly how much info we agreed to give away. Consider all the contact info that your friends, relatives, work or other organizations you associate with have on their devices and how vulnerable they make it; they are not as cautious as you and some people using these things do not even think about security; it never occurs to them.. .. just some musing on my part.

Cardinal Fang , 50 minutes ago link

Jeez, I used to sign a quarterly affirmation that I complied with all of the companies electronic communication monitoring policies...and they made us sign that we understood that they had climbed up our *** and pitched a tent.

One of the reasons they had to find a replacement for me when I quit.

Quia Possum , 57 minutes ago link

If you're using your employer's devices, facilities, or networks, you should assume they are tracking what you're doing, and they have every right to do so. When I buy your company's products or services, I don't want to have to pay for your time spent messing around at work.

I can't read the article since it's behind a paywall, but I don't see how your waking and sleeping time and "work life balance" could be tracked unless you are using your employer's devices or networks outside of work. Which is friggin stupid if you do it.

fezline , 56 minutes ago link

Actually it doesnt work like that... Chet isn't informed of this happening. The fact that the company does this is buried in vague language in the 500 page employee handbook that Chet has to sign when he is hired. Chet is just like anyone else with a company provided electronic device. All companies monitor and track everything they can with the electronic devices they provide. If you have one and th think your company doesnt do it... you are naive.

Wild Bill Steamcock , 12 minutes ago link

Chet has the ability to determine when and where he uses the work-provided devices. And why does work have access to his fitness tracker? Supplied by his employer too? Really, Chet had options

fezline , 1 hour ago link

Not with me... I have a personal phone and when I am not at work I keep my work phone at home turned off. My emails are forwarded to my personal device and any voicemail I get also gets forwarded to my personal device. I never place personal calls with my work phone and I turn it off the second I leave work to go home.

Steele Hammorhands , 1 hour ago link

What a waste of resources. If you want to see what I do, just ask. I'll show you how I accomplish my work-related duties. How I manage my time at work. Where I go to cry and regret my life choices.

[Jul 17, 2019] The only real difference between China and the US is that the Chinese have no expectation of liberty

The amount of data collected by various companies is just staggering. Any person in the USA is really like a bug under the microscope. The question arise why we still have organized crime unless this is a branch of CIA.
Notable quotes:
"... Not to mention the legally required auto and homeowner's insurance, which can only be obtained through private corporations. Both of which maintain histories on your driving and lifestyle habits to determine how much of your wage to pocket. ..."
"... Even basic healthcare is only provided through private insurance that you are legally required to pay. And these insurance companies desperately try to charge you extra or cancel you for pre-existing conditions. ..."
"... The liberty of Americans has to be redefined. Where liberty is no longer to live a life of freedom from coercion, but to only live a life of coercion from government, except when the coercion involves a private corporation, then it is perfectly acceptable. And Americans have readily given up their liberty. ..."
Jul 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Kent 11 hours ago

The government actually has little influence in our lives. But it doesn't need to. Life's necessities are all controlled by private corporations. The key to the control is the removal of liberty. If housing costs so much that I have to obtain a mortgage to buy basic shelter, then my credit score determines my ability to obtain adequate shelter. The same works with rent. And I can't pay for either of those things without a wage based job. And I can't be hired into one of those without the proper credentials being bestowed upon me by some school, and I cannot have any felony arrests in my background. And transportation to my job generally requires a car and another loan with the associated credit score.

Not to mention the legally required auto and homeowner's insurance, which can only be obtained through private corporations. Both of which maintain histories on your driving and lifestyle habits to determine how much of your wage to pocket.

Even basic healthcare is only provided through private insurance that you are legally required to pay. And these insurance companies desperately try to charge you extra or cancel you for pre-existing conditions.

The government actually doesn't have to control you. They've turned over the destruction of your liberty to private corporations who are all working hard to nudge you to accept their rules through various subtle systems.

And unless you have enough money to own your own house and cars, and not actually have to work, you have no choice but to be obedient.

The only real difference between China and the US is that the Chinese have no expectation of liberty. They understand from birth that they must be obedient.

The liberty of Americans has to be redefined. Where liberty is no longer to live a life of freedom from coercion, but to only live a life of coercion from government, except when the coercion involves a private corporation, then it is perfectly acceptable. And Americans have readily given up their liberty.

They have had no choice in the matter.

[Jul 05, 2019] Sweden sought Assange for 8 or 9 years to arrest him. This is the reason he spent 7 years in the embassy. Now he was arrested but Sweden doesn't want him (at least until now).

Jul 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

UncommonGround says: July 5, 2019 at 11:02 am GMT 400 Words

It is also rigged to silence real journalists like Julian Assange who are trying to overturn the access journalism prized by the corporate media – with its reliance on official sources and insiders for stories – to divulge the secrets of the national security states we live in.

His case is really Kafaesque. Sweden wanted his extradition to Sweden and issued an European arrest warrant for him to be arrested and taken to Sweden. He sought asyl in the embassy of Ecuador. People kept saying for years that he was a criminal evading justice because of that. The British police kept the embassy under surveillance for seven years without interruptions in order to arrest him and send him to Sweden.

Finally after seven years he was forced to leave the embassy. He should have been sent immediately to Sweden. After all, this was the reason why the British had initially arrested him, had limited his movements, had sought to arrest him after he went to the embassy. Everything happened because of an allegued crime in Sweden. But when he was arrested Sweden didn't care to demand that he be taken to Sweden. They had issued an European arrest warrant and this means that they should have a case against him that would justify him being arrested in England. The material against him should be ready and they should send it again to England. But they haven't done that until now.

I'm not sure of the details but I think that the first time that they issued an arrest warrant, this was done by the Swedish prosecuting attorney and not by a judge. Many people complained that this was not legal, but it was said that the French version of European agreements would allow this to happen. Now, the Swedish prosecuting attorney would like to reopen the case against Assange, but this time apparently the case has to be assessed by a judge and some months after Assange was arrested the Swedes haven't yet demanded that he be taken to Sweden. Sweden sought Assange for 8 or 9 years to arrest him. This is the reason he spent 7 years in the embassy. Now he was arrested but Sweden doesn't want him (at least until now).

[Jun 30, 2019] Orwell s 1984 No Longer Reads Like Fiction It s The Reality Of Our Times by Robert Bridge

Highly recommended!
1984, Brave New World, and Idiocracy look more and more like Documentaries now.
Notable quotes:
"... Describing the protagonist Winston Smith's frugal London flat, he mentions an instrument called a 'telescreen', which sounds strikingly similar to the handheld 'smartphone' that is enthusiastically used by billions of people around the world today. ..."
"... At the same time, the denizens of 1984 were never allowed to forget they were living in a totalitarian surveillance state, under the control of the much-feared Thought Police. Massive posters with the slogan 'Big Brother is Watching You' were as prevalent as our modern-day advertising billboards. Today, however, such polite warnings about surveillance would seem redundant, as reports of unauthorized spying still gets the occasional lazy nod in the media now and then. ..."
"... In fact, just in time for 1984's anniversary, it has been reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) has once again been illicitly collecting records on telephone calls and text messages placed by US citizens. ..."
"... Another method of control alluded to in 1984 fell under a system of speech known as 'Newspeak', which attempted to reduce the language to 'doublethink', with the ulterior motive of controlling ideas and thoughts. ..."
"... Another Newspeak term, known as 'facecrime', provides yet another striking parallel to our modern situation. Defined as "to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense." It would be difficult for the modern reader to hear the term 'facecrime' and not connect it with 'Facebook', the social media platform that regularly censors content creators for expressing thoughts it finds 'hateful' or inappropriate. ..."
"... 'Hate speech' is precisely one of those delightfully vague, subjective terms with no real meaning that one would expect to find in the Newspeak style guide. Short of threatening the life of a person or persons, individuals should be free to criticize others without fear of reprisal, least of all from the state, which should be in the business of protecting free speech at all cost. ..."
"... Another modern phenomenon that would be right at home in Orwell's Oceania is the obsession with political correctness, which is defined as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against." But since so many people today identify with some marginalized group, this has made the intelligent discussion of controversial ideas – not least of all on US college campuses , of all places – exceedingly difficult, if not downright dangerous. Orwell must be looking down on all of this madness with much surprise, since he provided the world with the best possible warning to prevent it. ..."
Jun 30, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Robert Bridge, op-ed via RT.com,

70 years ago, the British writer George Orwell captured the essence of technology in its ability to shape our destinies in his seminal work, 1984. The tragedy of our times is that we have failed to heed his warning.

No matter how many times I read 1984, the feeling of total helplessness and despair that weaves itself throughout Orwell's masterpiece never fails to take me by surprise. Although usually referred to as a 'dystopian futuristic novel', it is actually a horror story on a scale far greater than anything that has emerged from the minds of prolific writers like Stephen King or Dean Koontz. The reason is simple. The nightmare world that the protagonist Winston Smith inhabits, a place called Oceania, is all too easily imaginable. Man, as opposed to some imaginary clown or demon, is the evil monster.

In the very first pages of the book, Orwell demonstrates an uncanny ability to foresee future trends in technology. Describing the protagonist Winston Smith's frugal London flat, he mentions an instrument called a 'telescreen', which sounds strikingly similar to the handheld 'smartphone' that is enthusiastically used by billions of people around the world today.

Orwell describes the ubiquitous device as an "oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror" affixed to the wall that "could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely." Sound familiar?

It is through this gadget that the rulers of Oceania are able to monitor the actions of its citizens every minute of every day.

At the same time, the denizens of 1984 were never allowed to forget they were living in a totalitarian surveillance state, under the control of the much-feared Thought Police. Massive posters with the slogan 'Big Brother is Watching You' were as prevalent as our modern-day advertising billboards. Today, however, such polite warnings about surveillance would seem redundant, as reports of unauthorized spying still gets the occasional lazy nod in the media now and then.

In fact, just in time for 1984's anniversary, it has been reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) has once again been illicitly collecting records on telephone calls and text messages placed by US citizens. This latest invasion of privacy has been casually dismissed as an "error" after an unnamed telecommunications firm handed over call records the NSA allegedly "hadn't requested" and "weren't approved" by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In 2013, former CIA employee Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA's intrusive surveillance operations, yet somehow the government agency is able to continue – with the help of the corporate sector – vacuuming up the private information of regular citizens.

Another method of control alluded to in 1984 fell under a system of speech known as 'Newspeak', which attempted to reduce the language to 'doublethink', with the ulterior motive of controlling ideas and thoughts. For example, the term 'joycamp', a truncated term every bit as euphemistic as the 'PATRIOT Act', was used to describe a forced labor camp, whereas a 'doubleplusgood duckspeaker' was used to praise an orator who 'quacked' correctly with regards to the political situation.

Another Newspeak term, known as 'facecrime', provides yet another striking parallel to our modern situation. Defined as "to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense." It would be difficult for the modern reader to hear the term 'facecrime' and not connect it with 'Facebook', the social media platform that regularly censors content creators for expressing thoughts it finds 'hateful' or inappropriate. What social media users need is an Orwellian lesson in 'crimestop', which Orwell defined as "the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought." Those so-called unacceptable 'dangerous thoughts' were determined not by the will of the people, of course, but by their rulers.

And yes, it gets worse. Just this week, Mark Zuckerberg's 'private company' agreed to give French authorities the "identification data" of Facebook users suspected of spreading 'hate speech' on the platform, in what would be an unprecedented move on the part of Silicon Valley.

'Hate speech' is precisely one of those delightfully vague, subjective terms with no real meaning that one would expect to find in the Newspeak style guide. Short of threatening the life of a person or persons, individuals should be free to criticize others without fear of reprisal, least of all from the state, which should be in the business of protecting free speech at all cost.

Another modern phenomenon that would be right at home in Orwell's Oceania is the obsession with political correctness, which is defined as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against." But since so many people today identify with some marginalized group, this has made the intelligent discussion of controversial ideas – not least of all on US college campuses , of all places – exceedingly difficult, if not downright dangerous. Orwell must be looking down on all of this madness with much surprise, since he provided the world with the best possible warning to prevent it.

For anyone who entertains expectations for a happy ending in 1984, be prepared for serious disappointment (spoiler alert, for the few who have somehow not read this book). Although Winston Smith manages to finally experience love, the brief romance – like a delicate flower that was able to take root amid a field of asphalt – is crushed by the authorities with shocking brutality. Not satisfied with merely destroying the relationship, however, Smith is forced to betray his 'Julia' after undergoing the worst imaginable torture at the 'Ministry of Love'.

The book ends with the words, "He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother." Will we too declare, like Winston Smith, our love for 'Big Brother' above all else, or will we emerge victorious against the forces of a technological tyranny that appears to be just over the horizon? Or is Orwell's 1984 just really good fiction and not the instruction manual for tyrants many have come to fear it is?

An awful lot is riding on our answers to those questions, and time is running out.

[Jun 29, 2019] Everyone's Got A Surveillance Score And It Can Cost You Big Money

Jun 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Companies are using Secret Surveillance Scores to evaluate you.

The opening paragraphs of the 38-page complaint are chilling:

Major American corporations, including online and retail businesses, employers and landlords are using Secret Surveillance Scores to charge some people higher prices for the same product than others, to provide some people with better customer services than others, to deny some consumers the right to purchase services or buy or return products while allowing others to do so and even to deny people housing and jobs.

The Secret Surveillance Scores are generated by a shadowy group of privacy-busting firms that operate in dark recesses of the American marketplace. They collect thousands or even tens of thousands of intimate details of each person's life – enough information, it is thought, to literally predetermine a person's behavior – either directly or through data brokers. Then, in what is euphemistically referred to as "data analytics," the firms' engineers write software algorithms that instruct computers to parse a person's data trail and develop a digital "mug shot." Eventually, that individual profile is reduced to a number – the score – and transmitted to corporate clients looking for ways to take advantage of, or even avoid, the consumer. The scoring system is automatic and instantaneous. None of this is disclosed to the consumer: the existence of the algorithm, the application of the Surveillance Score or even that they have become the victim of a technological scheme that just a few years ago would appear only in a dystopian science fiction novel. ( source )

These scores are used to discriminate based on income.

Written by lawyers Laura Antonini, the policy director of the Consumer Education Foundation, and Harvey Rosenfield, who leads the foundation, the complaint highlights four areas in which companies are using surveillance scoring: pricing, customer service, fraud prevention, and housing and employment.

"This is a way for companies to discriminate against users based on income and wealth," Antonini told The Hill .

"It can range from monetary harm or basic necessities of life that you're not getting."

Antonini and Rosenfield argue that the practices outlined in the complaint are illegal – and that consumers are largely unaware that they're being secretly evaluated in ways that can influence how much they pay online.

"The ability of corporations to target, manipulate and discriminate against Americans is unprecedented and inconsistent with the principles of competition and free markets," the complaint reads . "Surveillance scoring promotes inequality by empowering companies to decide which consumers they want to do business with and on what terms, weeding out the people who they deem less valuable. Such discrimination is as much a threat to democracy as it is to a free market."

Stores are using this scoring system to charge you higher prices.

Here's more detail, from The Hill :

The filing points to a 2014 Northeastern University study exploring the ways that companies like Home Depot and Walmart use consumer data to customize prices for different customers. Rosenfield and Antonini replicated the study using an online tool that compares prices that they're charged on their own computers with their own data profiles versus the prices charged to a user browsing sites through an anonymized computer server with no data history.

What they found was that Walmart and Home Depot were offering lower prices on a number of products to the anonymous computer. In the search results for "white paint" on Home Depot's website, Rosenfield and Antonini were seeing higher prices for six of the first 24 items that popped up.

In one example, a five-gallon tub of Glidden premium exterior paint would have cost them $119 compared with $101 for the anonymous computer.

A similar pattern emerged on Walmart's website. The two lawyers found the site was charging them more on a variety of items compared with the anonymous web tool, including paper towels, highlighters, pens and paint.

One paper towel holder cost $10 less for the blank web user. ( source )

To see screenshots of different "personalized" prices shown for items from Home Depot and Walmart, please see pages 12-16 of the complaint. The examples presented demonstrate just how much these inflated prices for common household goods can really add up.

The travel industry is particularly sneaky.

A few days ago, we reported on hidden fees that could be costing you big bucks . The travel industry is a particularly large offender when it comes to sneaky fees, and they are also implicated in this scheme:

Travelocity. Software developer Christian Bennefeld, founder of etracker.com and eBlocker.com, did a sample search for hotel rooms in Paris on Travelocity in 2017 using his eBlocker device, which "allows him to act as if he were searching from two different" computers. Bennefeld found that when he performed the two searches at the same time, there was a $23 difference in Travelocity's prices for the Hotel Le Six in Paris.

CheapTickets. The Northeastern Price Discrimination Study found that the online bargain travel site CheapTickets offers reduced prices on hotels to consumers who are logged into an account with CheapTickets, compared to those who proceed as "guests." We performed our own search of airfares on CheapTickets without being logged in. We searched for flights from LAX to Las Vegas for April 5 through April 8, 2019. Our searches produced identical flight results in the same order, but Mr. Rosenfield's prices were all quoted at three dollars higher than Ms. Antonini's.

Other travel websites. The Northeastern Price Discrimination Study found that Orbitz also offers reduced prices on hotels to consumers who were logged into an account (Orbitz has been accused of quoting higher prices to Mac users versus PC users because Mac users have a higher household income); Expedia and Hotels.com steer a subset of users toward more expensive hotels; and Priceline acknowledges it "personalizes search results based on a user's history of clicks and purchases. ( source )

There is an industry that exists to evaluate you and sell your data to companies.

The complaint also describes an industry that offers retailers evaluations of their customers' "trustworthiness" to determine whether they are a potential risk for fraudulent returns. One such firm – called Sift – offers these evaluations to major companies like Starbucks and Airbnb. Sift boasts on its website that it can tailor "user experiences based on 16,000+ real-time signals – putting good customers in the express lane and stopping bad customers from reaching the checkout."

The Hill contacted Sift for comment, and the company was not able to respond. But, back in April, a Sift spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that it rates customers on a scale of 0 to 100, likening it to a credit score for trustworthiness.

While credit scores can wreak havoc on a person's ability to make big purchases (and sometimes, gain employment), they at least are transparent. Surveillance scoring is not. There is NO transparency for consumers, and Rosenfield and Antonini argue that companies are using them to engage in illegal discrimination while users have little recourse to correct false information about them or challenge their ratings.

We are being spied on and scored on a wide variety of factors.

"In the World Privacy Forum's landmark study "The Scoring of America: How Secret Consumer Scores Threaten Your Privacy and Future," authors Pam Dixon and Bob Gellman identified approximately 44 scores currently used to predict the actions of consumers," the complaint explains:

These include:

The Medication Adherence Score, which predicts whether a consumer is likely to follow a medication regimen;

The Health Risk Score, which predicts how much a specific patient will cost an insurance company;

The Consumer Profitability Score, which predicts which households may be profitable for a company and hence desirable customers;

The Job Security score, which predicts a person's future income and ability to pay for things;

The Churn Score, which predicts whether a consumer is likely to move her business to another company;

The Discretionary Spending Index, which scores how much extra cash a particular consumer might be able to spend on non-necessities;

The Invitation to Apply Score, which predicts how likely a consumer is to respond to a sales offer;

The Charitable Donor Score, which predicts how likely a household is to make significant charitable donations;

The Pregnancy Predictor Score, which predicts the likelihood of someone getting pregnant. ( source )

The government isn't doing anything to stop these practices.

Back in 2014, the Federal Trade Commission held a workshop on a practice they call "predictive scoring" but the agency has done little since to reign in the practice. Antonini said that their complaint is pushing the agency to reexamine the industry and investigate whether it violates laws against unfair and deceptive business practices, according to The Hill :

"It's far, far worse than when they looked at it in 2014," she said. "There's an exponentially larger amount of data that's being collected about the American public that's in the hands of data brokers and companies. Their ability to process that data and write algorithms have also improved exponentially. " ( source )

We seem to be past the point of expecting our data to remain private, The Introduction to the complaint begins with a passage that sums up reality for us now:

This Petition does not ask the Commission to investigate the collection of Americans' personal information. The battle over whether Americans' personal data can be collected is over, and, as of this moment at least, consumers have lost. Consumers are now victims of an unavoidable corporate surveillance capitalism.

Rather, this Petition highlights a disturbing evolution in how consumers' data is deployed against them. ( source )

We can't go anywhere without being surveilled now.

It is now impossible to shop in any large chain stores without being spied on. Stores are starting to use "smart coolers", which are refrigerators equipped with cameras that scan shoppers' faces and make inferences on their age and gender. And, a recent article from Futurism describes how security cameras are no longer being used solely to reduce theft:

"Instead of just keeping track of who's in a store, surveillance systems could use facial recognition to determine peoples' identities and gathering even more information about them. That data would then be out there, with no opportunity to opt out. ( source )

A new ACLU report titled "The Dawn of Robot Surveillance" describes how emerging AI technology enables security companies to constantly monitor and collect data about people.

"Growth in the use and effectiveness of artificial intelligence techniques has been so rapid that people haven't had time to assimilate a new understanding of what is being done, and what the consequences of data collection and privacy invasions can be," the report concludes.

[Jun 24, 2019] Google's Chrome Web Browser Has Become Spy Software

Notable quotes:
"... Google, Facebook and Twitter will track you even if you don't use their services. Firefox recently disabled all the add-ons I used to block these trackers. Firefox now whitelists Google. Screw them, I switched to Brave. ..."
"... No browser is secure. ..."
"... People would be very naive to think that anything done online is "hidden", regardless of the software, VPN, ad-block, browser, or anything else they use to attempt to block or obfuscate their activity. All that stuff does is alert the "authorities" that you want to hide your online activities, which earns you an automatic red flag and more in-depth tracking and surveillance. ..."
"... If you don't want to be tracked, don't use technology that can track you (i.e., anything Internet- or GPS-connected). It's that simple. And don't be so naive as to think that switching from one browser to another or adding an adblock is going to protect you from being tracked. People need to get real about this. ..."
"... These people are not omnipotent. Nor are they the best and brightest. ..."
"... HOWEVER - if you know you are being Spied on then You have the advantage. You can misdirect, misinform, decoy etc ..."
"... Yes, you can do those things, but just like there are AIs that can detect forgeries, there are AIs that can detect when you're purposely trying to cover your Internet tracks, so why bother? ..."
"... Your profile was developed years ago already. Nothing you do now will change that, except if you stop all Internet activity and wear a hat, sunglasses and burka every time you go outdoors. Oh, and never live in the same place for more than a few months. ..."
"... Most of the smart people have been replaced by H1Bs, wahmen, and minorities. My evidence, besides inside info, is that Google has not created anything innovative in-house since Gmail. ..."
"... One should have NO expectation of privacy especially at work and on work's computers. ..."
"... There is no privacy. Once you venture onto the internet nothing is secret, private, or able to be hidden. Not convinced that Firefox is really any better than others. ..."
Jun 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Google's Chrome Web Browser "Has Become Spy Software"

by Tyler Durden Mon, 06/24/2019 - 04:15 3 SHARES

Google's Chrome is essentially spy software according to Washington Post tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler, who spent a week analyzing the popular browser and concluded that it "looks a lot like surveillance software."

Fowler has since switched to Mozilla's Firefox because of its default privacy settings, and says that it was easier than one might imagine.

My tests of Chrome vs. Firefox unearthed a personal data caper of absurd proportions . In a week of Web surfing on my desktop, I discovered 11,189 requests for tracker "cookies" that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer but were automatically blocked by Firefox. These little files are the hooks that data firms, including Google itself, use to follow what websites you visit so they can build profiles of your interests, income and personality.

Chrome welcomed trackers even at websites you would think would be private . I watched Aetna and the Federal Student Aid website set cookies for Facebook and Google. They surreptitiously told the data giants every time I pulled up the insurance and loan service's log-in pages.

And that's not the half of it.

Look in the upper right corner of your Chrome browser. See a picture or a name in the circle? If so, you're logged in to the browser, and Google might be tapping into your Web activity to target ads . Don't recall signing in? I didn't, either. Chrome recently started doing that automatically when you use Gmail. - Washington Post

When you use Chrome, signing into Gmail automatically logs in the browser to your Google account. When "sync" is also on, Google receives your browsing history. (Geoffrey Fowler/The Washington Post)

Meanwhile, Chrome is even worse when it comes to mobile devices - reporting the precise location of Android users unless location sharing is turned off, in which case it will send out your rough coordinates.

Cookie monsters

According to one study, tracking cookies from third-parties are on 92% of websites . The Washington Post , for example, uses around 40 - which the company said is "average for a news site," and says they are designed to deliver better-targeted ads and track ad performance.

But cookies can also be found on websites with no advertising.

Both Aetna and the FSA service said the cookies on their sites help measure their own external marketing campaigns.

The blame for this mess belongs to the entire advertising, publishing and tech industries. But what responsibility does a browser have in protecting us from code that isn't doing much more than spying? - Washington Post

Mozilla to the rescue ?

For the past four years or so, Firefox browser has had a built-in anti-tracking feature for the past four or so years in its "private" browsing mode. Earlier this month, Mozilla activated this feature for normal browsing mode . While ads will still appear, Firefox is now separating cookies in real time to determine which ones are required for a website to function correctly, and which ones are simply spies.

Apple began to block cookies on their Safari mobile browser starting in 2017, using an algorithm the company calls "intelligent tracking protection."

Chrome, meanwhile, continues to welcome cookies onto your computer and phone with open arms. That said, the company announced last month that it would require third-party cookies to better identify themselves, which will supposedly allow them to apply better controls. That said, the company did not offer The Post a timeline or say whether it would employ default tracking blockers.

I'm not holding my breath. G oogle itself, through its Doubleclick and other ad businesses, is the No. 1 cookie maker -- the Mrs. Fields of the Web . It's hard to imagine Chrome ever cutting off Google's moneymaker. - Washington Post

"Cookies play a role in user privacy, but a narrow focus on cookies obscures the broader privacy discussion because it's just one way in which users can be tracked across sites," according to Chrome's director of product management, Ben Galbraith. " This is a complex problem, and simple, blunt cookie blocking solutions force tracking into more opaque practices ."

Giving up on Google

In his decision to kick Chrome to the curb, Fowler cites a blog post by Johns Hopkins associate professor Matthew Green, who said last year he was "done" with the browser.

Like Green, I've chosen Firefox, which works across phones, tablets, PCs and Macs. Apple's Safari is also a good option on Macs, iPhones and iPads, and the niche Brave browser goes even further in trying to jam the ad-tech industry.

What does switching to Firefox cost you? It's free, and downloading a different browser is much simpler than changing phones.

In 2017, Mozilla launched a new version of Firefox called Quantum that made it considerably faster. In my tests, it has felt almost as fast as Chrome, though benchmark tests have found it can be slower in some contexts. Firefox says it's better about managing memory if you use lots and lots of tabs.

Switching means you'll have to move your bookmarks, and Firefox offers tools to help. Shifting passwords is easy if you use a password manager . And most browser add-ons are available, though it's possible you won't find your favorite. - Washington Post

Perhaps Fowler can reach out to some of his Washington Post colleagues to see what their many sources in the US intelligence community think of Chrome vs. Firefox...


zeezrom2point0 , 23 seconds ago link

Uninstall Chrome. Firefox is still spyware. Use Brave...until it's compromised.

hoytmonger , 4 minutes ago link

Google, Facebook and Twitter will track you even if you don't use their services. Firefox recently disabled all the add-ons I used to block these trackers. Firefox now whitelists Google. Screw them, I switched to Brave.

Brave automatically blocks ads, trackers, scripts and upgrades HTTP to HTTPS. They also don't seem to mind that I still use all the add-ons that Firefox disabled.

mrjinx007 , 4 minutes ago link

Maybe god got tired of watching everything we do and hired Google to do the job. Maybe if we donate some money to Google, they can make some of our past actions from the web deleted.

BGO , 21 minutes ago link

If you like Chrome's interface but don't want to share every last detail of your online life with the Googlebergs, SRWare's Iron browser is a good alternative.

Smilygladhands , 24 minutes ago link

No browser is secure. Firefox jumped the shark when their board made that gentleman resign several years ago because he supported traditional marriage.

This article doesn't mention browser add-ons that block cookies and trackers.

There are many more. Just search Google extensions for Adblockers and pick which ones floats your buoy

The Herdsman , 11 minutes ago link

Just use Brave and its all automatically blocked. No add-ons needed.

hoytmonger , 2 minutes ago link
Lizzy Boardroom , 27 minutes ago link

Trust no one, tell your secrets to nobody, and no one will ever betray you.

PanApollo , 34 minutes ago link

Google is CIA...

Justin Case , 37 minutes ago link

If privacy and anonymity are your goals, and you don't mind some impact on the way you usually use the Internet, then Tor is the solution you seek. Tor (The Onion Router) is actually a system more than just a browser.

The Tor browser connects to the Tor network and uses technology originally developed by the United States Naval Research Laboratory to provide secure communications for intelligence assets (spies, diplomats, etc.).

oday, millions of people around the world who need serious privacy protection use Tor. We're talking about those intelligence assets, along with activists, whistleblowers, police, citizen journalists, and anyone else who is willing to trade some convenience and speed for greater privacy and anonymity.

The Tor browser is based on Firefox. While it is designed for browsing the public Internet (the Clearnet) just like Firefox is, Tor doesn't connect directly to a resource in the Clearnet. All communications between your Tor browser and a Clearnet resource pass through the Tor network of volunteer-run routers.

Messages between the Tor network and the Clearnet resource are not encrypted. However, thanks to the design of the Tor network, the resource cannot see your IP Address. It can only see the IP Address of the Tor server that it is connected to. This makes you anonymous in that there is no way, short of hacking the Tor network (or you doing something stupid), of connecting your messages to your address.

Link

HushHushSweet , 54 minutes ago link

People would be very naive to think that anything done online is "hidden", regardless of the software, VPN, ad-block, browser, or anything else they use to attempt to block or obfuscate their activity. All that stuff does is alert the "authorities" that you want to hide your online activities, which earns you an automatic red flag and more in-depth tracking and surveillance.

You know I'm right about this.

If you don't want to be tracked, don't use technology that can track you (i.e., anything Internet- or GPS-connected). It's that simple. And don't be so naive as to think that switching from one browser to another or adding an adblock is going to protect you from being tracked. People need to get real about this. The article is not keeping it real.

Abaco , 45 minutes ago link

These people are not omnipotent. Nor are they the best and brightest.

fackbankz , 34 minutes ago link

As a law abiding citizen, I'm not worried about "the authorities" knowing that I post on ZeroHedge. The invasive nature of private companies selling my data without compensating me offends me, and I'm not comfortable with the idea that some kid (or an AI) at Facebook or Google can activate my camera and read my emotions as I look at a meme or read an article.

Everyone should strive to stay offline as much as possible, but we should also take all legal measures to protect our privacy. Of course the government can track you; that doesn't mean you should make your life an open book to the data pimps.

Everyone has things that they would prefer to keep private. That's why the Fourth Amendment exists.

mikkybkk , 55 minutes ago link

Brave browser is a much better option than firefox. Strips away all crap and even pays you to watch ads if you enable it and its available in your area. Completely changes the model for how ads and revenue to content creators are set up.

Thom Paine , 55 minutes ago link

HOWEVER - if you know you are being Spied on then You have the advantage. You can misdirect, misinform, decoy etc

HushHushSweet , 48 minutes ago link

Yes, you can do those things, but just like there are AIs that can detect forgeries, there are AIs that can detect when you're purposely trying to cover your Internet tracks, so why bother?

Your profile was developed years ago already. Nothing you do now will change that, except if you stop all Internet activity and wear a hat, sunglasses and burka every time you go outdoors. Oh, and never live in the same place for more than a few months.

Otherwise, you're a known and categorized entity.

Tactical Joke , 34 minutes ago link

Most of the smart people have been replaced by H1Bs, wahmen, and minorities. My evidence, besides inside info, is that Google has not created anything innovative in-house since Gmail.

detached.amusement , 43 minutes ago link

One should have NO expectation of privacy especially at work and on work's computers. They don't just own that hardware, they legally own all that data on the drives.

Thom Paine , 1 hour ago link

Then again if you use Windows then any security measures you take are a waste of time.

CAPT DRAKE , 1 hour ago link

There is no privacy. Once you venture onto the internet nothing is secret, private, or able to be hidden. Not convinced that Firefox is really any better than others.

Thom Paine , 1 hour ago link

VPN usage can be hidden by using an Obfuscated VPN if you really do no want your ISP to know you are using a VPN. But even with a naked VPN your data is encrypted. Or you can use a double VPN if you are concerned. Or TOR if data speed is not an issue.

If you test your VPN security and privacy on the various tests sites you will find that your IP address is gone and replaced. You ought to secure your browser with privacy extensions to ensure nothing else leaks.

We connect to Chinese and other streaming TV that is blocked in our country. They are smart enough to know to block a VPN, but don't recognize a double VPN for some reason, or XOR. And streams at TV quality download to our TV.

Abaco , 14 minutes ago link

Don't believe this BS. VPN providers have known IP addresses. You don't need any special tricks to know that if you are connecting to a VPN provider's IP you are using a VPN.

There is a lot of horseshit passed around as knowledge by people pimping VPN's. VPN's provide a brick in the wall of security but aren't the magic pill people pimp them as.

Obfuscation requires compatible software on both ends. It doesn't matter if your VPN claims to use it. That will only work from your router to the VPN provider - whose IP's are known.

aspnaz , 1 hour ago link

Putting Google software onto your device means that they now have all your passwords, all your private files, all of everything, so does Microsoft.

SeanInNYC , 1 hour ago link

The push for Firefox is because Firefox is ideologically compliant in blocking websites that question the globalist degeneration of the free world. Mozilla joined up with George Soros to block websites that publish "fake news" or spread "hate" as defined by groups like the ADL, SPLSC, etc. Look up Mozilla's MITI program.

aspnaz , 1 hour ago link

Put Firefox on your device and you have Soros on your device, reading everything, not just web data.

D. G. Neree , 1 hour ago link

I only use Chrome for the pr0n sites (different nick). Firefox is for my D.G.Neree stuff (main nick). Opera is for my real name stuff (I won't tell you). Now I have installed Brave too and it will be for my political commentaries (still searching for a nick)

aspnaz , 1 hour ago link

You installed Google software on your device. You now have no privacy, even if Google appears to not be running, it will have a monitoring program running, recording everything you do.

D. G. Neree , 56 minutes ago link

I just found out Opera is Chinese now. I will ditch it and use Brave for my personal stuff

RedBaron616 , 1 hour ago link

I use Vivaldi, which was developed by one of the Opera co-founders. I believe it has Chrome behind it, but I have both Ad-block and Ghostery. I also have gone deep into the settings, customizing it exactly the way I want it. Constantly delete all history, cookies, etc. So I see no ads on ZH whatsoever. I also use a VPN.

aspnaz , 1 hour ago link

Stop being stupid. You installed someone else's software on your device, it can now read everything - it can even send screen grabs to Google - your privacy is no more.

VTHOR , 1 hour ago link

BETTER LISTEN. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVDs9iQ0Jm4

DavidC , 1 hour ago link

I won't touch Google Chrome, I use Firefox and Opera, like Opera. Anyone any feedback on it?

DavidC

Sweet Daddy D , 1 hour ago link

I have a feeling Firefox is slowly getting dodgy too, I hope I'm wrong

RedBaron616 , 1 hour ago link

I used to like Opera, but the Chinese bought the company. That ended my use of Opera. See my post above on Vivaldi. I used to really like Firefox, but they bug you to log in now. I don't want a Firefox account and won't ever sign up for one!

JamcaicanMeAfraid , 48 minutes ago link

Google recently were in the process of rewriting the Chromium engine that Opera and Vivaldi among others use as a basis of their browsers. Microsoft is also following suit rewriting Edge with the Chromium engine. Back to the new Chromium release, Google had written the new engine to remove all Ad Blocking hooks, that would mean if you were using say Brave along with an ad blocker, your ad blocker would be disabled. The browser publishers threw a fit such that Google said they were rethinking that decision, most publishers said they would not use the new engine as well. I haven't seen any recent developments since Google made that statement. As a note Firefox does not use the Chromium engine.

Here is what Google has noted about disabling ad blockers in the latest version: Google Chrome

shadow54 , 1 hour ago link

Add adblock plus to both browsers and make the settings block social media trackers. Adblock plus is blocking 30 trackers on this zerohedge page.

Joe Potato , 19 minutes ago link

Adblock was great when it first came out, but it sold out to the advertisers a long time ago. Since adblock plus actually allows ads and trackers now, i'm not sure what benefit there is in using it. Ublock Origin blocks ads.

[Jun 20, 2019] The Omnipresent Surveillance State by John W. Whitehead

Jun 19, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

"You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

-- George Orwell, 1984

Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state .

It's been 70 years since Orwell -- dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm -- depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984 .

Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, "He loved Big Brother," we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.

"To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone -- to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink -- greetings!"

-- George Orwell

1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. The government, or "Party," is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: "Big Brother is watching you."

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

―George Orwell

Much like Orwell's Big Brother in 1984 , the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move. Much like Huxley's A Brave New World , we are churning out a society of watchers who "have their liberties taken away from them, but rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing." Much like Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale , the populace is now taught to "know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away ."

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick's darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state -- which became the basis for Steven Spielberg's futuristic thriller Minority Report -- we are now trapped in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike -- facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on -- are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality .

Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes , facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

―George Orwell

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America. And bodily privacy and integrity have been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

―George Orwell, Animal Farm

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state.

What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach.

In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future.

The government now has at its disposal technological arsenals so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. Spearheaded by the NSA, which has shown itself to care little to nothing for constitutional limits or privacy, the "security/industrial complex" -- a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance -- has come to dominate the government and our lives. At three times the size of the CIA, constituting one third of the intelligence budget and with its own global spy network to boot, the NSA has a long history of spying on Americans, whether or not it has always had the authorization to do so.

Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who is paying the price? The American people, of course.

Orwell understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan flag-waving, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control over the citizenry at all costs. As Orwell explains:

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it."

― George Orwell

How do you change the way people think? You start by changing the words they use.

In totalitarian regimes -- a.k.a. police states -- where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.

Dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 , reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.

In Huxley's Brave New World , serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.

And in Orwell's 1984 , Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish "thoughtcrimes." In this dystopian vision of the future, the Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the Ministry of Peace deals with war and defense, the Ministry of Plenty deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love deals with law and order (torture and brainwashing), and the Ministry of Truth deals with news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda). The mottos of Oceania: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

All three -- Bradbury, Huxley and Orwell -- had an uncanny knack for realizing the future, yet it is Orwell who best understood the power of language to manipulate the masses. Orwell's Big Brother relied on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary. To give a single example, as psychologist Erich Fromm illustrates in his afterword to 1984 :

The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as "This dog is free from lice" or "This field is free from weeds." It could not be used in its old sense of "politically free" or "intellectually free," since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed as concepts .

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is "safe" and "accepted" by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

"Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious."

-- George Orwell

Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their privacy rights . In fact, the addiction to screen devices -- especially cell phones -- has created a hive effect where the populace not only watched but is controlled by AI bots. However, at one time, the idea of a total surveillance state tracking one's every move would have been abhorrent to most Americans. That all changed with the 9/11 attacks. As professor Jeffrey Rosen observes, "Before Sept. 11, the idea that Americans would voluntarily agree to live their lives under the gaze of a network of biometric surveillance cameras, peering at them in government buildings, shopping malls, subways and stadiums, would have seemed unthinkable, a dystopian fantasy of a society that had surrendered privacy and anonymity ."

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry -- mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all -- we have nowhere left to go.

We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government. In search of so-called terrorists and extremists hiding amongst us -- the proverbial "needle in a haystack," as one official termed it -- the Corporate State has taken to monitoring all aspects of our lives, from cell phone calls and emails to Internet activity and credit card transactions. Much of this data is being fed through fusion centers across the country, which work with the Department of Homeland Security to make threat assessments on every citizen, including school children. These are state and regional intelligence centers that collect data on you.

"Big Brother is Watching You."

―George Orwell

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched, especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations equipped with facial recognition software. When you use a cell phone or drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. Such information is shared with government agents, including local police. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts and your activities is now being fed to the U.S. government.

The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites and Internet surveillance.

Speech recognition technology now makes it possible for the government to carry out massive eavesdropping by way of sophisticated computer systems. Phone calls can be monitored, the audio converted to text files and stored in computer databases indefinitely. And if any "threatening" words are detected -- no matter how inane or silly -- the record can be flagged and assigned to a government agent for further investigation. Federal and state governments, again working with private corporations, monitor your Internet content. Users are profiled and tracked in order to identify, target and even prosecute them.

In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you're guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, the FBI uses its wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.

"Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull."

― George Orwell

Here's what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it's not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We've already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called "hateful" thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.

Say hello to the new Thought Police .

Total Internet surveillance by the Corporate State, as omnipresent as God, is used by the government to predict and, more importantly, control the populace, and it's not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA is now designing an artificial intelligence system that is designed to anticipate your every move. In a nutshell, the NSA will feed vast amounts of the information it collects to a computer system known as Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence), which the computer can then use to detect patterns and predict behavior.

No information is sacred or spared.

Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability."

Thus, what we are witnessing, in the so-called name of security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprised of the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians and private corporations).

Clearly, the age of privacy in America is at an end.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever."

-- Orwell

So where does that leave us?

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.

It won't be long before we find ourselves looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted without those thoughts, words and activities being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.

To be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government's roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.

Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw.

So how do you survive in the American surveillance state?

We're running out of options.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People , we'll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, entertainment industry, etc.) and self-preservation in the form of renewed vigilance about threats to our freedoms and active engagement in self-governance.

Yet as Aldous Huxley acknowledged in Brave New World Revisited : "Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it."

John W. Whitehead is the president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People .

[Jun 19, 2019] How to stop Google and Facebook from strangling journalism

Jun 19, 2019 | theweek.com

he last two decades have been perhaps the worst in American history for journalism. After years of decline , newsroom employment fell a further 23 percent from 2008-2017 -- a trend which shows no sign of stopping .

There are three big reasons why. First, the rise of the internet, which undermined traditional newspaper revenue models, especially classified ads. Second, the Great Recession, which tanked employment of all kinds. Third and most importantly, the rise of online monopolies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

It raises a question: How can we stop these corporate behemoths from strangling the life out of American journalism? A good place to start would be breaking up the tech giants, and regulating the online advertising market to ensure fair competition.

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Spending on digital advertising is projected to surpass the traditional sort in 2019 for the first time, and you will not be surprised to learn where that money is going. Last year, Google alone was estimated to make more than $40 billion in online advertising with $4.7 billion of that coming from news content , according to a new report from the News Media Alliance. That is nearly as much as the $5.1 billion the entire American news industry earned in online ads. What's more, Google "only" accounts for 37 percent of the online ad market. Facebook makes up another 22 percent -- an effective duopoly that has only been partially disrupted by (who else?) Amazon, which has moved aggressively into the market over the last few years and now takes up 9 percent.

That is why journalism has continued to flounder even as the broader economy has improved a lot, and why even digital native companies like Buzzfeed and Vox are struggling to keep their heads above water. For instance, as Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo explains , Google runs the major ad market (DoubleClick), is the largest purchaser on that market (through Adexchange), and has privileged access to all the valuable data thus obtained. Its "monopoly control is almost comically great," he writes -- and that's just one company. Just as online ad revenue got to the point where it might replace print ads, internet behemoths have sucked up a huge majority of it, leaving news companies to fight over scraps, or desperately pivot to alternative revenue models like video content or subscriptions.

Remarkably, there appears to be some bipartisan support for regulatory action to give news companies a leg up. Hearings are scheduled on Tuesday for a bill which would grant news companies an exemption to antitrust law, reports CNN , "allowing them to band together in negotiations with online platforms."

This would probably be worth trying, but it's likely not nearly aggressive enough. The journalism industry is fragmented, damaged, and cash-poor, and would surely struggle to compete with Google and Facebook even if it could coordinate properly. It's telling that only Amazon -- another gargantuan, hugely profitable tech colossus -- has managed to compete even a little.

A better approach would be to simply break up and regulate these companies. Following American antitrust law, force Alphabet (Google's parent company) to break all its major parts into separate companies -- Google for search, YouTube for video, DoubleClick for ads, Analytics for audience analysis, and so on. Do the same for Facebook, forcing it to split off Instagram and Whatsapp.

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Then regulate the online ad market. It is outrageous for one company to both run the major ad market and have first bite at sales on that market, because it puts other sellers and buyers at an unfair disadvantage -- as Marshall notes, "the interplay between DoubleClick and Adexchange is textbook anti-competitive practice." Breaking DoubleClick out into a different company would solve that particular instance of abuse of market power, but it probably wouldn't be the end of it. An online ad sales platform (like many internet businesses) has high fixed costs but very low marginal costs -- meaning it costs a great deal to set up all the servers and networks, but almost nothing to serve one additional ad. Once a company has achieved massive scale, like Google has with DoubleClick, it has an ever-increasing advantage over any would-be competitors. That's the classic definition of a natural monopoly, which if left to its own devices will certainly abuse its market power just like Gilded Age railroads .

Therefore, abuse of market power should be banned outright with common carrier regulations mandating equal prices for equal services across the whole online ad business -- either that, or DoubleClick should be nationalized outright and run as a public utility.

For many years, Big Tech had a glossy reputation, portraying itself as the vanguard of a new high-tech future where fancy gadgets and websites would solve all our problems. It turns out it is just another grubby corporate sector, ruthlessly seeking profit no matter who or what gets trodden underfoot in the process. It's long since time we brought these companies to heel. Cracking them up and regulating their markets is a good place to start.

[Jun 19, 2019] The fantasy of online privacy

Notable quotes:
"... The internet, as Yasha Levine showed us in an admirable and unfortunately neglected book last year, was always envisioned by the military industrial complex responsible for its creation as a tool for surveillance. ..."
"... It should come as no surprise that neoliberal capitalism, the only system with even more global reach than the American armed forces (with which big tech is increasingly allied anyway), would turn it to the very purpose for which it was designed. There was never going to be another way. ..."
"... We can insist on disclosure, but nobody is ever going to read through those terms of service documents. We can also attempt to limit the relationship between digital advertising and free social media services, but the latter could not exist without the former. Nor could the unlimited amount of "content" produced by wage slaves or unpaid amateurs. ..."
"... The fact that hundreds of companies know virtually everything about me because I use technologies that are all but unavoidable for anyone who participates in modern life is terrifying. ..."
"... I wonder how many other people now think that the old arrangement -- in which we took photos with real cameras and paid people at department stores to make prints of them and shared them in the privacy of our homes with people we really love, and had beautifully clear conversations on reliable pieces of hardware, and paid for newspapers that offered good wages to their writers and editors thanks to the existence of classified ads -- was so bad. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | theweek.com

Nothing in our conversations about the pros and cons of the modern internet seems to me more naïve than our complaints about privacy.

... ... ...

The problem is that Facebook is not really a bookstore in this analogy -- at least not in any straightforward sense. To understand what they do you have to imagine a chain for whom selling books is not really the point; the books, which are rather enticingly free, are only there to give the store's owners a sense of what you might be interested in, information that they then sell to other companies that will in turn try to hawk everything from clothing to medicine to political candidates. If you think the neat blue website pays engineers hundreds of millions of dollars to let you share dog scrapbooks and spy on your old high-school classmates out of the goodness of its founders' hearts, you're delusional.

But the issues go well beyond any single platform or website. The internet, as Yasha Levine showed us in an admirable and unfortunately neglected book last year, was always envisioned by the military industrial complex responsible for its creation as a tool for surveillance.

It should come as no surprise that neoliberal capitalism, the only system with even more global reach than the American armed forces (with which big tech is increasingly allied anyway), would turn it to the very purpose for which it was designed. There was never going to be another way.

This doesn't necessarily mean that we have to live with the status quo. It is possible to imagine a future in which the moral hazard of putting all the information available from search engines and email use into the hands of private corporations disappeared. Instead of Google and Gmail we could have a massive Library of Congress search engine and a free -- with paid upgrades available for those who need additional storage -- Postal Service email platform. I for one would not mind entrusting Uncle Sam with the knowledge that the phrase beginning with "M" I am most likely to search for information about is "Michigan football recruiting."

The sad truth, though, is that these things have already been tried . Very few people remember now that the post office once attempted to get into the email business and made various attempts to keep digital commerce within the purview of the government rather than in the hands of private corporations. These efforts failed time and again, often due to Silicon Valley lobbying efforts. (Internal incompetence was also an issue: imagine paying $1.70 per email in 2002.)

This problem might be solved easily enough if those corporations had no say in the matter, like the coal companies under the post-war Labour government in Britain. But even if forcibly nationalizing search, email, and other basic internet services now seems like the ideal solution, it would involve the most radical use of government power since the New Deal. I doubt there is a single member of Congress who would even entertain the idea. What does that leave with us? A box of Band-Aids for some gaping wounds. We can insist on disclosure, but nobody is ever going to read through those terms of service documents. We can also attempt to limit the relationship between digital advertising and free social media services, but the latter could not exist without the former. Nor could the unlimited amount of "content" produced by wage slaves or unpaid amateurs.

I don't mean to sound unduly cynical. The fact that hundreds of companies know virtually everything about me because I use technologies that are all but unavoidable for anyone who participates in modern life is terrifying.

I wonder how many other people now think that the old arrangement -- in which we took photos with real cameras and paid people at department stores to make prints of them and shared them in the privacy of our homes with people we really love, and had beautifully clear conversations on reliable pieces of hardware, and paid for newspapers that offered good wages to their writers and editors thanks to the existence of classified ads -- was so bad.

In the future we should be more mindful of the power of technology to destroy things we value. But how many of those things are still left?

[Jun 18, 2019] Wikileaks CIA Stole Russian Malware, Uses It to Misdirect Attribution of Cyber Attacks

Notable quotes:
"... So perhaps the DNC was hacked by the CIA and it was blamed on the Russians. ..."
"... How can we trust any investigation when the investigation can be doctored to scapegoat Russia? This is embarrassing. ..."
"... Clapper is a known perjurer. ..."
"... Of course it was the Obama CIA, pros like the Russians or Chinese, never leave behind "fingerprints" they are smart enough to cover their tracks. As a cyber analyst I can tell you that when you see "fingerprints or breadcrumbs" leading to a source, it's usually deceptive and intentional. Let that sink in! ..."
Jun 12, 2019 | russia-insider.com

From the Wikileaks "Year Zero" dump:

The CIA's Remote Devices Branch 's UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.

With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the "fingerprints" of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.

UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques.

Everyone knew it. Now we have proof. "Fingerprints" are meaningless. It's now clear that the CIA is able to "pose" as "Russian hackers" whenever it so chooses. Just something to think about. All allegations of "digital fingerprints" left behind by Russian hackers must now be dismissed as either fake or meaningless


ChasMoDee 2 years ago ,

So perhaps the DNC was hacked by the CIA and it was blamed on the Russians.

Disco Obama ChasMoDee 2 years ago ,

How can we trust any investigation when the investigation can be doctored to scapegoat Russia? This is embarrassing.

disqus_ayvQwhvS6h Disco Obama 2 years ago ,

Since 2002. You sheep have had the wool pulled over since 2002. It's been 15 years. Imagine how much you won't find out til the next 15.

Tom 2 years ago ,

So the CIA obtained FISA Warrants for the millions of devices hacked? Guess we now know how Trump Tower was wiretapped when DNI Clapper said there was no such order given.

JackBootedThug✓ Tom 2 years ago ,

Clapper is a known perjurer.

American Freeman 2 years ago ,

Now we know how Obama's administration got through the FISA Court to tape Trump.

4ever&anon 2 years ago ,

So! It now becomes clear what Obama and the Democrats were planning for the Trump Administration. They could hack away at anything and everything and leave Russian "fingerprints" to make it appear that the Russians did it. It's really no telling what is already planted. Thst's why some Democrat's seem so supremely confident that Trump will be impeached.

I don't think that it's really sunk in for most people that this was a plan for World Domination by a force more evil than the average person could ever imagine. We're still in grave danger but thank Heaven for Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Not only have they saved America but perhaps the whole world from domination that heretofore couldn't even be imagined except in science fiction.

Our problem will now be how to build enough gallows to accomodate the traitors and seditionists who have participated in this dark plan.

Mike John Elissen 2 years ago ,

Hysteria in Oceania. The same goons blaming Russia for robbing the local candy store (without producing evidence) are robbing the candy factory 24/7. All of a sudden, the MSM has found issues and terms like `non-verified documents` and `non-verifiable, anonymous sources` to be of the utmost importance, in contrast to when they were copy-pasting the ` information` about Russian hacking. I wonder how much time it takes for the Ministries of Information and their docile press-clowns to (again) turn the story around and blame WikiLeaks for being a `Russian tool` to discard their own obvious crimes.

Elevator2TheTop 2 years ago ,

This whole Russian hacking thing is sounding more and more like the anti-Muslim video that sparked the Benghazi attacks.

Bad Hombre 2 years ago ,

They wiretapped the entire Trump team thinking they would come up with an October surprise...and found NOTHING. If they had ANYTHING, it would have been used prior to the election. And, since Hillary was supposed to win, the illegal wire taps would never have been disclosed.

Now Trump has exposed the Obama admin and democrats are hyperventilating over Russia to deflect from the crimes they committed.

ruadh Bad Hombre 2 years ago ,

We always knew that, were told we were crazy, now we have proof. The MSM has been gas-lighting us. I wonder how many red pills you have to swallow to get to the other side of this Rabbit Hole?

middleclasstaxpayer 2 years ago ,

It seems our government really is the most corrupt entity on this planet.

lou Guest 2 years ago ,

Well BO moved to Washington so it will be easy for the Press to shout these questions at him at his home or a restaurant or a ballgame. We need answers BO, and right now. No BS. anymore. Or go back to Indonesia and hide out.

Peter Shoobridge ن ruadh 2 years ago ,

It's really not fun. The intelligence agencies are unaccountable and cloak their criminality with the secrecy of national security. They're not going to back down. They're ruthless. And they kill people for sport. This will not end well unless the military is called in to round them up, which has huge risks of its own...

TGFD 2 years ago ,

TGFD here.
As far as I'm concerned. death becomes anyone in the effing CIA. Same goes for their parasitic family members. Death's image would look good on them.
There is NO secret in the CIA that I would not expose if I could.

I never heard of the term, "Deep State" prior to 2 months ago, and I don't like what I hear, either. I pray that somehow, God will enable TRUMP to vanquish all the filth in the deep state.

William Dickerson 2 years ago ,

I knew it - the documents I looked over, the IP addresses I checked, the supposed "malware" that the US said "was the same as we know Russia had used" and more - and it just did not add up.

Now to be sure the American population is dumb when it comes to technology - and they usually blindly believe what the CIA, and media, tells them. But me - being in IT for some decades and having worked with Russian people for 6 years (in an electronics engineering company founded by a Russian immigrant to the U.S.) and being a network security administrator for a small government agency, something smelled odd.

The IP addresses - hahaha - really? Try again - up until the spring of 2016 American company Verizon routed 1 million stolen IP addresses - used by cyber-criminals in the USA........ so guess where some of those IP addresses REALLY belonged. Further, the "CIA" and other spooks included - honestly? TOR exit node addresses. If you use TOR browser, you will find some of those same addresses in your own logs (unless you are smart and either purge or don't log, etc.)
So try again, U.S. spooks - the malware? HAHA - what a JOKE. Really. I mean older software that John Q. Public can download for FREE? Sorry, Russians are far far smarter and they'd not use OLD software that works on WordPress based on PHP servers when the target isn't based on blogging software.

Sorry, silly Americans - including and especially McCain and others in our congress who are, say what? members of INTELLIGENCE committees? Really?

You help guide the intelligence and security operations of a major country and you fall for the BS that was presented to you? Did you not ask questions? I did - I did my own research and I guess that proves I'm as smart or smarter than any member of and house or Senate intelligence committee. Do these people even know where the power button is on their computer? Smart - they hire unvetted IT people to take care of congressional computers....... and some of the equipment ends up missing, and these people have full free access as admins to computers used by congressional members of armed services committees and more!

That's how smart our U.S. congress is. Hire your brother-in-laws IT geek, give 'em full admin access, let them come and go freely........... and fall for intelligence reports about Russian hacking...... all the while our own CIA is doing MORE and WORSE.

While this topic is still fresh (thanks to the Democrats) - election interference - Election or campaign interference scores according to political scientist Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University: Russia - 36 times, U.S.A - 81 times

The USA's score number doesn't include military coups and regime change efforts following the election of candidates the U.S. didn't like, notably those in Iran, Guatemala and Chile. Nor does it include general assistance with the electoral process, such as election monitoring.

So who exactly is it that interferes or "Helps" with elections? Yeah, I thought so.

President Vladimir Putin must go home each night shaking his head in disbelief at how gullible we are here.

By the way - Podesta was NOT HACKED. He fell for a simple phishing scam. Yes, the email wasn't even very well done. It appeared more like it came out of Nigeria than any professional group, it was lame, didn't even look real, didn't sound real and the URL or link was so obvious, geesh, a fool could have seen it was phishing. Oh, wait, we're talking Podesta here. The man gave away his password (which for a while was indeed 'password'. Worse - he used what for his campaign work? Did you say GMAIL? You have to be kidding! A free consumer email, based in the cloud, and not only that, at least 3 others had account access to his Gmail. He kept documents, calendar, task lists and more in it. The phishing scammer got access to his Gmail inbox, sent items, attachments, calendar, Google Drive, Google Docs, you name it! No hacking needed since this is CLOUD BASED. No one had to touch his computer or iPad.

I really laughed when I found in those emails the admin credentials for his Wi-Fi, and even more funny - the admin credentials for his building security system. Yes, all that in his cloud-based Gmail account. As Bugs Bunny would say- what a maroon!

No wonder he's mad and trying to blame everyone else. He has to know he was scammed and he fell for it and it was all HIS FAULT, no one else but him. Using Gmail for such important work is STUPID as it is - but then to fall for phishing. He got what he deserved, and if it was Russians, tell those teenagers congratulations! That's all it took to phish Podesta - the skill set of KIDS in their early teens.

I could go on about the stupidity involved in all of this, but won't (I hear a collective sigh of relief!)

rayg 2 years ago ,

So, did the Russians hack the election? Or did the Obama CIA hack the election and just did a pizz-poor job of it? Or perhaps Obama really did not want Hillary to win.

This might make those congressional investigations into the alleged hacking of the election by Russians a lot more interesting. That is, of course, assuming that the investigations are really about finding the truth.

Michael K rayg 2 years ago ,

Obama Hates Hillary but could not openly control her. With Trump elected he could work openly to damage his administration, and with the help of MSM demonize him, and make him look like a tool of the Russians as well as his appointees. Notice, there was no talk of Russian hacking prior to the election. The "intelligence" agencies waited for the election results to come out with their charges.

Use delaying tactics to prevent approval of appointees, attack and possibly remove approved appointees eroding confidence in the current government. With the help of RINOs delay legislation. Pay protestors to protest everything Trump does using labels such as sexist, racist, Nazi, etc.

Obama's and DNC's goal: Prevent any progress till the mid term elections and try and overturn the balance in Congress to get the liberal agenda back on track. Get poised for the 2020 election and run a more palatable candidate than Hillary.

Gonzogal Michael K 2 years ago ,

"Obama's and DNC's goal: Prevent any progress till the mid term elections and try and overturn the balance in Congress to get the liberal agenda back on track. Get poised for the 2020 election and run a more palatable candidate than Hillary."

Or, according to Obomber's club make it so that Trump "either resigns or is impeached"
http://www.zerohedge.com/ne...
http://www.zerohedge.com/ne...

Geoff Caldwell 2 years ago ,

Let's unpack this. All those rumors about the Obama's hating the Clinton's? TRUE BUT, he couldn't let DOJ go through with indictment so instead gets Clapper, Brennan and the boys to use Russian fingerprints to hack and then sits back and watches the chaos unfold. When you go back to how he got his start in Chicago its exactly how he operates.

Marsha Moore 2 years ago ,

I am furious. I read the original re CIA attempting to influence French elections. But this is CLEAR TREASON by Obama Administration. I NEVER trusted Brennen. violation for CIA to operate inside US.

rlqretired 2 years ago ,

Looks like this is an example of Obama/CIA preparation for Treason?

The thing that really pisses me off is that the factual basis for all of this criminal and treasonous activity by the Obama Administration, that is being exposed today, remains covered-up by everyone in a position of responsibility to expose it. That factual basis is that every identification document Obama has presented to prove he is a citizen of the USA is a forgery. Based upon the totality of his record as president he is an agent of foreign Islamic allegiance and everything he has done in the Middle East always ends up in favor of radical Islam and refuses to even acknowledge radical Islamic terrorism exists. The same goes for his refusal to acknowledge domestic Islamic terrorism exists.

Factual answers for these three questions will clear up why we are having this treasonous activity. (1) Why does Obama have and need a forged birth certificate as he posted on his POTUS website? (2) Why does Obama's first officially issued copy of his Selective Service Registration Card have a forged 2 digit postal stamp? (3) Why is Obama using a SS# that was first issued to someone else? These three questions must be answered by Congress as the researched information verifying forgery is readily available and will expose the basis of this treason.

Play Hide
Spyplane 2 years ago ,

Let's not forget that logging into an email server because of a weak password and getting a copy of emails does not scream CIA. Also John Podesta's email password was extremely weak. So it did not take a covert CIA hacking program to initiate. We keep hearing Russia hacked our election. Yet have ZERO proof! First the majority of election machines are decentralized and not connected to internet. There was not a single instance where vote the count was effected. This was also immediately stated by Obamas DNI. Claiming they ran a propaganda attack on Hillary Clinton is pathetic. They are claiming the American people did not see who Hillary Clinton truly was. The opposite is true.

Hillary Clinton had made her own propaganda against herself. She is who the American people see. Not what the Russians programmed Us to see. The American people made a choice based on her actions no one else's. The liberals continually attacking someone with false claims without proof is a standard Liberal / Alyinsky strategy. It requires no proof if all liberal extremist continually repeat the same attack which is then amplified by the Liberal propaganda media (CNN, MSNBC, CBS, The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC, etc)

The Russian collusion claim is the exact same scenario. Make the claim which we already knew the Trump campaign speaks with Russian diplomats. Most people in politics interact with all countries diplomat and ambassadors. So instantly the claim is impossible to debunk. The Liberal party has become a party willing to use any and all tactics to avoid listening to the American people. This whole Russian drama is created to go against what the American people voted for. The democrat party is as much a threat to The United States as Communism ever was. It has been said if fascism ever comes back to the United States it will come in the form of liberalism. So the American people have a choice.

Use common sense and stop the liberal extremist party from destroying our democracy or deal with the consequences of America becoming ineffective and divided. The majority of the Democrat party and it's supporters have become so ideologically perverted they have lost sight of morality and what America stands for.

The Russians have not hypnotized Americans to vote for Donald Trump. It wasn't possible for the Russians to manipulate voter data and yes the Trump campaign speaks with Russian diplomats.

But it was the same Russian ambassador that Obama left in the country while expelling all others. The same Russian ambassador Obama scheduled meetings with for Jeff sessions. The same rushing ambassador that all Democrat spend time with. Make a claim that's true then find a way to turn it negative.

Typical Saul Alinsky. Everyone needs to remember anything the Liberals attack someone for the opposite is true.

Today Is The Day We Get Trump Spyplane 2 years ago ,

The point of the Wikileaks is that "proof" is easily manufactured.

DanJR 2 years ago ,

And now you know that the CIA (via Obama's orders or tacit approval) was the one that created the ruse of Trump emailing a Russian bank as a pretext to persuade FISA judges to sign off on the warrants to keep surveillance on him and his contacts.

If I were Obama I'd be seeking the nearest airport and fly to any country offering asylum... it's good night, good riddance for him and the rest of the Deep State Globalists.

seanster5977 2 years ago ,

Kind of funny where this started. Remember Hillary stole a server from the government secure server facility and set it up in her basement without proper security software and monitoring for hacking. Proven. And she had idiots in her staff so stupid they used passwords like "p@ssword". Proven. So any 11 year old computer expert could have hacked that server.

And she lied about the content of the messages being transferred. Top secret and classified info was lost due to her illegal actions. But Comey gave the pig a pass.

LH 2 years ago ,

Of course it was the Obama CIA, pros like the Russians or Chinese, never leave behind "fingerprints" they are smart enough to cover their tracks. As a cyber analyst I can tell you that when you see "fingerprints or breadcrumbs" leading to a source, it's usually deceptive and intentional. Let that sink in!

[Jun 16, 2019] Court Transcript Exposes Facebook's View User Privacy Is Legally Non-Existent

Jun 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

A new report by The Intercept has unearthed some stunning quotes from Facebook's lawyers as the controversial social media giant recently battled litigation in California courts related to the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal. The report notes that statements from Facebook's counsel "reveal one of the most stunning examples of corporate doublespeak certainly in Facebook's history" concerning privacy and individual users' rights.

Contrary to CEO Mark Zuckerberg's last testimony before Congress which included the vague promise, "We believe that everyone around the world deserves good privacy controls," the latest courtroom statements expose in shockingly unambiguous terms that Facebook actually sees privacy as legally "nonexistent" -- to use The Intercept's apt description of what's in the courtroom transcript -- up until now largely ignored in media commentary. The courtroom debate was first reported by Law360 , and captures the transcribed back and forth between Facebook lawyer Orin Snyder of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and US District Judge Vince Chhabria.

The Intercept cites multiple key sections of the transcript from the May 29, 2019 court proceedings showing Snyder arguing essentially something the complete opposite of Zuckerberg's public statements on data privacy , specifically, on the idea that users have any reasonable expectation of privacy at all.

Facebook's lawyer argued :

There is no privacy interest , because by sharing with a hundred friends on a social media platform, which is an affirmative social act to publish, to disclose, to share ostensibly private information with a hundred people, you have just, under centuries of common law, under the judgment of Congress, under the SCA, negated any reasonable expectation of privacy .

As The Intercept commented of the blunt remarks , "So not only is it Facebook's legal position that you're not entitled to any expectation of privacy, but it's your fault that the expectation went poof the moment you started using the site (or at least once you connected with 100 Facebook "friends")."

Scipio Africanuz , 7 hours ago link

Privacy invasion, is similar to rape - one is an invasion of the body, the other, of the soul..

However, if you don't want your privacy invaded, stop using Facebook, WhatsApp, and all the other privacy invading apps they offer, and find platforms that respect your rights to your privacy..

On the other hand, stop sharing extremely intimate details if you'd rather have them be off limits - do mano a mano sharing, so you can know who leaked what, and when..

Still, monetizing the souls of folks, without their consent, is egregious, and yet, you get what you pay for..if it's free, you're the product, or more accurately, the cow, or better yet, the gold laying geese, or most egregiously, the snitch, snitching on yourself..

Zuckerberg, is NOT anyone's definition of a honest person..his contraption began with a theft, is based on a deception, and operates via blackmail, for the purpose of control..how you describe such a person, is your prerogative, cheers...

numapepi , 10 hours ago link

The argument...

"Let me give you a hypothetical of my own. I go into a classroom and invite a hundred friends. This courtroom. I invite a hundred friends, I rent out the courtroom, and I have a party. And I disclose — And I disclose something private about myself to a hundred people, friends and colleagues. Those friends then rent out a 100,000-person arena, and they rebroadcast those to 100,000 people. I have no cause of action because by going to a hundred people and saying my private truths, I have negated any reasonable expectation of privacy , because the case law is clear."

...is spurious because, in his example, it is the friends who are disseminating the information, but Facebook is more like the person who he rented the hall from... disseminating the information. It would be like 101 bankers setting up a meeting in a Marriott, and discussing business plans and tactics, as the Marriott records and sells that information to credit unions. Claiming the Bankers gave up any right to privacy... because there were over 100 of them in that banquet room.

In the case of the Marriott recording and selling information that is passed in their banquet rooms... would the Facebook attorney agree that is acceptable? To be consistent he must.

[Jun 15, 2019] Facebook and ebola virus

Jun 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

East Indian , 21 hours ago link

"We believe that everyone around the world deserves good privacy controls," - Facebook

"We believe that everyone around the world deserves good health care" - ebola virus

[Jun 14, 2019] How NeoCon Billionaire Paul Singer Is Driving the Outsourcing of US Tech Jobs to Israel

Notable quotes:
"... With nearly 6 million Americans unemployed and regular bouts of layoffs in the U.S. tech industry, major American tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Intel Corporation are nonetheless moving key operations, billions in investments, and thousands of jobs to Israel -- a trend that has largely escaped media attention or concern from even "America first" politicians. The fact that this massive transfer of investment and jobs has been so overlooked is particularly striking given that it is largely the work of a single leading neoconservative Republican donor who has given millions of dollars to President Donald Trump. ..."
"... In this report, MintPress identifies dozens of former members of an elite Israeli military intelligence unit who now hold top positions at Microsoft, Google and Facebook. ..."
"... Yet, some of these tech giants, particularly those based in the U.S., are heavily investing in their Israeli branches while laying off thousands of American employees, all while receiving millions of dollars in U.S. government subsidies funded by American taxpayers. ..."
"... Particularly troubling is the fact that, since SUNC's founding, the number of former Unit 8200 members in top positions in American tech companies has skyrocketed. Based on a non-exhaustive analysis conducted by Mintpress of over 200 LinkedIn accounts of former Israeli military intelligence and intelligence officers in three major tech companies, numerous former Unit 8200 alumni were found to currently hold top managerial or executive positions in Microsoft, Google and Facebook. ..."
"... Similarly, at Google, 28 former Unit 8200 members at the company were identified from their LinkedIn accounts. Among them are Google's Engineering Director, its strategic partner manager, two growth marketing leads, its lead technical manager, and six product and program managers, including Google's manager for trust and safety search. ..."
"... Netanyahu further outlined this policy at the 2019 Cybertech conference in Tel Aviv, where he stated that Israel's emergence as one of the top five "cyber powers" had "required allowing this combination of military intelligence, academia and industry to converge in one place" and that this further required allowing "our graduates of our military and intelligence units to merge into companies with local partners and foreign partners." The direct tie-ins of SUNC to Netanyahu and the fact that Paul Singer has also been a long-time political donor and backer of Netanyahu suggest that SUNC is a key part of Netanyahu's policy of placing former military intelligence and intelligence operatives in strategic positions in major technology companies. ..."
"... This concern is further exacerbated by the deep ties connecting top tech companies like Microsoft and Google to the U.S. military. Microsoft and Google are both key military contractors -- Microsoft in particular, given that it is set to win a lucrative contract for the Pentagon's cloud management and has partnered with the Department of Defense to produce a "secure" election system known as ElectionGuard that is set to be implemented in some U.S. states for the 2020 general election. ..."
Jun 13, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Several U.S. tech giants including Google, Microsoft and Intel Corporation have filled top positions with former members of Israeli military intelligence and are heavily investing in their Israeli branches while laying off thousands of American employees, all while receiving millions of dollars in U.S. government subsidies funded by American taxpayers.

With nearly 6 million Americans unemployed and regular bouts of layoffs in the U.S. tech industry, major American tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Intel Corporation are nonetheless moving key operations, billions in investments, and thousands of jobs to Israel -- a trend that has largely escaped media attention or concern from even "America first" politicians. The fact that this massive transfer of investment and jobs has been so overlooked is particularly striking given that it is largely the work of a single leading neoconservative Republican donor who has given millions of dollars to President Donald Trump.

To make matters worse, many of these top tech companies shifting investment and jobs to Israel at record rates continue to collect sizable U.S. government subsidies for their operations while they move critical aspects of their business abroad, continue to layoff thousands of American workers, and struggle to house their growing company branches in Israel. This is particularly troubling in light of the importance of the tech sector to the overall U.S. economy, as it accounts for 7.1 percent of total GDP and 11.6 percent of total private-sector payroll.

Furthermore, many of these companies are hiring members of controversial Israeli companies -- known to have spied on Americans, American companies, and U.S. federal agencies -- as well as numerous members of Israeli military intelligence as top managers and executives.

This massive transfer of the American tech industry has largely been the work of one leading Republican donor -- billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, who also funds the neoconservative think tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Islamophobic and hawkish think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), and also funded the now-defunct Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI).

Singer's project to bolster Israel's tech economy at the U.S.' expense is known as Start-Up Nation Central, which he founded in response to the global Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to use nonviolent means to pressure Israel to comply with international law in relation to its treatment of Palestinians.

This project is directly linked to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who in recent years has publicly mentioned that it has been his "deliberate policy" to have former members of Israel's "military and intelligence units merge into companies with local partners and foreign partners" in order to make it all but impossible for major corporations and foreign governments to boycott Israel.

In this report, MintPress identifies dozens of former members of an elite Israeli military intelligence unit who now hold top positions at Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

Singer's nonprofit organization has acted as the vehicle through which Netanyahu's policy has been realized, via the group's close connections to the Israeli PM and Singer's long-time support for Netanyahu and the Likud Party. With deep ties to Netanyahu, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and controversial tech companies -- like Amdocs -- that spied on the American government, this Singer-funded organization has formed a nexus of connections between the public and private sectors of both the American and Israeli economies with the single goal of making Israel the new technology superpower, largely at the expense of the American economy and government, which currently gives $3.2 billion in aid to Israel annually.

Researched and developed in Israel

In recent years, the top U.S. tech companies have been shifting many of their most critical operations, particularly research and development, to one country: Israel. A 2016 report in Business Insider noted that Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple had all opened up research and development (R&D) centers in recent years, with some of them having as many as three such centers in Israel, a country roughly the size of New Jersey. Other major tech companies that have also opened key operation and research centers in Israel include Sandisk, Nvidia, PayPal, Palantir and Dell. Forbes noted last year that the world's top 10 tech companies were now "doing mission-critical work in Israel that's core to their businesses back at HQ."

Yet, some of these tech giants, particularly those based in the U.S., are heavily investing in their Israeli branches while laying off thousands of American employees, all while receiving millions of dollars in U.S. government subsidies funded by American taxpayers.

For example, Intel Corporation, which is the world's second largest manufacturer of semiconductor computer chips and is headquartered in California, has long been a major employer in Israel, with over 10,000 employees in the Jewish state. However, earlier this year, Intel announced that it would be investing $11 billion in a new factory in Israel and would receive around $1 billion in an Israeli government grant for that investment. Just a matter of months after Intel announced its major new investment in Israel, it announced a new round of layoffs in the United States.

Yet this is just one recent example of what has become a trend for Intel. In 2018, Intel made public its plan to invest $5 billion in one of its Israeli factories and had invested an additional $15 billion in Israeli-created autonomous driving technology a year prior, creating thousands of Intel jobs in Israel. Notably, over that same time frame, Intel has cut nearly 12,000 jobs in the United States. While this great transfer of investment and jobs was undermining the U.S. economy and hurting American workers, particularly in the tech sector, Intel received over $25 million dollars in subsidies from the U.S. federal government.

A similar phenomenon has been occurring at another U.S.-based tech giant, Microsoft. Beginning in 2014 and continuing into 2018, Microsoft has laid off well over 20,000 employees , most of them Americans, in several different rounds of staff cuts. Over that same time period, Microsoft has been on a hiring spree in Israel, building new campuses and investing billions of dollars annually in its Israel-based research and development center and in other Israeli start-up companies , creating thousands of jobs abroad. In addition, Microsoft has been pumping millions of dollars into technology programs at Israeli universities and institutes, such as the Technion Institute . Over this same time frame, Microsoft has received nearly $197 million in subsidies from the state governments of Washington, Iowa and Virginia.

Though Israeli politicians and tech company executives have praised this dramatic shift as the result of Israel's tech prowess and growing reputation as a technological innovation hub, much of this dramatic shift has been the work of the Netanyahu-tied Singer's effort to counter a global movement aimed at boycotting Israel and to make Israel a global "cyber power."

Start-Up Nation Central and the Neocons

In 2009, a book titled Start Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle , written by American neoconservative Dan Senor and Jerusalem Post journalist Saul Singer (unrelated to Paul), quickly rose to the New York Times bestseller list for its depiction of Israel as the tech start-up capital of the world. The book -- published by the Council on Foreign Relations, where Senor was then serving as Adjunct Senior Fellow -- asserts that Israel's success in producing so many start-up companies resulted from the combination of its liberal immigration laws and its "leverage of the business talents of young people with military experience."

"The West needs innovation; Israel's got it," wrote Senor and Singer. In a post-publication interview with the blog Freakonomics , Senor asserted that service in the Israeli military was crucial to Israel's tech sector success, stating that:

"Certain units have become technology boot camps, where 18- to 22-year-olds get thrown projects and missions that would make the heads spin of their counterparts in universities or the private sector anywhere else in the world. The Israelis come out of the military not just with hands-on exposure to next-gen technology, but with training in teamwork, mission orientation, leadership, and a desire to continue serving their country by contributing to its tech sector -- a source of pride for just about every Israeli."

The book, in addition to the many accolades it received from the mainstream press, left a lasting impact on top Republican donor Paul Singer, known for funding the most influential neoconservative think tanks in America, as noted above. Paul Singer was so inspired by Senor and Singer's book that he decided to spend $20 million to fund and create an organization with a similar name. He created the Start-Up Nation Central (SUNC) just three years after the book's release in 2012 .

To achieve his vision, Singer – who is also a top donor to the Republican Party and Trump – tapped Israeli economist Eugene Kandel, who served as Netanyahu's national economic adviser and chaired the Israeli National Economic Council from 2009 to 2015.

Senor was likely directly involved in the creation of SUNC, as he was then employed by Paul Singer and, with neoconservatives Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, co-founded the FPI, which Singer had long funded before it closed in 2017. In addition, Dan Senor's sister, Wendy Singer (unrelated to either Paul or Saul), long-time director of Israel's AIPAC office, became the organization's executive director.

SUNC's management team, in addition to Eugene Kandel and Wendy Singer, includes Guy Hilton as the organization's general manager. Hilton is a long-time marketing executive at Israeli telecommunications company Amdocs, where he "transformed" the company's marketing organization. Amdocs was once highly controversial in the United States after it was revealed by a 2001 Fox News investigation that numerous federal agencies had investigated the company, which then had contracts with the 25 largest telephone companies in the country, for its alleged role in an aggressive espionage operation that targeted the U.S. government. Hilton worked at Microsoft prior to joining Amdocs.

Beyond the management team, SUNC's board of directors includes Paul Singer, Dan Senor and Terry Kassel -- who work for Singer at his hedge fund, Elliott Management -- and Rapheal Ouzan. Ouzan was an officer in the elite foreign military intelligence unit of Israel, Unit 8200, who co-founded BillGuard the day after he left that unit, which is often compared to the U.S.' National Security Agency (NSA). Within five months of its founding, BillGuard was backed by funding from PayPal founder Peter Thiel and former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt. Ouzan is also connected to U.S. tech companies that have greatly expanded their Israeli branches since SUNC's founding -- such as Microsoft, Google, PayPal and Intel, all of which support Ouzan's non-profit Israel Tech Challenge.

According to reports from the time published in Haaretz and Bloomberg , SUNC was explicitly founded to serve as " a foreign ministry for Israel's tech industry " and " to strength Israel's economy " while also aiming to counter the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to use a nonviolent boycott to end the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and Israeli apartheid, as well as the growth of illegal Jewish-only settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

Since its founding, SUNC has sought to transfer tech jobs from foreign companies to Israel by developing connections and influence with foreign governments and companies so that they "deepen their relationship with Israel's tech industry." Though SUNC has since expanded to include other sectors of the Israeli "start-up" economy, its focus has long remained on Israel's tech, specifically its cybersecurity industry. Foreign investment in this single Israeli industry has grown from $227 million in 2014 to $815 million in 2018.

In addition to its own activities, SUNC appears to be closely linked to a similar organization, sponsored by Coca Cola and Daimler Mercedes Benz, called The Bridge , which also seeks to connect Israeli start-up companies with large international corporations. Indeed, SUNC, according to its website , was actually responsible for Daimler Mercedes Benz's decision to join The Bridge, thanks to a delegation from the company that SUNC hosted in Israel and the connections made during that visit.

Teaming up with Israel's Unit 8200

Members of Israel's signals intelligence Unit 8200 work under a Saudi flag. Photo | Moti Milrod

Notably, SUNC has deep ties to Israel's military intelligence unit known as Unit 8200 and, true to Start Up Nation' s praise of IDF service as key to Israel's success, has been instrumental in connecting Unit 8200 alumni with key roles in foreign companies, particularly American tech companies. For instance, Maty Zwaig , a former lieutenant colonel in Unit 8200, is SUNC's current director of human capital programs, and SUNC's current manager of strategic programs, Tamar Weiss , is also a former member of the unit.

One particularly glaring connection between SUNC and Unit 8200 can be seen in Inbal Arieli , who served as SUNC's Vice President of Strategic Partnerships from 2014 to 2017 and continues to serve as a senior adviser to the organization. Arieli, a former lieutenant in Unit 8200, is the founder and head of the 8200 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Support Program (EISP), which was the first start-up accelerator in Israel aimed at harnessing "the vast network and entrepreneurial DNA of [Unit] 8200 alumni" and is currently one of the top company accelerators in Israel. Arieli was the top executive at 8200 EISP while working at SUNC.

Another key connection between SUNC and Unit 8200 is SUNC's promotion of Team8, a company-creation platform whose CEO and co-founder is Nadav Zafrir, former commander of Unit 8200. In addition to prominently featuring Team8 and Zafrir on the cybersecurity section of its website, SUNC also sponsored a talk by Zafrir and an Israeli government economist at the World Economic Forum, often referred to as "Davos," that was attended personally by Paul Singer.

Team8's investors include Google's Eric Schmidt, Microsoft , and Walmart -- and it recently hired former head of the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, retired Admiral Mike Rogers. Team8 described the decision to hire Rogers as being "instrumental in helping strategize" Team8's expansion in the United States. However, Jake Williams, a veteran of NSA's Tailored Access Operations hacking unit, told CyberScoop :

"Rogers is not being brought into this role because of his technical experience. It's purely because of his knowledge of classified operations and his ability to influence many in the U.S. government and private-sector contractors."

In addition to connections to Unit 8200-linked groups like Team8 and 8200 EISP, SUNC also directly collaborates with the IDF in an initiative aimed at preparing young Israeli women to serve in Unit 8200. That initiative, called the CyberGirlz Club , is jointly funded by Israel's Defense Ministry, SUNC and the Rashi Foundation, the philanthropic organization set up by the Leven family of Perrier-brand water, which has close ties to the Israeli government and IDF.

"Our aim is to bring the girls to this process already skilled, with the knowledge needed to pass the exams for Unit 8200 and serve in the military as programmers," Zwaig told Israel National News .

Seeding American tech

The connections between SUNC and Unit 8200 are troubling for more than a few reasons, one of which being that Unit 8200, often likened to the U.S.' NSA, closely coordinates with Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad, and is responsible for 90 percent of the intelligence material obtained by the Israeli government, according to its former commander Yair Cohen. Cohen told Forbes in 2016, that "there isn't a major operation, from the Mossad or any intelligence security agency, that 8200 is not involved in." For obvious reasons, the fact that an organization founded by an American billionaire is actively promoting the presence of former military intelligence officers in foreign companies, specifically American companies, while also promoting the transfer of jobs and investment to that same country, is very troubling indeed.

Particularly troubling is the fact that, since SUNC's founding, the number of former Unit 8200 members in top positions in American tech companies has skyrocketed. Based on a non-exhaustive analysis conducted by Mintpress of over 200 LinkedIn accounts of former Israeli military intelligence and intelligence officers in three major tech companies, numerous former Unit 8200 alumni were found to currently hold top managerial or executive positions in Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

At Microsoft, managers for at least 15 of the company's products and programs -- including Microsoft's lead managers for engineering, product strategy, threat analytics and cloud business intelligence -- publicly listed their affiliation with Unit 8200 on their LinkedIn accounts. In addition, the general manager of Microsoft's Israeli Research and Development Center is also a former member of Unit 8200. In total, of the 200 accounts analyzed, 50 of them currently worked for Microsoft.

Similarly, at Google, 28 former Unit 8200 members at the company were identified from their LinkedIn accounts. Among them are Google's Engineering Director, its strategic partner manager, two growth marketing leads, its lead technical manager, and six product and program managers, including Google's manager for trust and safety search.

Facebook also has several Unit 8200 members in prominent positions, though fewer than Google and Microsoft. MintPress identified at least 13 Unit 8200 alumni working for Facebook, including its director of engineering, lead manager for express wi-fi, and technical program manager. Notably, Facebook has spent the last several years collaborating with Israel's government to censor Israel's critics.

Of course, there is likely much more influence of Unit 8200 on these companies than this non-exhaustive analysis revealed, given that many of these companies acquired several Israeli start-ups run by and staffed by many Unit 8200 alumni who subsequently went on to found new companies and start-ups a few years or shortly after acquisition. Furthermore, due to the limitations of LinkedIn's set-up, MintPress was not able to access the complete list of Unit 8200 alumni at these three tech companies, meaning that the eye-opening numbers found were generated by a relatively small sample.

This jump in Unit 8200 members in top positions in tech companies of global importance is actually a policy long promoted by Netanyahu, whose long-time economic adviser is the chief executive at SUNC. During an interview with Fox News last year, Netanyahu was asked by Fox News host Mark Levin if the large growth seen in recent years in Israel's technology sector was part of Netanyahu's plan. Netanyahu responded, "That's very much my plan It's a very deliberate policy." He later added that "Israel had technology because the military, especially military intelligence, produced a lot of capabilities. These incredibly gifted young men and women who come out of the military or the Mossad, they want to start their start-ups."

Netanyahu further outlined this policy at the 2019 Cybertech conference in Tel Aviv, where he stated that Israel's emergence as one of the top five "cyber powers" had "required allowing this combination of military intelligence, academia and industry to converge in one place" and that this further required allowing "our graduates of our military and intelligence units to merge into companies with local partners and foreign partners." The direct tie-ins of SUNC to Netanyahu and the fact that Paul Singer has also been a long-time political donor and backer of Netanyahu suggest that SUNC is a key part of Netanyahu's policy of placing former military intelligence and intelligence operatives in strategic positions in major technology companies.

Notably, just as SUNC was founded to counter the BDS movement, Netanyahu has asserted that this policy of ensuring Israel's role as a "cyber power" is aimed at increasing its diplomatic power and specifically undermining BDS as well as the United Nations, which has repeatedly condemned Israel's government for war crimes and violations of international law in relation to the Palestinians.

Building the bi-national surveillance state

Top U.S. tech companies have filled top positions with former members of Israeli military intelligence and moved strategic and critical operations to Israel, boosting Israel's economy at the expense of America's, and SUNC's role in this marked shift merits scrutiny.

A powerful American billionaire has built an influential organization with deep connections to the U.S.-Israel lobby (AIPAC), an Israeli company that has been repeatedly investigated for spying on the U.S. government (Amdocs), and the elite Israeli military intelligence unit (Unit 8200) that has used its influential connections to the U.S. government and the U.S. private sector to dramatically shift the operations and make-up of major companies in a critical sector of the U.S. economy.

Further consider that U.S. government documents leaked by Edward Snowden have flagged Israel as "leading threat" to the infrastructure of U.S. financial and banking institutions, which use much of the software produced by these top tech companies, and have also flagged Israel as a top espionage threat. One U.S. government document cited Israel as the third most aggressive intelligence service against the U.S. behind Russia and China. Thus, Paul Singer's pet project in Start-Up Nation Central has undermined not only the U.S. economy but arguably U.S. national security as well.

This concern is further exacerbated by the deep ties connecting top tech companies like Microsoft and Google to the U.S. military. Microsoft and Google are both key military contractors -- Microsoft in particular, given that it is set to win a lucrative contract for the Pentagon's cloud management and has partnered with the Department of Defense to produce a "secure" election system known as ElectionGuard that is set to be implemented in some U.S. states for the 2020 general election.

mintpressnews.com

[Jun 11, 2019] The Omnipresent Surveillance State: Orwell s 1984 Is No Longer Fiction by John W. Whitehead

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society. ..."
"... We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state. ..."
"... What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach. ..."
"... In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future. ..."
"... Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability." ..."
Jun 11, 2019 | www.theburningplatform.com

"You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized." -- George Orwell, 1984

Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state .

It's been 70 years since Orwell -- dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm -- depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984 .

Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, "He loved Big Brother," we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.

"To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone -- to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink -- greetings!" -- George Orwell

1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes.

The government, or "Party," is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: "Big Brother is watching you."

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."―George Orwell

Much like Orwell's Big Brother in 1984 , the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move. Much like Huxley's A Brave New World , we are churning out a society of watchers who "have their liberties taken away from them, but rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing." Much like Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale , the populace is now taught to "know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away ."

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick's darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state -- which became the basis for Steven Spielberg's futuristic thriller Minority Report -- we are now trapped in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike -- facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on -- are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality .

Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes , facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."―George Orwell

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America. And bodily privacy and integrity have been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."―George Orwell, Animal Farm

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state.

What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach.

In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future.

The government now has at its disposal technological arsenals so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. Spearheaded by the NSA, which has shown itself to care little to nothing for constitutional limits or privacy, the "security/industrial complex" -- a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance -- has come to dominate the government and our lives. At three times the size of the CIA, constituting one third of the intelligence budget and with its own global spy network to boot, the NSA has a long history of spying on Americans, whether or not it has always had the authorization to do so.

Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who is paying the price? The American people, of course.

Orwell understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan flag-waving, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control over the citizenry at all costs. As Orwell explains:

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." ― George Orwell

How do you change the way people think? You start by changing the words they use.

In totalitarian regimes -- a.k.a. police states -- where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.

Dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 , reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.

In Huxley's Brave New World , serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.

And in Orwell's 1984 , Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish "thoughtcrimes." In this dystopian vision of the future, the Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the Ministry of Peace deals with war and defense, the Ministry of Plenty deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love deals with law and order (torture and brainwashing), and the Ministry of Truth deals with news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda). The mottos of Oceania: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

All three -- Bradbury, Huxley and Orwell -- had an uncanny knack for realizing the future, yet it is Orwell who best understood the power of language to manipulate the masses. Orwell's Big Brother relied on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary. To give a single example, as psychologist Erich Fromm illustrates in his afterword to 1984 :

The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as "This dog is free from lice" or "This field is free from weeds." It could not be used in its old sense of "politically free" or "intellectually free," since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed as concepts .

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is "safe" and "accepted" by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

"Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious." -- George Orwell

Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their privacy rights . In fact, the addiction to screen devices -- especially cell phones -- has created a hive effect where the populace not only watched but is controlled by AI bots. However, at one time, the idea of a total surveillance state tracking one's every move would have been abhorrent to most Americans. That all changed with the 9/11 attacks. As professor Jeffrey Rosen observes, "Before Sept. 11, the idea that Americans would voluntarily agree to live their lives under the gaze of a network of biometric surveillance cameras, peering at them in government buildings, shopping malls, subways and stadiums, would have seemed unthinkable, a dystopian fantasy of a society that had surrendered privacy and anonymity ."

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry -- mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all -- we have nowhere left to go.

We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government. In search of so-called terrorists and extremists hiding amongst us -- the proverbial "needle in a haystack," as one official termed it -- the Corporate State has taken to monitoring all aspects of our lives, from cell phone calls and emails to Internet activity and credit card transactions. Much of this data is being fed through fusion centers across the country, which work with the Department of Homeland Security to make threat assessments on every citizen, including school children. These are state and regional intelligence centers that collect data on you.

"Big Brother is Watching You."―George Orwell

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched, especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations equipped with facial recognition software. When you use a cell phone or drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. Such information is shared with government agents, including local police. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts and your activities is now being fed to the U.S. government.

The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites and Internet surveillance.

Speech recognition technology now makes it possible for the government to carry out massive eavesdropping by way of sophisticated computer systems. Phone calls can be monitored, the audio converted to text files and stored in computer databases indefinitely. And if any "threatening" words are detected -- no matter how inane or silly -- the record can be flagged and assigned to a government agent for further investigation. Federal and state governments, again working with private corporations, monitor your Internet content. Users are profiled and tracked in order to identify, target and even prosecute them.

In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you're guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, the FBI uses its wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.

"Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull." ― George Orwell

Here's what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it's not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We've already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called "hateful" thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.

Say hello to the new Thought Police .

Total Internet surveillance by the Corporate State, as omnipresent as God, is used by the government to predict and, more importantly, control the populace, and it's not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA is now designing an artificial intelligence system that is designed to anticipate your every move. In a nutshell, the NSA will feed vast amounts of the information it collects to a computer system known as Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence), which the computer can then use to detect patterns and predict behavior.

No information is sacred or spared.

Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability."

Thus, what we are witnessing, in the so-called name of security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprised of the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians and private corporations).

Clearly, the age of privacy in America is at an end.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever." -- Orwell

So where does that leave us?

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.

It won't be long before we find ourselves looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted without those thoughts, words and activities being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.

To be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government's roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.

Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw.

So how do you survive in the American surveillance state?

We're running out of options

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People , we'll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, entertainment industry, etc.) and self-preservation in the form of renewed vigilance about threats to our freedoms and active engagement in self-governance.

Yet as Aldous Huxley acknowledged in Brave New World Revisited : "Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it."

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The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation. [Jim Quinn - PO Box 1520

Every hour taxpayers in the United States are paying $32,077,626 for Total Cost of Wars Since 2001.

$4,827,476,776,986

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BB

I'm going through a Department of Defense background check right now and it's not so bad. The thing is they already know everything damn there is to know about me. How do I know this ? Because I can pull up on their computers what they already know. It's to help guys like me pass or at least that's what they say.
They got us by the balls now . How can you fight something like this Unless you take down the whole electric grid. Only God knows the horror that would bring.

grace country pastor

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." – Orwell

Galatians 4:16 KJB "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" – Paul

Boat Guy

It is serious concern the move from a free republic to a corporate state with armed government badge wearing just doing my job minions existing in comfort thanks to the confiscatory tax and asset forfeiture programs in play by the circle jerk of Wall Street to K-Street to Capitol Street .
Sadly the people of honor and integrity that could initiate a Nuremberg style justice system upon those in power and control will quickly be stricken down by minions unaccountable thanks to nonsense like the patriot act and FISA courts . So much for the bill of Rights that is supposed to be the impenetrable shield protecting Americans from government . Our alleged honor and oath bound representatives have been able to turn it into Swiss cheese !
Refuse & Resist , Forget Me Not !

Hollywood Rob

Yes, and they do this using the tactics described in plain sight. You can download their bible if you like. It's free.

https://monoskop.org/images/4/4d/Alinsky_Saul_D_Rules_for_Radicals_A_Practical_Primer_for_Realistic_Radicals.pdf

KaD

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/surveillance-tool-coming-u-skies-080010177.html

[Jun 10, 2019] The key to prosecuting Assange has always been to punish him without again embarrassing the powerful figures made mockeries by his disclosures by Eric Zuesse

Looks like PP damage the USA will sustain from prosecuting Assange will be comparable if not greater that initial damage from WikiLeaks. This also might stimulate "revenge disclosures"
Notable quotes:
"... CNN never mentioned that Clapper was accused of perjury in denying the existence of the National Security Agency surveillance program and was personally implicated in the scandal that WikiLeaks triggered. ..."
"... this is Washington and people like Clapper are untouchable ..."
Jun 10, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Right now, the U.S. regime is raising to a fever-pitch and twisting beyond recognition not only U.S. laws but the U.S. Constitution, so as to impose its will against him. President Trump is supported in this effort by the corrupt U.S. Congress, to either end Assange's life, or else lock him up for the rest of his heroic life in a dungeon having no communication with the world outside, until he does finally die, in isolation, punishment for his heroic last-ditch fight for the public's freedom and for democracy -- his fight, actually, against our 1984 regime.

What Jesus of Nazareth was locally for the Roman regime in his region, Assange is for the U.S. regime throughout the world: an example to terrify anyone else who might come forth effectively to challenge the Emperor's authority.

A key country in this operation is Ecuador, which is ruled by the dictator Lenin Moreno, who stole office by lying to the public and pretending to be a progressive who backed his democratically elected predecessor, Rafael Correa, but then as soon as he won power, he reversed Correa's progressive initiatives, including, above all, his protection of Assange, who had sought refuge in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London.

On 11 April 2019, RT headlined "Who is Lenin Moreno and why did he hand Assange over to British police?" and reported that: Following his 2017 election, Moreno quickly moved away from his election platform after taking office. He reversed several key pieces of legislation passed under his predecessor which targeted the wealthy and the banks. He also reversed a referendum decision on indefinite re-election while simultaneously blocking any potential for Correa to return. He effectively purged many of Correa's appointments to key positions in Ecuador's judiciary and National Electoral Council via the CPCCS-T council which boasts supra-constitutional powers.

Moreno has also cozied up to the US, with whom Ecuador had a strained relationship under Correa. Following a visit from Vice President Mike Pence in June 2018, Ecuador bolstered its security cooperation with the US, including major arms deals, training exercises and intelligence sharing. Following Assange's arrest Correa, who granted Assange asylum in the first place, described Moreno as the "greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American h