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Privacy is Dead – Get Over It

Mass surveillance is equal to totalitarism with classic slogan of Third Reich
"if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear"

News Social Sites as intelligence collection tools Recommended Links

National Security State / Surveillance State: Review of Literature

Big Uncle is Watching You Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State
Big Brother is Watching You Search engines privacy Email Privacy Blocking Facebook Many faces of Facebook Facebook as Giant Database about Users
Nephophobia: avoiding cloud to reclaim bits of your privacy What Surveillance Valley knows about you Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Nineteen Eighty-Four Interception of "in-transit" traffic as violation of human rights Government security paranoia
Cyberstalking Total control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance The Real War on Reality How to collect and analyse your own metadata Humor Etc

"None are more enslaved than those who
falsely believe they are free."

- Goethe

It’s not so disturbing that the aggregation occurs, it’s disturbing
that people don’t seem to understand just how “public” the Internet really is.
Steve Rambam
at The Last Hope conference, 2008

"One thing I find amusing is the absolute terror of Big Brother,
when we’ve all already gone and said, ‘Cuff me,’ to Little Brother,”

-- John Arquilla, an intelligence expert
at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.


Introduction

It is important to understand that any networked computer is an insecure computer and it should be treated as such. It’s not so disturbing that that social sites, government, insurance companies, etc collect our data; it’s disturbing that people don’t seem to understand just how “public” the Internet really is and how much their personal information they volunteer. Anybody who answered honestly question about their annual income and other confidential information while registering product (Logitech like to ask this information ;-) or enrolling into some stupid social site like Facebook, is an idiot, plain and simple. And he/'she gets what they deserve. Also if after reading this individual does not suspend his/her Facebook account for at least a month to see whether he/she need it or not, he/she does not care about his privacy one bit. For anybody with IQ above 100 it is clear that Facebook does not serve any useful purpose, other then collecting information about you and reselling it to the higher bidder. That's their business model.

After revelation of Prism program, an excessive usage of cloud services from a fashionable trend instantly became an indication of a person stupidity.

The current situation can be described as following:

  1. Federal, state, and local law enforcement have your current location at all times.
  2. Federal, state, and local law enforcement have a key to your home at all times.
  3. Federal law enforcement has the access to your mailbox and address book as well as the list of phone called with other party phone, name and duration.
  4. Federal law enforcement has the list of purchases you made with the credit cards at all times for all of your adult life.
  5. Federal government and private companies have  all data about drags you are taking and illnesses you are suffering from
  6. Federal government and private corporation have the access to the list of all your Internet searches (probably for your lifetime)
  7. You might be included in some "for sale" databases as a member of specific category (for example "People getting Social Security, people suffering from asthma, etc). It is easy to deduct some of those list by calls that you get on your home phone if you still have a home phone number.

In other  words from the point of view of the completeness  of the dossier the  government has on you, STASI was an rank amateur. There is no escape form this reality. But you can  follow some simple common sense rules to minimize your "footprint", although they do not protect you from "excessive" Internet/communications surveillance:

  1. Minimize. "If you want to be truly secure, I suggest the bromide of a 19th century Boston politician, Martin Lomasney: "Never write if you [can] speak; never speak if you can nod; and never nod if you can wink..." A very tough system to break even with today's advance technology." (quote for discussion at  Schneier on Security )

  2. Do not succumb to Internet addition. There are  many things in life more pleasurable and even useful than spending hours browsing the Web.

  3. Do not leave your computers up for the night unless they are servers. Switched off computer is pretty safe if "wake-on-LAN" setting in BIOS is disabled.  The same is true with smartphones. Putting them into metal box or metal mesh box for the night like some recommend while cuts possibility for them to get a signal from the tower is probably an overkill. For laptops it's really easy to shut them for the night if you associate shut down computer with closing the lid when your laptop is connected to the power source (this is more tricky if you have a dock; then you might need to change it to "not connected to power source" and remove laptop from the dock for the night). 

  4. Always disable "wake-on-LAN" setting on your PCs. That's trivial thing but that's important. 

  5. Things that should be be discussed by phone, should never be discussed by phone. 

  6. Dilute your Internet purchase history. Use single Amazon account for the whole family or share it with a friends (that allow you to cut  the price of prime in half but exposé you to risks if you "misunderestimated" your friend or part the ways ;-).  It also enforce some discipline on your buying as you know that other people have access to the list of your purchases. In this case it is more difficult to profile single member of household as you need to make some assumption. 

  7. Filler browsing and the use of VPN. If you are concerned the your internet browsing can get you in the  "unload citizens" category of some sort  you might try to use "filler" browsing to dilute the stream of pages you requested and/or use VPN (but you can't use any exotic browser, unless you change the proser identification string, but even this is not enough). Dilution is a trick that is often used in office environment by those who like to play on the edge with enterprise security team (especially if you have nothing to do at night shift).  Using single proxy for the whole family also helps to mask your identity (actually router mask all your Web pages requests presenting them as coming from a single Internet address, not from individual (and local) addresses of computers in your household. But if different computers use different browsers (or different version of browsers) pages access can be differentiated by browser type. In any case proxy gives you much finer control and is not that difficult to install and use. Programmable  keyboard and some skills in programming in LUA makes injecting "politically correct searches" easy. You can randomize the  set of pages too.  

  8. Don't succumb to paranoia. Installing spyware on your smartphone is an expensive operation and you generally have much higher changes to get malware from regular criminals than from the government. Especially if you install "free" applications on your smartphone. More often than not, they are not completely free and like is case of using  Facebook you trade your privacy for the access to them  ;-). Switched off cellphones or computer (with wake-up-LAN disabled) are switched off cell phones,  or computer.  There is probably not that much value in removing the battery and other "drastic" measures like putting them into Faraday case (BTW plastic bags for electronic parts have metallic coating and might serve serve as a Faraday cage)

  9. If you do not want particular travel to be recorded in tiny details do not use cellphones and pay cash for gas, food, etc.  But please understand that when you cross toll bridges your number plate is recorded. And probably not only bridges. So for the government there are many ways to skin the cat, even if the cat is trying to hide. 

  10. Regular simple/basic flip phone like  Samsung Gusto 3 B311 No Contract Phone (Verizon Wireless)  or ZTE Z222 Go Phone (AT&T)   is safer than smartphone as there not much memory in each od such phone to allow any hacking (typically 50 MB or less) . This improves your protection, if you are really paranoid at the cost of Internet access from the smarphone.  People like myself, who do not really need internet on the phone as they have tablet with G3/G4 for this purpose can also use this approach as such phone usually has chaper plans then smartphones.  In any case your call metadata will be recorded anyway. And as Us experience with Iraq insurgetnt had shown, they are probably as revealing as the content of your phone calls.

  11. Never use Gmail/hotmail/yahoo mail for anything of the registrations and spam folder.  Get and account at one of ISPs. It will cost you around $5 a month or less.  You might also wish to obtain you won domain name. They come with email accounts and web page creation capabilities (might also be  useful if you can avoid excessive exhibitionism and limit it to quotes from sources that you like and similar things )

  12. Never store your financial information and other sensitive  files on the same computer you browse Internet. Buy additional laptop and use exclusively it for browsing  financial sites and creating your tax return (if you do it yourself). That also helps against nasty malware.  At least never use the same account -- create and strictly follow the discipline of using different accounts for you regular browsing and for your finances. That's really important.

  13. Periodically change your nicknames if you participate in some "supposedly watched by authorities" forums. Periodically change  DHCP address on your provider using  ipconfig /release or similar methods.  Nicknames that can't be easily found by Internet searches (common words, such as "high speed", "Networker", "not a new Yorker", "Symposium"  ) are better than unique one. Look at Guardian forums for inspiration ;-). You can also use VPN to mask your IP but generally your mileage can vary, as the government has tools to void this protection.

  14. Get PGP key and learn to use PGP. This is useful for separating your regular files from your "confidential" files.  If something is really confidential never store it on a networked computer.  Use paper and non-networked computer for printing it.  Some people install DOS for such purpose, but while fun to do, that's probably an overkill, unless are are into retro-computing. Non-networked means does not have any network card, or WiFi; which means old desktop computer). You will not be alone. There was a story  published in 2013 by major news agencies (see BBC version ) that Russian government bought some number  of electric typewriters for such a switch. See also discussion Soviet Spying on US Selectric Typewriters - Schneier on Security.  It might well be that on a governmental level anything secret shouldn't be prepared or communicated on electronic devices.

  15. Switch off you laptp or smartphone  if you do not use them and do not want to take any calls. There is no any reason to keep smartphone up when you are travelling  in the  car. You can use Airplane mode for that too. That suppresses geolocation, but it leaves phone  up and thus theoretically still enables voice recording using microphone, although if you smartphone is in the pocket, the quality of such recording will be so dismal that it is virtually useless, unless you want to spend large amount of many on filtering off the noise.

If you join Google, Facebook, Hotmail, Yahoo and use webmail you should have no expectations of privacy

"Always remember that Google Gmail is "free"
 because you are not the customer, you are the product."

In Australia any expectations of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once people voluntarily offered data to the third party. A this is a very reasonable policy. 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.

In a very profound way Facebook was never a "social site". It was always anti-social site. Facebook exploits people's own sense of vanity and desire to invade other people's privacy. There is no requirement to plaster your life all over the internet.

In a very profound way Facebook was never a "social site". It was always anti-social site. Facebook exploits and tries to play on people's own sense of vanity and desire to invade other people's privacy. This Facebook induced  US epidemic  of exhibitionism is really unhealthy. There is no requirement to plaster your life all over the internet.

Facebook has been a personal information sucking device since its inception. It is a toxic, faceless suburban wasteland which actually makes people more lonely (Suburbanization of Friendships and Solitude)

April 18, 2012

Facebook may be making us lonely, giving users the information age equivalent of a faceless suburban wasteland, claims the fantastic cover story of The Atlantic. Key excerpts:

We were promised a global village; instead we inhabit the drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information.

At the forefront of all this unexpectedly lonely interactivity is Facebook.

Facebook makes real relationships harder:

That one little phrase, Your real friends—so quaint, so charmingly mothering—perfectly encapsulates the anxieties that social media have produced: the fears that Facebook is interfering with our real friendships, distancing us from each other, making us lonelier; and that social networking might be spreading the very isolation it seemed designed to conquer.

Here’s why:

Our omnipresent new technologies lure us toward increasingly superficial connections at exactly the same moment that they make avoiding the mess of human interaction easy. The beauty of Facebook, the source of its power, is that it enables us to be social while sparing us the embarrassing reality of society—the accidental revelations we make at parties, the awkward pauses, the farting and the spilled drinks and the general gaucherie of face-to-face contact. Instead, we have the lovely smoothness of a seemingly social machine. Everything’s so simple: status updates, pictures, your wall.

Finally, FB fosters a retreat into narcissism:

Self-presentation on Facebook is continuous, intensely mediated, and possessed of a phony nonchalance that eliminates even the potential for spontaneity. (“Look how casually I threw up these three photos from the party at which I took 300 photos!”) Curating the exhibition of the self has become a 24/7 occupation.

Facebook users retreat from “messy” human interaction and spend too much of their time curating fantasy avatars of themselves to actually to out and meet real people:

The relentlessness is what is so new, so potentially transformative. Facebook never takes a break. We never take a break. Human beings have always created elaborate acts of self-presentation. But not all the time, not every morning, before we even pour a cup of coffee.

The always-on effects are profound:

What Facebook has revealed about human nature—and this is not a minor revelation—is that a connection is not the same thing as a bond, and that instant and total connection is no salvation, no ticket to a happier, better world or a more liberated version of humanity. Solitude used to be good for self-reflection and self-reinvention. But now we are left thinking about who we are all the time, without ever really thinking about who we are. Facebook denies us a pleasure whose profundity we had underestimated: the chance to forget about ourselves for a while, the chance to disconnect.

One of the deepest and best researched meditations on FB 2012.

To avoid stupid breaches  always use two factor authentication

Many sites allow now two factor authentication. If you bank and broker do not have two factor authentication, think about changing them to the one that is similar but has  one.

Use special laptop for financial transactions (or at least virtual machine)

As a minimum use  different account and non-privileged account on the same laptop for browsing and for financial transactions.

To avoid pilfering of your financial information by malware it makes sense to use a special laptop for access to financial sites and preparing tax information. It is easy to configure your workplace at home with two laptops: one for browsing and other similar "non-secure" activate and the other for financial activities. You can switch monitors using a good KVM switch.  Generally USB switch such  as UGREEN USB Switch Selector is enough. You do not need to switch monitors as there is enough space for two or even for monitor (if you use 4 monitor stand) on most desks.

Never use for such operation a laptop or desktop you children have access to.  Good used Dell laptop is only $300 and  you losses can be measured in  tens thousand of dollars. 

This is inverted totalitarism, my friend

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

NSA document, cited from Soviet Spying on US Selectric Typewriters - Schneier on Security
 

In any case we should be aware that your Internet communications are under total surveillance. And that does not mean that people in hard boots will come and take you. Just realization of that this under surveillance is enough to change people behaviour. See Inverted Totalitarism:

The key ingredient of classical totalitarism is violence toward opponents. Also in all classic totalitarian states such as Nazi Germany and the USSR, the citizenry were kept mobilized to support the state. Sometimes wipe up to the state of frenzy by ideological purity campaigns or purges. Opponents were sent to concentration camps or exiled. Here the idea different: a passive but thoroughly monitored and thoroughly brainwashed populace is the goal that can be achieve with just two of three component of traditional totalitarism (ideology, propaganda and violence). Ideology and propaganda components are enough. That why the name "inverted totalitarism".

The term "liberal fascism" is also used and is a synonym, but it has "politically incorrect" flavor. The term "managed democracy" is also used, but more rarely.

It goes without saying that inverted totalitarism is much better then classic variants as close acquaintance with Gestapo or KGB is harmful for one's health. And that's what opponents of the regime faced. Here they just ignore the opponents and cut oxygen, in indirect way. Voice of opponents of the regime is just drown in the see of official propaganda and they are never invited to TV programs with significant popularity and influence on public opinion. As Orwell aptly noted "ignorance is strength" ;-). Also people who failed "loyalty test" might be simply remove from position where they can make a difference. Without too much noise. Net result is very similar, but for dissidents in case of inverted totalitarism teeth remain in place.

This includes recordings of phone calls, the content of email messages, entries on Facebook and the history of any internet user's access to websites (Web logs). That does not mean that those data are abused, but they are definitely recorded and some of them are stored for several years. In the article Edward Snowden Is Completely Wrong by Michael Hirsh and Sara Sorcher (Jun 15, 2013, NationalJournal.com) the authors warn:

Another problem for the alarmists: No evidence suggests that the worst fears of people like Snowden have ever been realized. In his interview with The Guardian, which broke the story along with The Washington Post, Snowden warned that the NSA’s accumulation of personal data

"increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude to where it’s getting to the point where you don’t have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody.”

In a state with no checks and balances, that is a possibility. But even the American Civil Liberties Union, which has called NSA surveillance “a stone’s throw away from an Orwellian state,” admits it knows of no cases where anything even remotely Orwellian has happened. Nor can any opponent of NSA surveillance point to a Kafkaesque Joseph K. who has appeared in an American courtroom on mysterious charges trumped up from government surveillance. Several civil-liberties advocates, asked to cite a single case of abuse of information, all paused for long seconds and could not cite any.

There is also great misunderstanding about how the NSA system works and whether such abuse could even happen in the future. It’s unclear if the government will be capable of accessing and misusing the vast array of personal data it is accumulating, as Snowden predicts. The NSA appears primarily to use computer algorithms to sift through its database for patterns that may be possible clues to terrorist plots. The government says it is not eavesdropping on our phone calls or voyeuristically reading our e-mails. Instead, it tracks the “metadata” of phone calls—whom we call and when, the duration of those conversations—and uses computer algorithms to trawl its databases for phone patterns or e-mail and search keywords that may be clues to terrorist plots. It can also map networks by linking known operatives with potential new suspects. If something stands out as suspicious, agents are still required by law to obtain a court order to look into the data they have in their storehouses. Officials must show “probable cause” and adhere to the principle of “minimization,” by which the government commits to reducing as much as possible the inadvertent vacuuming up of information on citizens instead of foreigners—the real target of the NSA’s PRISM program. The program, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, has had success. He told NBC that tracking a suspicious communication from Pakistan to a person in Colorado allowed officials to identify a terrorist cell in New York City that wanted to bomb its subway system in the fall of 2009.

Replace the word "terrorist" by the word "dissident" and you will get truer meaning of the collection and mining of metadata by three letter agencies. Here is an insightful post by Chris On February 16, 2010 ( christopherkois.com):

Today, there was an Ask Slashdot Story called: “Did We Lose the Privacy War?” In the story, the user was trying to do things like use NoScript and block Google Analytics, disabling third party cookies, and encrypting IM “to keep data-miners at bay”.

While I think some of these things are a good idea and individually protect against potential threats that may reside on the Internet, in the grand scheme of things, they do not help to protect your privacy on the Internet. The story and the comments on Slashdot that followed remind me of a great talk that was presented by Steve Rambam at the The Last Hope conference in 2008.

Steve Rambam is the Founder and CEO of Pallorium, Inc. Pallorium is a licensed Investigative Agency with offices and affiliates worldwide. In 2008, at The Last Hope conference, Steve Rambam gave a talk called “Privacy is Dead – Get Over It”. I originally heard this talk in 2008, as a podcast that is distributed on The Last Hope website.

This talk is by far one of the best talks I’ve ever heard on the topic of privacy on the Internet. The talk contains information about how an individual person’s information is retrieved, gathered, and correlated to obtain everything about an individual. Even more of a disturbing trend, the aggregation of social networking sites with other data stored by government and other private entities. It’s not so disturbing that the aggregation occurs, it’s disturbing that people don’t seem to understand just how “public” the Internet really is. The amount of information given away on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. is absolutely amazing. To top it off, an individual has no recourse against an entity collecting information about them. To quote the talk, “the genie is out of the bottle and you can’t stuff it back in.” The talk aims to spread awareness of data gathering on the Internet and how it is used in the past, present, and future.

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”. It’s not just private investigators that use this information, it’s also corporate entities that profit from your information. Take Amazon.com for example, from the talk:

“think for a second what Amazon knows about you: they know where you live, where you work, they know about your finances, they know what you like to read, what music you like to listen to, they know every interest of yours, every like, every dislike… all of things that make you, you. Essentially, they’ve got a database of everyone in America’s soul.”

Rambam points out that EBay, Paypal, and Skype (which is all one company now) have a very similar database of information. Satellite TV/Cable TV/DVR/Tivo all know what you watch on TV, and Tivo is actually selling elements of your data. Furthermore, you don’t know what they have and there is NOTHING that you can do about it.

From the talk:

“What you need to know is that these are “private” companies. Freedom of information does NOT apply. And you’re screwed 2 ways. You go to Choicepoint and you say ‘What’s in your files about me?’. ‘None of your business. It’s our business records. Tough.’ You go to the government and you say ‘This is my Freedom of Information Act request. I know you pulled a Choicepoint report on me. I want to know what was in that report.’ ‘Sorry, we can’t give it to you. It’s a private business record.’ FOIA is dead, buried. It tried to come back to life. Choicepoint hammered a big stake in it’s heart and now it’s gone…”

So, what does this all mean? This isn’t just about people or entities knowing everything there is to know about you: what you do, what you like, where you go, who you talk to, what you buy, what you are interested in buying, interests that you have, etc., etc., etc… It’s how those entities are using the data that they gather. You don’t have to be paranoid to be interested in this. Companies are profiting from the data that they are collecting on you, and you pay them for it. You are paying for their services, but they are still collecting the information and selling it to someone else. In essence, they are “double-dipping” into the profits from selling consumers a product or a service and then, aggregating the data and selling it to advertisers behind the scenes. The advertisers selling you information know more about you then you could ever imagine.

From the talk:

“If you don’t take anything else from my talk today, here’s what I need you to take away. Google is a private company that you have no control over. You have no right and no ability to influence what they gather about you and what they do with that information. And the truth is, most people when they think of Google, they think of a great utility that solved all the problems of finding things on the Internet a few years ago. … Google is photos, blogs, media … Gmail, how many people here use Gmail? … Do you know that your email is searched by bots? … How many of you know that your email is searched, indexed, and categorized? … How many of you care? None of you!

Now the same people, how many would be running out and hiring a lawyer if somebody was opening the mail at your mailbox, reading it, pasting it back shut, and putting it back in the box? Every single one of you. Much worse, but you don’t get it or you don’t care.”

One last quote from the talk that I feel really sums up all of the data collection, mining, and aggregation that many of the Internet Web Services companies do on a daily basis: This quote comes from the EFF, but is referenced in the talk: “This is analogous to AT&T listening to your phone calls all day in order to figure out what to sell you at dinner.”

Steve Rambam does a great job in conveying the current state of affairs. He states the case as to why much of this information can be used in a good way by law enforcement and private investigators to do their job efficiently, but also how the information obtained can and is being abused. The aim of the talk is to make people aware of what data is gathered, what you can do about it (which is not much), and what those entities that are gathering the information are doing with it.

The talk is just over 3 hours. The video is nice so you can see the slides, but you can always download the audio and listen to it on your portable music player.

The giant sucking sound

In his article What Surveillance Valley knows about you (Crooks and Liars) Yasha Levine noted:

Google is very secretive about the exact nature of its for-profit intel operation and how it uses the petabytes of data it collects on us every single day for financial gain. Fortunately, though, we can get a sense of the kind of info that Google and other Surveillance Valley megacorps compile on us, and the ways in which that intel might be used and abused, by looking at the business practices of the “data broker” industry.

Thanks to a series of Senate hearings, the business of data brokerage is finally being understood by consumers, but the industry got its start back in the 1970s as a direct outgrowth of the failure of telemarketing. In its early days, telemarketing had an abysmal success rate: only 2 percent of people contacted would become customers. In his book, “The Digital Perso,” Daniel J. Solove explains what happened next:

To increase the low response rate, marketers sought to sharpen their targeting techniques, which required more consumer research and an effective way to collect, store, and analyze information about consumers. The advent of the computer database gave marketers this long sought-after ability — and it launched a revolution in targeting technology.

Data brokers rushed in to fill the void. These operations pulled in information from any source they could get their hands on — voter registration, credit card transactions, product warranty information, donations to political campaigns and non-profits, court records — storing it in master databases and then analyzing it in all sorts of ways that could be useful to direct-mailing and telemarketing outfits. It wasn’t long before data brokers realized that this information could be used beyond telemarketing, and quickly evolved into a global for-profit intelligence business that serves every conceivable data and intelligence need.

Today, the industry churns somewhere around $200 billion in revenue annually. There are up to 4,000 data broker companies — some of the biggest are publicly traded — and together, they have detailed information on just about every adult in the western world.

No source of information is sacred: transaction records are bought in bulk from stores, retailers and merchants; magazine subscriptions are recorded; food and restaurant preferences are noted; public records and social networks are scoured and scraped. What kind of prescription drugs did you buy? What kind of books are you interested in? Are you a registered voter? To what non-profits do you donate? What movies do you watch? Political documentaries? Hunting reality TV shows?

That info is combined and kept up to date with address, payroll information, phone numbers, email accounts, social security numbers, vehicle registration and financial history. And all that is sliced, isolated, analyzed and mined for data about you and your habits in a million different ways.

The dossiers are not restricted to generic market segmenting categories like “Young Literati” or “Shotguns and Pickups” or “Kids & Cul-de-Sacs,” but often contain the most private and intimate details about a person’s life, all of it packaged and sold over and over again to anyone willing to pay.

Take MEDbase200, a boutique for-profit intel outfit that specializes in selling health-related consumer data. Well, until last week, the company offered its clients a list of rape victims (or “rape sufferers,” as the company calls them) at the low price of $79.00 per thousand. The company claims to have segmented this data set into hundreds of different categories, including stuff like the ailments they suffer, prescription drugs they take and their ethnicity:

These rape sufferers are family members who have reported, or have been identified as individuals affected by specific illnesses, conditions or ailments relating to rape. Medbase200 is the owner of this list. Select from families affected by over 500 different ailments, and/or who are consumers of over 200 different Rx medications. Lists can be further selected on the basis of lifestyle, ethnicity, geo, gender, and much more. Inquire today for more information.

MEDbase promptly took its “rape sufferers” list off line last week after its existence was revealed in a Senate investigation into the activities of the data-broker industry. The company pretended like the list was a huge mistake. A MEDbase rep tried convincing a Wall Street Journal reporter that its rape dossiers were just a “hypothetical list of health conditions/ailments.” The rep promised it was never sold to anyone. Yep, it was a big mistake. We can all rest easy now. Thankfully, MEDbase has hundreds of other similar dossier collections, hawking the most private and sensitive medical information.

For instance, if lists of rape victims aren’t your thing, MEDbase can sell dossiers on people suffering from anorexia, substance abuse, AIDS and HIV, Alzheimer’s Disease, Asperger Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Bedwetting (Enuresis), Binge Eating Disorder, Depression, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Genital Herpes, Genital Warts, Gonorrhea, Homelessness, Infertility, Syphilis… the list goes on and on and on and on.

Normally, such detailed health information would fall under federal law and could not be disclosed or sold without consent. But because these data harvesters rely on indirect sources of information instead of medical records, they’re able to sidestep regulations put in place to protect the privacy of people’s health data.

MEBbase isn’t the only company exploiting these loopholes. By the industry’s own estimates, there are something like 4,000 for-profit intel companies operating in the United States. Many of them sell information that would normally be restricted under federal law. They offer all sorts of targeted dossier collections on every population segments of our society, from the affluent to the extremely vulnerable:

  • people with drug addictions
  • detailed personal info on police officers and other government employees
  • people with bad credit/bankruptcies
  • minorities who’ve used payday loan services
  • domestic violence shelter locations (normally these addresses would be shielded by law)
  • elderly gamblers

If you want to see how this kind of profile data can be used to scam unsuspecting individuals, look no further than a Richard Guthrie, an Iowa retiree who had his life savings siphoned out of his bank account. Their weapon of choice: databases bought from large for-profit data brokers listing retirees who entered sweepstakes and bought lottery tickets.

Here’s a 2007 New York Times story describing the racket:

Mr. Guthrie, who lives in Iowa, had entered a few sweepstakes that caused his name to appear in a database advertised by infoUSA, one of the largest compilers of consumer information. InfoUSA sold his name, and data on scores of other elderly Americans, to known lawbreakers, regulators say.

InfoUSA advertised lists of “Elderly Opportunity Seekers,” 3.3 million older people “looking for ways to make money,” and “Suffering Seniors,” 4.7 million people with cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. “Oldies but Goodies” contained 500,000 gamblers over 55 years old, for 8.5 cents apiece. One list said: “These people are gullible. They want to believe that their luck can change.”

Data brokers argue that cases like Guthrie are an anomaly — a once-in-a-blue-moon tragedy in an industry that takes privacy and legal conduct seriously. But cases of identity thieves and sophistical con-rings obtaining data from for-profit intel businesses abound. Scammers are a lucrative source of revenue. Their money is just as good as anyone else’s. And some of the profile “products” offered by the industry seem tailored specifically to fraud use.

As Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Yves Leblanc told the New York Times: “Only one kind of customer wants to buy lists of seniors interested in lotteries and sweepstakes: criminals. If someone advertises a list by saying it contains gullible or elderly people, it’s like putting out a sign saying ‘Thieves welcome here.’”

So what is InfoUSA, exactly? What kind of company would create and sell lists customized for use by scammers and cons?

As it turns out, InfoUSA is not some fringe or shady outfit, but a hugely profitable politically connected company. InfoUSA was started by Vin Gupta in the 1970s as a basement operation hawking detailed lists of RV and mobile home dealers. The company quickly expanded into other areas and began providing business intel services to thousands of businesses. By 2000, the company raised more than $30 million in venture capital funding from major Silicon Valley venture capital firms.

By then, InfoUSA boasted of having information on 230 million consumers. A few years later, InfoUSA counted the biggest Valley companies as its clients, including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL. It got involved not only in raw data and dossiers, but moved into payroll and financial, conducted polling and opinion research, partnered with CNN, vetted employees and provided customized services for law enforcement and all sorts of federal and government agencies: processing government payments, helping states locate tax cheats and even administrating President Bill Clinton “Welfare to Work” program. Which is not surprising, as Vin Gupta is a major and close political supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

In 2008, Gupta was sued by InfoUSA shareholders for inappropriately using corporate funds. Shareholders accused of Gupta of illegally funneling corporate money to fund an extravagant lifestyle and curry political favor. According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit questioned why Gupta used private corporate jets to fly the Clintons on personal and campaign trips, and why Gupta awarded Bill Clinton a $3.3 million consulting gig.

As a result of the scandal, InfoUSA was threatened with delisting from Nasdaq, Gupta was forced out and the company was snapped up for half a billion dollars by CCMP Capital Advisors, a major private equity firm spun off from JP Morgan in 2006. Today, InfoUSA continues to do business under the name Infogroup, and has nearly 4,000 employees working in nine countries.

As big as Infogroup is, there are dozens of other for-profit intelligence businesses that are even bigger: massive multi-national intel conglomerates with revenues in the billions of dollars. Some of them, like Lexis-Nexis and Experian, are well known, but mostly these are outfits that few Americans have heard of, with names like Epsilon, Altegrity and Acxiom.

These for-profit intel behemoths are involved in everything from debt collection to credit reports to consumer tracking to healthcare analysis, and provide all manner of tailored services to government and law enforcement around the world. For instance, Acxiom has done business with most major corporations, and boasts of intel on “500 million active consumers worldwide, with about 1,500 data points per person. That includes a majority of adults in the United States,” according to the New York Times.

This data is analyzed and sliced in increasingly sophisticated and intrusive ways to profile and predict behavior. Merchants are using it customize shopping experience— Target launched a program to figure out if a woman shopper was pregnant and when the baby would be born, “even if she didn’t want us to know.” Life insurance companies are experimenting with predictive consumer intel to estimate life expectancy and determine eligibility for life insurance policies. Meanwhile, health insurance companies are raking over this data in order to deny and challenge the medical claims of their policyholders.

Even more alarming, large employers are turning to for-profit intelligence to mine and monitor the lifestyles and habits of their workers outside the workplace. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal described how employers have partnered with health insurance companies to monitor workers for “health-adverse” behavior that could lead to higher medical expenses down the line:

Your company already knows whether you have been taking your meds, getting your teeth cleaned and going for regular medical checkups. Now some employers or their insurance companies are tracking what staffers eat, where they shop and how much weight they are putting on — and taking action to keep them in line.

But companies also have started scrutinizing employees’ other behavior more discreetly. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina recently began buying spending data on more than 3 million people in its employer group plans. If someone, say, purchases plus-size clothing, the health plan could flag him for potential obesity — and then call or send mailings offering weight-loss solutions.

…”Everybody is using these databases to sell you stuff,” says Daryl Wansink, director of health economics for the Blue Cross unit. “We happen to be trying to sell you something that can get you healthier.”

“As an employer, I want you on that medication that you need to be on,” says Julie Stone, a HR expert at Towers Watson told the Wall Street Journal.

Companies might try to frame it as a health issue. I mean, what kind of asshole could be ag caring about the wellbeing of their workers? But their ultimate concern has nothing to do with the employee health. It’s all about the brutal bottom line: keeping costs down.

An employer monitoring and controlling your activity outside of work? You don’t have to be union agitator to see the problems with this kind of mindset and where it could lead. Because there are lots of things that some employers might want to know about your personal life, and not only to “keep costs down.” It could be anything: to weed out people based on undesirable habits or discriminate against workers based on sexual orientation, regulation and political beliefs.

It’s not difficult to imagine that a large corporation facing a labor unrest or a unionization drive would be interested in proactively flagging potential troublemakers by pinpointing employees that might be sympathetic to the cause. But the technology and data is already here for wide and easy application: did a worker watch certain political documentaries, donate to environmental non-profits, join an animal rights Facebook group, tweet out support for Occupy Wall Street, subscribe to the Nation or Jacobin, buy Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine”? Or maybe the worker simply rented one of Michael Moore’s films? Run your payroll through one of the massive consumer intel databases and look if there is any matchup. Bound to be plenty of unpleasant surprises for HR!

This has happened in the past, although in a cruder and more limited way. In the 1950s, for instance, some lefty intellectuals had their lefty newspapers and mags delivered to P.O. boxes instead of their home address, worrying that otherwise they’d get tagged as Commie symps. That might have worked in the past. But with the power of private intel companies, today there’s nowhere to hide.

FTC Commissioner Julie Brill has repeatedly voiced concern that unregulated data being amassed by for-profit intel companies would be used to discriminate and deny employment, and to determine consumer access to everything from credit to insurance to housing. “As Big Data algorithms become more accurate and powerful, consumers need to know a lot more about the ways in which their data is used,” she told the Wall Street Journal.

Pam Dixon, executive director of the Privacy World Forum, agrees. Dixon frequently testifies on Capitol Hill to warn about the growing danger to privacy and civil liberties posed by big data and for-profit intelligence. In Congressional testimony back in 2009, Dixon called this growing mountain of data the “modern permanent record” and explained that users of these new intel capabilities will inevitably expand to include not just marketers and law enforcement, but insurance companies, employers, landlords, schools, parents, scammers and stalkers. “The information – like credit reports – will be used to make basic decisions about the ability of individual to travel, participate in the economy, find opportunities, find places to live, purchase goods and services, and make judgments about the importance, worthiness, and interests of individuals.”


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[Jul 26, 2020] Big Tech Wants to Own You by JEFFREY WERNICK

Notable quotes:
"... Jeffrey Wernick is strategic investor in Parler. He is also an early bitcoin adopter, advocate and acquirer. Additionally he is a seed investor and an angel investor. Wernick is a frequently invited lecturer and speaker including at his alma mater, the University of Chicago. ..."
Jul 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

How major social media companies threaten our most basic freedoms.

It is no secret that the dominant social media companies now monetize what is not theirs: our personal data. In none of the agreements between social media users and these companies is there a transfer of property. Yes, users (and consumers in general) often agree to relinquish some privacy in exchange for a service or a good. But privacy and property are completely different. They should not be conflated.

Privacy is at the core of who we are as free and sovereign individuals. An individual is composed of many attributes. Some are public and open, others we keep to ourselves. All of them define who we are.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13045197114175078?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13045197114175078-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com&rid=www.theamericanconservative.com&width=838

Apparently, there is great commercial value in understanding our attributes and then using what is learned. Sometimes this is in our interest, but many times it is not.

In the digital world, companies dissect us and package us for commercial gain without compensating us -- and too often without our consent. That is not merely an invasion of our privacy, but in actuality is a theft of our personal property.

In any free society, respect for the individual is predicated upon his or her sovereignty. Our most important property right is our right to ourselves. If we lose ownership of ourselves, we become the property of others.

Social media companies, and other platforms that sell or monetize our data without permission are appropriating aspects of the sovereign individuals who are their users, and it is a violation of our rights.

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But selling or monetizing your personal information isn't the only way tyrannical tech seeks to own you.

In 2019, Facebook's Mark Zuckerbe rg explicitly said, "We are a tech company, not a media company."

He later gave Congress a more nuanced answer:

"I view us as a tech company because the primary thing we do is build technology and products," Zuckerberg testified. "I agree that we're responsible for the content, but we don't produce the content. I think when people ask us if we're a media company or a publisher, my understanding of what they're really getting at is do we feel responsible for the content on our platform."

"The answer to that, I think, is clearly yes," he continued. "But I don't think that's incompatible with fundamentally at our core being a technology company."

Zuckerberg's view of his company raises a crucial question: is Facebook a technology company that promotes free speech and exists as a public forum that should be held exempt from liability in connection with the content posted on its platform? Or is it a publisher with the right to edit content at its discretion, whatever the methodology -- but must then assume responsibility and liability for that content?

To say you assume responsibility for content, and then declare yourself exempt from liability in connection with it is an absurd contradiction. An assumption of liability is an indispensable component of statement of responsibility. It is the price one pays for being able to take credit for something, or to exercise control over it.

As troubled as I am regarding Zuckerberg's hypocri sy, as shown by the contradictions between his words and Facebook's policies and practices, it is even more troubling to me that many of my fellow Zuckerberg critics -- both in the technology community and in the progressive movement–hold a very different conception of free speech than I do. Their view of the range of speech that should be protected is, unfortunately, much narrower.

Essentially, many of them believe technology should be used to censor content, accord ing to criteria established by whoever controls the technology company. And today, most of the technology companies handling our content have decided to develop these criteria in partnership with those operating on a kind of mob mentality that sees dissent as something that is dangerous, something to be repressed.

A mere platform or "tech company" would not take it upon itself to do this. But publishers would and do, usually in the name of being "responsible." Unfortunately, almost all of today's technology is developed under the auspices of a controlling authority acting as a censor.

This would be acceptable -- if they acknowledged themselves as publishers. But Zuckerberg, during his congressional testimony, walked that not-even-remotely-fine line for a reason. Many of today's tech companies, doing the bidding of the various mobs that want to dictate what speech is allowed, wield the power they have according to their own perspective on what is right, just, and moral. They anoint themselves as the modern version of Torquemada. Yes, I said it: It is an Inquisition. These tech companies, and the mobs whose favor they curry, seek a strategy to dehumanize, delegitimize, and digitally exterminate those with whom they disagree.

Those in academia are often told they must "publish or perish." If platforms like Google, Facebook, Twitter and others dared to verbalize what they were doing in the form of an expression, an appropriate expression might be: "If we decide not to publish you, you will virtually perish. You will be erased."

These companies really aren't "social media." They are not public forums. An actual public forum respects the First Amendment, in spirit, and does not monetize content or personal data. Google, Facebook, Twitter and other tyrannical tech giants are private companies operating opaquely in the digital domain, exempt from discovery or accountability, gifted by Congress with a liability exemption that allows them to do whatever they want. Including deplatforming you.

Rabbi Hillel said, "that which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow."

If you want the right to speak, to express your ideas and opinions, it would be despicable to you if someone prevented you from doing so. You would not want someone else to persecute, dehumanize, deplatform or digitally exterminate you.

Such behavior is abhorrent to the ideal of free speech. It is unfathomable that, in the twenty-first century, "I wholly disapprove of what you say and will defend to the death your right to say it," has, somehow mutated into, "I wholly disapprove of what you say and will digitally exterminate you if you dare try to say it."

A true public forum eschews censorship of any kind. Freedom of expression, and the exchange of knowledge that goes along with it, can flourish only in an environment where there is no authoritative entity or controlling party, where one speaks by right, not by permission.

Jeffrey Wernick is strategic investor in Parler. He is also an early bitcoin adopter, advocate and acquirer. Additionally he is a seed investor and an angel investor. Wernick is a frequently invited lecturer and speaker including at his alma mater, the University of Chicago.

[Jun 26, 2020] Is Bezos going the way of Biden: Amazon boss and world's richest man Jeff Bezos has bought the naming rights to Seattle's KeyArena complex, and will rename it Climate Pledge Arena

Notable quotes:
"... "as a regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action." ..."
"... "be the first net-zero-carbon-certified arena in the world," ..."
Jun 26, 2020 | www.rt.com

Bezos announced the purchase in an Instagram post on Thursday, saying the name will serve "as a regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action." The e-commerce kingpin said that the National Hockey League (NHL) venue will "be the first net-zero-carbon-certified arena in the world," will generate no waste, and will use reclaimed rainwater in its ice system.

[Jun 24, 2020] Senator Accuses Google Of Posing Tremendous Threat To Free And Fair Press As Antitrust Probe Gets Going

Jun 24, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Tue, 06/23/2020 - 20:10 As part of an escalating probe into anti-competitive and antitrust practices by Google, Reuters reports that DOJ officials and some state attorneys general are set to meet on Friday to discuss next steps. The federal government and nearly all state attorneys general have opened investigations into allegations that the company which once upon a time said its motto was "don't be evil" has broken antitrust laws.

The federal probe focuses on search bias, advertising and management of Google's Android operating system, according to the report.

Separately, in a letter sent Sunday to U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn on Tuesday said that Google and parent company, Alphabet, pose a "threat to a free and fair press in America."

Addressing the Attorney General, Blackburn urges him "to thoroughly scrutinize how the company's anticompetitive practices could lead to the crippling of journalistic freedom. I also ask that your probe examine abuses in both the online advertising and online search markets, and to take enforcement action swiftly before further economic harm results. "

The rest of the story is well known to everyone on this site:

Google leverages the power of its ad platform GoogleAds to harm consumers and competitors alike. Last week, Google took actions towards demonetizing two conservative news media organizations based on the sites' third-party user comments. A NBC article incorrectly reported that The Federalist and ZeroHedge were being banned from the GoogleAds platform for publishing racist articles , and a Google representative claimed that the punishment was for the publication of "derogatory content that promotes hatred, intolerance, violence or discrimination based on race."1 In reality, the takedown pretext was based on user comments and not on news content. While The Federalist was allowed to remain on GoogleAds after suspending the user comment function, ZeroHedge's entire site was blocked. Google knows it holds clients' livelihoods in the palm of its hands, as publishers have no meaningful choice to generate ad revenue. Google has no qualms falsely labeling news publishers as racist as a convenient way to turn off their sites and scare writers from debating controversial ideas

Blackburn praised the DOJ for issuing a proposal last week to "roll back liability shields" for Google and other online platforms under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. These reforms alone, however, won't stop "Google's encroachment on competitors and grip on public discourse," Blackburn warned.

Google's behavior could lead to the crippling of our free press.

Today I asked AG Barr @TheJusticeDept to examine abuses of online advertising & search markets, and to take action before further economic harm results. pic.twitter.com/TRJy9ZeaNT

-- Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) June 22, 2020

"Google must be held accountable for such anticompetitive conduct. Both the American free market and the openness of our democracy are presently at stake," she concluded her letter. "As the Department decides which actions to pursue, I urge mounting a full investigation that examines the company's control over vast sectors of the Internet economy, from online advertising to online search."

[Jun 20, 2020] 1984 -- The writer of Truth rewrites history to fit whatever they want. Read the book. That's the news media today.

Jun 20, 2020 | taibbi.substack.com

Sean Carson Jun 12

The toxicity that Matt writes about isn't just due to Trump - it's due to the left abandoning traditional liberal values in favor of political correctness and identity politics. This new Red Guard of ideological purity is the natural - shocking - evolution of that....

Lekimball Jun 13

1984 -- The writer of Truth rewrites history to fit whatever they want. Read the book. That's the news media today. A warning leftists: Stalin and Hitler controlled the media. It's not TRUMP controlling the media. Or ignoring the truth. And it should scare the hell out of every American.

Sherry Jun 13

The twitter lynch mobs have a great deal to answer for, except they never do answer for it.

TheMadKing59 Jun 13

Crazy times indeed. It is reminiscent of the Hollywood Terror. A tipping point will come when enough people are sickened of their arbitrary and capricious cultural fascism.

Horatio Flemm Jun 13

Mr. Taibbi fires a warning shot to alert us that the "instinct (in the American media) to shield audiences from views or facts deemed politically uncomfortable has been in evidence since Trump became a national phenomenon." I would say not "since" -- that vile instinct has merely been more in evidence. The media's fear and hatred for diversity of opinion, for the freedom of speech, has doubtless worsened ...

[Jun 17, 2020] Tucker: Google tries to censor content it disagrees with

Jun 17, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Joseph Beers , 1 hour ago

Google has become a publisher and is no longer a unbiased public forum. They should be stripped of section 230 protections.

Cloudy Days , 1 hour ago

"Google controls 70% of all online ad revenue." That sounds like an anti trust case waiting to happen.

kingtorta , 1 hour ago

MSM: We don't call for censorship.
GOOGLE: We know.
MSM: Hey google, we don't like a couple of other news agencies. Do us a favor.
GOOGLE: No problem comrade

Riley Reeder , 1 hour ago

Controlling content means they should lose their Platform status

ThePsychoRenegade , 1 hour ago

For once Tucker is saying things agree with. More people need to call out censorship.

Stephen Longchamps , 1 hour ago

Truth that is painful to hear. Explained with mastery by Tucker Carlson, again. So, after years of radical leftest ideological brainwashing through mainstream media. Well, we're left with that part of any common sense we've been able to retain in the sane areas of our paradigms. But, just to make sure they've got us brain controlled, or brain dead. Now we're being sensored in social media by the big tech mob if we dare to say anything against their radical leftest narrative. For me, really only two things I can think of to solve this. Be brave and keep speaking up for what each of us believe in, aaand reelect Mr. Trump. Otherwise, were fu..ed.

J H , 1 hour ago

I use Duckduckgo as much as possible...it serves the same purpose...it's a search engine... others should try it. Duckduckgo get it on your phone and delete google.

[Jun 14, 2020] America looks like a hybrid of Stephen King, Brave New World, and 1984 and the US elites and intel agencies love it.

Jun 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

AriusArmenian , Jun 13 2020 19:27 utc | 22

This is looking like another 1960's type insurrection that will end up the same way: it will be used by the rich and powerful elites (notice how the corporate controlled media has gone on one knee for BLM and has gone outright anti-white?), there will be a back lash that will crush it (right after the election), and its leaders will be either absorbed into the establishment or offed.

America looks like a hybrid of Stephen King, Brave New World, and 1984 and the rich and powerful US elites and intel agencies stroke it and love it. Notice that the US super rich have been raking it in since January 2020? While at the same time Trump is busy making the US a vassal state of Israel and accelerating the roll-out of Cold War v2 which is just fine with US elites that will not change with the election of moron Biden (if the people elect Biden they are electing his VP as Biden will not last long; he is a lot like Yeltsin that was pumped up on mental stimulants and nutriments to perform for short periods until the next treatment).

What a country, what a ship of fools.

[Jun 08, 2020] Global Crisis- The Convergence Of Marx, Kafka, Orwell, Huxley -

Notable quotes:
"... This is where Orwell enters the convergence , for the State masks its stripmining and power grab with deliciously Orwellian misdirections such as "the People's Party," "democratic socialism," and so on. ..."
"... Orwell understood the State's ontological imperative is expansion, to the point where it controls every level of community, markets and society. Once the State escapes the control of the citizenry, it is free to exploit them in a parasitic predation that is the mirror-image of Monopoly capital. For what is the State but a monopoly of force, coercion, data manipulation and the regulation of private monopolies? ..."
"... Aldous Huxley foresaw a Central State that persuaded its people to "love their servitude" via propaganda, drugs, entertainment and information-overload. In his view, the energy required to force compliance exceeded the "cost" of persuasion, and thus the Powers That Be would opt for the power of suggestion. ..."
"... "My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World . ..."
"... As Marx explained, the dynamics of state-monopoly-capitalism lead to the complete dominance of capital over labor in both financial and political "markets," as wealth buys political influence which then protects and enforces capital's dominance. ..."
Jun 08, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Global Crisis: The Convergence Of Marx, Kafka, Orwell, & Huxley by Tyler Durden Mon, 06/08/2020 - 16:45 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

The global crisis is not merely economic; it is the result of profound financial, sociological and political trends described by Marx, Kafka, Orwell and Huxley.

The unfolding global crisis is best understood as the convergence of the dynamics described by Marx, Kafka, Orwell and Huxley. Let's start with Franz Kafka , the writer (1883-1924) who most eloquently captured the systemic injustices of all-powerful bureaucratic institutions--the alienation experienced by the hapless citizen enmeshed in the bureaucratic web, petty officialdom's mindless persecutions of the innocent, and the intrinsic absurdity of the centralized State best expressed in this phrase: "We expect errors, not justice."

If this isn't the most insightful summary of the current moment in history, then what is? A lawyer by training and practice, Kafka understood that the the more powerful and entrenched the institution and its bureaucracy, the greater the collateral damage rained on the innocent, and the more extreme the perversion of justice.

We are living in a Kafkaesque nightmare where suspicion alone justifies the government stealing from its citizens, and an unrelated crime (possessing drug paraphernalia) is used to justify state theft.

As in a Kafkaesque nightmare, the state is above the law when it needs an excuse to steal your car or cash. There is no crime, no arrest, no due process--just the state threatening that you should shut up and be happy they don't take everything you own.

All these forms of civil forfeiture are well documented. While some would claim the worst abuses have been rectified, that is far from evident. What is evident is how long these kinds of legalized looting have been going on.

Taken: Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing? (2013)

Stop and Seize (six parts) (2013)

When the state steals our cash or car on mere suspicion, you have no recourse other than horrendously costly and time-consuming legal actions. So you no longer have enough money to prove your innocence now that we've declared your car and cash guilty?

Tough luck, bucko--be glad you live in a fake democracy with a fake rule of law, a fake judiciary, and a government with the officially sanctioned right to steal your money and possessions without any due process or court proceedings-- legalized looting .

They don't have to torture a confession out of you, like the NKVD/KGB did in the former Soviet Union, because your cash and car are already guilty.

This is where Orwell enters the convergence , for the State masks its stripmining and power grab with deliciously Orwellian misdirections such as "the People's Party," "democratic socialism," and so on.

Orwell understood the State's ontological imperative is expansion, to the point where it controls every level of community, markets and society. Once the State escapes the control of the citizenry, it is free to exploit them in a parasitic predation that is the mirror-image of Monopoly capital. For what is the State but a monopoly of force, coercion, data manipulation and the regulation of private monopolies?

What is the EU bureaucracy in Brussels but the perfection of a stateless State?

As Kafka divined, centralized bureaucracy has the capacity for both Orwellian obfuscation (anyone read those 1,300-page Congressional bills other than those gaming the system for their private benefit?) and systemic avarice and injustice.

The convergence boils down to this: it would be impossible to loot this much wealth if the State didn't exist to enforce the "rules" of parasitic predation.

Aldous Huxley foresaw a Central State that persuaded its people to "love their servitude" via propaganda, drugs, entertainment and information-overload. In his view, the energy required to force compliance exceeded the "cost" of persuasion, and thus the Powers That Be would opt for the power of suggestion.

He outlined this in a letter to George Orwell :

"My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World .

Within the next generation I believe that the world's rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience."

As prescient as he was, Huxley could not have foreseen the power of mobile telephony, gaming and social media hypnosis/addiction as a conditioning mechanism for passivity and self-absorption. We are only beginning to understand the immense addictive/conditioning powers of 24/7 mobile telephony / social media.

What would we say about a drug that caused people to forego sex to check their Facebook page? What would we say about a drug that caused young men to stay glued to a computer for 40+ hours straight, an obsession so acute that some actually die? We would declare that drug to be far too powerful and dangerous to be widely available, yet mobile telephony, gaming and social media is now ubiquitous.

... ... ...

Last but not least, we come to Marx. As Marx explained, the dynamics of state-monopoly-capitalism lead to the complete dominance of capital over labor in both financial and political "markets," as wealth buys political influence which then protects and enforces capital's dominance.

Marx also saw that finance-capital would inevitably incentivize over-capacity, stripping industrial capital of pricing power and profits. Once there's more goods and services than labor can afford to buy with earnings, financialization arises to provide credit to labor to buy capital's surplus production and engineer financial gains with leveraged speculation and asset bubbles.

But since labor's earnings are stagnant or declining, there's an end-game to financialization. Capital can no longer generate any gain at all except by central banks agreeing to buy capital's absurdly over-valued assets. Though the players tell themselves this arrangement is temporary, the dynamics Marx described are fundamental and inexorable: the insanity of central banks creating currency out of thin air to buy insanely over-priced assets is the final crisis of late-stage capitalism because there is no other escape from collapse.

Having stripped labor of earnings and political power and extracted every last scrap of profit from over-capacity (i.e. globalization) and financialization, capital is now completely dependent on money-spewing central banks buying their phantom capital with newly printed currency, a dynamic that will eventually trigger a collapse in the purchasing power of the central banks' phantom capital (i.e. fiat currencies).

When there is no incentive to invest in real-world productive assets and every incentive to skim profits by front-running the Federal Reserve, capitalism is dead. Paraphrasing Wallerstein, "Capitalism is no longer attractive to capitalists."

We can see this for ourselves in the real world: if "renewable energy" was as profitable as some maintain, private capital would have rushed in to fund every project to maximize their gains from this new source of immense profits. But as Art Berman explained in Why the Renewable Rocket Has Failed To Launch , this hasn't been the case. Rather, "green energy" remains dependent on government subsidies in one form or another. If hydropower is removed from "renewables," all other renewables (solar, wind, etc.) provide only 4% of total global energy consumption.

Japan's stagnation exemplifies Marx's analysis: Japan's central bank has created trillions of yen out of thin air for 30 years and used this phantom capital to buy the over-valued assets of Japan's politically dominant state-capitalist class, a policy that has led to secular stagnation and social decline. If it weren't for China's one-off expansion, Japan's economy would have slipped into phantom capital oblivion decades ago.

Kafka, Orwell, Huxley and Marx called it, and we're living in the last-gasp stage of the cruel and unsustainable system they described. So sorry, but investing your phantom capital in FANG stocks, Tik-Tok and virtual-reality games will not save phantom capital from well-deserved oblivion.

[May 28, 2020] Google, Meet The One Institution More Powerful Than You

May 28, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

f you're targeted for antitrust investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and 48 state attorneys general, you're going to have a bad time. Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that these investigations will likely lead to antitrust lawsuits , with the Justice Department's lawsuit commencing as soon as this summer.

On a narrow level, these lawsuits deal with various antitrust laws, such as the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. On a broader level, many are questioning whether big tech companies such as Google have become too powerful, especially when they recklessly abuse that power.

At the root of many Google's problems, including its antitrust problems, lies a corrosive, Pelagian rot. In his speech, "The Age of Pelagius ," Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) warns against a false philosophy of freedom, a "philosophy of liberation" rooted in "unrestricted, unfettered free choice." As tempting as that philosophy may sound, it inevitably leads to societal decay. "But here is the irony," he said. "Though the Pelagian vision celebrates the individual, it leads to hierarchy. Though it preaches merit, it produces elitism. Though it proclaims liberty, it destroys the life that makes liberty possible."

Google may not be the government, but it does contain another powerful institution which people also like to complain about: management. Google's founders may not be as wise as the Founding Fathers, but as part of their philosophy, they did figure out how to properly restrain the power of its managers, instituting Google's own version of checks and balances.

The success of Google was built on those systems, but today, these systems have degraded into mere parchment barriers. In the new Google, a Pelagian freedom of choice has liberated many people, insofar as they can bypass those systems and even bypass the law.

I could certainly tell quite a few stories from my time there. In one of those stories, my manager chose to ignore the guidance of Google's "Managing within the Law" training, and in retrospect, I couldn't think of a better metaphor for so many of Google's problems, problems which make my stories seem insignificant. They certainly seem to believe that acting with the law is an optional choice.

Google famously used to preach its motto of "don't be evil," but today, it has degraded into a Pelagian company where freedom of choice means that you can choose to be evil.

For example, Google can choose to pay an executive a $90 million exit package after a credible accusation of sexual misconduct . If someone sues Google for sexual misconduct, it can choose to bypass the public court system, using forced arbitration to funnel lawsuits into an alternative justice system stacked in its favor. (Though thankfully, the Google Walkout brought an end to that detestable practice .) Even after the Google Walkout, it can still choose to engage in blatant pregnancy discrimination and then arrogantly play hardball after it gets caught.

When Google built its mobile operating system, Android, it could choose to steal the Java API from Oracle, deploying its vast resources and crafty lawyers in order to legitimize its theft. (We can debate as a matter of policy whether the Java API should be copyrightable, but as a matter of law, the existing copyright law clearly covers the Java API.)

While at Google, I witnessed a number of conflicts. Some conflicts I was involved in, others I was not. Some conflicts were political, others were not. Nonetheless, a common theme emerged. In these conflicts, neither principles nor the truth nor even the law mattered. Only one thing mattered: power. And in a world where only power mattered, Google almost always won.

In this latest power struggle over antitrust law, though, Google finds itself going head-to-head against an institution even more powerful than itself: the government. Conservatives and libertarians have long debated the proper role of government and how its power should be limited, but at the very least, we need a government that can maintain law and order, especially when big tech companies choose to act as if they are above the law.

James Madison once said, "If Men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary." If neither men nor those who govern men are angels, then certainly the big tech companies are not angels. While we must always be on guard against abuses of power by the government, we still need a government powerful enough to exorcise the demons of the tech industry.

Mike Wacker is a former software engineer for Google and one of the Lincoln Network's 2020 Policy Hacker fellows.


Wil Odin 13 hours ago

I'm curious why these are examples of a pelagian rot rather than corporate corruption. All of those activities are unfortunately common place in the business world so I wouldn't think the main factor could be attributed to freedom of choice gone wild as thats not exactly a common business practice.
GaryH 12 hours ago
The great problem with this article is that Wacker accepts Hawley's sense of 'Pelaginaism'. In some ways, what we know of that heresy, certainly on later manifestations, is that it produces cultural, political, and economic notions that fit with the contemporary problems under discussion. But the very term clouds the issue for the vast majority of readers. That issue is Libertarianism.

Is Libertarianism something we dare not name?

Tradcon GaryH 9 hours ago
This seems mostly semantical, no? Pleaginaism and Libertarianism have similar premises in the way they priotize the freedom of the individual and choice.

Anyways both TAC and Hawley both regularly critique Libertarianism, especially with its influence over the GOP.

Andyroo Tradcon 8 hours ago
It's taken me months and months of reading conservative media to finally start parsing out the differences between genuine conservatives and American-ist Libertarians. I suspect most liberals and progressives cannot make the distinction, just as many conservatives see "the Left" as some totally monolithic thing. As I see it, members of the religious right desperately need to do the work of separating out their view of freedom, as grounded in classical Christian teaching, and realize that that view really isn't compatible with Libertarian economics. Reigning in morality while professing a laissez-faire approach to the market is bound to be a failed venture...and I say that as someone who recognizes that Left won't get anywhere with genuine progress and equity-for-all until they stop belittling religion and caricaturing conservative arguments.
Gregtown 12 hours ago
I have no issue with all of these companies being broken up into smaller ones. Should we place a market cap limit on all publicly traded companies?
Wil Odin Gregtown 6 hours ago
I think such a cap would be a bit arbitrary and probably be pretty easy to get around through mazes of subsidiaries, related parties, etc. An update of anti-trust legislation would likely be more effective.
Gregtown Wil Odin 5 hours ago
Possibly. The cap doesn't necessarily have to be static.
David Naas 9 hours ago
Let me get this straight, because it is rather confusing.

Grover Norquist wanted to make da gummint small enough to drown in a bathtub.

Libertarians posing as Conservatives have for years, denounced the interference of da gummint in any sort of business activity as being "socialist" and Un-American!

Not putative "conservatives" are wanting da gummint to attack and control private enterprise organizations and cheering every time Trump tweets outrageous insults against them?

What is this world coming to?

Andyroo David Naas 8 hours ago
It's taken me months and months of reading conservative media to finally start parsing out the differences between genuine conservatives and American-ist Libertarians. I suspect most liberals and progressives cannot make the distinction, just as many conservatives see "the Left" as some totally monolithic thing.

As I see it, members of the religious right desperately need to do the work of separating out their view of freedom, as grounded in classical Christian teaching, and realize that that view really isn't compatible with Libertarian economics. Reigning in morality while professing a laissez-faire approach to the market is bound to be a failed venture. I say that as someone who recognizes that Left cannot achieve genuine progress and equity-for-all until they stop belittling religion and caricaturing conservative arguments.

David Naas Andyroo 8 hours ago
Alas, there are some on #bothsides who apparently feel that if we can't demonze those who disagree with our divine wisdom, what's the use of having a catfight anyway.

One reason I like TAC and TIC (The Imaginative Conservative) is there is a variety of opinion and a (usually) civil atmosphere, at least until some silly savage comes in on a raid to "count coup".

[May 23, 2020] The wristband and microchip sound fab for children under 18 so we monitor to ensure their safety

May 23, 2020 | discussion.theguardian.com

fredmb , 11 Apr 2019 06:49

The wristband and microchip sound fab for children under 18 so we monitor to ensure their safety, especially in educational settings and on school trips. It would enable them to be located if lost or snatched. If it can be used to monitor language and aspects of behaviour then they could not be falsely accused of of antisocial actions. If they don't comply then child care benefits or access to higher education could be withdrawn as a sanction. It may even improve road safety if they drive illegally or badly. Any chance of a tiny electric shock feature to the microchip?

[May 21, 2020] Orwell's career was a lot more complicated than that. Basically, he came from a relatively prosperous middle-class family, which allowed him to play the game of the writer, when it worked, and to come back to the family when things were thin

May 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , May 20 2020 18:51 utc | 26

If you thought you knew everything about Eric Blair/George Orwell, I suggest reading this essay as a test. Hopefully, you'll discover many facets not known before as I did.

H.Schmatz , May 20 2020 21:40 utc | 33

Posted by: oldhippie | May 20 2020 20:23 utc | 30

Orwell's career was a lot more complicated than that. Basically, he came from a relatively prosperous middle-class family, which allowed him to play the game of the writer, when it worked, and to come back to the family when things were thin. Of course he exploited his own experiences, as every writer does. That doesn't detract from the great creations. Animal Farm and 1984 don't have direct origins.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 20 2020 21:39 utc | 32 @Posted by: karlof1 | May 20 2020 18:51 utc | 26

That essay is a real shame, an impossible intend of whitewashing and redime Orwell, just another intent on rewritting of history, and try to paint what is black as white. Neo-language
This intent could be inscribed along the rescues of Stepan Bandera and the Forest Brothers as new heroes of NATO world in their offensive against reviving socialist ideas.

That Orwell did not change even a bit after returning from Burma is proven by the fact that he came to Spain, and strolled around there with the Trotskyites of POUM, to elaborate black lists of communists which then were provided to Franco, at result of which many people was tortured and summarily executed. He, this way, contributed greatly to decimate the resistance in the side of the legitimate republican government, and thus, to help the fascists in their way to power, well supported by the US with arms and fuel and by the air forces of fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

... ... ...

https://twitter.com/ciudadfutura/status/1263150511412346881

Orwell: Sneak sighting of British secret services in the Cold War (is declassified by MI-5 and documented). Its function: to expose communists. He even betrayed Charles Chaplin, exiled in his native England for FBI persecution. "Referrer". "Always loyal"

https://twitter.com/ciudadfutura/status/1262794482963091460

Albert Escusa: Who was George Orwell really? Orwellian myths: from the Spanish Civil War to the Soviet holocaust

H.Schmatz , May 20 2020 22:08 utc | 36

@Posted by: H.Schmatz | May 20 2020 21:40 utc | 33

In the essay by Alert Escusa linked above, it is studied the historical context in which Orwell published his most famous works, at all innocent, debunking the legend on that he was kinda an outsider and was about to self-publish Animal Farm , being the checked reality that he had full support of the birgueoisie to publish his influential works when the time was more propice for the capitalists.

As a sample, a button:

What was happening that year of 1943, while Orwell was writing his Animal Farm? It was not exactly, as Pepe Gutiérrez says "the distribution of the world", but something quite different that he hides from us: the Nazis had invaded the USSR two years ago, exterminating millions of Russians and devastating much of the country. The greatest battle of the war, Stalingrad, had taken place, and it was not yet known who would win the conflict, whether Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. No one could safely predict that Nazism would be extirpated from Europe, the Nazi death camps had not yet been discovered, but Orwell was obsessed with his anti-Soviet writings. What did Orwell want to portray with his Farm Rebellion? Nothing more and nothing less than the following: "The specific purpose Orwell threw into it with a sense of urgency was the desire to exploit the "myth" of the Soviet Union, as a paradigm of the socialist state".

There are plenty of comments about it. It is only worth reflecting on who benefited from Orwell's position in 1943. The victory was precisely achieved by the Soviet people and the Red Army at the price of innumerable human sacrifices, also easily forgotten in the West, where the true character of the anti-fascist war is hidden. It is logical that the USSR, which had suffered a war of extermination unprecedented in history, and which also defeated the collaborationist and fascist regimes of Eastern Europe, along with the popular and communist guerrillas, was seen as a liberating power by broad sectors of local populations. In addition, the communist guerrillas, ideologically linked to the USSR, had come to have great prestige throughout Europe: so much so that, in the first French general elections after Nazism, the French Communist Party was the most voted party, achieving more out of 5 million votes representing 30% of the electorate [7]. As we will see later, the USSR had very well-founded reasons to believe that a new war was being prepared against him, this time with the country devastated, so it was logical and legitimate that he try to win allies against the possibility of a new world war. This is a long way from "distribution of the world" and trying to equate imperialism with socialism, as will be seen later.


karlof1 , May 20 2020 22:47 utc | 42
I must say the replies to my 26 go in many directions. As to Martin Sieff's essay, it's fundamentally a well deserved critique of the BBC that segues into a discussion about how George Orwell would easily recognize its Fake News for what it is that draws on Finding George Orwell in Burma for some of its content. (A very short preview's available at the link and it can be borrowed if you're an Archive member, for which there's no excuse as it's free.) IMO, the comments fit Sieff's intent quite well. Judging from book excerpts offered here , the book's more a critique of Myanmar than Orwell, although the additional sources provided at page bottom leads to credibility questions. I also note that most websites promoting Finding lead with the NY Times jacket blurb which is more about dissing Myanmar than revealing what was found regarding Orwell. Sieff says he knows the author but doesn't speculate on why he chose a female nom de plume; I too wonder why as I don't see what purpose it could serve unless it's anti-Myanmar propaganda that Orwell would recognize or something similar.

Curious--an innocuous comment becomes a can of worms. Also curious how Orwell and his writing still generate an intense level of controversy.

karlof1 , May 20 2020 22:47 utc | 42 H.Schmatz , May 20 2020 22:52 utc | 43
@Posted by: H.Schmatz | May 20 2020 22:08 utc | 36

A bit more from the must read essay linked, even related to current events...

2. THE HISTORICAL ENVIRONMENT OF "ANIMAL FARM" AND "1984"

What events were taking place in the western world at that time, which caused a favorable change of attitude towards Orwell's publications, of those who were previously reticent? Neither more nor less than the imminent offensive against socialism, which had already lost almost thirty million lives during the anti-fascist war and had suffered appalling material destruction.

While the first copies of Animal Farm were being printed and bound, some extremely disturbing events were taking place. Just at the end of the war, Nazi spies and war criminals were being recycled by the American spy services, such as the German SS General Reinhard Genhlen, whose spy network passed entirely to the Americans and was used in Eastern Europe to promote the anti-Soviet uprisings in East Berlin in 1953 and Hungary in 1956. Clandestine networks were created to evade thousands of Nazi criminals towards Latin America and the USA. Later, with Japan defeated, the operation was repeated with the Japanese scientists who are experts in bacteriological weapons, responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of allied prisoners, but who were secretly brought to the United States. Meanwhile, during the 1945 Potsdam conference, which brought together Hitler's victorious allies - where the alleged "honeymoon" took place to "divide the world" - US President Truman and English Churchill had speculated before Stalin about the power the western allies had with a new secret weapon. On August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. According to Ian Gray, Stalin's biographer: "Stalin and the majority of Russians immediately understood the terrible meaning of this fact ... Stalin realized that the Americans had used the bomb mainly to impress and threaten Russia". Stalin and the Soviets were right: the American Secretary of State, James Byrnes, recognized that the bomb was necessary not against Japan, but "to make Russia moldable to Europe".

As the historian Pauwels has explained, the initial will of the Soviets in Europe was not to have like-minded regimes and their own zone of influence, but to intervene in Germany to prevent it from engaging in a second war, this time together with its former allies against the USSR. This is demonstrated by the fact that until well into the post-war period, the Soviets did not help to make any political-social change in the liberated countries. It was Truman's nuclear policy that forced the Soviets to stand face to face with the Americans in Eastern Europe, thus deterring American aviation: from this way they would have to carry out a long trip until arriving at the Soviet cities where they had to drop their bombs. This caused the political and social changes in Eastern Europe to accelerate, which, however, were already taking place autonomously since the end of the war thanks to the triumph of the popular anti-fascist forces. This fact not only saved the USSR from a new war and enabled socialism to survive: stability in Eastern Europe laid the foundations for a development of national liberation struggles and for socialism throughout the world: in 1949 the victory of the Chinese Revolution heralded the triumph of many others, putting all capitalism in danger of death.

In parallel, just after the Cold War started by imperialism, the conservative British leader Churchill theorized about the need to build an Iron Curtain to contain the communists and allegedly asked the American President Truman to attack the USSR with the atomic bomb by means of a preemptive attack. Churchill was not just any character, but one of the most influential leaders of the British Empire, champion of English colonialism and the participation of his country in World War I, therefore responsible for many millions of deaths and suffering of peoples.

That was the real reason for the delay in publishing Animal Farm . Orwell, naturally, during the anti-fascist war could not see his anti-Soviet work published until the end of the conflict, since it would have been quite awkward for the Western governments allied to the USSR, who were risking their lives against the Nazis, to criminalize in this way a friendly government. On the other hand, at that time, from the Orwellian model, it would be difficult for western and world public opinion to understand how it was possible that the Soviet people fought with such a degree of sacrifice and heroism, expelling the Nazis from Europe: all the other bourgeois regimes, where there was freedom, had collapsed rapidly and had collaborated with the Nazis.
It was in connection with these events that the first copies of Animal farm were placed on the shelves of bookstores. Precisely the publication coincided with the end of World War II and the dissolution of the anti-fascist alliance between England, USA, and the USSR. The first edition is exactly from 1945 in England, published by Secker & Wargburg, from London, and from 1946 in the USA, published by Harcourt, from New York. The capitalist governments, which were imminently going to promote Animal Farm , were evaluating different options to attack the USSR: from rearming German units as shock brigades to attack the Soviets, to the launch of "preventive" atomic bombs. The prestige that the USSR had among all the workers of the world, fundamentally the Europeans who suffered the Nazi atrocities, was enormous, as well as among the intellectual and popular sectors, whose reflection could be followed in the great influence that some communist parties had. It was necessary to dismantle this prestige to sweep the opposition of the world public opinion to an armed aggression against those who liberated Europe from Nazism, and Orwell's novels came as a ring to a finger for this purpose, since they were a good instrument to spread among the so called mass culture, just as later were the film versions of his works.


H.Schmatz , May 20 2020 22:59 utc | 46
@Posted by: karlof1 | May 20 2020 22:47 utc | 42

Albert Escusa, gives in his essay a good semblance of what kind of person could Orwell really be:

Orwell was above all a great individualist, with some important personal contradictions and prejudices that led him to oscillate along various paths without being able to commit himself in a stable and permanent way to anything that was not himself, in such a way that, when he became disenchanted with some social processes that he was unable to interpret correctly and scientifically, ended up ranting against what he believed to be the object of his anger.

We can see it in Corbière's sharp description: "Who was Orwell? A sniper, a skeptic who devoted his efforts to Manichean criteria describing the great social and political contradictions of our time. Anarchist, Semitrotskyist in Spain, Labor in England, free thinker, undercover anti-Semite, his real ideas reveal a kind of elitism.

He had an intense imagination but his methodology of thought was restricted, one-sided.

H.Schmatz , May 20 2020 23:05 utc | 47
@Posted by: Kerry | May 20 2020 22:44 utc | 38

No that I am aware, but, if interested, you could translate it with a translator.
Since the essay is quite long, you could translate paragraph by paragraph, then read the whol thing once assembled.

A bit complicated, but worth the effort, the essay is a well researched work, wu¡ith several referecnes as weel worth reading, like a disection of Orwell, his epoch and motives.

oldhippie , May 20 2020 23:13 utc | 48
Oh dear. Relatively prosperous middle class means descended from Earls of Westmorland, family tree of Fanes, de Veres, Grosvenors, at a little reach basically related to the entire peerage. True, Orwell's father was a bit of a dope, he did manage to contract a marriage to a very wealthy woman. Jacintha Buddicom's memoir, Eric and Us, about growing up living next door to the Blairs, will tell you what 'middle class' life was like.

Orwell maintained the friendships from St. Cyprians and Eton for life. Pretty much everyone on the roster could be considered as spooks and agents. All of them tied to old money, old family, government service. Government as MI6 and CIA.

I think he's a great writer. My copy of the four volumes of Collected Essays Letters & Journalism is still right here next to the fireplace. All the rest of it around here somewhere, even the minor novels from the 30s. But no illusions what team he is on or what station he was born to.

Winston Smith means 'maker of Winston', as in broadcasting from Room 101 and forging the myth of Winston Churchill. Orwell was a big boy when he did that and was far past having any illusions. He created the myth that Room 101 of Broadcasting House was the worst place in the world. And talked of how the war years were the best years of his life.

H.Schmatz , May 20 2020 23:31 utc | 49
@Posted by: oldhippie | May 20 2020 23:13 utc | 48
I think he's a great writer

Not even so, more proper a plagiarist and propagandist at the service of Western totalitarian imperialism.

Since we are in the task of deconstructing Orwell, let´s go to the end...

In addition to the Animal Farm , one of the works that most influenced the construction of Western totalitarianism against the Communists was 1984 . It shows an overview of socialism in the USSR similar to a delusional totalitarian and monstrous drama, with a Big Brother (Stalin) who had absolute social control over the individuals under his rule, through a sophisticated mind control mechanism. This work became a must-read for CIA officers and a dependent body called the Council for Psychological Strategies, in addition to the fact that NATO used the entire vocabulary of this novel during the 1950s in its anti-communist strategy.12 It is interesting to know how He conceived this book, since it was apparently a plagiarism Orwell did to another disenchanted of Bolshevism, in this case a Russian writer, in the opinion of the writer Emilio J. Corbière: "Orwell's was a conscious plagiarism, since he explained it himself in another of his works. The plot, the main characters, the symbols and the climate of its narration, belonged to a completely forgotten Russian writer of the beginning of the century: Evgeny Zamyatin. In his book We , the Russian disillusioned with socialism after the failure of the 1905 revolution, devoted his efforts to anathematizing the Social Democratic Workers Party founded by Jorge Plejanov. When the October revolution happened - in 1917 - Zamyatin went into exile in Paris, where he wrote his posthumous anti-communist work"

This opinion is also shared by the historian Isaac Deutscher in his work The Mysticism of Cruelty , an essay about 1984 , where he states that Orwell "borrowed the idea of ​​1984, the plot, the main characters, the symbols and the whole plot situation from the work We of Evgeny Zamyatin"

We see how behind the image of a great writer, lies the reality of a plagiarist of stories, which served to elaborate theoretical and academic models on the functioning of socialism in the Soviet Union totally adjusted to the requirements of imperialism in the anti-communist Cold War. The impact of 1984 was tremendous among the population, creating an atmosphere of anti-communist and anti-Soviet paranoia that was very effective among the masses, as the disturbing personal testimony of Isaac Deutscher demonstrates: "Have you read that book? You have to read it, sir. Then you will know why we have to drop the atomic bomb on the Bolsheviks! With those words, a miserable blind newspaper vendor recommended me in New York 1984 , a few weeks before Orwell's death".


arby , May 20 2020 23:45 utc | 50
H. Schmatz.
I am not a good book reader but I did read 1984 and it definitely seemed to be a veiled critique on Communism.
However it seems the story is now more fitting to capitalism.

[May 21, 2020] How the British Empire Created and Killed George Orwell by Martin Sieff

May 20, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), happily amplified by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in the United States which carries its World News, continues to pump out its regular dreck about the alleged economic chaos in Russia and the imagined miserable state of the Russian people.

It is all lies of course. Patrick Armstrong 's authoritative regular updates including his reports on this website are a necessary corrective to such crude propaganda.

But amid all their countless fiascoes and failures in every other field (including the highest per capita death rate from COVID-19 in Europe, and one of the highest in the world) the British remain world leaders at managing global Fake News. As long as the tone remains restrained and dignified, literally any slander will be swallowed by the credulous and every foul scandal and shame can be confidently covered up.

None of this would have surprised the late, great George Orwell. It is fashionable these days to endlessly trot him out as a zombie (dead but alleged to be living – so that he cannot set the record straight himself) critic of Russia and all the other global news outlets outside the control of the New York and London plutocracies. And it is certainly true, that Orwell, whose hatred and fear of communism was very real, served before his death as an informer to MI-5, British domestic security.

But it was not the Soviet Union, Stalin's show trials or his experiences with the Trotskyite POUM group in Barcelona and Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War that "made Orwell Orwell" as the Anglo-America Conventional Wisdom Narrative has it. It was his visceral loathing of the British Empire – compounded during World War II by his work for the BBC which he eventually gave up in disgust.

And it was his BBC experiences that gave Orwell the model for his unforgettable Ministry of Truth in his great classic "1984."

George Orwell had worked in one of the greatest of all world centers of Fake News. And he knew it.

More profoundly, the great secret of George Orwell's life has been hiding in plain sight for 70 years since he died. Orwell became a sadistic torturer in the service of the British Empire during his years in Burma, modern Myanmar. And as a fundamentally decent man, he was so disgusted by what he had done that he spent the rest of his life not just atoning but slowly and willfully committing suicide before his heartbreakingly premature death while still in his 40s.

The first important breakthrough in this fundamental reassessment of Orwell comes from one of the best books on him. "Finding George Orwell in Burma" was published in 2005 and written by "Emma Larkin", a pseudonym for an outstanding American journalist in Asia whose identity I have long suspected to be an old friend and deeply respected colleague, and whose continued anonymity I respect.

"Larkin" took the trouble to travel widely in Burma during its repressive military dictatorship and her superb research reveals crucial truths about Orwell. According to his own writings and his deeply autobiographical novel "Burmese Days" Orwell loathed all his time as a British colonial policeman in Burma, modern Myanmar. The impression he systematically gives in that novel and in his classic essay "Shooting an Elephant" is of a bitterly lonely, alienated, deeply unhappy man, despised and even loathed by his fellow British colonialists throughout society and a ludicrous failure at his job.

This was not, however, the reality that "Larkin" uncovered. All surviving witnesses agreed that Orwell – Eric Blair as he then still was – remained held in high regard during his years in the colonial police service. He was a senior and efficient officer. Indeed it was precisely his knowledge of crime, vice, murder and the general underside of human society during his police colonial service while still in his 20s that gave him the street smarts, experience, and moral authority to see through all the countless lies of right and left, of American capitalists and British imperialists as well as European totalitarians for the rest of his life.

The second revelation to throw light on what Orwell had to do in those years comes from one of the most famous and horrifying scenes in "1984." Indeed, almost nothing even in the memoirs of Nazi death camp survivors has anything like it: That is the scene where "O'Brien", the secret police officer tortures the "hero" (if he can be called that) Winston Smith by locking his face to a cage in which a starving rat is ready to pounce and devour him if it is opened.

I remember thinking, when I was first exposed to the power of "1984" at my outstanding Northern Irish school, "What kind of mind could invent something as horrific as that?") The answer was so obvious that I like everyone else missed it entirely.

Orwell did not "invent" or "come up" with the idea as a fictional plot device: It was just a routine interrogation technique used by the British colonial police in Burma, modern Myanmar. Orwell never "brilliantly" invented such a diabolical technique of torture as a literary device. He did not have to imagine it. It was routinely employed by himself and his colleagues. That was how and why the British Empire worked so well for so long. They knew what they were doing. And what they did was not nice at all.

A final step in my enlightenment about Orwell, whose writings I have revered all my life – and still do – was provided by our alarmingly brilliant elder daughter about a decade ago when she too was given "1984" to read as part of her school curriculum. Discussing it with her one day, I made some casual obvious remark that Orwell was in the novel as Winston Smith.

My American-raised teenager then naturally corrected me. "No, Dad, " she said. "Orwell isn't Winston, or he's not just Winston. He's O'Brien too. O'Brien actually likes Winston. He doesn't want to torture him. He even admires him. But he does it because it's his duty."

She was right, of course.

But how could Orwell the great enemy of tyranny, lies and torture so identify with and understand so well the torturer? It was because he himself had been one.

"Emma Larkin's" great book brings out that Orwell as a senior colonial police officer in the 1920s was a leading figure in a ruthless war waged by the British imperial authorities against drug and human trafficking crime cartels every bit as vicious and ruthless as those in modern Ukraine, Columbia and Mexico today. It was a "war on terror" where anything and everything was permitted to "get the job done."

The young Eric Blair was so disgusted by the experience that when he returned home he abandoned the respectable middle class life style he had always enjoyed and became, not just an idealistic socialist as many in those days did, but a penniless, starving tramp. He even abandoned his name and very identity. He suffered a radical personality collapse: He killed Eric Blair. He became George Orwell.

Orwell's early famous book "Down and Out in London and Paris" is a testament to how much he literally tortured and humiliated himself in those first years back from Burma. And for the rest of his life.

He ate miserably badly, was skinny and ravaged by tuberculosis and other health problems, smoked heavily and denied himself any decent medical care. His appearance was always abominable. His friend, the writer Malcolm Muggeridge speculated that Orwell wanted to remake himself as a caricature of a tramp.

The truth clearly was that Orwell never forgave himself for what he did as a young agent of empire in Burma. Even his literally suicidal decision to go to the most primitive, cold, wet and poverty-stricken corner of creation in a remote island off Scotland to finish "1984" in isolation before he died was consistent with the merciless punishments he had inflicted on himself all his life since leaving Burma.

The conclusion is clear: For all the intensity of George Orwell's experiences in Spain, his passion for truth and integrity, his hatred of the abuse of power did not originate from his experiences in the Spanish Civil War. They all flowed directly from his own actions as an agent of the British Empire in Burma in the 1920s: Just as his creation of the Ministry of Truth flowed directly from his experience of working in the Belly of the Beast of the BBC in the early 1940s.

George Orwell spent more than 20 years slowly committing suicide because of the terrible crimes he committed as a torturer for the British Empire in Burma. We can therefore have no doubt what his horror and disgust would be at what the CIA did under President George W. Bush in its "Global War on Terror." Also, Orwell would identify at once and without hesitation the real fake news flowing out of New York, Atlanta, Washington and London today, just as he did in the 1930s and 1940s.

Let us therefore reclaim and embrace The Real George Orwell: The cause of fighting to prevent a Third World War depends on it.

[May 16, 2020] Facebook, unz.com and COVID-19

May 16, 2020 | www.unz.com

Anon [369] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 11, 2020 at 11:42 am GMT

With Facebook under enormous pressure to ban all "Coronavirus conspiracy theories," this is the obvious reason for our removal.

I would agree that it's related to the Coronavirus but I think what we're seeing in this case is Deep State's influence on big tech. IMHO, Unz Review was integral to the Chinese pushback on the origin of COVID-19 and for that reason it (UR) was tagged as PNG (as my spook friends would say) by Deep State.

I'm sure we've all seen declassified (TS/SCI/BAR) information on some national security issue or another. While sources and methods are redacted we can see the content. And what is always so remarkable is how unremarkable it is. Some of it even references news articles to establish facts. If the same quality level of info and analysis were used as the basis of an Unz Review column it would be savagely mocked and pilloried by the commenters. Yet people in government jobs treat this useless pile of crap reverently.

Conversely, in many articles on UR, and especially the comments section, you will find some real jaw-dropping bits of info or intel which you think can't possibly be true but upon further research you're able to verify as true. Pretty soon a clear pattern emerges which is vastly different from the official narrative.

From early on UR was challenging the Deep State official narrative on the Wuhan Coronavirus and suggesting it was a bioweapon false flag. The excellent piece by Whitney Webb really got things going. RU's excellent work on the subject was the final straw for Deep State.

When the Chinese government began pushing back against Western propaganda and started to suggest COVID-19 was a U.S. bioweapon by U.S. military personnel in Wuhan I immediately knew that the Chinese government intelligence agencies were reading UR. And I also knew at that time that Deep State would target UR or RU for take down.

So here we are. The banning of UR on FB is the first phase of the campaign. Like an F-117A Stealth Fighter taking out radar and broadcast stations.

Realist , says: Show Comment May 11, 2020 at 12:24 pm GMT
I should have added to my original comment that FB is a tool of the US government to get around the First Amendment. FB and other social media are propaganda tools used to promote the US government position on issues, mainly by averting anti propaganda from the public, but also by allowing the dissemination of the of government approved propaganda.

The Deep State does exist.

[May 11, 2020] What kind of losers even waste their time on this surveillance platform?

May 11, 2020 | www.unz.com

Free And Clean , says: Show Comment May 11, 2020 at 10:10 am GMT

What is "Facebook" really? What kind of losers even waste their time on this surveillance platform? Here is it: losers trying to monitor the activities of their past or potential love interests. That's about the extent of its practical utility in the sick, lonely lives captured within the technological hell known as social media.

Do this: smash the damned thing. Destroy any and all of your social media log-in credentials once and for all, and be free of them – Faceplants, Twits, etc. The most effective way of destroying a "Facebook" account, or any other, is to publicly post your private log-in name and password along with a public statement of separation and divorce from the platform. Once log-in credentials are publicly know, and random users access the account, then the account becomes useless for tracking and worthless to the surveillance state that partnerships with the front company.

Then, get a real life. Go outside. Meet real people in a real place. Pandemic be damned. Better to die free than waste slowly away inside the sealed coffin of "social media".

Realist , says: Show Comment May 11, 2020 at 11:24 am GMT
@Craig Nelsen

When I tried to share this via the facebook icon, I got this message:

Why does Unz even still have a link to those anti-free speech tyrants and bullies on his site?

Here is a better question why would anybody use FB?

Proud_Srbin , says: Show Comment May 11, 2020 at 11:41 am GMT
P2P is NOT facebutt, twitter, google, amazon or ANY kind of "cloud" or "gatekeeper" computing.
"Cloud" is MAINFRAME of the current century.
Freedom and Independence are to be found in DECENTRALIZED Internet as originally envisioned, designed and implemented by Cerf and Kahn.
Without sheeple, faceButt has no PRODUCT to trade and profit from.
Emslander , says: Show Comment May 11, 2020 at 12:03 pm GMT
@Free And Clean I've never used FB, TWTR, Insta, or any other such girly "social" website. Send your articles, opinions, photos, birthday greetings via USPostal and amaze your friends, enemies and total strangers.

When will thinking people realize that those sites can be defeated by not using them and by setting up better platforms? I have no idea how they'd work or look. If I did, I'd become a rich gentile social media monopolist.

FB , says: Website Show Comment May 11, 2020 at 12:55 pm GMT
Glad to see this piece on UNZ

Yes, the information sphere is of paramount importance the ruling elite has known for a very long time the power of brainwashing and have employed huge programs of information management all to keep the people believing in complete bunk, the same way that illiterate serfs five hundred years ago believed the bullshit they were told by the priest

This is a cradle to grave indoctrination system that encompasses not only electronic media, but also the so-called education system and hard copy publishing

The result is that westerners, and Americans in particular, are almost completely illiterate of important realities of life on earth does anyone remember that Jay Leno segment 'Jaywalking' where he would go and do man-on-the-street interviews with people, asking them basic questions about things like American history, current events etc just unbelievable how stupid and uninformed people really are yet these doorknobs would invariably know all the ins and outs of the latest celebrity gossip just unbelievable

Of course the scumbags that run platforms like facebook are going to work hand in glove with the narrative that the elite has worked so hard to establish I don't see why anyone would use the facebook platform for anything I never have if you want to put information on the web, you just put up a blog page it's just as easy, and no one will censor you

Twitter is another one I have never used and will never sign up for just not interested you will notice that these kinds of so-called 'social media' are all about garnering 'followers' so that's great if you are a sheep and like to follow go right ahead and sign up for facebook, and twitter and instagram and all the other crapola and you can follow these morons right off the edge of the cliff they are headed for

The one platform I do use is youtube, which does have a lot of interesting video content here too the propaganda censorship is an issue, but information sites like South Front regularly put content on youtube without any problems

Bottom line is that 'social media' is a complete waste of time I was living my life just fine before this crapola came out, and continue to do so without it

As for South Front, they have an excellent website that provides very ACCURATE news about Syria, which is my main interest, and is really a pivotal conflict for the entire world in a lot of ways perhaps even more so than the Spanish Civil War in a previous time

I have never seen South Front get a story wrong about the war situation in Syria that says a lot they have proven themselves without doubt, and I highly recommend their website they should just pack up and leave the ridiculous facebook

Max Parry , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 1:08 am GMT
...Facebook has also appointed Emi Palmor, the former Israeli Justice Ministry director-general, to its "Oversight Board" which will be tasked with content moderation on Facebook and Instagram going forward, along with Muslim Brotherhood-linked Yemeni writer Tawakkol Karma.

[May 11, 2020] What If The Crisis Is One Without End... Like George Orwell's Perpetual War by Luke Eastwood

May 10, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Submitted by Luke Eastwood Notions of Freedom

We are living in strange times indeed, this crisis raises many questions about the nature of freedom and what our expectations are, or should be. Everyone has their own notions about what freedom means and how far that should extend to oneself and indeed, to everyone else.

I want to start with a look at where we've come from before I look at where we are now, as I feel it gives a better understanding of our definitions of freedom and a better context for viewing where we are, at this moment in time.

Society probably started with the tribe – maybe not even having a leader if the numbers where small enough, say 10 people. Tribes of scores or more obviously became hard to manage and so, undoubtedly, this led to the idea of a leader or a group of leaders – a chief, or a council of chiefs. Such a system seems to have worked well, so long as the chiefs acted in the best interest of the tribe, and not in their own best interest. Tribes and early kingdoms often had a mechanism for dealing with a poor leader – the symbolic marriage of the leader to the land and the right to depose, or even execute, a leader that failed to live up to expectations.

Such concepts of leadership are ancient but have survived in various places into the modern era, including Ireland where I live. Although the practice associated with this custom is long gone, knowledge of it remains vaguely in the public consciousness and more definitively in the realms of scholarship and Celtic Neo-Paganism. However, societies across the globe began to move beyond this cherished accountability millenia ago – with the rise of despotic monarchy, something that still exists as an unfortunate anachronism even now.

As tribes grew into countries and countries grew into empires, monarchs became decreasingly accountable to their citizens, or rather subjects – those who are subjugated. While many monarchs felt an obligation, both 'divine' and moral to behave with care and responsibility, others acted in pure self interest, free of any accountability for their actions. With the backing a large army or, sizeable personal guard, it became increasing difficult to hold monarchs accountable and one had to rely on goodwill in most cases, rather than enforcement.

Of course, there have been countless deposing of monarchs, by the people or by rival claimants, although the latter didn't always turn out to be beneficial. Probably the most famous of these is that of Galus Julius Caesar, the Dictator for life of the final years of the Roman Republic, who gave his name to the title Caesar, Czar and Keiser. He was brutally murdered by Brutus (hence the word brutal) and we all know how that turned out the for Roman Republic.

The republic itself was a form of democracy, based on an earlier model from Greece, a civilization that had immense influence on Rome. Of course, Athenian democracy was nothing like what we now regard as democracy. The right to decide how government was organised and what it did fell to the hands of an elite group - demokratia , or "rule by the people" was only for citizens and of these, only the men could vote. At the time (507 BC) this meant 40,000 men, out of a much larger population, but in reality no more than about 5000 men could attend assemblies, due to other commitments. Still, it was a ground-breaking step, so long as you weren't a foreigner, criminal, woman, child or a slave.

It is from these Greek origins that we get the word democracy and the notion of rights and freedom for all. Over time there have been variations on this model that have been tried out – constitutional monarchies, republics, socialist states, fascist states and communist states, which have varying levels of input for the masses. The masses might also be referred to as 'plebeians' as the Romans liked to call ordinary folk, a corrupted form of which still exists as a minor insult - pleb.

However, through most of recorded history, the most common system has been monarchy, although one could hardly describe it as the most popular. Simpler than a democracy and easy to enforce – notions such as corruption, fairness and accountability do not come into play, as divine rule (e.g. the divine right of kings) gives the ruler carte blanche to do whatever they god-damn like, unless their despotism provokes a revolt. Of course, revolt has happened, from time to time, throughout history and one of the most famous ones is that of the barons in England against king John.

The Magna Carta (Great Charter, of 1215) is considered by many as the bedrock of Western civilization and democracy, despite the fact that it only gave limited concessions to a very small number of nobles. It was a start at least, and perhaps enabled further inroads into the monarchic monopoly on power. The Peasants' Revolt of 1381, against Richard II of England was a major shift. Led by a commoner (Wat Tyler) it was a great embarrassment for Richard, who did not have a standing army on hand. He was forced to pretend to negotiate with the rebels, who camped at Blackheath, while he secretly ordered the Mayor of London to raise an army to disperse and execute the protestors.

There are countless other examples of rebellion against monarchs across the world, but most of them are forgotten. Perhaps the best remembered rebellion is that of the French paupers, against the Bourbon monarchy and the entire aristocracy of France. This violent and bloodthirsty revolution sent shudders of terror across the monarchies of the world and precipitated a programme of reform, based on fear of similar events occurring.

Of course, some countries carried on regardless – Russia and America being particularly sad examples, as Russia only abolished serfdom in 1861, while USA only abolished slavery in 1865. One could justifiably say that the lives of these ordinary people, who were now 'citizens' hardly improved as their freedom was pretty much nominal. This, in Russia, led to the revolution of 1917, due to the intransigence of the Czar/Tsar (Caesar) Nicholai II Alexandrovich Romanov II. The overthrow of the Russian system, inspired by the ideas of Marx and Engels, led to a Bolshevik government headed by Vladimir Lenin. Whatever notions the Soviets had, Lenin was a de facto Tzar in waiting and Stalin was certainly that, if not an uncrowned heir to Ivan The Terrible.

Post World War II, we supposedly have a new age of democracy and freedom, but that only applies to some. In truth, almost the whole world collection of governments has learned the art of propaganda - thanks to the astounding upskilling efforts of the National Socialists (Nazis) of Germany, who took this to new heights (or lows rather), turning it almost into an artform. While we have been led to believe that we are free and democratic, we have never been more exposed to lies and propaganda than we are now. The biggest lie of all is that we live in a democracy, when in fact we actually only get to choose a new set of corrupt and self-serving narcissists, every 4 or 5 years.

Democracies, the world over, have been bought – lobbyists have far more power than the electorate could ever hope to achieve. What we in fact have is the illusion of democracy – state agencies act without oversight, individuals have no say over the manifesto and policies of parties in power and have no mechanism to undo or prevent undesirable actions by governments. The only mechanisms available are the occasional referenda (instigated under pressure), protest (peaceful or otherwise) and violent overthrow.

In most cases, the effort and risk of violent overthrow is considered too much for the majority of people – it takes dire poverty, starvation and horrific coercion before the 'plebs' are pushed to the brink. Governments are aware of this and generally apply the 'boiling frog' method of restricting people's freedoms and the removal of privacy and general rights. However, they do on occasion overstep the mark or fail to adequately conceal their stealthy nefarious actions – which inevitably leads to protest or insurrection.

History has proven that violent insurrection usually fails, but it is rather foolish of authoritarian governments to take a gamble on this not happening. What is far more effective for us 'plebs' is non-violent insurrection, in the form of non-compliance - this worked wonders for both Gandhi and for Martin Luther-King, two of the most inspirational leaders of the 20th century. Nelson Mandella is another fine example of someone who led a monumental change, in South Africa, while also avoiding a catastrophic bloodbath, again through advocating of non-violence and showing exceptional leadership skills.

At this moment in time, we are held hostage by a virus and the fear of what it might do to humanity. While public safety has to be a priority, one has to ask the question – what is this really about? Is this a manufactured crisis or is it is just opportunistic governments capitalizing on their best chance to roll out new draconian measures? Temporary emergency powers is one thing, but if there is no rollback after the crisis is over, what then? What if the crisis is one without end – like George Orwell's perpetual war in his novel 1984?

We have come to expect freedom, we are told that we live in the 'free world' yet we see our rights and freedoms and privacy being eroded by government legislation, corporate invasive technology and data collection. Where do we draw the line? When do we say enough is enough? Strangely, the same technology that enables our surveillance monitoring is also the most powerful tool at our disposal. Internet and telecommunications enables us to share information, just as the 'system' collects information about all of us. For many, it has opened our eyes about government agendas, methods and operations as we now have unprecedented access to worldwide information, often in real-time, or within minutes and hours of events happening.

Many believe that a new era of oppression is being rolled out, right now as we sit in our homes, enabled by the high-power, high-speed and low latency 5G network, worldwide by a hidden agency. Conspiracies aside, there are many questions to be asked about our rights, what our freedoms should consist of and what the limits of government and corporate actions should be. We need to ask those questions, we need to demand answers and show the 'powers that be' that the thirst for true democracy is still alive and kicking. If we volunteer to be imprisoned or to become our own jailors then there is no hope for humanity. As in the past, humanity needs to assert itself, in order to remain free of despotism and it has never been more urgent than now. Corny as it may be, the simplest way to express this is for me to repeat the words of the late Bob Marley - "Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!"

Read more work by Luke at lukeeastwood.com

[May 05, 2020] Top engineer quits Amazon in protest over firings of Covid-19 whistleblower employees

Amazon "plantation slaves" business model used in warehouses is threatened by COVID-19 and Bezos wants to preserve it at any cost.
May 05, 2020 | www.rt.com

"I quit in dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of Covid-19,"

Bray wrote in an open letter titled 'Bye, Amazon' which he posted on his personal blog. His last day at the company was May 1.

Bray admitted working with Amazon was the "best job" he ever had, and said he will likely be losing "over a million (pre-tax) dollars" by leaving his position, but he took issue with the company's firings of employees who complained about safety conditions and fears in warehouses, which continue to operate during the current pandemic.

"The justifications [from the company] were laughable; it was clear to any reasonable observer that they were turfed for whistleblowing," Bray wrote of the axed employees, noting that the firings seem focused on minority workers.

"I'm sure it's a coincidence that every one of them is a person of color, a woman, or both. Right?" he wrote.

He called the firings "chickens**t" and said they were done to "create a climate of fear." Amazon has not yet publicly commented on Bray's accusations.

Two employees -- user-experience designer Emily Cunningham and her colleague Maren Costa -- were fired "on the spot," according to Bray, after trying to set up a video call to discuss work conditions and concerns last month. Cunningham tweeted Bray on Monday and thanked him for his support.

Amazon VP, @timbray resigns over #covid firings of me, @marencosta and others. Says Amazon "firing whistleblowers" is "evidence of a vein of toxicity running through the company culture. I choose neither to serve nor drink that poison. " Thank you, Tim. https://t.co/oShy4TQisN

-- Emily Cunningham (@emahlee) May 4, 2020

Other employees were reportedly fired after signing a petition asking for more workplace protections. Demands in the petition included hazard pay and warehouse closures if any employee tested positive for coronavirus.

Amazon has been quick to crack down on any employee organization at the warehouses, which have been working full steam during the pandemic to deliver both essential goods and consumer merchandise unavailable at physical stores shuttered by the lockdowns.

See also: Bezos ordered to testify in Congress, as Amazon accused of 'possibly criminally false' statements on business practices

[May 04, 2020] Death A Simple Idea with a Powerful Punch by Edward Curtin

Notable quotes:
"... There is little doubt that the modern cult of power worship is bound up with the modern man's feeling that life here and now is the only life there is. If death ends everything, it becomes much harder to believe that you can be in the right even if you are defeated . I would say that the decay in the belief in personal immortality has been as important as the rise of machine civilization. ..."
"... Since society is held together by this myth system – the beliefs and values people live for and live by – that sustains it, societies have always had to offer symbolic "answers" to death. For without a meaningful symbolic for coming to terms with death, human action would be stymied and people would be reduced to what the psychiatrist Allan Wheelis termed "intense, preoccupying yearning." ..."
"... When leaders speak, the children hear the inner voices of their parents telling them to be careful, be very careful, the bogeyman is everywhere, so listen and obey. Freud, the Jewish atheist, and Dostoevsky, the Russian Orthodox Christian, were in agreement about people's desire to give up their freedom to authority figures who would allegedly shelter them within their warm embrace. ..."
"... The easiest way to do this is to convince people that death is stalking them, for the bogeyman is always death in one form or another. ..."
"... It works to get people to support the terrifying sadism of wars against fabricated "others, ..."
"... It works to get people to give up their freedoms out of fear of "terrorists," who are said to slide and hide in the interstices of everyday life, ready to pounce and kill at any moment. ..."
"... For the Grand Inquisitor represents those power elites across the world who wish to cower people into accepting their dicta on Covid-19 as truth without questioning its logic or rationale. ..."
"... The use of technology to control behaviour by denying holidays to people, denying promotions etc all based on credit scores and similar monitoring has to be seen by the wealthy as a model of what can be achieved by the combination of ruthless force and control over information. ..."
"... All are brainwashed from birth. Its not "capitalism" its is a parasitic banking cabals economy . ..."
"... When the education system has been designed to eliminate the use of critical thinking and the purveyors of propaganda control the vast majority of the MSM, academia plus the creation of a veneer of democracy, it is little wonder so many people have swallowed this lie. ..."
"... many who call themselves atheists worship science( but not science as knowledge as it originally meant) ..."
"... The cabal wants only their narrative( lies as the truth) they want the truth of who we are and that we are co creators in this world unknown to us . ..."
May 03, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Since death is one idea that has no history except as an idea and not a reality any of us have experienced, it is the most frightening idea there is and also quite simple. It is the ultimate unknown. It has always haunted human beings, whether consciously or unconsciously.

It lies at the root of war, violence, religion, art, love, and civilization. The good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, why we like to win and not lose, pass and not fail, "pass on" and not die. It is so funny and so sad. We would be lost without it, even when we feel lost when thinking about it. And it is fundamental for understanding the action and reaction to Covid-19.

Societies have always been people banded together in the face of death. And since people are not just physical beings but symbolic creatures who can think and imagine the past and the future, societies are necessarily mythic symbol systems whose job is not only to protect people physically, but symbolically as well.

Sometimes, however, the protection is a protection racket with racketeers holding people hostage to fabricated fears that keep them locked in a living-death.

Thus death, this most potent imaginative idea and reality that doesn't exist except as a mystery about which anything we say is speculation, can be used for good and evil, depending on who controls society.

Death is the great fear, the human haunting that hangs by a thread over life like the sword of Damocles.

In 1944 in a newspaper column, George Orwell made an astute remark:

There is little doubt that the modern cult of power worship is bound up with the modern man's feeling that life here and now is the only life there is. If death ends everything, it becomes much harder to believe that you can be in the right even if you are defeated . I would say that the decay in the belief in personal immortality has been as important as the rise of machine civilization.

Beliefs, of course, like "personal immortality" and all others, such as the recent rise in the belief in atheism, which is as much a belief as belief in God, are, partially at least, relative to time and place, and develop out of social storytelling. The "hard facts" on which many feel their lives and security rest are themselves dependent upon the symbols which give them legitimacy.

Reality is indeed precarious with society suspended by a web of myths and symbols. It is through cultural and social symbol systems that society's meaning is transmitted to individuals, and it is within the symbol systems that the control and release of action resides.

In today's electronic mass media world, those who control the mass media that control the narrative flow – the storytelling – control the majority's beliefs and actions.

Since society is held together by this myth system – the beliefs and values people live for and live by – that sustains it, societies have always had to offer symbolic "answers" to death. For without a meaningful symbolic for coming to terms with death, human action would be stymied and people would be reduced to what the psychiatrist Allan Wheelis termed "intense, preoccupying yearning."

Today we can hear such yearning everywhere.

Shortly after Orwell made his prescient comment in The Tribune, nuclear weapons were developed and used by the United States to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese civilians. With those weapons and their use, the ages-old symbolic narrative of life and death was transformed in a flash.

"The significance of the possibility of nuclear death is that it radically affects the meaning of death, of immortality, of life itself," wrote Hans Morgenthau.

The traditional symbolic sources that once served to allow humans to transcend death were fundamentally undercut, and the search for new modes of death transcendence was carried on beneath the portentous covering of the nuclear umbrella.

A qualitative transformation in the meaning of human existence was thus brought about as humans, who had the weapons, replaced the belief in God as the holder of the power over life and death, since nuclear war could result in the extinction of human life, leaving no one left to die.

This is our world today, and it is where the Covid-19 story takes place. A world not just of nuclear fear, but a host of other fears constantly inflamed by the mass media that hypnotize people through the conjuring of death-fear.

In his great work on group psychology, Freud showed us how it was not just mental contagion and the herd instinct that got people to join in group behavior. People could be induced to become little children and obey their leaders because they have "an extreme passion for authority."

When leaders speak, the children hear the inner voices of their parents telling them to be careful, be very careful, the bogeyman is everywhere, so listen and obey. Freud, the Jewish atheist, and Dostoevsky, the Russian Orthodox Christian, were in agreement about people's desire to give up their freedom to authority figures who would allegedly shelter them within their warm embrace.

The easiest way to do this is to convince people that death is stalking them, for the bogeyman is always death in one form or another.

It works to get people to support the terrifying sadism of wars against fabricated "others," who are always portrayed as aliens who are out to kill the good people.

It works to get people to give up their freedoms out of fear of "terrorists," who are said to slide and hide in the interstices of everyday life, ready to pounce and kill at any moment.

And it works to get people to obey orders to protect themselves from terrifying viruses that are lying in wait everywhere to strike them dead.

In his novel The Brothers Karamazov , Dostoevsky said that people want miracles, mystery, and authority, not freedom. His Grand Inquisitor, while a fictional creation, lives on in reality.

For the Grand Inquisitor represents those power elites across the world who wish to cower people into accepting their dicta on Covid-19 as truth without questioning its logic or rationale.

To question has become an act of insubordination deserving death by censorship or the defiling of one's name via the term "conspiracy theorist," a name used by the CIA to dismiss anyone questioning its murder of President Kennedy. Death comes in many forms, and the fear of it has always been used by the powerful to render the common people speechless and obedient.

How can any thinking person, anyone not totally crippled by fear, not question what is going on with the coronavirus disaster when reading what Peter Koenig, a thirty-year veteran economist of the World Bank and World Health Organization, writes in his article The Farce and Diabolical Agenda of a 'Universal Lockdown' :

The pandemic was needed as a pretext to halt and collapse the world economy and the underlying social fabric.

There is no coincidence. There were a number of preparatory events, all pointing into the direction of a worldwide monumental historic disaster. It started at least 10 years ago – probably considerably earlier – with the infamous 2010 Rockefeller Report, which painted the first phase of a monstrous Plan, called the "Lock Step" scenario. Among the last preparatory moves for the "pandemic" was Event 201, held in NYC on 18 October 2019.

The event was sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), the club of the rich and powerful that meets every January in Davos, Switzerland. Participating were a number of pharmaceuticals (vaccine interest groups), as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s of the US and – of China.

One of the objectives of Event 201 was a computer simulation of a corona virus pandemic. The simulated virus was called SARS-2-nCoV, or later 2019-nCoV. The simulation results were disastrous, killing 65 million people in 18 months and plunging the stock market by more than 30% -- causing untold unemployment and bankruptcies. Precisely the scenario of which we are now living the beginning.

The Lock Step scenario foresees a number of ghastly and disturbing events or components of The Plan to be implemented by the so called Agenda ID2020, a Bill Gates creation, fully integrated into the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – target date for completion – 2030 (also called Agenda 2030, the hidden agenda unknown to most of the UN members), the same target date for completion of the Agenda ID02020.

I ask the question but I am afraid I know the answer: miracle, mystery, and authority usually defeat evidence and simple logic. Fear of death and free thought scare children. The Grand Inquisitor lives on:

But man seeks to bow before that only which is recognized by the greater majority, if not by all his fellow-men, as having a right to be worshipped; whose rights are so unquestionable that men agree unanimously to bow down to it.

Death: A simple idea with such a powerful punch.


JoeC ,

It isn't just about the fear of death. It's also the fear of being responsible for the death of others. It's no accident that they've chosen a contagion as our imaginary enemy. We become the visible enemy if we refuse to wear face masks, abide social distance, wash our hands every 30 seconds or refuse a vaccine when it comes to it etc etc. Hence the laws that will follow. We will soon be public enemy number one. The new terrorists. I'm not scared of dying but I'm petrified of being persecuted for not believing this shit. What sort of life is that?

a belief. The author adds his on baggage to an otherwise lucid article, which rather diminishes the other truths he mentions ?

BigB ,

Excellent stuff, with plenty to think about as usual. As a proviso: Ed's sociology and ethnography needs tightening up though.

The big cultural repertoire of myths and symbols has a name; several names actually nomos, Weltanschauung, Weltansicht (cosmographic worldview or wide world sight), and *sensus communis* (the consensual common sense). Which is the consensus of views everyone shares.

The last is from Giambattista Vico: who also said: "Verum esse ipsum factum" ("What is true is precisely what is made [up]"). Which is the verum-factum principle of worldviews. The ideal eternal cosmological history is subjectively made up, culturally constructed, as a consensually maintained worldbuilding and world-maintaining mythological storytelling.

To which the individual is socialised not once – from birth through education – not twice – in the workforce – but continually as a process of cultural individuality making. Which is not all one way, top-down traffic of obedience and control – but a reflexive and causal circularity. The big bunch of historically specific myths and symbols make and maintain the person: just as the person makes and maintains the big bunch of historically specific myths as a consensually maintained worldbuilding and world-maintaining mythological storytelling. The individual self is itself a cultural constructivism.

It cannot be any other way: otherwise there can be no common ground for communication and there is only communication. Or participatory sense-making: no one can have their own language or behavioural repertoire maintained far from the socially regulated consensus and continue to make sense. Maintaining the dictionary definition of words (intension) and the encyclopaedic repertoire of social norms and modes of behaviour is critical to the meaning of the overall order. And there is only the order. Very uneasy order.

The individual finds themselves historically situated in the ordinate nexus of thinking, speaking, and acting in a constrained, shared, and lawfully regulated landscape of language, culture, society, state and market economy. There is no 'outside': except for the retreat into solipsism and ahistoric flights of imagination. We make our own history: but not autonomously and not in circumstances of our own choosing.

Cultural construction and reproduction – and the worldview maintainence of socially constructed reality – is a permanent process. Following the basic processes of social constructivism – as laid out by Berger and Luckman. Which are: habitualisation by subjectivated externalisation and reification by objectivated internalisation as a recurrent, resonant, and reflexive lifelong process.

We are part of the tissue and fabric of socially constructed reality. And socially constructed reality is part of the tissue and fabric of us: the flesh of the cultural worldview.

http://perflensburg.se/Berger%20social-construction-of-reality.pdf

Of course: the biggest lie of the principle of cultural constructivist storytelling is that what is told is naturally objective, true, and real. And some of it is lawfully authoritative (like this old computer epidemiology model I had lying around). Which is what gives the story its universal regulative ordinate control and constative overpower.

I mean, who would want to self-admit they were regurgitating institutionalised and habitualised false beliefs and mistaken abstractive assumptions about the objective nature of things that were just a bunch of made up and recycled socialisation and pacification rites of a cultural constructivist performance?

Truth, self, and social reality itself is constructed by such rites.

And what if the nomos – the ordered and naturalised ordinate principle – which is a cultures own talisman against chaos, indiscipline, and made up shite about virology turns out to be chaotic, restrictive, petrifying and rapidly fossilising as a permanent order of fascising bollox and corporatist control?

If the fossilising order is worse than the disorder it symbolically wards off and guards against: and the culturally created fear of death worse than the natural process of dying then what?

Is it better that the institutionalised and institutionalising lawful ordering is in principle false and an unjust draconian social realism? Or that it is objective, rational, and scientifically real? And eternally and universally valid?

What if a society had been rationalised and institutionalised into a universal analytical reasoning, an empiric objectivity, a historically contingent subjectivity, and a nomological scientific principle that were in fact falsely constructed? And just habitually and consensually maintained as a lawful, juridical, and regulatory idealism of an eternally natural cosmological order? Which just happened to turn out to be totalitarian fascistic co-participatory dumbfuckerry?

That culture would find itself in a headfuck situation of a nomological breakdown of its worldview and its interwoven individual identities most of which would want to shelter in the pretence of being ahistorically situated outside of language, culture, and thought in a nomological no mans land. Which is exactly the abnegation of cultural creativity that precipitated the meaning crisis and breakdown of order.

I'm so glad I do not live in such a culture. That would indeed be terrifying.

😱 😱 😱 😱 😱

aspnaz ,

An interesting article that reminds me of the difference between westerners and the mainland Chinese whom I believe are the model that will used to create the future world.

I am not talking about communism, the Chinese gave up communism ages ago, they are now the world's premier imperialists, using capitalism to drive their influence across the globe. But their control over people is surely the model aspired to by any person wanting to rule the world.

The use of technology to control behaviour by denying holidays to people, denying promotions etc all based on credit scores and similar monitoring has to be seen by the wealthy as a model of what can be achieved by the combination of ruthless force and control over information.

The response of the Chinese to the virus – the lockdown – was seen in the west as China caring for its people, but here in HK it is still commonly seen as China panicking because it thought that the people would be afraid and would turn on the government for not protecting them. It was riot control, not virus control, hence the arrest of people spreading virus rumours.

tonyopmoc ,

Edward Curtin, what you wrote is completely brilliant, in the few minutes it took me to read it, you took me through the vastness of time, and my entire physical and spiritual existence. thank you. tony

Hugh O'Neill ,

Another thought-provoking article, Ed. I was reminded of four quotes:

1. G.K. Chesterton: "When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn't believe in nothing; he believes in anything"
2. On the dropping of the first atomic bomb, Oppenheimer quoted from Hindu scripture: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds"
3. JFK's favourite poem was Alan Seeger's "I have a rendezvous with death". Seeger died in 1916
4. Whatever the merits of the poem, JFK was no stranger to death. Likewise, he had adopted Lincoln's prayer: "I know there is a God – and I see a storm coming. If he has a place for me, I believe that I am ready."

RobG ,

Edward, how people can be so easily fooled is an age old question. One hundred years ago they queued up to be slaughtered in the trenches. It was all so senseless it was beyond belief.

"Over the top lads, for King and Country" (the Black Adder comedy programme really captured this).

I'm not sure what else I can say about the stupidity of the human race.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH3-Gt7mgyM

We are at this point again, and people need to fecking wake-up.

Richard Le Sarc ,

People in the West are brainwashed from birth. They have NO idea that the capitalist system is incompatible with Life on Earth, that it is a form of cancer, that the USA is the greatest force for Evil in history and that businessmen, politicians, MSM presstitutes are psychopaths at best, dullards and ignoramuses at best. And the worst are those that deny death in belief in various 'Gods' who all hate each other and compel them to kill and destroy in his name. The system is collapsing, and that is finally dawning on the brain-dead 'consumers', who will now proceed to consume one another.

Calamity Jane ,

All are brainwashed from birth. Its not "capitalism" its is a parasitic banking cabals economy .
Its a monopoly you've just always believed as a debt slave its capitalism and you're free.
They are resetting it, those that understand the minds of the manchild.

charming ,

best book on life i've read https://www.amazon.co.uk/Denial-Death-Ernest-Becker/dp/0285638971

Dungroanin ,

Good stuff Edward,
Most of the 'plan' has been on these boards for months- the one missing is Whitney Webbs latest which exposes the dumb fucks plan to close the 'AI Gap with China'.

'THEY' have never let a good crises go to waste to further their agenda and plans.

Another old adage is about not being able to fool all of the people all of the time.

Death and politicians and media narrative control can also lose their grip. It starts by laughing at them. It's started:

https://twitter.com/altmann_tim/status/1256690738294857731?s=20

THEY will not succeed this time – the narrative is a shattering mirror, that reveals their plans – the BS isn't sticking any more.

crank ,

Confronting our exaggerated fear of dying is the only way out of this prison. Thanks for this article Edward.

John Deehan ,

When the education system has been designed to eliminate the use of critical thinking and the purveyors of propaganda control the vast majority of the MSM, academia plus the creation of a veneer of democracy, it is little wonder so many people have swallowed this lie.

Doug Stillborn ,

The cabal beleives that the truth is irrelevant and that whatever appears to you as truth is what is true to you and the only truth. This is false. The truth is not relative. Einstein knew this and said, time is an illusion albeit a persistent one. If you propagate the idea of atheism and science what you are actually doing is you are relinquishing any responsibility/accountability.

Calamity Jane ,

I don't think so Doug . The ideas of " atheism and science " are out there.
But what has happened is that many who call themselves atheists worship science( but not science as knowledge as it originally meant) so its mostly theories taken a facts, pseudoscience. Agree though that time is an illusion.

The cabal wants only their narrative( lies as the truth) they want the truth of who we are and that we are co creators in this world unknown to us .

[May 02, 2020] COVID-19 and the Rise of the Police State by David Skripac

Notable quotes:
"... In December 1917, Europe was immersed in the First World War -- one of the most vicious, insane wars the world had ever witnessed. After learning about the high casualty toll and the horrific nature of trench warfare, which included the use of poison gas, Britain's prime minister, David Lloyd George, confided in a private conversation to C. P. Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian: ..."
"... "If people really knew [the truth], the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course, they don't know, and can't know ." ..."
"... Sadly, we seem to have not learned from history that, once the state is asked by the citizenry to respond to a danger, it will do so with a drastic course of action -- with rights-restricting rules that will never be removed once imposed. This is exactly how societies become despotisms. ..."
"... What happened to the action plan when it was applied to the on-its-heels real-life scenario? Unsurprisingly, it was fully implemented and made fully operational. So, thanks to Event 201's meticulous pandemic planning and WHO's replication of it, the power of the police state is rising to unprecedented levels. Our global overlords and their CDC and WHO and MSM lackeys have succeeded in generating fear in the planet's populace. This pandemic panic has, in turn, caused people to voluntarily, though unwittingly, surrender their hard-won freedoms. These freedoms are articulated in the constitutions of countries around the world, including the US Constitution, with its Bill of Rights -- notably the First Amendment. These documents are now nothing more than meaningless pieces of paper. They may as well be blank. ..."
Apr 28, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

In December 1917, Europe was immersed in the First World War -- one of the most vicious, insane wars the world had ever witnessed. After learning about the high casualty toll and the horrific nature of trench warfare, which included the use of poison gas, Britain's prime minister, David Lloyd George, confided in a private conversation to C. P. Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian:

"If people really knew [the truth], the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course, they don't know, and can't know ."

Just over a century later, here we are, yet again, immersed in a global war. However, this war, which is ostensibly sold to all of us as a battle to "stop the spread of the coronavirus," is in reality a war devised by "the powers-that-shouldn't-be" to remove the last remnants of humanity's inherent freedoms and liberties.

And, just like all of the previous criminal wars throughout human history -- the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and every other subsequent conflict -- if people around the world knew the truth about this war, it would come to a screeching halt overnight.

Through all of my years of research in matters relating to war, I have come to understand one very important thing: When human societies lose their freedom, it's usually not because the monarch, the state, or some dictator has overtly taken it away. Rather, it is lost because too many people willingly surrender their freedom in return for protection from some perceived (real or imagined) menace.

That menace is typically manufactured by the state and is designed to stir up such a torrent of fear in the mind of citi zens that they pressure their politicians to implement measures against the fabricated threat.

Unfortunately, it rarely occurs to the public to ask:

Are we simply reacting to an orchestrated threat?

Will the protective measures we're demanding of our leaders actually work?

Or will "the cure" being offered to us be worse than "the disease"?

Sadly, we seem to have not learned from history that, once the state is asked by the citizenry to respond to a danger, it will do so with a drastic course of action -- with rights-restricting rules that will never be removed once imposed. This is exactly how societies become despotisms.

To be sure, there is a seasonal influenza, a coronavirus, currently sweeping around the world, just as the flu does every year, like clockwork. And, yes, this particular coronavirus seems to pose a serious health hazard to the elderly and to anyone with underlying medical issues. However, one crucial question has being avoided by officials and the public alike: Is this outbreak of an infectious disease called COVID-19 serious enough to warrant the draconian countermeasures that all governments -- with the exception of Sweden -- have initiated?

Those counteractions have done a number on communities everywhere:

  • collapsing local economies and, in a ripple effect, the world economy
  • sending millions upon millions of people to the unemployment line
  • imprisoning millions of honest, hard-working citizens in their homes
  • bankrupting countless mid-size and small businesses (and destroying the dreams and livelihoods of their owners)
  • bringing out of the woodwork rules-obsessed busybodies who take delight in snitching on neighbours and strangers alike for not "social distancing"
  • unearthing every petty tyrant whose main mission in life is to ensure that every mask-less person is arrested and carted off to jail
  • policing quarantined areas with drones
  • tracking and surveilling all human beings who are ambulatory and have cell phones (if ants carried mobile phones into and out of their mounds, they'd doubtless be subject to triangulation tracking)
  • increasing stress and the incidence of flaring tempers among the homebound, which has resulted in a sharp escalation of domestic violence
  • saddling future generations with massive debt that can lead debtors into deep depression, permanent homelessness, possible suicide

Medical professionals are observing the entire state of affairs with increasing alarm. They are questioning the official coronavirus infection rates and noting the detrimental effects of the lockdown. Examples abound.

Take Dr. Erickson , co-owner of Accelerated Urgent Care in Kern County, California, who, with his partner, Dr. Massihi, has gone on record saying that, in contrast to the high numbers of people contracting this coronavirus, there has been only "a small amount of death . . . similar to what we have seen every year with the seasonal flu ."

Stanford University epidemiologist and professor of medicine John Ioannidis has made the same observation. In an April 17 interview , Dr. Ioannidis he claimed that "COVID-19 has an infection fatality rate that is in the same ballpark as seasonal influenza." Moreover, he said, the devastation and deaths caused by the imposed lockdown on the entire world economy "can be far worse than anything the coronavirus can do ." Based on a study he conducted, Dr. Ioannides said that "the data collected so far on how many people are infected and how the epidemic is evolving are utterly unreliable ."

Indeed, we have seen ample evidence of this "utterly unreliable" data -- less euphemistically known as manipulated data -- coming out of Italy. Professor Walter Ricciardi, scientific advisor to Italy's minister of health, referred to a report produced by the Italian COVID-19 Surveillance Group and observed that " only 12 per cent of death certificates have shown a direct causality from coronavirus, while 88 per cent of patients who have died have at least one pre-morbidity -- many had two or three." The report cited by Prof. Ricciardi pointed out that half of the patients who died had three or more other underlying diseases at the time of death .

COVID-19 Lockdown: A Global Human Experiment

In the United States, meanwhile, the death toll figures attributed to the virus are no more accurate. Doctors are being told to write on death certificates that the cause of death is " presumed " to be COVID-19 or that COVID-19 "contributed" to the death , when, in fact, there is absolutely no proof that COVID-19 caused the death, nor did any lab test indicate a COVID-19 positive.

The United Nations' Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO), which has been entrusted to be an impartial global health guardian, has proven itself no better than national governments at truthfully disseminating critical information. WHO's questionable statistics on COVID-19 only serve to cement its reputation as an organization that, since 2009, has been plagued by corruption, conflict-of-interest scandals linked to Big Pharma, and a lack of transparency. Few citizens are familiar with the WHO's transgressions, and even fewer understand how it is financed.

So let me briefly explain the latter. The WHO's principal advisory group for vaccines and immunization is called the Scientific Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE). This team of so-called "experts" is dominated by individuals who receive significant funding from either the major vaccine makers, from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, or from Wellcome Trust. In his informative article, "Can We Trust the WHO?" author F. William Engdahl writes that, in the latest posting by WHO:

". . . of the 15 scientific members of SAGE, no fewer than 8 had declared interest, by law, of potential conflicts. In almost every case the significant financial funder of these 8 SAGE members included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Merck & Co. (MSD), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (a Gates-funded vaccine group), BMGF Global Health Scientific Advisory Committee, Pfizer, Novovax, GSK, Novartis, Gilead, and other leading pharma vaccine players ."

Moreover, unlike in its early years, when the WHO was primarily funded by UN member governments, today it receives funding from a "public-private partnership," which vaccine companies dominate. The WHO's financial audit for 2017 indicates that by "far the largest private or non-governmental funders of WHO are the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation together with the Gates-funded GAVI Vaccine Alliance, the Gates-initiated Global Fund to fight AIDS." That year, the Gates Foundation alone donated a staggering $324,654,317 to the WHO, second only to the US government, which contributed $401 million . According to statistics posted in 2018, "the second-largest funder after the US government is still the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which provides 9.8 per cent of the WHO's funds ."

In light of these relationships, it is not surprising that WHO data on COVID-19 has been found to contain repeated errors -- false positives -- and inconsistencies, all of which it refuses to correct. As a result, Oxford University and various countries have ceased using WHO data on coronavirus infection rates.

Because of the inaccurate and incomplete data that WHO has been collecting from around the world, we will never know exactly how many people have died from the virus.

Of course, in order to successfully prosecute their war on our civil liberties, these global overlords must maintain a monopoly on the information that shapes their official narrative.

If they were to release videos of empty hospitals or reveal the very low mortality rates actually associated with the virus, they would not be able to foster the element of fear required to keep the public credulously accepting their every pronouncement and obeying their every edict. It is this single factor of fear, fomented by false information emanating from "trusted sources," which is the vital element our health-state/police-state nannies rely upon as they deliberately, calculatingly fan the flames of the collective hysteria that has engulfed the world.

Why do I say "deliberately, calculatingly"? Because, by now, most readers have undoubtedly seen the smoking gun proof that the COVID-19 pandemic is in fact a plan demic. That smoking gun took the form of a simulation exercise called Event 201.

More aptly termed a drill, Event 201 was held in mid-October of last year, just weeks before the reports of the first recorded case of a contagious novel coronavirus disease starting seeping out of Wuhan, China. Sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John Hopkins Center for Health, and the World Economic Forum, this tabletop exercise simulated "a series of dramatic, scenario-based facilitated discussions, confronting difficult, true-to-life dilemmas associated with response to a hypothetical, but scientifically plausible, pandemic ." That its sponsors have the gall to insist there is no connection between their exercise (I mean "drill") and the near-simultaneous unrolling of the actual "live" event (dubbed COVID-19) speaks to their hubris -- and their hypocrisy.

At best, maybe 10 percent of the entire simulation was devoted to actually helping people infected with the coronavirus. The remainder of the exercise was concerned with how officials would disseminate information and maintain all-important control of the official narrative -- including the statistical narrative. Predictably, the participants discussed strategies for how to silence the misinformation and disinformation that would surely spread in the wake of this "hypothetical" pandemic. In other words, they were super-intent on shutting down any and all information, whether leaked or hacked or accidentally discovered, that was not sanctioned by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), by WHO officials, and by MSM corporate stenographers.

Key talking points included an elaborate plan of action for governments that would enable them to work in cooperation with social media giants like Facebook and Google and Twitter. Specifically, governments were told how they could troll social media sites and request that any voices countering the official narrative be removed; how they could silence independent journalists, while elevating their own so-called "authoritative voices"; and how they could join forces with Big Pharma companies like Johnson & Johnson to develop a vaccine to ward off the coronavirus .

What happened to the action plan when it was applied to the on-its-heels real-life scenario? Unsurprisingly, it was fully implemented and made fully operational. So, thanks to Event 201's meticulous pandemic planning and WHO's replication of it, the power of the police state is rising to unprecedented levels. Our global overlords and their CDC and WHO and MSM lackeys have succeeded in generating fear in the planet's populace. This pandemic panic has, in turn, caused people to voluntarily, though unwittingly, surrender their hard-won freedoms. These freedoms are articulated in the constitutions of countries around the world, including the US Constitution, with its Bill of Rights -- notably the First Amendment. These documents are now nothing more than meaningless pieces of paper. They may as well be blank.

A few for instances: Facebook is removing all voices that counter the official COVID-19 narrative from its platform. Google is monitoring (read: snooping) to check up on whether people are "social distancing." The Clinton Global Initiative is promoting another Orwellian concept called " contact tracing " (read: total government surveillance grid), which involves monitoring, tracing, and, if need be, quarantining the entire US population. The plan is being sold to the American population as a critical component of a universal healthcare system, when, in reality, if implemented, it will be nothing more than a marketing ploy to disguise the arrival of George Orwell's 1984 .

Throughout the US, companies like VSBLTY and public-private partnerships are spreading a ubiquitous surveillance network of CCTV cameras with the ability to measure heartbeat and social distancing without any legal or legislative restraint -- a true police state dystopia.

Power-grabbing governments the world over have locked down their societies and are dreaming up legislation to stop the spread of "dangerous misinformation" about the pandemic. British MP Damian Collins, for one, is calling for just such measures to silence free speech in the UK. In Canada, Privy Council President Dominic LeBlanc has admitted that the Canadian government is "considering introducing legislation to make it an offence to knowingly spread misinformation that could harm people ."

Not to be outdone, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has announced the creation of "a new United Nations Communication Response initiative to flood the Internet with facts and science while countering the growing scourge of misinformation ." In addition, the Secretary- General, like Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and various other leaders, is advising us precisely where to place our trust: in vaccines.

Vaccines are not the answer. If the mandatory vaccination agenda is ever implemented by these globalist kingpins, the coup against our fundamental rights and freedoms will be complete. Our governments -- or, more likely, a one world government! -- will force-vaccinate us with our own unique digital ID and chip that, once in place, will further heighten their surveillance of and tighten their control over all human beings. At that point, the police state will be complete and will be here to stay.

Contrary to what Trudeau believes, the way that governments have implemented oppressive edicts to combat the hyped virus is not the "new-normal." Their actions are hardly normal, whether old or new.

Precisely the opposite is true: This is the forever abnormal.

Abnormal because, whether the virus was developed in a bioweapons lab or if it is the annual seasonal influenza, it is a manufactured crisis designed to infuse us with fear, induce us to willingly surrender our freedoms, and steer us away from seeing the ever-scarier, underlying agenda of a technocratic takeover by the New (or Flu!) World Order. (Think AI, 5G, Internet of Things, digital body chips, Data Fusion Centers , the NSA's Project Prism , ad infinitum ).

This collective insanity will come to an end only if we all leave behind the MSM nest of lies and seek out sources -- independent online and in-print investigative journalists like James Corbett, F. William Engdahl, Derrick Broze, Ryan Cristián, Patrick Wood, Jon Rappoport, and countless others -- who have been probing for (and finding and relaying) the truth about world events for anywhere from a decade to several dozen years. We must cease buying into propaganda and accept only provable facts from dependable sites -- the ones that are called "fake news" by the real fakers and fearmongers.

To men like David Lloyd George and his ilk, we reply: Yes, we will learn the truth, and with this knowledge we will stop the war on our liberty and our lives!

*

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 Skripac has a Bachelor of Technology degree in Aerospace Engineering. He served as a Captain in the Canadian Forces for nine years. During his two tours of duty in the Air Force he flew extensively in the former Yugoslavia as well as in Somalia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.

The original source of this article is Global Research Copyright © David Skripac , Global Research, 2020

[Apr 30, 2020] Joe Biden is principally responsible for the Patriot Act

Apr 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

jadan , Apr 30 2020 16:19 utc | 158

The degree to which government "by and for the people" cannot create consensus is the measure of its failure to represent the people. The government is not trusted because it is undemocratic. Rule By Secrecy is the rule.

Where did the Patriot Act come from? This abridgment of liberty appeared seemingly out of nowhere in October 2001. No representative of the people actually read it and yet it was voted into law. ( Hint: Joe Biden is principally responsible for the Patriot Act )

The surveillance state is well established in our midst and in our minds and the need to promote the general welfare by defending against pandemics will entail more surveillance and more constraints on personal liberty. The degree to which the government must rely on secrecy and denial of the Bill of Rights to remain in power is the degree to which it will earn the fear & loathing of the people and simple mistrust will become violence. When Elon Musk, one of our favorite oligarchs, attacks government for its handling of the pandemic, government should worry.

[Apr 24, 2020] Orwellian fiction is steeped deeply in the actual ways that WASP Empire operates to grind its own citizens and ue them as mindless pawns to make Anglo-Zionist Elites ever richer, ever more entrenched in power.

Apr 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Jake , says: Show Comment April 23, 2020 at 12:52 pm GMT

Let's place a couple of things together:

1. "The US political culture is that 99.99% of Americans will believe literally ANY lie, no matter how self-evidently stupid, about the rest of the world rather than accepting any unpleasant truth about the US. "

2. "Eventually, and inevitably, this strategic PSYOP upped the ante and FOXnews (logically) aired this true masterpiece: "Sen. Hawley: Let coronavirus victims sue Chinese Communist Party". Truly, this is brilliant. "I lost my job, let the evil Chinese commies pay me back" is music to the ears of most Americans."

This is what Anglo-Zionist religious/political culture produces. And it is not restricted to jingoistic blaming of the peoples of other nations; it also features blaming those who are citizens of the nation but are more outsiders to the WASP Elites that the group doing the blaming. That pattern keeps the non-Elites from ever seeing that their enemy is the national/imperial Elite they serve.

For example, the horrors the Brit WASP Elites and their system inflicted on Lancashire factory workers would have made any real life Simon Legree giddy at the possibilities. And those abused masses could be counted on at every turn to retard their own demands any time the Elites could turn the conversation to how the Irish or Highlanders would come in and take their jobs for even less and ruin their delightful communities. Or how the evil empires on the Continent were causing trouble and to save lives of British soldiers the factory workers must be reasonable.

Orwellian fiction is steeped deeply in the actual ways that WASP Empire operates to grind its own citizens and ue them as mindless pawns to make Anglo-Zionist Elites ever richer, ever more entrenched in power.

[Apr 19, 2020] Apple and Facebook and Google are already including "free" and "voluntarily" in their operating system a tracking option that not only shows our movement but all people we met, to check if we met anyone "infected"

Apr 19, 2020 | www.unz.com

Dumbo , says: Show Comment April 12, 2020 at 4:37 pm GMT

@eD

so eventually we will be allowed to go places to work for the rulers or to worship them or their gods.

They are already saying that we will be allowed to work but social meetings will be curtailed for a longer time. An even more atomized and lonely population if you can believe it. Church also will be limited, it's "non-essential".

Apple and Facebook and Google are already including "free" and "voluntarily" in their operating system a tracking option that not only shows our movement but all people we met, to check if we met anyone "infected" -- think about the possibilities for that. Welcome to a Brave New World.

[Apr 19, 2020] It was the first time that I had seen a person whose profession was telling lies -- unless one counts journalists

Apr 19, 2020 | twitter.com


Alex Berenson ‏ 4:33 PM - 18 Apr 2020

1984 and Animal Farm get the attention, but Homage to Catalonia - Orwell's non-fiction on the Spanish Civil War - might be his best. Wow, did he hate reporters: "It was the first time that I had seen a person whose profession was telling lies -- unless one counts journalists..."

Alex Berenson ‏ 4:34 PM - 18 Apr 2020

2/ And this: "I do not suppose I should exaggerate if I said that nine-tenths of it is untruthful. Nearly all the newspaper accounts published at the time were manufactured by journalists at a distance, and were not only inaccurate in their facts but intentionally misleading..."

Alex Berenson ‏ 4:37 PM - 18 Apr 2020

3/ I guess one might say that the groupthink and lies Orwell saw in Spain *informed* his writing in 1984 - which was published in 1949, 11 years after Homage to Catalonia. Apropos of nothing, of course.

Cú Chulainn ‏ 4:36 PM - 18 Apr 2020

sounds like media coverage of NATO war on Syria, or the Yugoslav war as depicted here: https://www. imdb.com/title/tt028350 9/

Moron Rehab ‏ 4:38 PM - 18 Apr 2020

Wow! Not much has changed.

ScottyG ‏ 4:39 PM - 18 Apr 2020

Well, then, at least they've been consistent over the years 🤷‍♂️

Rob ‏ 4:42 PM - 18 Apr 2020

"inaccurate in their facts but intentionally misleading" inaccurate in facts: misinformation intentionally misleading: disinformation

Todd the Californian Conservative ‏ 4:47 PM - 18 Apr 2020

Okay, I'll be adding this book to my list of books to read after I graduate and take my big exam.

B Ekdahl ‏ 5:06 PM - 18 Apr 2020

❤️ ❤️ ❤️The part of that book that I've thought of with hope during this chillling time is how Orwell noted that the Spanish were incompetent even with fascism. Let's hope that US is even more incompetent.

R.R. Reno ‏ 5:30 PM - 18 Apr 2020

I don't think we can underestimate how many reporters have been so panicked that only a few are outside their homes in New York reporting on what's actually happening.

Will ‏ 6:21 PM - 18 Apr 2020

https:// twitter.com/GKCdaily/statu s/1224368540049821697

Alex Berenson ‏ 4:33 PM - 18 Apr 2020

1984 and Animal Farm get the attention, but Homage to Catalonia - Orwell's non-fiction on the Spanish Civil War - might be his best. Wow, did he hate reporters: "It was the first time that I had seen a person whose profession was telling lies--unless one counts journalists..."

Will ‏ 6:27 PM - 18 Apr 2020

If you haven't heard of Udo Ulfkotte's story, you should check it out: https://www. paulcraigroberts.org/2019/10/14/jou rnalists-are-prostitutes/ His initiation into big time media was watching fellow reporters pour gasoline on burnt up tanks & film it, replete w/ soldier actors, like war was happening. Audio tracks added later.

[Apr 13, 2020] Chine social credit system vs Google and Facebook surveillance

Highly recommended!
If it is like Amazon review system, it is deeply flawed as you can manipulate reviews and bad reviews can be used as revenge for something unrelated. Chinese experiment also outline the danger of Amazon review system.
Notable quotes:
"... It ranks not only every citizen who chooses to participate, but every government official, cop, judge, department, corporation and shoeshine. It's truly universal. There's no privileged ..."
"... It's a popular initiative as much as a government initiative: the Chinese are the most trusting people on earth and they're tired of being scammed online for billions each year ..."
"... It's 90% carrot and 10% stick: the higher your score the easier your life becomes ..."
Apr 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Apr 12 2020 17:04 utc | 17

At his FB, Pepe Escobar informs us about "THE CHINESE SOCIAL CREDIT SYSTEM – IN DETAIL"

"In my 'Who Profits from the Pandemic' essay – on Consortium News and republished in myriad places, The Saker, Global Research, Unz Review, ZeroHedge, etc. – unfortunately I did not have enough space to detail how the Chinese social credit system works (I had to edit out a lot of info, otherwise the final cut would have more than 5,000 words).

"The system is not Orwellian in a Western sense – or as Orwellian as people who know LESS THAN ZERO about China insist. China is a collectivist society. Yes, this can be used as a mechanism of control – in terms of political dissent - but mostly it aims to facilitate people's lives. It is a VOLUNTARY system.

"A very good academic analysis
is HERE . Keep it for reference

"Godfree Roberts, commenting on my essay on Consortium News, offered a VERY good explanation, which I reproduce here in full.

"1. It's essentially an Amazon Review of everyone by everyone they've ever dealt with. It's exactly like the 'reviews' we give friends (behind their backs?) constantly updated in the same ways.

"2. It ranks not only every citizen who chooses to participate, but every government official, cop, judge, department, corporation and shoeshine. It's truly universal. There's no privileged, hidden operator that's spared, and no one pulling the strings. Government departments, officials, cops, corporations, Supreme Court justices, Congresspeople–everyone gets social credit if they want it (participation is voluntary). Doesn't this sound better than our system, where private corporations rate us and sell the information to other private corporations and government agencies without our permission and with limited access–but offer no reciprocity? Ask TRW for a vendor rating and see how far you get.

"3. It's a popular initiative as much as a government initiative: the Chinese are the most trusting people on earth and they're tired of being scammed online for billions each year. (They're especially trusting of their government which 86% of people say works for everybody and not just for a fortunate few).

"4. It's 90% carrot and 10% stick: the higher your score the easier your life becomes. Japan and the Netherlands, for example, now offer expedited visa processing for Chinese travelers with scores above 750. Landlords waive deposits if you're over 800 and so on.

"5. It's part of China's 2,000-year-old plan to create a datong society in which (to be brief) everybody is taken care of and nobody needs to lock their doors at night–a goal that every Chinese supports and which the government hopes to deliver by 2049.

" In short, our media are interpreting yet another Chinese policy in Western terms. China is nothing like us. Nothing. It's a different civilization and it does things differently ." [My Emphasis]

At his FB, Pepe has also posted a 4-part "Analysis by Alexander Dugin, Edited by Pepe Escobar" that I'll copy/paste in my next comment.

WHERE WE ARE NOW – PART 1 OF 4

Analysis by Alexander Dugin
Edited by Pepe Escobar

"I have read virtually EVERYTHING, East and West, in terms of detailed analysis of our current, game-changing, global stage of siege – not to mention private conversations with top analysts and the tsunami of think tank reports I have to sift through in my inbox.

"The insights by my friend Dugin are right at the very top. I am publishing an edited version in 4 successive, condensed posts. I personally agree with 90% of his conceptualization – especially the notion of the state in mutation (like the virus) turning ever more dictatorial, and the collapse of the global liberal world.

"This is an effort to invite an informed discussion with you – a global audience. Any entity with zero informed comment to offer, or prone to debased ad hominem attacks stay away – and I'm being very polite about it. For now.

"Part 1:

"The coronavirus has already struck a blow from which neither politics, economics, nor ideology will recover. The pandemic would have to have been dealt with by the existing institutions, in normal mode without changing the basic rules:
- neither in politics (meaning no quarantine, no forced isolation, let alone a state of emergency);
- nor in the economy (no remote work, no stopping of production, exchanges and financial- industrial institutions or trading platforms, no vacation, etc.);
- nor in ideology (no restrictions, albeit temporary on essential civil rights, freedom of movement, the cancellation or postponement of elections, referenda, etc.).

"...but all of this has already happened on a global scale, including in Western countries, i.e., in the territory of the 'world government' itself. The very foundations of the global system have been suspended.

"For the 'world government' to take such a step, it had to be forced to do so. By whom?

Part-2:

"The state, mutating as fast as the virus:

"Everywhere in the world - whether openly or by default - a state of emergency has been declared. According to the classics of political thought, and in particular Carl Schmitt, this means the establishment of a regime of dictatorship. The sovereign, according to Schmitt, is he who makes the decision in an emergency situation (Ernstfall), and today this is the state. However, it should not be forgotten that today's state has until the altogether recent last moment been based on the principles of liberal democracy, capitalism, and the ideology of human rights.

"In other words, this state is, in some sense, deciding on the liquidation of its own philosophical and ideological basis (even if such are for now formalized, temporary measures, the Roman Empire still began with the temporary dictatorship of Caesar, which gradually became permanent). Thus, the state is rapidly mutating, just as the virus itself is mutating, and the state is following the coronavirus in this constantly evolving struggle, which is taking the situation ever further from the point of global liberal democracy. All the extant borders which until yesterday seemed to be erased or half-erased are once again gaining fundamental meaning."

Part-3

"New algorithms engendering a new dictatorial state:

"Over the course of this epidemic, a new state is emerging which is beginning to function with new rules. It is very likely that in the process of the state of emergency there will be a shift of power from formal rulers to technical and technological functionaries, e.g., the military, epidemiologists, and institutions especially created for such extreme circumstances.

"As legal norms are suspended, new algorithms of behavior and new practices are beginning to be deployed. Thus is born the dictatorial state, which, unlike the liberal-democratic state, has completely different goals, foundations, principles and axioms. In this case, the "world government" is dissolved, because any supranational strategy loses all meaning. Power is rapidly moving to an ever lower level - but not to society and not to citizens, but to the military-technological and medical-sanitary level. A radically new rationality is gaining force - not the rationale of democracy, freedom, the market and individualism, but that of pure survival, for which responsibility is assumed by a subject combining direct power and the possession of technical, technological, and medical logistics. Moreover, in the network society, such is based on a system of total surveillance excluding any kind of privacy.

"Thus, if at one end we have the virus as the subject of transformation, then at the other end we have military-medical surveillance and punitive dictatorship fundamentally differing in all parameters from the state that we knew until yesterday. It is not at all guaranteed that such a state, in its fight against the secular 'plague gods', will precisely coincide with the borders of existing national entities."

Part-4

"The state of emergency and the collapse of the global liberal order:

"Agamben has been more radical than others and opposed the measures taken against the coronavirus, preferring even death to the introduction of a state of emergency. He clearly saw that even a small step in this direction will change the entire structure of the world order. Entering the stage of dictatorship is easy, but exiting it is sometimes impossible.

"It is impossible to go back to the world order that existed only recently and which seemed so familiar and natural that no one thought about its ephemerality. Liberalism either did not reach its natural end and the establishment of a 'world government', or nihilistic collapse was its original goal, merely covered by an increasingly less convincing and increasingly perverse 'humanist' decor.

"The end of globalization will not mean, however, a simple transition to the Westphalian system, to realism and a system of closed trade states (Fichte). Such would require the well- defined ideology that existed in early Modernity, but which was completely eradicated in late Modernity, and especially in Postmodernity. The demonization of anything remotely resembling 'nationalism' or 'fascism' has led to the total rejection of national identities, and now the severity of the biological threat and its crude physiological nature makes national myths superfluous. The military-medical dictatorship does not need additional methods to motivate the masses.

"The global liberal world has collapsed before our very eyes, just as the USSR and the world socialist system fell in 1991. Our consciousness refuses to believe in such colossal shifts, and especially in their irreversibility. But we must. It is better to conceptualize and comprehend them in advance - now, as long as things have not yet become so acute."

Dugin does provoke the mind to think. I certainly have my own comments to make, but they'll need to wait for later after today's Easter program here at my hermitage on the shoreline where it's a superb Spring day and the grill will be lit to flame broil our small feast.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 12 2020 17:24 utc | 22

[Apr 13, 2020] Chine social credit system vs Google and Facebook surveillance

If it is like Amazon review system, it is deeply flawed as you can manipulate reviews.
Apr 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Apr 12 2020 17:04 utc | 17

At his FB, Pepe Escobar informs us about "THE CHINESE SOCIAL CREDIT SYSTEM – IN DETAIL"

"In my 'Who Profits from the Pandemic' essay – on Consortium News and republished in myriad places, The Saker, Global Research, Unz Review, ZeroHedge, etc. – unfortunately I did not have enough space to detail how the Chinese social credit system works (I had to edit out a lot of info, otherwise the final cut would have more than 5,000 words).

"The system is not Orwellian in a Western sense – or as Orwellian as people who know LESS THAN ZERO about China insist. China is a collectivist society. Yes, this can be used as a mechanism of control – in terms of political dissent - but mostly it aims to facilitate people's lives. It is a VOLUNTARY system.

"A very good academic analysis
is HERE . Keep it for reference

"Godfree Roberts, commenting on my essay on Consortium News, offered a VERY good explanation, which I reproduce here in full.

"1. It's essentially an Amazon Review of everyone by everyone they've ever dealt with. It's exactly like the 'reviews' we give friends (behind their backs?) constantly updated in the same ways.

"2. It ranks not only every citizen who chooses to participate, but every government official, cop, judge, department, corporation and shoeshine. It's truly universal. There's no privileged, hidden operator that's spared, and no one pulling the strings. Government departments, officials, cops, corporations, Supreme Court justices, Congresspeople–everyone gets social credit if they want it (participation is voluntary). Doesn't this sound better than our system, where private corporations rate us and sell the information to other private corporations and government agencies without our permission and with limited access–but offer no reciprocity? Ask TRW for a vendor rating and see how far you get.

"3. It's a popular initiative as much as a government initiative: the Chinese are the most trusting people on earth and they're tired of being scammed online for billions each year. (They're especially trusting of their government which 86% of people say works for everybody and not just for a fortunate few).

"4. It's 90% carrot and 10% stick: the higher your score the easier your life becomes. Japan and the Netherlands, for example, now offer expedited visa processing for Chinese travelers with scores above 750. Landlords waive deposits if you're over 800 and so on.

"5. It's part of China's 2,000-year-old plan to create a datong society in which (to be brief) everybody is taken care of and nobody needs to lock their doors at night–a goal that every Chinese supports and which the government hopes to deliver by 2049.

" In short, our media are interpreting yet another Chinese policy in Western terms. China is nothing like us. Nothing. It's a different civilization and it does things differently ." [My Emphasis]

At his FB, Pepe has also posted a 4-part "Analysis by Alexander Dugin, Edited by Pepe Escobar" that I'll copy/paste in my next comment.

WHERE WE ARE NOW – PART 1 OF 4

Analysis by Alexander Dugin
Edited by Pepe Escobar

"I have read virtually EVERYTHING, East and West, in terms of detailed analysis of our current, game-changing, global stage of siege – not to mention private conversations with top analysts and the tsunami of think tank reports I have to sift through in my inbox.

"The insights by my friend Dugin are right at the very top. I am publishing an edited version in 4 successive, condensed posts. I personally agree with 90% of his conceptualization – especially the notion of the state in mutation (like the virus) turning ever more dictatorial, and the collapse of the global liberal world.

"This is an effort to invite an informed discussion with you – a global audience. Any entity with zero informed comment to offer, or prone to debased ad hominem attacks stay away – and I'm being very polite about it. For now.

"Part 1:

"The coronavirus has already struck a blow from which neither politics, economics, nor ideology will recover. The pandemic would have to have been dealt with by the existing institutions, in normal mode without changing the basic rules:
- neither in politics (meaning no quarantine, no forced isolation, let alone a state of emergency);
- nor in the economy (no remote work, no stopping of production, exchanges and financial- industrial institutions or trading platforms, no vacation, etc.);
- nor in ideology (no restrictions, albeit temporary on essential civil rights, freedom of movement, the cancellation or postponement of elections, referenda, etc.).

"...but all of this has already happened on a global scale, including in Western countries, i.e., in the territory of the 'world government' itself. The very foundations of the global system have been suspended.

"For the 'world government' to take such a step, it had to be forced to do so. By whom?

Part-2:

"The state, mutating as fast as the virus:

"Everywhere in the world - whether openly or by default - a state of emergency has been declared. According to the classics of political thought, and in particular Carl Schmitt, this means the establishment of a regime of dictatorship. The sovereign, according to Schmitt, is he who makes the decision in an emergency situation (Ernstfall), and today this is the state. However, it should not be forgotten that today's state has until the altogether recent last moment been based on the principles of liberal democracy, capitalism, and the ideology of human rights.

"In other words, this state is, in some sense, deciding on the liquidation of its own philosophical and ideological basis (even if such are for now formalized, temporary measures, the Roman Empire still began with the temporary dictatorship of Caesar, which gradually became permanent). Thus, the state is rapidly mutating, just as the virus itself is mutating, and the state is following the coronavirus in this constantly evolving struggle, which is taking the situation ever further from the point of global liberal democracy. All the extant borders which until yesterday seemed to be erased or half-erased are once again gaining fundamental meaning."

Part-3

"New algorithms engendering a new dictatorial state:

"Over the course of this epidemic, a new state is emerging which is beginning to function with new rules. It is very likely that in the process of the state of emergency there will be a shift of power from formal rulers to technical and technological functionaries, e.g., the military, epidemiologists, and institutions especially created for such extreme circumstances.

"As legal norms are suspended, new algorithms of behavior and new practices are beginning to be deployed. Thus is born the dictatorial state, which, unlike the liberal-democratic state, has completely different goals, foundations, principles and axioms. In this case, the "world government" is dissolved, because any supranational strategy loses all meaning. Power is rapidly moving to an ever lower level - but not to society and not to citizens, but to the military-technological and medical-sanitary level. A radically new rationality is gaining force - not the rationale of democracy, freedom, the market and individualism, but that of pure survival, for which responsibility is assumed by a subject combining direct power and the possession of technical, technological, and medical logistics. Moreover, in the network society, such is based on a system of total surveillance excluding any kind of privacy.

"Thus, if at one end we have the virus as the subject of transformation, then at the other end we have military-medical surveillance and punitive dictatorship fundamentally differing in all parameters from the state that we knew until yesterday. It is not at all guaranteed that such a state, in its fight against the secular 'plague gods', will precisely coincide with the borders of existing national entities."

Part-4

"The state of emergency and the collapse of the global liberal order:

"Agamben has been more radical than others and opposed the measures taken against the coronavirus, preferring even death to the introduction of a state of emergency. He clearly saw that even a small step in this direction will change the entire structure of the world order. Entering the stage of dictatorship is easy, but exiting it is sometimes impossible.

"It is impossible to go back to the world order that existed only recently and which seemed so familiar and natural that no one thought about its ephemerality. Liberalism either did not reach its natural end and the establishment of a 'world government', or nihilistic collapse was its original goal, merely covered by an increasingly less convincing and increasingly perverse 'humanist' decor.

"The end of globalization will not mean, however, a simple transition to the Westphalian system, to realism and a system of closed trade states (Fichte). Such would require the well- defined ideology that existed in early Modernity, but which was completely eradicated in late Modernity, and especially in Postmodernity. The demonization of anything remotely resembling 'nationalism' or 'fascism' has led to the total rejection of national identities, and now the severity of the biological threat and its crude physiological nature makes national myths superfluous. The military-medical dictatorship does not need additional methods to motivate the masses.

"The global liberal world has collapsed before our very eyes, just as the USSR and the world socialist system fell in 1991. Our consciousness refuses to believe in such colossal shifts, and especially in their irreversibility. But we must. It is better to conceptualize and comprehend them in advance - now, as long as things have not yet become so acute."

Dugin does provoke the mind to think. I certainly have my own comments to make, but they'll need to wait for later after today's Easter program here at my hermitage on the shoreline where it's a superb Spring day and the grill will be lit to flame broil our small feast.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 12 2020 17:24 utc | 22

[Apr 12, 2020] We Are Living Nineteen Eighty-Four... by Victor Davis Johnson

Sep 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Victor Davis Johnson via NationalReview.com,

Truth, due process, evidence, rights of the accused: All are swept aside in pursuit of the progressive agenda.

George Orwell's 1949 dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is no longer fiction. We are living it right now.

Google techies planned to massage Internet searches to emphasize correct thinking. A member of the so-called deep state, in an anonymous op-ed, brags that its "resistance" is undermining an elected president. The FBI, CIA, DOJ, and NSC were all weaponized in 2016 to ensure that the proper president would be elected -- the choice adjudicated by properly progressive ideology. Wearing a wire is now redefined as simply flipping on an iPhone and recording your boss, boy- or girlfriend, or co-workers.

But never has the reality that we are living in a surreal age been clearer than during the strange cycles of Christine Blasey Ford's accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

In Orwell's world of 1984 Oceania, there is no longer a sense of due process, free inquiry, rules of evidence and cross examination, much less a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Instead, regimented ideology -- the supremacy of state power to control all aspects of one's life to enforce a fossilized idea of mandated quality -- warps everything from the use of language to private life.

Oceania's Rules

Senator Diane Feinstein and the other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee had long sought to destroy the Brett Kavanaugh nomination. Much of their paradoxical furor over his nomination arises from the boomeranging of their own past political blunders, such as when Democrats ended the filibuster on judicial nominations, in 2013. They also canonized the so-called 1992 Biden Rule, which holds that the Senate should not consider confirming the Supreme Court nomination of a lame-duck president (e.g., George H. W. Bush) in an election year.

Rejecting Kavanaugh proved a hard task given that he had a long record of judicial opinions and writings -- and there was nothing much in them that would indicate anything but a sharp mind, much less any ideological, racial, or sexual intolerance. His personal life was impeccable, his family admirable.

Kavanaugh was no combative Robert Bork, but congenial, and he patiently answered all the questions asked of him, despite constant demonstrations and pre-planned street-theater interruptions from the Senate gallery and often obnoxious grandstanding by "I am Spartacus" Democratic senators.

So Kavanaugh was going to be confirmed unless a bombshell revelation derailed the vote. And so we got a bombshell.

Weeks earlier, Senator Diane Feinstein had received a written allegation against Kavanaugh of sexual battery by an accuser who wished to remain anonymous. Feinstein sat on it for nearly two months, probably because she thought the charges were either spurious or unprovable. Until a few days ago, she mysteriously refused to release the full text of the redacted complaint , and she has said she does not know whether the very accusations that she purveyed are believable. Was she reluctant to memorialize the accusations by formally submitting them to the Senate Judiciary Committee, because doing so makes Ford subject to possible criminal liability if the charges prove demonstrably untrue?

The gambit was clearly to use the charges as a last-chance effort to stop the nomination -- but only if Kavanaugh survived the cross examinations during the confirmation hearing. Then, in extremis , Feinstein finally referenced the charge, hoping to keep it anonymous, but, at the same time, to hint of its serious nature and thereby to force a delay in the confirmation. Think something McCarthesque, like "I have here in my hand the name . . ."

Delay would mean that the confirmation vote could be put off until after the midterm election, and a few jeopardized Democratic senators in Trump states would not have to go on record voting no on Kavanaugh. Or the insidious innuendos, rumor, and gossip about Kavanaugh would help to bleed him to death by a thousand leaks and, by association, tank Republican chances at retaining the House. (Republicans may or may not lose the House over the confirmation circus, but they most surely will lose their base and, with it, the Congress if they do not confirm Kavanaugh.)

Feinstein's anonymous trick did not work. So pressure mounted to reveal or leak Ford's identity and thereby force an Anita-Hill–like inquest that might at least show old white men Republican senators as insensitive to a vulnerable and victimized woman.

The problem, of course, was that, under traditional notions of jurisprudence, Ford's allegations simply were not provable. But America soon discovered that civic and government norms no longer follow the Western legal tradition. In Orwellian terms, Kavanaugh was now at the mercy of the state. He was tagged with sexual battery at first by an anonymous accuser, and then upon revelation of her identity, by a left-wing, political activist psychology professor and her more left-wing, more politically active lawyer.

Newspeak and Doublethink

Statue of limitations? It does not exist. An incident 36 years ago apparently is as fresh today as it was when Kavanaugh was 17 and Ford 15.

Presumption of Innocence? Not at all. Kavanaugh is accused and thereby guilty. The accuser faces no doubt. In Orwellian America, the accused must first present his defense, even though he does not quite know what he is being charged with. Then the accuser and her legal team pour over his testimony to prepare her accusation.

Evidence? That too is a fossilized concept. Ford could name neither the location of the alleged assault nor the date or time. She had no idea how she arrived or left the scene of the alleged crime. There is no physical evidence of an attack. And such lacunae in her memory mattered no longer at all.

Details? Again, such notions are counterrevolutionary. Ford said to her therapist 6 years ago (30 years after the alleged incident) that there were four would-be attackers, at least as recorded in the therapist's notes.

But now she has claimed that there were only two assaulters: Kavanaugh and a friend. In truth, all four people -- now including a female -- named in her accusations as either assaulters or witnesses have insisted that they have no knowledge of the event, much less of wrongdoing wherever and whenever Ford claims the act took place. That they deny knowledge is at times used as proof by Ford's lawyers that the event 36 years was traumatic.

An incident at 15 is so seared into her lifelong memory that at 52 Ford has no memory of any of the events or details surrounding that unnamed day, except that she is positive that 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh, along with four? three? two? others, was harassing her. She has no idea where or when she was assaulted but still assures that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were drunk, but that she and the others (?) merely had only the proverbial teenage "one beer." Most people are more likely to know where they were at a party than the exact number of alcoholic beverages they consumed -- but not so much about either after 36 years.

Testimony? No longer relevant. It doesn't matter that Kavanaugh and the other alleged suspect both deny the allegations and have no memory of being in the same locale with Ford 36 years ago. In sum, all the supposed partiers, both male and female, now swear, under penalty of felony, that they have no memory of any of the incidents that Ford claims occurred so long ago. That Ford cannot produce a single witness to confirm her narrative or refute theirs is likewise of no concern. So far, she has singularly not submitted a formal affidavit or given a deposition that would be subject to legal exposure if untrue.

Again, the ideological trumps the empirical. "All women must be believed" is the testament, and individuals bow to the collective. Except, as in Orwell's Animal Farm, there are ideological exceptions -- such as Bill Clinton, Keith Ellison, Sherrod Brown, and Joe Biden. The slogan of Ford's psychodrama is "All women must be believed, but some women are more believable than others." That an assertion becomes fact due to the prevailing ideology and gender of the accuser marks the destruction of our entire system of justice.

Rights of the accused? They too do not exist. In the American version of 1984 , the accuser, a.k.a. the more ideologically correct party, dictates to authorities the circumstances under which she will be investigated and cross-examined: She will demand all sorts of special considerations of privacy and exemptions; Kavanaugh will be forced to return and face cameras and the public to prove that he was not then, and has never been since, a sexual assaulter.

In our 1984 world, the accused is considered guilty if merely charged, and the accuser is a victim who can ruin a life but must not under any circumstance be made uncomfortable in proving her charges.

Doublespeak abounds. "Victim" solely refers to the accuser, not the accused, who one day was Brett Kavanaugh, a brilliant jurist and model citizen, and the next morning woke up transformed into some sort of Kafkaesque cockroach. The media and political operatives went in a nanosecond from charging that she was groped and "assaulted" to the claim that she was "raped."

In our 1984, the phrase "must be believed" is doublespeak for "must never face cross-examination."

Ford should be believed or not believed on the basis of evidence , not her position, gender, or politics. I certainly did not believe Joe Biden, simply because he was a U.S. senator, when, as Neal Kinnock's doppelganger, he claimed that he came from a long line of coal miners -- any more than I believed that Senator Corey Booker really had a gang-banger Socratic confidant named "T-Bone," or that would-be senator Richard Blumenthal was an anguished Vietnam combat vet or that Senator Elizabeth Warren was a Native American. (Do we need a 25th Amendment for unhinged senators?) Wanting to believe something from someone who is ideologically correct does not translate into confirmation of truth.

Ford supposedly in her originally anonymous accusation had insisted that she had sought "medical treatment" for her assault. The natural assumption is that such a term would mean that, soon after the attack, the victim sought a doctor's or emergency room's help to address either her physical or mental injuries -- records might therefore be a powerful refutation of Kavanaugh's denials.

But "medical treatment" now means that 30 years after the alleged assault, Ford sought counseling for some sort of "relationship" or "companion" therapy, or what might legitimately be termed "marriage counseling." And in the course of her discussions with her therapist about her marriage, she first spoke of her alleged assault three decades earlier. She did not then name Kavanaugh to her therapist, whose notes are at odds with Ford's current version.

Memory Holes

Then we come to Orwell's idea of "memory holes," or mechanisms to wipe clean inconvenient facts that disrupt official ideological narratives.

Shortly after Ford was named, suddenly her prior well-publicized and self-referential social-media revelations vanished, as if she'd never held her minor-league but confident pro-Sanders, anti-Trump opinions . And much of her media and social-media accounts were erased as well.

Similarly, one moment the New York Times -- just coming off an embarrassing lie in reporting that U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley had ordered new $50,000 office drapes on the government dime -- reported that Kavanaugh's alleged accomplice, Mark Judge, had confirmed Ford's allegation. Indeed, in a sensational scoop, according to the Times , Judge told the Judiciary Committee that he does remember the episode and has nothing more to say. In fact, Judge told the committee the very opposite: that he does not remember the episode . Forty minutes later, the Times embarrassing narrative vanished down the memory hole.

The online versions of some of the yearbooks of Ford's high school from the early 1980s vanished as well. At times, they had seemed to take a perverse pride in the reputation of the all-girls school for underage drinking, carousing, and, on rarer occasions, "passing out" at parties. Such activities were supposed to be the monopoly and condemnatory landscape of the "frat boy" and spoiled-white-kid Kavanaugh -- and certainly not the environment in which the noble Ford navigated. Seventeen-year-old Kavanaugh was to play the role of a falling-down drunk; Ford, with impressive powers of memory of an event 36 years past, assures us that as a circumspect 15-year-old, she had only "one beer."

A former teenage friend of Ford's sent out a flurry of social-media postings, allegedly confirming that Ford's ordeal was well known to her friends in 1982 and so her assault narrative must therefore be confirmed. Then, when challenged on some of her incoherent details (schools are not in session during summertime, and Ford is on record as not telling anyone of the incident for 30 years), she mysteriously claimed that she no longer could stand by her earlier assertions, which likewise soon vanished from her social-media account. Apparently, she had assumed that in 2018 Oceania ideologically correct citizens merely needed to lodge an accusation and it would be believed, without any obligation on her part to substantiate her charges.

When a second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, followed Ford seven days later to allege another sexual incident with the teenage Kavanaugh, at Yale 35 years ago, it was no surprise that she followed the now normal Orwellian boilerplate : None of those whom she named as witnesses could either confirm her charges or even remember the alleged event. She had altered her narrative after consultations with lawyers and handlers. She too confesses to underage drinking during the alleged event. She too is currently a social and progressive political activist. The only difference from Ford's narrative is that Ramirez's accusation was deemed not credible enough to be reported even by the New York Times , which recently retracted false stories about witness Mark Judge in the Ford case, and which falsely reported that U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley had charged the government for $50,000 office drapes.

As in 1984 , "truths" in these sorts of allegations do not exist unless they align with the larger "Truth" of the progressive project. In our case, the overarching Truth mandates that, in a supposedly misogynist society, women must always be believed in all their accusations and should be exempt from all counter-examinations.

Little "truths" -- such as the right of the accused, the need to produce evidence, insistence on cross-examination, and due process -- are counterrevolutionary constructs and the refuge of reactionary hold-outs who are enemies of the people. Or in the words of Hawaii senator Mazie Hirono:

Guess who's perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It's the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country, "Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing, for a change."

The View 's Joy Behar was more honest about the larger Truth: "These white men, old by the way, are not protecting women," Behar exclaimed. "They're protecting a man who is probably guilty." We thank Behar for the concession "probably."

According to some polls, about half the country believes that Brett Kavanaugh is now guilty of a crime committed 36 years ago at the age of 17. And that reality reminds us that we are no longer in America . We are already living well into the socialist totalitarian Hell that Orwell warned us about long ago.

  • All Comments 30

NiggaPleeze , 10 seconds ago

National Review? Really? Does it get more evil than them?

Debt Slave , 16 seconds ago

According to some polls, about half the country believes that Brett Kavanaugh is now guilty of a crime committed 36 years ago at the age of 17.

Well half the country are idiots but the important thing to remember in our democracy is that the idiots have the right to vote. And here we are today.

No wonder the founders believed that democracy was a stupid idea. But we know better than they did, right?

Jkweb007 , 37 seconds ago

It is hard for me to believe 50% when in America you are presumed innocent till proven guilty. Is this the spanish inquizition or salem witch trials. If he floats he was innocent. I am shocked that people in congress would make statements, she must be believed, I believe he is guilty. These are people who represent and stand for the constitution that many died in the defense of life liberty and the persuit of happiness. It may be time for that mlilitia that our founding fathers endorsed. If Kavanaugh is rebuked for these accusation our freedom, free speech may be next.

herbivore , 1 minute ago

Peter Griffin knows what's what:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jiog8hrzigk

GOSPLAN HERO , 4 minutes ago

Just another day in USSA.

THORAX , 6 minutes ago

One more confirmation that the so called "social justice warriors" -like last night's goons' who shamefully interrupted Senator Cruz's night out with his wife at a private restaurant- are Orwell's projected fascists!

opport.knocks , 20 minutes ago

Bush 2 was in the big chair when he and his cabinet started the USA down the full Orwellian path (Patriot Act, post 911). Kavanaugh and his wife were both members of that government team.

If there is any reason to dismiss him, that would be it, not this post-pubescent sex crap.

If I was a cynical person, I would say this whole exercise is to deflect attention away from that part of his "swampy" past.

Aubiekong , 23 minutes ago

We lost the republic when we allowed the liberals to staff the ministry of education...

CheapBastard , 15 minutes ago

My neighbor is a high school teacher. I asked her if she was giving students time off to protest this and she looked at me and said, "Just the opposite. I have given them a 10 page seminar paper to write on the meaning of Due Process."

So there IS hope.

my new username , 23 minutes ago

This is criminal contempt for the due lawful process of the Congress.

These are unlawful attempts and conspiracies to subvert justice.

So we need to start arresting, trying, convicting and punishing the criminals.

BlackChicken , 23 minutes ago

Truth, due process, evidence, rights of the accused: All are swept aside in pursuit of the progressive agenda.

This needs to end, not later, NOW.

Be careful what you wish for leftists, I'll dedicate my remaining years to torture you with it.

Jus7tme , 22 minutes ago

>>the socialist totalitarian Hell that Orwell warned us about long ago.

I think Orwell was in 1949 was warning about a fascist totalitarian hell, not a socialist one, but nice try rewriting history.

Duc888 , 29 minutes ago

WTF ever happened to "innocent until PROVEN guilty"?

CheapBastard , 19 minutes ago

Schumer said before the confirmation hearings even began he would not let Kavanaugh become SC justice no matter what.

Dems are so tolerant, open minded and respectful of due process, aren't they.

[Apr 01, 2020] This is the problem with the Democrats: people are more interested in class issues, and economic equality then identity politics by Rod Dreher

Notable quotes:
"... This is the problem with the Democrats. You might be interested in class issues, and economic equality, and not at all interested in wokeness. But what you're going to get is wokeness, because that is what the power-holding class in the Democratic Party really cares about. As James Lindsay, the left-liberal professor who does heroic work fighting wokeness, told me in our recent interview: ..."
"... Of course [Social Justice Warriors] going to find ways to use this crisis to their advantage. They go around inventing problems or dramatically exaggerating or misinterpreting small problems to push their agenda; why wouldn't they do the same in a situation where there's so much chaos and thus so much going wrong. My experience so far is that people are really underestimating how much of this there will be and how much of it will be institutionalized while we're busy doing other things like tending to the sick and dying and trying not to lose our livelihoods and/or join them ourselves. ..."
"... It's very important to understand that "Critical Social Justice" isn't just activism and some academic theories about things. It's a way of thinking about the world, and that way is rooted in critical theory as it has been applied mostly to identity groups and identity politics ..."
Mar 31, 2020 | The American Conservative
George Scialabba has a wonderful essay about Orwell in Commonweal . Though Scialabba writes in it about Orwell's criticism of the right, this passage jumped out:

Might Orwell's sensitive nose have detected a whiff of cant anywhere on the contemporary left? I suspect he would have cast a baleful eye on identity politics. He would, I think, be dubious about "diversity." Why do every college and corporation in America have a fleet of "diversity" officers? What is gained by ensuring -- at enormous expense -- that every student or employee is proud of his/her culture and that every other student or employee respects it? According to Walter Benn Michaels in The Trouble with Diversity, what is gained is the avoidance of class conflict. "The commitment to diversity is at best a distraction and at worst an essentially reactionary position . We would much rather celebrate cultural diversity than seek to establish economic equality."

Orwell was moderately obsessed with class. He would probably have noted that the explosive growth of inequality in the United States over the past four decades has closely paralleled the explosive growth of the diversity industry, and would have drawn some conclusions. He might have asked: If there were two societies with the same Gini coefficient, but in one of them, the proportion of billionaires by race and gender matched that of the general population, would that society be morally better than the other? Or: If the ratio of CEO to median employee earnings was the same in two societies, but in one of them the proportion of CEOs by race and gender matched that of the general population, would that society be morally better than the other? I'm pretty sure that most diversity bureaucrats would answer "yes" to both questions, and that Orwell would have answered "no."

Orwell was fearless, so a tribute to him shouldn't pull any punches. I think he would suggest that there was something irrational about the way we enforce our most sensitive taboo: the N-word. From the wholesale banning of Huckleberry Finn to the many times teachers and civil servants have been censured, and in one case fired, for using the word "niggardly" (which has no etymological relation to the N-word) to the resignation under pressure recently of a Cambridge, Massachusetts, school committeewoman for using the N-word in a discussion of a proposed high-school course about the N-word, we have often made fools of ourselves and done disadvantaged African Americans no good. As the school superintendent summarized the Cambridge case: the committeewoman "made a point about racist language and used the full N-word instead of the common substitute, 'N-word.' Although said in the context of a classroom discussion, and not directed to any student or adult present, the full pronunciation of the word was upsetting to a number of students and adults who were present or who have since heard about the incident." No one, however, as far as I am aware, has publicly expressed hurt feelings over the fact that the average net worth of African Americans in the Boston area is $8. (Eight, no zeros.) As Benn Michaels observes: "As long as the left continues to worry about [respect], the right won't have to worry about inequality."

Read it all.

I wrote earlier today about actually existing conservatism being more of a "folk libertarianism" than anything resembling philosophical conservatism. But what about actually existing liberalism?

The surprising triumph of Joe Biden, the most normie Democrat in America, tells us something about actually existing liberalism. Illiberal progressivism dominates in academia, the media, and in corporate America's human resources departments. A reader sends in this abstract from a paper published by a Penn professor at the Ivy League university's Wharton School of Business (Trump's alma mater!) in which she argues that the state should

forbid identity-based discrimination but permit refusals of service for projects that foster hate toward protected groups, even where the hate-based project is intimately linked to a protected characteristic (as with religious groups that mandate white supremacy). Far from perpetuating discrimination, these refusals instead promote anti-discrimination norms, and they help realize the vision of the morally inflected marketplace that the Article defends.

You could say that Biden's (not yet assured) victory in the Democratic primaries shows that actually existing liberalism is much less interested in wokeness than in bread-and-butter issues. After all, the more self-consciously woke candidates in the Democratic race didn't get anywhere. I would like to read it that way. But would Biden actually stand up to any wokeness? After all, this is the man who tweeted:

Let's be clear: Transgender equality is the civil rights issue of our time. There is no room for compromise when it comes to basic human rights.

-- Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 25, 2020

This is the problem with the Democrats. You might be interested in class issues, and economic equality, and not at all interested in wokeness. But what you're going to get is wokeness, because that is what the power-holding class in the Democratic Party really cares about. As James Lindsay, the left-liberal professor who does heroic work fighting wokeness, told me in our recent interview:

Of course [Social Justice Warriors] going to find ways to use this crisis to their advantage. They go around inventing problems or dramatically exaggerating or misinterpreting small problems to push their agenda; why wouldn't they do the same in a situation where there's so much chaos and thus so much going wrong. My experience so far is that people are really underestimating how much of this there will be and how much of it will be institutionalized while we're busy doing other things like tending to the sick and dying and trying not to lose our livelihoods and/or join them ourselves.

It's very important to understand that "Critical Social Justice" isn't just activism and some academic theories about things. It's a way of thinking about the world, and that way is rooted in critical theory as it has been applied mostly to identity groups and identity politics. Thus, not only do they think about almost nothing except ways that "systemic power" and "dominant groups" are creating all the problems around us, they've more or less forgotten how to think about problems in any other way. The underlying assumption of their Theory–and that's intentionally capitalized because it means a very specific thing–is that the very fabric of society is built out of unjust systemic power dynamics, and it is their job (as "critical theorists") to find those, "make them visible," and then to move on to doing it with the next thing, ideally while teaching other people to do it too. This crisis will be full of opportunities to do that, and they will do it relentlessly. So, it's not so much a matter of them "finding a way" to use this crisis to their advantage as it is that they don't really do anything else.

To be honest, I don't have a lot of confidence in predictions about what valence wokeness (or right-wing culture war themes) will have in this fall's election, given the economic destruction upon us now. I do have confidence, though, that if the left gets into power, this professional class of woke activists will march triumphantly through the institutions of government, and implement their identity-politics utopianism. Do I think that most Democratic voters do, or would, favor that? No, probably not. I imagine they would be voting Democratic primarily to oust Trump, and secondarily because they are more interested in income inequality...

If Orwell were alive today and writing with his superlative critical pen about them, he would struggle to find publication in one of our major liberal journals.

UPDATE: Just now:

I'm sure Critical Social Justice isn't quietly reorganizing things that might matter because of the pandemic Or so I keep being told. https://t.co/LEzvjqbu2B

-- James Lindsay, staying home (@ConceptualJames) March 31, 2020

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative . He has written and edited for the New York Post , The Dallas Morning News , National Review , the South Florida Sun-Sentinel , the Washington Times , and the Baton Rouge Advocate . Rod's commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal , Commentary , the Weekly Standard , Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming , Crunchy Cons , How Dante Can Save Your Life , and The Benedict Option

[Mar 24, 2020] Coronovirus and Yevgeny Zamyatin dystopian novel We

See We (novel) - Wikipedia
Mar 24, 2020 | off-guardian.org

We is set in the future. D-503, a spacecraft engineer, lives in the One State,[3] an urban nation constructed almost entirely of glass, which assists mass surveillance. The structure of the state is Panopticon-like, and life is scientifically managed F. W. Taylor-style. People march in step with each other and are uniformed. There is no way of referring to people except by their given numbers. The society is run strictly by logic or reason as the primary justification for the laws or the construct of the society.[4][5] The individual's behaviour is based on logic by way of formulas and equations outlined by the One State.[6]

Francis Lee ,

Sounds very much like Yevgeny Zamyatin – We . But we never thought it would happen!

[Mar 23, 2020] Dystopian books and coronavirus

Mar 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jay , Mar 23 2020 18:34 utc | 14

In the case of "Brave New World", the establishment knows how to cure pretty much any conventional disease. Then if you're in approved society you die around age 60 because of everything that's kept you alive and looking like 40.

I just read the book last month for the first time in 30+ years. It does belong on that diagram. And "1984" doesn't either, since it really doesn't deal with anything like infectious diseases--reread that about 2 years ago.


I've not read the other 2 outer books ever, but the movie of "Fahrenheit 451", which I just watched and Bradbury certainly had a hand in writing, has nothing to do with infectious disease.

There might be something in Camus' "The Plague" though. Haven't read that since the 1980s.

There aren't food shortages so not sure about the "Soylent Green" reference, yet at least. "Long's Run" is about killing people off at age 35, which I guess overlaps with "kill 80% of the poor workers", something the likes of Charles Koch certainly supports. So indirectly there could be a "Logan's Run" connection.

Gattica is just about favored people with the right genes, so an update of "Brave New World", without the highly literate "savage" as the main character.

I don't see how "The Matrix" relates, that's more about the material world's completeness being an illusion.

"Clockwork Orange?" A thug suppressed with mind control?

Haven't read "Lord of the Flies", but don't the kids worship a god of the island, and justify the horrors they commit based on that conception of god or a god?

[Mar 18, 2020] 1984 the second edition

Mar 18, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Obvious cognitive decline is a stutter.

Massive exit poll discrepancies are normal.

An ex-president installing his right-hand man as his successor is democracy.

Facts are Kremlin talking points.

Journalism is a crime.

War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength.

link

[Mar 10, 2020] Facebook and idiocy of population

Notable quotes:
"... Nothing speaks more loudly of the dumbed down, idiotic, Fakebook groupthink of the age than the current rush to buy toilet roll as a response to the Coronavirus crisis. ..."
Mar 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard , Mar 10 2020 16:40 utc | 150

No need to worry about the corona virus - it'll all be okay as long as you buy enough toilet roll...

Nothing speaks more loudly of the dumbed down, idiotic, Fakebook groupthink of the age than the current rush to buy toilet roll as a response to the Coronavirus crisis.

You've seen it on the tele and (un)social media – supermarket shelves denuded of bog roll and fat birds beating seven shades of sh*t out of each other over the last bag of ass wipe.

I mean, what the hell!? Is this how stupid and pathetic we've become? Someone sees a post on Fakebook that says its a good idea to respond to a potentially fatal virus by buying lots of bog roll and within 5 minutes there's a massive rush on the stuff – after all, you gotta buy it, right, COS IT SAYS SO ON FAKEBOOK...

https://richardhennerley.com/2020/03/10/of-coronavirus-toilet-roll-and-idiocy/

[Mar 09, 2020] Cookie Monster: the Nuts and Bolts of Online Tracking by Rob Larson

Mar 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
Big Tech has become notorious for its hoarding of its users' personal data, collected with great breadth and down to minute details. Billions have been paid by online platforms to settle legal charges over their invasive and reckless privacy follies. Facebook in particular is associated with this, especially after a series of major scandals involving leaks or hacks of personal data. But Google is inarguably the greediest of these companies in its data collection, to an extent that can surprise even jaded users. This makes sense economically, since the collection of data is a key part of the network effect of online search -- more searches and click data mean algorithms that deliver more accurate searches, attracting more users and searches, in the familiar positive feedback cycle of what economists call "network effects."

From early days, Google held onto all the data it could get its hands on -- who searched for what, what kind of results were likely desired, where searches came from, and so on. A major step in this was the release of Google's email service, Gmail. It caused a large stir itself as users learned the free, high-storage email service served ads on-screen that were targeted to the user by scanning the text of their emails. The scanning was conducted automatically by software algorithms similar to those used to filter out spam from inboxes, but the company was completely unprepared for the backlash, not realizing that their huge scale and power made such moves feel creepier. However the service had a crucial ancillary benefit for the company -- it required a login. With that, Google could cross-reference people's email data with their search history on Google and their YouTube platform (which also required login to post video), along with precise location data from Maps and GPS data from phones running Android -- the beginning of its program to synthesize its data into comprehensive individual profiles.

But the real turning point was the acquisition of the major display ad agency DoubleClick, which brought pivotal changes to the company's "cookies." Cookies are pieces of software planted on your computer or phone by sites as you browse the Web, recording where you've been for the purpose of presenting ads you're likely to be interested in. Cookies are now stupendously widespread -- visiting a typical websites like CNN or dictionary.com can put dozens of them on your PC or phone.

Google's AdSense system had always used these cookies, but the escalation was dramatic, as Wired 's pro-industry reporter Steven Levy wrote covered in his book In the Plex . He reported that the company gained "an omniscient cookie that no other company could match." As a user browses, the cookie:

develops into a rather lengthy log that provides a fully fleshed out profile of the user's interests virtually all of it compiled by stealth. Though savvy and motivated consumers could block or delete the cookies, very few knew about this possibility and even fewer took advantage of it. The information in the DoubleClick cookie was limited, however. It logged visits only to sites that ran DoubleClick's display ads, typically large commercial websites. Many sites on the Internet were smaller ones that didn't use big ad networks Millions of those smaller sites, however, did use an advertising network: Google's AdSense. AdSense had its own cookie, but it was not as snoopy as DoubleClick's. Only when the user actually clicked on an ad would the AdSense cookie log the presence of the user on the site. This 'cookie on click' process was lauded by privacy experts Google now owned an ad network whose business hinged on a cookie that peered over the shoulder of users as it viewed their ads and logged their travels on much of the web. This was no longer a third-party cookie; DoubleClick was Google. Google became the only company with the ability to pull together user data on both the fat head and the long tail of the Internet. The question was, would Google aggregate that data to track the complete activity of Internet users? The answer was yes after FTC regulators approved the DoubleClick purchase, Google quietly made the change that created the most powerful cookie on the Internet. It did away with the AdSense cookie entirely and instead arranged to drop the DoubleClick cookie when someone visited a site with an AdSense ad Now Google would record users' presence when they visited those sites. And it would combine that information with all the other data in the DoubleClick cookie. That single cookie, unique to Google, could track a user to every corner of the Internet.

Amazingly, Google co-founder Sergei Brin dismissed fears about this mega-cookie as "more of the Big Brother type," meaning exaggerated. But even that might be putting a positive gloss on today's data hoarding -- Lawrence Lessig, who has defended the company in areas like its book scanning, noted that in Orwell's book 1984 where Big Brother was introduced, at least the characters "knew where the telescreen was In the Internet, you have no idea who is being watched by whom. In a world where everything is surveilled, how to protect privacy?"

And in 2016, Google went even further by changing its terms of service, asking users to activate new functions that would give them more control over their data, and let Google serve more relevant ads. But what the change did was merge its tracking data with your search history and the personal information in your Gmail/YouTube/Google + accounts, into "super-profiles." And Google wasn't done -- beside using the mega-cookie to record our browsing history, combined with our search logs and Gmail contents, Google "Now Tracks Your Credit Card Purchases and Connects Them to Its Online Profile of You," as a recent MIT Technology Review headline indicates. By contracting with third party data firms that track 70% of all credit and debit card purchases, Google can now offer advertisers further confirmation of which ads are working, not just to the point of clicking but to the point of sale.

With its new TOS, Google does let users view some of the data it holds on them, but it takes "an esoteric process of clicks," as Ken Auletta put it in his book Googled , and again most users are unaware of these issues in the first place, and since we're opted in, most fail to view their data files. Additionally, each Google service has its own privacy terms and settings, and they change without warning, so we have to be constantly vigilant for their changes and subtleties. And Google joins the tech community in its use of "dark patterns," repetitive tactics that wear down users into allowing data access. And finally, even opting-out of customization doesn't end the data collection, just the use of it to target ads to you -- your movements, browsing, searching, emailing and credit card buying are all still compiled. In time Google announced it would soon stop the unpopular scanning of Gmail text to place ads -- the catch was that the company had enough data on users from its super-profiles that it could personalize them without the scanning.

And for all its hoarding, the pile isn't secure -- Google had allowed software developers to design applications like games for Google +, the company's unsuccessful attempt to compete with Facebook in social media. But a glitch in the software allowed developers access to private portions of Google + user profiles over a three-year period before its discovery, including full names, email, gender, pictures, locations, occupation and marital status. An internal memo indicates that as with Facebook's own developer data leaks, there's no way to know if the data was misused in any way. But most important, Google learned of the issue in spring 2018 but refused to announce or disclose it, fearing "reputational damage" to itself.

Whatever this company is, it rhymes with "shmevil."

Rob Larson is a professor of economics at Tacoma Community College and author of Capitalism vs. Freedom: The Toll Road to Serfdom

[Mar 07, 2020] Intel security flaw

Mar 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

WobblyTelomeres , March 6, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Re Intel security flaw

Interviewed there in the 90s. Hiring manager picked me up at the hotel, took me out to dinner and told me, flat out, that he was NSA. I doubt it has changed much.

(I said, to myself, "f*ck this", flagged the waiter and ordered the most expensive cab on the menu, then another)

Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 3:27 am

> told me, flat out, that he was NSA.

Ha ha! I posted this only this morning:

Uncovering The CIA's Audacious Operation That Gave Them Access To State Secrets (interview) WaPo. "So we end up with ostensibly private company that is secretly owned by two intelligence services." That company is probably just an outlier , even though this operation is presented as incredibly successful.

I've helpfully underlined the irony. I should add Surveillance Valley to my reading list, I suppose

[Feb 25, 2020] Long arms of Uncle Sam

Feb 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

TJ , Feb 23 2020 15:50 utc | 10

@3 Likklemore

UK minister who approved Trump's request to extradite Assange spoke at secretive US conferences with people calling for him to be "neutralized"

REVEALED: Chief magistrate in Assange case received financial benefits from secretive partner organisations of UK Foreign Office

Likklemore , Feb 23 2020 16:36 utc | 19

TJ @ 9

Thank you. Expect some meaty revelations during Extradition proceedings tomorrow 24th. Ecuador was recording ALL visitors conversations with Assange


Assange to Testify on Being Recorded in Embassy in London

1 Dec.2019
Recordings have emerged of private conversations that Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, had while living in the Ecuadorean Embassy. He and a Spanish prosecutor blame the United States.[.]

These recordings should be subpoenaed.

[Feb 23, 2020] An important difference

Feb 23, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Jacqueline Grace , 2 months ago

It's not "your tube" anymore.......it's "their tube".

[Feb 22, 2020] I understand "social media" literally in the Orwellian sense, it is "social" media just like war is peace. The true meaning is "asocial media" which prevents real interaction, and is under complete control by big brother: you can become a non-person at any moment.

Feb 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Norwegian , Feb 22 2020 19:12 utc | 66

Posted by: Bemildred | Feb 22 2020 13:41 utc | 20
The "social" is "social media" is in contrast to "professional" or "business" or "commercial" media, i.e. the MSM and other commercial media.

I understand "social media" literally in the Orwellian sense, it is "social" media just like war is peace. The true meaning is "asocial media" which prevents real interaction, and under complete control by big brother, you can become a non-person at any moment.

[Feb 14, 2020] Why the USA is fighting Huawei without offering any super alternative

Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

james , Feb 11 2020 20:13 utc | 13

thanks b...no shortage of hypocrisy in all this...

regarding @ 4 mike r which @8 ian2 linked properly to, i enjoyed the last paragraph which i think sums it up well.. here it is..

"I continue to believe that the United States cannot effectively restrict the spread of a technology under Chinese leadership without offering a superior product of its own. The fact that the United States has attempted to suppress Huawei's market leadership in the absence of any American competitor in this field is one of the oddest occurrences in the history of US foreign policy. If the US were to announce something like a Manhattan Project for 5G broadband and solicit the cooperation of its European and Asian allies, it probably would get an enthusiastic response. As matters stand, America's efforts to stop Huawei have become an embarrassment."


Petri Krohn , Feb 11 2020 20:38 utc | 16

The reason European customers trust Huawei is because Huawei uses open-source software or at least makes their code available for inspection by customers.

Closed-source software cannot provide secrecy or security. This was vividly demonstrated last month when NSA revealed a critical vulnerability in Windows 10 that rendered any cryptographic security worthless.

Critical Windows 10 vulnerability used to Rickroll the NSA and Github

Rashid's simulated attack exploits CVE-2020-0601, the critical vulnerability that Microsoft patched on Tuesday after receiving a private tipoff from the NSA. As Ars reported, the flaw can completely break certificate validation for websites, software updates, VPNs, and other security-critical computer uses. It affects Windows 10 systems, including server versions Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019. Other versions of Windows are unaffected.

The flaw involves the way the new versions of Windows check the validity of certificates that use elliptic-curve cryptography. While the vulnerable Windows versions check three ECC parameters, they fail to verify a fourth, crucial one, which is known as a base point generator and is often represented in algorithms as 'G.' This failure is a result of Microsoft's implementation of ECC rather than any flaw or weakness in the ECC algorithms themselves.

The attacker examines the specific ECC algorithm used to generate the root-certificate public key and proceeds to craft a private key that copies all of the certificate parameters for that algorithm except for the point generator. Because vulnerable Windows versions fail to check that parameter, they accept the private key as valid. With that, the attacker has spoofed a Windows-trusted root certificate that can be used to mint any individual certificate used for authentication of websites, software, and other sensitive properties.

I do not believe this vulnerability was a bug. It is more likely a backdoor intentionally left in the code for NSA to utilize. Whatever the case, NSA must have known about it for years. Why did they reveal it now? Most likely someone else had discovered the back door and may have been about to publish it.

(I commented on these same issues on Sputnik a few weeks ago.)

Piotr Berman , Feb 11 2020 23:04 utc | 25
The other possible US objection is that Huawei will only let their customers spy, not third countries.

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Feb 11 2020 21:57 utc | 24

It reminds me a joke about Emperor Napoleon arriving in a town. The population, the notables and the mayor are greeting him, and the Emperor says "No gun salute, hm?". Mayor replies "Sire, we have twenty reasons. Fist, we have canons", "Enough", replied Napoleon.

Isn't the "other possible US objection" exactly "Enough"? Of course, USA is not a mere "third country", USA is the rule maker of rule based international order.

[Feb 14, 2020] UN Special Rapporteur on Torture,- Nils Melzer, speaks in detail about the explosive findings of his investigation into the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Feb 12 2020 21:54 utc | 72

@ james 43

The UK position? In a heart beat, Boris will trade Assange for a US-UK trade deal. The lack of UK journalists' support for Assange is telling. Spineless media critters failed Assange..

The Truth About Julian Assange

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture,- Nils Melzer, speaks in detail about the explosive findings of his investigation into the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

A made-up rape allegation and fabricated evidence in Sweden, pressure from the UK not to drop the case, a biased judge, detention in a maximum security prison, psychological torture – and soon extradition to the U.S., [.]


This interview was conducted by Swiss Journalist Daniel Ryser, Yves Bachmann (Photos) and Charles Hawley (Translation), 31.01.2020.
[.]
Let's start at the beginning: What led you to take up the case?

In December 2018, I was asked by his lawyers to intervene. I initially declined. I was overloaded with other petitions and wasn't really familiar with the case. My impression, largely influenced by the media, was also colored by the prejudice that Julian Assange was somehow guilty and that he wanted to manipulate me. In March 2019, his lawyers approached me for a second time because indications were mounting that Assange would soon be expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy. They sent me a few key documents and a summary of the case and I figured that my professional integrity demanded that I at least take a look at the material.

And then?

It quickly became clear to me that something was wrong. That there was a contradiction that made no sense to me with my extensive legal experience: Why would a person be subject to nine years of a preliminary investigation for rape without charges ever having been filed?

Is that unusual?

I have never seen a comparable case. Anyone can trigger a preliminary investigation against anyone else by simply going to the police and accusing the other person of a crime. The Swedish authorities, though, were never interested in testimony from Assange. They intentionally left him in limbo. Just imagine being accused of rape for nine-and-a-half years by an entire state apparatus and by the media without ever being given the chance to defend yourself because no charges had ever been filed.

You say that the Swedish authorities were never interested in testimony from Assange. But the media and government agencies have painted a completely different picture over the years: Julian Assange, they say, fled the Swedish judiciary in order to avoid being held accountable.

That's what I always thought, until I started investigating. The opposite is true. Assange reported to the Swedish authorities on several occasions because he wanted to respond to the accusations. But the authorities stonewalled.[...]

more

And then, they came for me.

[Feb 14, 2020] 5G isn't for us (humans), it's for the Internet Of Things (IoT). Which - to me - is an even better argument to avoid 5G

Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

snake , Feb 12 2020 8:56 utc | 48

Thanks for the narrative your article is excellent one more piece of the puzzle. follows.
US, German spies plundered global secrets via Swiss encryption firm:
Report Names names of companies involved.
If the link does not work just url to presstv.com for the article.

One more example of how Mobsters are using the nation state as a platform to conduct their controlled, targeted and authenticated access to, every human in the world. The people are contained within one of the nation state franchises, each a part of the 20 6 nation state system franchises that divides 206 people into separate, but not independent containers under one organized and coordinated roof. The nation state system has prevented the humanity across the globe from becoming democratic. No matter the innocence of the nation state platform, it is the franchised nature of the organization [the nation state system] to which each individual nation state belongs and is a part of, that provides the mobsters with an efficient platform from which to conduct their crimes against humanity and to impose their mind control technologies. .


ralphieboy , Feb 12 2020 11:54 utc | 50

Advocates of the Free Market like to pretend that there is a clear distinction between the workings of government and the workings of corporations and individuals. But they are deeply and inexorably interlinked and there can be no study of economics without politics and no study of politics without economics.
Some Random Passerby , Feb 12 2020 12:48 utc | 51
@43 A User

It's safe to assume this sort of thing has been going on for a long time. Even before computers made everything that much harder.

The BBC operated a system where a Christmas tree was used as a marker. If you had this on your file, you were going nowhere.

BBC Political Vetting

div> The Huawei equipment will have NSA monitors installed before they're installed. They made a point of boasting about that process some 15 years ago. The US companies are using the issue because they're behind Huawei.

Posted by: Les , Feb 12 2020 15:25 utc | 55

The Huawei equipment will have NSA monitors installed before they're installed. They made a point of boasting about that process some 15 years ago. The US companies are using the issue because they're behind Huawei.

Posted by: Les | Feb 12 2020 15:25 utc | 55

elkern , Feb 12 2020 16:32 utc | 57
To me, the real question is "why 5G"? No human can talk or type fast enough to need more bandwidth for text or phone.

I finally got an answer which makes sense, from a tech-savvy friend: 5G isn't for us (humans), it's for the Internet Of Things (IoT). Which - to me - is an even better argument to avoid 5G. IMO, running control systems through the internet is stupid & dangerous. Spying is a relatively benign problem; and I'm not even really that worried about hacking (who's gonna hack my dishwasher? why?).

To me, the real problems are (1) proliferation of pathways for failure ("cloud"-burst!), (2) stupid interfaces (dials & buttons are better than Apps), and worst (3) increased Corporate control (software licensing fees, forced upgrades, right-to-repair, etc).

So, Huawei, whoever, whatever, I say screw 'em all, screw the IoT, screw 5G. Sell me simple Things with local controls which won't stop working when somebody plugs (or unplugs) something somewhere else.

OTOH, yeah, it's time for another Church Commission - with bigger teeth - to get the CIA back (?) under control. Review Financial Assets as well as covert atrocities. But, uh, good luck with that.

c1ue , Feb 12 2020 17:40 utc | 58
@uncle tungsten #22
The thing to keep in mind with VPN is that it addresses one of 3 security areas (concerning data): Data in Transit. The only thing VPN does is make it difficult for someone to sample your internet traffic bits to see what's in them.

Data at Rest and Data at Work are not affected. For example, if you use a VPN to connect to MoA - no one along the path can see what you're doing, but your browser knows; your computer knows; your internet router knows; MoA knows; MoA's hosting provider knows.

As for F-Secure and its VPN:

  • Pluses: they haven't had a breach or serious security flaw that I can recall.
  • Minuses: expensive. They keep logs. No Netflix or torrenting. Not a very good worldwide network (water hole issue).
Pft , Feb 12 2020 19:09 utc | 59
On its surface it seems non-sensible to call out someone from doing what you do. However, it serves the purpose of promoting the illusion China and US are on different sides . Its fake wrestling promotion. Working together to spy on you. When caught, they point the finger at the other guy or claim they need to do it to protect you from them.

Don't trust the US? Buy Huawei, and not only are you not protected but you get special attention for buying Huawei in a futile attempt for privacy from US prying eyes (but opening your curtain to give China a peak). Carry on.

arby , Feb 12 2020 19:15 utc | 60
Pft, you got any evidence to back up your statement that China is having a peak?

There is considerable evidence that the US is but I have yet to see any that implicates Huawei or China.

c1ue , Feb 12 2020 21:06 utc | 62
I forgot to add: something like 0.6% of Internet traffic, ditto emails, are non-standard encrypted: i.e. VPN or PGP. So using these services primarily just highlights you for the surveillance people as a "person of interest".
Esteban , Feb 12 2020 21:14 utc | 63
In Switzerland we're experiencing an enourmous outrage regarding the Crypto AG company. Even tough Swiss MSM and Alt-Media revealed the foul play of the company in the past, the public outcry is astonishing. Politicians are now demanding to form a Parliamentary Investigation Commission. This timely set trans-atlantic coordination of WaPo, German ZDF and Swiss National TV SRF is more than odd. Is it really about Huawei and how does Switzerland fit in this circumstance? Could the clever readership of this fantastic site enlighten me?

[Feb 14, 2020] How Surveillance Capitalism Targets the Vulnerable

Feb 14, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

How Surveillance Capitalism Targets the Vulnerable

Google and Facebook are making handsome profits off of the elderly, the lonely, and the depressed. Credit: pressmaster/Shutterstock

February 11, 2020

|

1:01 pm

Grayson Logue Surrounded by chips, dip, beer, and some delicious chicken chili, I tuned in to the Super Bowl excited to see not only the game but whatever meme-worthy commercials corporate America had dreamed up. Among those was an ad for Google Home, a smart speaker and voice assistant. In it, an elderly gentleman spoke with his Google Home about his deceased wife Loretta, asking the device to remind him of their favorite memories, show him old photos and home videos of their time together, and even play their favorite movie Casablanca.

Yet what struck me was what was absent in the picture -- any other people. Let's imagine a different scene: an elderly gentleman is sitting on his couch showing an old photo album to his granddaughter while his son tees up the VHS of grandma and grandpa during their 20th anniversary, vacationing in Sitka, Alaska. The picture is quite different, though interestingly, it's been used in the past by Google in its commercials.

In their 2017 Super Bowl ad , Google portrayed its home assistant, not as a central character, but as a simple aide among joyful scenes filled with friends and family, dimming the lights as a group of friends prepare for a birthday surprise, playing a recording of whales as a father reads a storybook to his daughter.

No doubt Google was trying to strike that same tone in this year's ad, flashing the text "a little help with the little things" across the screen at the close of the spot. Nonetheless, the ad landed flat, at least at my Super Bowl party. Yet it also reflected something important: the progression of popular thought about the role of tech in our lives.

Once, we believed that putting voice assistants in our homes and pockets offered only more convenience. We justified our time on social networks, believing that seeing a wider range of friends and family through screens and texts, rather than hearing their voices or being with them in person, was actually drawing us closer, connecting us more deeply to our relationships with each other. Now, more and more people are coming to realize that these devices, services, and the culture they've created contributes more to feelings of placelessness, anxiety, and isolation than meaningful connectedness and relationships.

According to data from the Pew Research Center in 2018, 74 percent of Facebook users have taken steps to distance themselves from the platform over the past 12 months, by adjusting their privacy settings, taking a break from the service, or deleting the app on their phone. Young people (ages 18 to 29) are the most likely to take these actions, while those 65 and older are least likely. Since the elderly represent the last generation that smartphones and social media have reached, it follows that they would be the last to take these steps.

Additional Pew data fills in more of the picture. The average older American spends over half of the waking day alone. And between 2005 and 2015, the average time spent on screens for Americans over 60 has increased, while time spent socializing, reading, and other leisure activities has decreased. This timeline overlaps with the shift in internet use among those 65 and older. Twenty years ago, only 14 percent of 65-and-older Americans used the internet, but now 73 percent are internet users and 53 percent own a smartphone. While the elderly might have showed up late to the internet and smartphones, there's no reason to be believe they will be immune to the consequences that young people in particular are now beginning to understand.

And the problems of our digital landscape are even wider than most people imagine.

In reality, this landscape, termed " surveillance capitalism " by Shoshana Zuboff of Harvard Business School, is not limited to just Google or Facebook or any one technology they employ. Rather, surveillance capitalism is a larger system of economic thought and practice that runs on the conscious and deliberate manipulation of the human experience. Zuboff writes :

Surveillance capitalists discovered that the most predictive data come from intervening in human action to coax, tune, herd, and modify behavior in the direction of guaranteed outcomes. This new species of power works remotely, engineering subliminal cues, social comparison dynamics, rewards and punishments, and varieties of enforcers to shape behavior that aligns with its commercial interests.

According to a leaked Facebook document in 2017, the company presented psychological data to advertisers on over 6 million young Australians and New Zealanders. Facebook could tell when these users felt "worthless," "insecure," "stressed," and "anxious" and target ads for "moments when young people need a confidence boost." Facebook denied that the information was actually used for ad targeting, but regardless, it clearly has models and data for when and how to manipulate people's emotional states to make them most likely to take a profitable action without them ever knowing.

While virtually everyone is affected by surveillance capitalism, the consequences become particularly clear when the victims are the elderly, the young, the lonely, and the depressed.

How hard would it be for Google to use the voice recordings it receives from Google Home to induce ad-based behavior modification, something it did for years by scanning email correspondence in Gmail? The corporation is already taking initial steps to monetize its smart assistant. If this were the case, a more accurate ad spot wouldn't end with an elderly man asking for reminders about memories of his late wife. It would end with an AI model analyzing recordings of the man and determining when is the optimal time to place a flight discount ad to his late wife's favorite vacation spot. Perhaps that ad placement time would be targeted to when he was at his lowest emotional state.

We live in a world where it's very possible that Google and Facebook know more about the emotions of our grandparents than we do, and that should deeply disturb us. After all, the negative effects of a ubiquitous cultural problem are typically felt the most by the vulnerable; technology and the elderly are no different. It's time we reflected on the consequences of our pervasive digital culture.

Grayson Logue is a writer living in New York and a contributor to Providence Magazine.

[Feb 10, 2020] Why You May Never Learn the Truth About Anything in Washington

Feb 10, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

run75441 | February 9, 2020 7:00 pm

History Politics I hang around some pretty intelligent people who have smart friends commenting on their facebook pages. The first part of this post is from a comment on Claude Scales's Facebook page by William R. Everdell. I think it fits with the NYT article Claude referenced. The second part of this is a shorten version of the NYT Opinion article "Why You May Never Learn the Truth About ICE," Matthew Connelly, Professor of History, Columbia.

George Orwell in "'1984', Winston Smith was dropping documents into the 'memory hole' by his desk at the Ministry of Truth – Minitrue

'Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'

[Feb 02, 2020] Great article on cell phone spoofing to create a traffic jam on Google maps

Feb 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

c1ue , Feb 2 2020 19:02 utc | 19

Great article on cell phone spoofing to create a traffic jam on Google maps.
Imagine if you had a Chinese cell phone clickbait farm to do it instead.
Turn on developer options, feed in location, suppress flags and warnings, voila!
No more annoying Waze driving coming through your residential neighborhood.

[Feb 01, 2020] Brexit means that Oceania is born!

Feb 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

FSD , Jan 31 2020 19:59 utc | 28

Britain has finally made the Orwellian Pivot. Brazil is Bolsonaro-fied, Mexico and Canada are USMCA-ed, Venezuela will be MAGA-cized. The Monroe Doctrine is growing carnivorous incisors. Oceania is born!

https://imgur.com/gallery/uicp6HO

Qparticle , Feb 1 2020 17:27 utc | 114

No wonder banker boy Macron has been nice to Vlad lately, time to go east...

Posted by: Paco | Feb 1 2020 7:36 utc | 84
-- --

Hee hee hee! ;)

[Jan 29, 2020] How The U.S. Regime And Its Allies Enforce Their Smears And Their Other Lies by Eric Zuesse

Notable quotes:
"... the West's equivalent to the former Soviet Union's systematic, and equally pervasive, truth-suppression, to fool the public into thinking that the Government represents them, no matter how much it does not. ..."
"... (The chief trick in this regard is to fool them into thinking that since there is more than one political party, one of them will be "good," even though the fact may actually be that each of the parties represents simply a different faction of a psychopathically evil aristocracy. After all: each party lied and supported invading Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, and Syria constantly; and no party acknowledges that the 2014 regime-change in Ukraine was a U.S. coup instead of a domestic Ukrainian democratic revolution. On such important matters, they all lie, and in basically the same ways. These lies are bipartisan, even though most of the other political lies are heavily partisan.) ..."
"... The great then-independent investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald headlined about that interview, at Salon on 18 April 2012, "Attacks on RT and Assange reveal much about the critics: Those who pretend to engage in adversarial journalism will invariably hate those who actually do it." How true that was, and unfortunately still is! And Assange himself is the best example of it. ..."
"... Let's examine the unstated premises at work here. There is apparently a rule that says it's perfectly OK for a journalist to work for a media outlet owned and controlled by a weapons manufacturer (GE/NBC/MSNBC), or by the U.S. and British governments (BBC/Stars & Stripes/Voice of America), or by Rupert Murdoch and Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal (Wall St. Journal/Fox News), or by a banking corporation with long-standing ties to right-wing governments (Politico), or by for-profit corporations whose profits depend upon staying in the good graces of the U.S. government ( Kaplan/The Washington Post ), or by loyalists to one of the two major political parties (National Review/TPM/countless others), but it's an intrinsic violation of journalistic integrity to work for a media outlet owned by the Russian government. Where did that rule come from? ..."
"... This is the American gospel, and it is called "capitalism." Oddly, after Russia switched to capitalism in 1991, the American gospel switched instead to pure global conquest -- über -imperialism -- and the American public didn't even blink. So: nowadays, capitalism has come to mean über-imperialism. That's today's American gospel. Adolf Hitler would be smiling, upon today's Amerika. ..."
Jan 29, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Without enforced suppression of truth, there would be no way that the U.S. and its allied regimes could continue hiding the lies that were behind their invasions of Iraq in 2003 , and of Syria since 2012 , and their coup against Ukraine in 2014 , and also of their takeovers and attempted takeovers of other countries that had refused to be bullied by the U.S. regime into complying with its obsessive anti-Russian demands -- America's subterranean continuation of the Cold War, even after Russia had quit the Cold War in 1991 .

All of the lies are still being propounded by the U.S. regime and remain fully enforced by suppression of the truth about these matters.

That's being done in all news-media except a few of the non -mainstream ones.

So: this is about an actual Western samizdat - the West's equivalent to the former Soviet Union's systematic, and equally pervasive, truth-suppression, to fool the public into thinking that the Government represents them, no matter how much it does not.

(The chief trick in this regard is to fool them into thinking that since there is more than one political party, one of them will be "good," even though the fact may actually be that each of the parties represents simply a different faction of a psychopathically evil aristocracy. After all: each party lied and supported invading Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011, and Syria constantly; and no party acknowledges that the 2014 regime-change in Ukraine was a U.S. coup instead of a domestic Ukrainian democratic revolution. On such important matters, they all lie, and in basically the same ways. These lies are bipartisan, even though most of the other political lies are heavily partisan.)

Right now, Julian Assange is rotting to death inside Britain's equivalent to the U.S. regime's Guantanamo Bay prison, which is Belmarsh Prison, in London. As the CIA-edited and written Wikipedia's article on Belmarsh Prison retrospectively admits, "Between 2001 and 2002, Belmarsh Prison was used to detain a number of people indefinitely without charge or trial under the provisions of the Part 4 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, leading it to be called the 'British version of Guantanamo Bay'." However, only because of the case of Julian Assange is it now publicly known that this characterization of that prison is -- at least for him -- equally true today . And Assange is, indeed, being held there "indefinitely without charge or trial," even after his having previously been held in various other forms of confinement, ever since at least 12 April 2012, when -- being then 'temporarily' under house-arrest in Norfolk England, while awaiting trial on a manufactured rape-charge against him which was reluctantly abandoned by the Government only when the alleged victim refused to testify against him -- Assange broadcast an interview for RT, Russian Television, an interview of the head of Lebanon's Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah.

The U.S.-and-allied regimes' billionaires-owned-and-controlled 'news'-media condemned Assange for this interview, because it enabled whomever still had an open mind, amongst the Western public, to hear from one of those billionares' destruction-targets (Nasrallah), and for Assange's doing this on the TV-news network of the main country that America's billionaires are especially trying to conquer, which is (and since 26 July 1945 has consistently been ) Russia.

The great then-independent investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald headlined about that interview, at Salon on 18 April 2012, "Attacks on RT and Assange reveal much about the critics: Those who pretend to engage in adversarial journalism will invariably hate those who actually do it." How true that was, and unfortunately still is! And Assange himself is the best example of it. Greenwald wrote:

Let's examine the unstated premises at work here. There is apparently a rule that says it's perfectly OK for a journalist to work for a media outlet owned and controlled by a weapons manufacturer (GE/NBC/MSNBC), or by the U.S. and British governments (BBC/Stars & Stripes/Voice of America), or by Rupert Murdoch and Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal (Wall St. Journal/Fox News), or by a banking corporation with long-standing ties to right-wing governments (Politico), or by for-profit corporations whose profits depend upon staying in the good graces of the U.S. government ( Kaplan/The Washington Post ), or by loyalists to one of the two major political parties (National Review/TPM/countless others), but it's an intrinsic violation of journalistic integrity to work for a media outlet owned by the Russian government. Where did that rule come from?

But from 'temporary' house-arrest there, Assange was allowed asylum by Ecuador's progressive President Rafael Correa on 20 June 2012 , to stay in London's Ecuadoran Embassy, so as not to be seized by the UK regime to be sent to prison and probable death-without-trial in the U.S. To Correa's shock, it turned out that Correa's successor, Vice President Lenin Moreno, was actually a U.S. agent, who promptly forced Assange out of the Embassy, into Belmarsh prison, to die there or else become extradited to die in a U.S. prison, also without trial.

And, for what, then, is Assange being imprisoned, and perhaps murdered? He divulged government secrets that should never even have been secrets! He raised the blanket of lies, which covers over these actually dictatorial clandestine international operations. He exposed these evil imperialistic operations, which are hidden behind (and under) that blanket of imperialists' lies. For this, he is being martyred -- a martyr for democracy, where there is no actual democracy (but only those lies).

Here is an example:

On December 29th, I headlined "Further Proof: U.S., UK, & France Committed War-Crime on 14 April 2018" and reported highlights of the latest Wikileaks document-dumps regarding a U.S.-UK-French operation to cover-up (via their control over the OPCW) their having committed an international war-crime when they had fired 105 missiles against Syria on 14 April 2018, which was done allegedly to punish Syria for having perpetrated a gas-attack in Douma seven days before -- except that there hadn't been any such gas-attack, but the OPCW simply lied and said that there might have been one, and that the Syrian Government might have done it! That's playing the public for suckers.

Back on 3 November 2019, Fox News bannered "Fox News Poll: Bipartisan majorities want some U.S. troops to stay in Syria" and reported that when citing ISIS as America's enemy that must be defeated, 69% of U.S. respondents wanted U.S. troops to stay in Syria. But when did ISIS ever constitute a threat to U.S. national security? And under what international law is any U.S. soldier, who is inside Syria, anything other than an invader there? The answer, to both of these questions, is obviously "never" and "none." But if you are an investor in Lockheed Martin, don't you want Americans to be suckers about both ? And, so, they are . People such as Julian Assange don't want the public anywhere to be lied-to. Anyone who is in the propaganda-business -- serving companies such as Lockheed Martin -- wants the public to be suckers.

This is the way the free market actually works. It works by lying, and in such a country the Government serves the people who have the money, and not the people who don't. The people who don't have the money are supposed to be lied-to. And, so, they are. But this is not democracy.

Democracy, in fact, is impossible if the public are predominantly deceived.

If the public are predominantly deceived, then the people who do the deceiving will be the dictators there. And if a country has dictators, then it's no democracy. In a totally free market, only the people with the most money will have any freedom at all; everyone else will be merely their suckers, who are fooled by the professionals at doing that -- lying.

The super-rich enforce their smears, and their other lies, by hiring people to do this.

When Barack Obama said that "The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation" - so that each other nation is "dispensable" - he was merely exemplifying the view that only the most powerful is indispensable, and that therefore everyone else is dispensable. Of course, this is the way that he, and Donald Trump, both have governed in the U.S. And Americans overwhelmingly endorse this viewpoint . They're fooled by both parties, because both parties serve only their respective billionaires -- and billionaires are above the law; they are the law, in America and its allied regimes. That's the way it is.

This is the American gospel, and it is called "capitalism." Oddly, after Russia switched to capitalism in 1991, the American gospel switched instead to pure global conquest -- über -imperialism -- and the American public didn't even blink. So: nowadays, capitalism has come to mean über-imperialism. That's today's American gospel. Adolf Hitler would be smiling, upon today's Amerika.

And as far as whistleblowers -- such as Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden, and Chelsea Manning, and other champions of honesty and of democracy -- are concerned: Americans agree with the billionaires, who detest and destroy such whistleblowers. Champions of democracy are shunned here, where PR reigns and real journalism is almost non-existent.

[Jan 27, 2020] We certainly do live in "interesting times" when criminals in prison have more compassion and higher ethics than the authorities who put them there.

Jan 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Jan 26 2020 20:03 utc | 30

Latest I have seen online on Julian Assange's incarceration at Belmarsh Prison is that he is no longer in solitary confinement (for most of the day, every day, anyway) and he is currently in a section of the prison with about 40 other inmates.

Significantly the pressure to get him out of solitary confinement came from other prisoners at Belmarsh. Note that Belmarsh Prison is a maximum security prison so those prisoners who petitioned on Assange's behalf included people who committed what we'd consider to be very serious crimes including violence, murder and terrorism.

We certainly do live in "interesting times" when criminals in prison have more compassion and higher ethics than the authorities who put them there.

I'm on a smartphone and haven't yet worked out how to link to the article referring to Assange's move so please try Googling Assange's name and "Belmarsh". Caitlin Johnstone was one source of the news.

[Jan 21, 2020] The Revelations of WikiLeaks: No. 6 -- US Diplomatic Cables Spark 'Arab Spring,' Expose Spying at UN Elsewhere

Notable quotes:
"... Today we resume our series ..."
"... with little more than a month before the extradition hearing for imprisoned ..."
"... publisher Julian Assange begins. This is the sixth in a series that is looking back on the major works of the publication that has altered the world since its founding in 2006. The series is an effort to counter mainstream media coverage, which is ignoring ..."
"... work, and is instead focusing on Julian Assange's personality. It is ..."
"... uncovering of governments' crimes and corruption that set the U.S. after Assange, ultimately leading to his arrest on April 11 last year and indictment under the U.S. Espionage Act. ..."
"... Special to Consortium News ..."
"... Der Spiegel ..."
"... to the Winter Fund Drive. ..."
"... World Socialist Website ..."
"... Foreign Policy ..."
"... The Guardian ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The Green Left ..."
"... The Green Left Weekly ..."
"... The Guardian ..."
"... CORRECTION: CableDrum is an independent Twitter feed and is not associated with ..."
"... as was incorrectly reported here. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

January 14, 2020 • 7 Comments

WikiLeaks ' publication of "Cablegate" in late 2010 dwarfed previous releases in both size and impact and helped cause what one news outlet called a political meltdown for United States foreign policy.

Today we resume our series The Revelations of WikiLeaks with little more than a month before the extradition hearing for imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange begins. This is the sixth in a series that is looking back on the major works of the publication that has altered the world since its founding in 2006. The series is an effort to counter mainstream media coverage, which is ignoring WikiLeaks' work, and is instead focusing on Julian Assange's personality. It is WikiLeaks' uncovering of governments' crimes and corruption that set the U.S. after Assange, ultimately leading to his arrest on April 11 last year and indictment under the U.S. Espionage Act.

'A Political Meltdown for US Foreign Policy'

By Elizabeth Vos
Special to Consortium News

O f all WikiLeaks' releases, probably the most globally significant have been the more than a quarter of a million U.S. State Department diplomatic cables leaked in 2010, the publication of which helped spark a revolt in Tunisia that spread into the so-called Arab Spring, revealed Saudi intentions towards Iran and exposed spying on the UN secretary general and other diplomats.

The releases were surrounded by a significant controversy (to be covered in a separate installment of this series) alleging that WikiLeaks purposely endangered U.S. informants by deliberately revealing their names. That allegation formed a major part of the U.S. indictment on May 23 of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange under the Espionage Act, though revealing informants' names is not a crime, nor is there evidence that any of them were ever harmed.

WikiLeaks ' publication of "Cablegate," beginning on Nov. 28, 2010, dwarfed previous WikiLeaks releases, in both size and impact. The publication amounted to 251,287 leaked American diplomatic cables that, at the time of publication, Der Spiegel described as"no less than a political meltdown for United States foreign policy."

Cablegate revealed a previously unknown history of diplomatic relations between the United States and the rest of the world, and in doing so, exposed U.S. views of both allies and adversaries. As a result of such revelations, Cablegate's release was widely condemned by the U.S. political class and especially by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Twitter handle Cable Drum, called it,

" The largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. The documents will give people around the world an unprecedented insight into U.S. Government foreign activities. The cables, which date from 1966 up until the end of February 2010, contain confidential communications between 274 embassies in countries throughout the world and the State Department in Washington DC. 15,652 of the cables are classified Secret."

Among the historic documents that were grouped with Cablegate in WikiLeaks ' Public Library of U.S. Diplomacy are 1.7 million that involve Henry Kissinger, national security adviser and secretary of state under President Richard Nixon; and 1.4 million related to the Jimmy Carter administration.

Der Spiegel reported that the majority were "composed by ambassadors, consuls or their staff. Most contain assessments of the political situation in the individual countries, interview protocols and background information about personnel decisions and events. In many cases, they also provide political and personal profiles of individual politicians and leaders."

Cablegate rounded out WikiLeaks' output in 2010, which had seen the explosive publication of previous leaks also from Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning including " Collateral Murder ," the " Afghan War Diaries " and " Iraq War Logs ," the subject of earlier installments in this series. As in the case of the two prior releases, WikiLeaks published Cablegate in partnerships with establishment media outlets.

The "Cablegate" archive was later integrated with the WikiLeaks Public Library of U.S. Diplomacy , which contains over 10 million documents.

Global U.S. Empire Revealed

The impact of "Cablegate" is impossible to fully encapsulate, and should be the subject of historical study for decades to come. In September 2015 Verso published " The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to U.S. Empire ," with a foreword by Assange. It is a compendium of chapters written by various regional experts and historians giving a broader and more in-depth geopolitical analysis of U.S. foreign policy as revealed by the cables.

"The internal communications of the US Department of State are the logistical by-product of its activities: their publication is the vivisection of a living empire, showing what substance flowed from which state organ and when. Only by approaching this corpus holistically – over and above the documentation of each individual abuse, each localized atrocity – does the true human cost of empire heave into view," Assange wrote in the foreword.

' WikiLeaks Revolt' in Tunisia

The release of "Cablegate" provided the spark that many argue heralded the Arab Spring, earning the late-November publication the moniker of the " WikiLeaks Winter ."

Eventually, many would also credit WikiLeaks' publication of the diplomatic cables with initiating a chain-reaction that spread from the Middle East ( specifically from Egypt) to the global Occupy Wall Street movement by late 2011.

The first of the Arab uprisings was Tunisia's 28-day so-called Jasmine Revolution, stretching from Dec. 17, 2010, to Jan. 14, 2011, described as the "first WikiLeaks revolution."

Cables published by WikiLeaks revealed the extent of the Tunisian ruling family's corruption, and were widely accessible in Tunisia thanks to the advent of social media platforms like Twitter. Then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had been in power for over two decades at the time of the cables' publication.

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One State Department cable, labeled Secret , said:

"President Ben Ali's extended family is often cited as the nexus of Tunisian corruption. Often referred to as a quasi-mafia, an oblique mention of 'the Family' is enough to indicate which family you mean. Seemingly half of the Tunisian business community can claim a Ben Ali connection through marriage, and many of these relations are reported to have made the most of their lineage."

A June 2008 cable said: "Whether it's cash, services, land, property, or yes, even your yacht, President [Zine el Abidine] Ben Ali's family is rumored to covet it and reportedly gets what it wants."

Symbolic middle finger gesture representing the Tunisian Revolution and its influences in the Arab world. From left to right, fingers are painted as flags of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan and Algeria. (Khalid from Doha, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The cables revealed that Ben Ali's extended family controlled nearly the entire Tunisian economy, from banking to media to property development, while 30 percent of Tunisians were unemployed. They showed that state-owned property was expropriated to be passed on to private ownership by family members.

"Lax oversight makes the banking sector an excellent target of opportunity, with multiple stories of 'First Family' schemes," one cable read. ""With real estate development booming and land prices on the rise, owning property or land in the right location can either be a windfall or a one-way ticket to expropriation," said another.

The revolt was facilitated once the U.S. abandoned Ali. Counterpunch reported that: "The U.S. campaign of unwavering public support for President Ali led to a widespread belief among the Tunisian people that it would be very difficult to dislodge the autocratic regime from power. This view was shattered when leaked cables exposed the U.S. government's private assessment: that the U.S. would not support the regime in the event of a popular uprising."

The internet and large social media platforms played a crucial role in the spread of public awareness of the cables and their content amongst the Tunisian public. "Thousands of home-made videos of police repression and popular resistance have been posted on the web. The Tunisian people have used Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites to organize and direct the mobilizations against the regime," the World Socialist Website wrote.

Foreign Policy magazine reported:

"WikiLeaks acted as a catalyst: both a trigger and a tool for political outcry. Which is probably the best compliment one could give the whistle-blower site." The magazine added: "The people of Tunisia shouldn't have had to wait for Wikileaks to learn that the U.S. saw their country just as they did. It's time that the gulf between what American diplomats know and what they say got smaller."

The Guardian published an account in January 2011 by a young Tunisian, Sami Ben Hassine, who wrote: "The internet is blocked, and censored pages are referred to as pages "not found" – as if they had never existed. And then, WikiLeaks reveals what everyone was whispering. And then, a young man [Mohamed Bouazizi] immolates himself. And then, 20 Tunisians are killed in one day. And for the first time, we see the opportunity to rebel, to take revenge on the 'royal' family who has taken everything, to overturn the established order that has accompanied our youth."

Protester in Tunis, Jan. 14, 2011, holding sign. Translation from French: "Ben Ali out." (Skotch 79, CC0, Wikimedia Commons)

On the first day of Chelsea Manning's pretrial in December 2011, Daniel Ellsberg told Democracy Now:

"The combination of the WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning exposures in Tunis and the exemplification of that by Mohamed Bouazizi led to the protests, the nonviolent protests, that drove Ben Ali out of power, our ally there who we supported up 'til that moment, and in turn sparked the uprising in Egypt, in Tahrir Square occupation, which immediately stimulated the Occupy Wall Street and the other occupations in the Middle East and elsewhere. I hope [Manning and Assange] will have the effect in liberating us from the lawlessness that we have seen and the corruption -- the corruption -- that we have seen in this country in the last 10 years and more, which has been no less than that of Tunis and Egypt."

Clinton Told US Diplomats to Spy at UN

The cables' revelation that the U.S. State Department under then-Secretary-of-State Clinton had demanded officials act as spies on officials at the United Nations -- including the Secretary General -- was particularly embarrassing for the United States.

El Pais summarized the bombshell: "The State Department sent officials of 38 embassies and diplomatic missions a detailed account of the personal and other information they must obtain about the United Nations, including its secretary general, and especially about officials and representatives linked to Sudan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iran and North Korea.

El Pais continued: "Several dispatches, signed 'Clinton' and probably made by the office of Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, contain precise instructions about the myriad of inquiries to be developed in conflict zones, in the world of deserters and asylum seekers, in the engine room of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or about the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China to know their plans regarding the nuclear threat in Tehran."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton & UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in 2012. (Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Flickr)

CNN described the information diplomats were ordered to gather: "In the July 2009 document, Clinton directs her envoys at the United Nations and embassies around the world to collect information ranging from basic biographical data on foreign diplomats to their frequent flyer and credit card numbers and even 'biometric information on ranking North Korean diplomats.' Typical biometric information can include fingerprints, signatures and iris recognition data."

Der Spiegel reported that Clinton justified the espionage orders by emphasizing that "a large share of the information that the US intelligence agencies works with comes from the reports put together by State Department staff around the world."

Der Spiegel added: "The US State Department also wanted to obtain information on the plans and intentions of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his secretariat relating to issues like Iran, according to the detailed wish list in the directive. The instructions were sent to 30 US embassies around the world, including the one in Berlin."

Philip J. Crowley as assistant secretary of state for public affairs in 2010. (State Department)

The State Department responded to the revelations, with then- State-Department-spokesman P.J. Crowley reportedly disputing that American diplomats had assumed a new role overseas.

"Our diplomats are just that, diplomats," he said. "They represent our country around the world and engage openly and transparently with representatives of foreign governments and civil society. Through this process, they collect information that shapes our policies and actions. This is what diplomats, from our country and other countries, have done for hundreds of years."

In December 2010, just after the cables' publication, Assange told Time : "She should resign if it can be shown that she was responsible for ordering U.S. diplomatic figures to engage in espionage in the United Nations, in violation of the international covenants to which the U.S. has signed up."

Saudis & Iran

A diplomatic cable dated April 20, 2008, made clear Saudi Arabia's pressure on the United States to take action against its enemy Iran, including not ruling out military action against Teheran:

"[Then Saudi ambassador to the US Abbdel] Al-Jubeir recalled the King's frequent exhortations to the US to attack Iran and so put an end to its nuclear weapons program. 'He told you to cut off the head of the snake,' he recalled to the Charge', adding that working with the US to roll back Iranian influence in Iraq is a strategic priority for the King and his government. 11. (S) The Foreign Minister, on the other hand, called instead for much more severe US and international sanctions on Iran, including a travel ban and further restrictions on bank lending. Prince Muqrin echoed these views, emphasizing that some sanctions could be implemented without UN approval. The Foreign Minister also stated that the use of military pressure against Iran should not be ruled out."

Dyncorp & the 'Dancing Boys' of Afghanistan

The cables indicate that Afghan authorities asked the United States government to quash U.S. reporting on a scandal stemming from the actions of Dyncorp employees in Afghanistan in 2009.

Employees of Dyncorp, a paramilitary group with an infamous track-record of alleged involvement in sex trafficking and other human rights abuses in multiple countries, were revealed by Cablegate to have been involved with illegal drug use and hiring the services of a "bacha bazi," or underage dancing boy.

A 2009 cable published by WikiLeaks described an event where Dyncorp had purchased the service of a "bacha bazi." The writer of the cable does not specify what happened during the event, describing it only as "purchasing a service from a child," and he tries to convince a journalist not to cover the story in order to not "risk lives."

Although Dyncorp was no stranger to controversy by the time of the cables' publication, the revelation of the mercenary force's continued involvement in bacha bazi provoked further questions as to why the company continued to receive tax-payer funded contracts from the United States.

Sexual abuse allegations were not the only issue haunting Dyncorp. The State Department admitted in 2017 that it "could not account for" more than $1 billion paid to the company, as reported by Foreign Policy .

The New York Times later reported that U.S. soldiers had been told to turn a blind eye to the abuse of minors by those in positions of power: "Soldiers and Marines have been increasingly troubled that instead of weeding out pedophiles, the American military was arming them in some cases and placing them as the commanders of villages -- and doing little when they began abusing children."

Australia Lied About Troop Withdrawal

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia, left, with U.S. President Barack Obama, in the Oval Office, Nov. 30, 2009, to discuss a range of issues including Afghanistan and climate change. (White House/Pete Souza)

The Green Left related that the cables exposed Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's double talk about withdrawing troops. "Despite government spin about withdrawing all 'combat forces,' the cables said some of these forces could be deployed in combat roles. One cable said, "[d]espite the withdrawal of combat forces, Rudd agreed to allow Australian forces embedded or seconded to units of other countries including the U.S. to deploy to Iraq in combat and combat support roles with those units."

US Meddling in Latin America

Cables revealed that U.S. ambassadors to Ecuador had opposed the presidential candidacy of Raphael Correa despite their pretense of neutrality, as observed by The Green Left Weekly .

Additional cables revealed the Vatican attempted to increase its influence in Latin America with the aid of the U.S. Further cables illustrated the history of Pope Francis while he was a cardinal in Argentina, with the U.S. appearing to have a positive outlook on the future pontiff.

Illegal Dealings Between US & Sweden

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wrote in his affidavit :

"Through the diplomatic cables I also learned of secret, informal arrangements between Sweden and the United States. The cables revealed that Swedish intelligence services have a pattern of lawless conduct where US interests are concerned. The US diplomatic cables revealed that the Swedish Justice Department had deliberately hidden particular intelligence information exchanges with the United States from the Parliament of Sweden because the exchanges were likely unlawful."

Military Reaction

On Nov. 30, 2010, the State Department declared it would remove the diplomatic cables from its secure network in order to prevent additional leaks. Antiwar.com added: "The cables had previously been accessible through SIPRNet, an ostensibly secure network which is accessible by millions of officials and soldiers. It is presumably through this network that the cables were obtained and leaked to WikiLeaks ."

The Guardian described SIPRNet as a "worldwide US military internet system, kept separate from the ordinary civilian internet and run by the Defence Department in Washington."

Political Fury

On Nov. 29, 2010, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said of the "Cablegate" release:

"This disclosure is not just an attack on America's foreign policy; it is an attack on the international community, the alliances and partnerships, the conventions and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity."

The next day, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee called for Chelsea Manning's execution, according to Politico .

Some political figures did express support for Assange, including U.K. Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who wrote via Twitter days after Cablegate was published: "USA and others don't like any scrutiny via wikileaks and they are leaning on everybody to pillory Assange. What happened to free speech?"

Other notable revelations from the diplomatic cables included multiple instances of U.S. meddling in Latin America, the demand by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that diplomatic staff act as spies , the documentation of misconduct by U.S. paramilitary forces, the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis in Iceland, the deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Germany and other European countries, that the Vatican attempted to increase its influence in Latin America with the aid of the U.S. , that U.S. diplomats had essentially spied on German Chancellor Angele Merkel, and much more.

Der Spiegel reported on Hillary Clinton's demand that U.S. diplomats act as spies:

"As justification for the espionage orders, Clinton emphasized that a large share of the information that the U.S. intelligence agencies works with comes from the reports put together by State Department staff around the world. The information to be collected included personal credit card information, frequent flyer customer numbers, as well as e-mail and telephone accounts. In many cases the State Department also requested 'biometric information,' 'passwords' and 'personal encryption keys.' "

Der Spiegel added: "The U.S. State Department also wanted to obtain information on the plans and intentions of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his secretariat relating to issues like Iran, according to the detailed wish list in the directive. The instructions were sent to 30 U.S. embassies around the world, including the one in Berlin."

Elizabeth Vos is a freelance reporter and co-host of CN Live.

CORRECTION: CableDrum is an independent Twitter feed and is not associated with WikiLeaks as was incorrectly reported here.

jmg , January 15, 2020 at 09:53

A truly great series, thank you.

The Revelations of WikiLeaks -- Consortium News Series

1. The Video that Put Assange in US Crosshairs -- April 23, 2019
2. The Leak That 'Exposed the True Afghan War' -- May 9, 2019
3. The Most Extensive Classified Leak in History -- May 16, 2019
4. The Haunting Case of a Belgian Child Killer and How WikiLeaks Helped Crack It -- July 11, 2019
5. Busting the Myth WikiLeaks Never Published Damaging Material on Russia -- September 23, 2019
6. US Diplomatic Cables Spark 'Arab Spring,' Expose Spying at UN & Elsewhere -- January 14, 2020

For an updated list with links to the articles, a Google search is:

"The Revelations of WikiLeaks" site:consortiumnews.com For an updated list with links to the articles, a Google search is:

"The Revelations of WikiLeaks" site:consortiumnews.com

– – –

Consortium News wrote:
> Today we resume our series The Revelations of WikiLeaks with little more than a month before the extradition hearing for imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange begins.

Yes and, shockingly, Julian has been allowed only 2 hours with his lawyers in the last month, crucial to prepare the extradition hearings. See:

Summary from Assange hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court this morning -- Tareq Haddad -- Thread Reader -- Jan 13th 2020

[Jan 21, 2020] App Warning With One Photo, Strangers Can Find All Your Information

Women now can appreciate the usefulness of veil ;-)
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

An app called Clearview allows the user to snap a photo of anyone. Once that's done, the person who took your picture will have access to all of your information. Privacy is now all but obsolete.

People will not, for much longer, be able to walk down the street minding their own business anonymously. According to a report by The New York Times, it won't be long before anyone at any time knows exactly who you are while you're in public.

What if a stranger could snap your picture on the sidewalk then use an app to quickly discover your name, address and other details? A startup called Clearview AI has made that possible. Perhaps the worst news is that the police state is already using this technology in some parts of the "land of the free." The app is currently being used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the United States, including the deep state FBI, says a Saturday report in The New York Times.

Our Orwellian future has arrived. We are to be tracked, monitored, spied on, and have no privacy whatsoever at any time. And now, other strangers will have access to your private information is you dare to show your face in public.

According to the Times, this human rights violating app works by comparing a photo snapped to a database of more than 3 billion pictures that Clearview says it's scraped off Facebook, Venmo, YouTube and other sites. It then serves up matches, along with links to the sites where those database photos originally appeared. A name might easily be unearthed, and from there, other info could be dug up online.

The size of the Clearview database dwarfs others in use by law enforcement. The FBI's own database, which taps passport and driver's license photos, is one of the largest, with over 641 million images of US citizens.

The Clearview app isn't currently available to the public, but the Times says police officers and Clearview investors think it will be in the future. – CNET

Even though law enforcement says they've used the app's technology to solve horrible crimes, human rights advocates warn that the privacy violations are going to be immense. Privacy advocates are warning that the app could return false matches to police and that it could also be used by stalkers and other creeps. They've also warned that facial recognition technologies , in general, could be used to conduct mass surveillance.

Most facial recognition technology is already used for Orwellian and tyrannical purposes by the powers that shouldn't be. It should come as no surprise that this will also be used by the ruling class to eliminate basic human rights.

[Jan 19, 2020] Facebook blocks documentary about Biden dealing in Ukraine from ukrainegate.info which sheds a new light on Ukrainegate

Jan 19, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

Fran Macadam , January 14, 2020 at 07:28

You've been zucked.

[Jan 19, 2020] Amazon and MIC

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sasha , Jan 18 2020 19:44 utc | 167

What if the real "rebellion" consist on the intertwinning of the Executive, Military and Corporate factions to all feed on profit while at the same time better control population and above all dissidents through the control of and proffitering from big data?

MILITARY-DIGITAL COMPLEX: Why Amazon is going to become the next US MIC giant

....And perhaps the ultimate goal is not just more government contracts, but influence over regulations that could affect Amazon. Today, some of its biggest threats aren't competitors, but lawmakers and politicians arguing for antitrust moves against tech giants. (Or, perhaps, a president arguing it should pay more taxes.) And Bezos clearly understands that operating in Washington requires access to, and influence on, whoever is in the White House; in 2015 he hired Obama's former press secretary, Jay Carney, as a senior executive, and earlier this year AWS enlisted Jeff Miller, a Trump fund-raiser, to lobby on its behalf.

....Steve Aftergood, who runs the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, has tracked intelligence spending and privacy issues for decades. I asked him if he has any concerns about Amazon's rapid expansion into national security. "We seem to be racing toward a new configuration of government and industry without having fully thought through all of the implications. And some of those implications may not be entirely foreseeable," he wrote in an email. "But any time you establish a new concentration of power and influence, you also need to create some countervailing structure that will have the authority and the ability to perform effective oversight. Up to now, that oversight structure doesn't seem to [be] getting the attention it deserves."

[Jan 08, 2020] Before his death in 2015, renowned British author and neurologist Oliver Sacks penned an essay lamenting society's limitless plunge into the personality-depriving depths of smart phones and social media.

Jan 08, 2020 | www.militarytimes.com

Before his death in 2015, renowned British author and neurologist Oliver Sacks penned an essay lamenting society's limitless plunge into the personality-depriving depths of smart phones and social media.

"Everything is public now, potentially: one's thoughts, one's photos, one's movements, one's purchases," he wrote in the essay published posthumously in The New Yorker. "There is no privacy and apparently little desire for it in a world devoted to non-stop use of social media. Every minute, every second, has to be spent with one's device clutched in one's hand."

Sacks' smart phone-induced melancholia, however, had yet to extend to the arena of national security.

But here we are.

Like the general population, today's troops entranced by the glowing hypnosis of iPhone and Android screens grow increasingly unaware of the security breach potential at their fingertips. Lurking enemies capable of crippling cybersecurity attacks seek to prey on the complacent, and junior personnel have shown little in the way of resistance -- opting instead to prioritize online popularity at the expense of information sharing and operational security.

A concerned Gen. Robert Neller, the now-retired former Marine Commandant, addressed this trend at a 2016 Center for Strategic and International Studies conference discussion in which he urged Marines to put down their inanimate soulmates and turn their focus to the mission.

"We're going to go to the field for 30 days; everybody leave your phone in the car and tell your significant other or your mom, your aunt, your uncle, that you're not going to get 75 texts each day and answer them," he said.

"You're living out of your pack, you're going to stop at night, you're going to dig a hole, you're going to camouflage, you're going to turn off all your stuff, and you're going to sit there. And you've got to be careful to not make any noise, and you're going to try to have absolutely no signature. Because if you can be seen, you will be attacked."

[Jan 04, 2020] Critical thinking is anathema to the neoliberal establishment. That s why they need to corrupt the language, to make the resistance more difficult and requiring higher level of IQ

Highly recommended!
Manipulation of the language is one of the most powerful Propaganda tool. See the original Orwell essay at George Orwell Politics and the English Language. among other things he stated "But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought."
Notable quotes:
"... we were set a writing task as a follow-up, reporting on the same story using the same facts, from completely opposing points of view, using euphemism and mind-numbing cliches. Teach children to do this themselves and they can see how language can be skewed and facts distorted and misrepresented without technically lying. ..."
"... It might be taught in Media Studies, I suppose - but gosh, don't the right really hate that particular subject! Critical thinking is anathema to them. ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

BluebellWood -> Supermassive , 29 Nov 2018 12:41

Yep - education is the key.

I remember at school we read Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language in an English class and then we were set a writing task as a follow-up, reporting on the same story using the same facts, from completely opposing points of view, using euphemism and mind-numbing cliches. Teach children to do this themselves and they can see how language can be skewed and facts distorted and misrepresented without technically lying.

How many children in schools are taught such critical thinking these days, I wonder? It might be taught in Media Studies, I suppose - but gosh, don't the right really hate that particular subject! Critical thinking is anathema to them.

[Jan 02, 2020] Joe Rogan Experience #1368 - Edward Snowden

A very disappointing interview. I person that has no doubts about 9/11 doers not reserve our respect. He also might be a fake defector much like Oswald was. As simple as that. Snowden version of history is deeply wrong. He actually talk as a second rate journalist, not as a security specialist. If he thinks that bashing Russia and Putin will save him from being framed as a Russian agent, he is an idiot. It he things that 9/11 official story holds and can't be questioned he is iether a naive idiot or a Deep State stooge.
And repeating banalities about security risks in modern society do not bring you too far iether. That a very short summary of this two and a half hour narcissistic monolog, which for some reason is called interview.
In his interview Snowden mainly repeat things that became banalities and that you can learn for any other book on total surveillance.
What if this was yet another false flag operation? It looks like he was just certified Microsoft engineer, he was not Unix guy.
He views 9/11 disqualify his from providing the explanation of how the USA was converted into national security state.
His view of Putin are probably result of indoctrination in CIA and NSA, but that also means that he is not a deep thinker. Also it is strange after spending in the country several years and did not lean more about Russia and did not even try to learn the language.
BTW while his escape from the USA and attempt to provide materials did managed to focus attention of the public on total severance regime, almost nothing of Snowden materials were published. Almost everything died in the hand of selected journalists... Guardian published small fragments of one PRISM document. That's it. He is no Manning.
Snowden puts too much efforts in trying to justify his actions and at the end that became annoying and suspicious in its own right.
Notable quotes:
"... "patriotism isn't about the loyalty to government. Patriotism isn't a loyalty to anything. Patriotism is constant effort to do good for the people of your country" ..."
"... "I'd be working on umm economic takeover of Guatemala for example" Lol CIA's bread and butter ..."
"... While I'm not saying Snowden is wrong, it's important to realize that this is "his side of the story." ..."
"... Honestly don't know how so many can be shocked by these claims. Did you really think that your government sweetheart is trying to protect you? They collectively have an agenda to keep people asleep. ..."
"... Snowden is a D.S. Cutout. Period. Disinfo Personified. He didn't get out of Hong Kong W/O HELP ..."
"... Is anybody else kinda thrown off by how condescending and patronizing Snowden is towards Joe? ..."
"... I can't believe NSA and CIA hired someone that talks that much... ..."
"... So every politician I disagree with is a dictator or fascist. Seems someone hasn't learned much ..."
"... It was the Russian government that took him in, the alternative would be rotting in a dark off shore CIA prison. I would not bite the hand that saved me. Snowden is a good guy but i think he needs to learn gratitude. ..."
"... If this video is trending, this mean Snowden is a puppet to the NWO. NO WAY THEY WILL ALLOW A VIDEO LIKE THIS TO EVER TREND IN YOUTUBE OR ANY WHERE. ..."
"... there were numerous people warned not to fly/go to wtc on 911. Willie Brown, Salmon Rushdie, Israeli citizens, apparently the French knew as well... But Snowden says they didn't know ..."
"... With all do respect to snowden , 9 11 was an inside job The whole event was controlled. Controlled demolition , controlled airlines to launch them in to the towers. All orchestrated by elements of the CIA , FBI , and NSA ..."
Oct 25, 2019 | www.youtube.com

PDX LockPicker , 2 hours ago

"patriotism isn't about the loyalty to government. Patriotism isn't a loyalty to anything. Patriotism is constant effort to do good for the people of your country"

Forrest LeMay , 2 hours ago (edited)

"People talk about the deep state like it's a conspiracy theory of lizard people, it's not, its something much simpler, the deep state is the career government." - Edward Snowden

Free Ryder , 3 hours ago

"I'd be working on umm economic takeover of Guatemala for example" Lol CIA's bread and butter

Fuzzy Gaming , 2 hours ago

1:57:00 Snowden talks about how the Intelligence agencies can stonewall you and sabotage your presidency... Exactly what President Trump has been saying for years.

Khonh lo , 2 hours ago div class=

What I really got out of this episode is realization that companies and the government can now track where I have been on a particular date at a particular time forever. Its crazy what a time we live in.

Imagine kids born in 2006 or so until they expire. They government or companies can pull up data of their entire life timeline at any point in their lives. Example where were they on 2/15/2010 at 2:15 PM.

Someone born in 1965 can only recall memories of their pass experiences that only they know or the people around can remember whereas now days and beyond, they can pull that information out depending on how specific the query you want to obtain. This is not including all the other data such as relationship they have had, where they had lived, where they had eaten, what they had buy, etc...

postedhere9 , 1 hour ago

Pelosi's involvement in the impeachment sounds oddly familiar to her involvement in this scandal... hmm

Rasikh Ali , 3 hours ago

Mainstream media is only focusing on the alien comment. Scum of the earth.. smh 🤦🏽‍♂️

Mar Z , 1 hour ago

38:00 . CIA and FBI competing for clout . I'm sorry I know this is serious but just imagined them as annoying social media acc trying to get the most likes. But seriously, thanks Joe, you let your guest talk and it was so incredibly insightful!!

Christopher Mulvey , 1 hour ago

When this Edward Snowden thing first happened, the first thing I thought was wow this is a very very smart man but not smart enough to realize how stupid people are and how powerful mainstream media is when it comes to the general public's perception.

The general public doesn't realize that the mainstream news has nowhere near 5million views in 3 days but if it's not talked about on main stream news for a week or if the president does not acknowledge something then it does not exist. That's the truth.

M Somogyi , 2 hours ago

Snowden tries to advertise his book the whole time Rogan asks him a simple question.. Okay, I get it you go into details in the book... Just answer the question. "Oh yeah, let me give you a fast version....". 1 hr later - He still hasn't answered.

Joe Rogan is one patient ass man. Thanks for having such interesting and awesome content on your podcast! :)

Flash Harry , 4 hours ago

"> My obsevation is that if I was in charge of keeping our "They Live" clandestine alien government's secret, then I wouldn't allow that information wrote down on paper in a room with a computer even in it , let alone have it in a computer document.

Not many people should even be aware of the information and When they are they stick to analogue pens and paper other than when they are reverse engineering anything, When specialist use hardware/software it is in TOTAL contained environment .

And that dudes is how ya keeps a secret . Oh and the moon he is wrong with that and you can use the same reasoning, what did they do for example with all of the film tape recordings of all the footage of Apollo landing. Yes they taped over it, all of it. If you have ever seen moon landing footage it's a recording of a recording to hide multitudes of oversights. x

Wowbagger , 3 hours ago (edited)

09:45 Sounds more like escalating the surveillance of the general population was the main goal from the start. A slow subversion made palatable by a perceived threat.

JC Stuart , 1 day ago

"when we become fearful we become vulnerable, to anyone who promises to make things better, even if they will actively make things worse."

Tim Leniston , 2 hours ago

We need to stand up to this somehow. Just think of the chilling effect on anyone who might want to do a public service but fears exposure of some detail in their private life or their explorations or communications which could be used to silence or embarrass them. Bastards!

HyperActive7 , 3 hours ago

I can barely keep my eyes open with Snowden. You'd think to yourself, how come such a sleepy personality individual be so dangerous to the government elite?

Well, the proof is in what he's saying and it is the truth that 9/11 was a mass conspiracy aimed to change America and ruin The Will of The American people. I was his age when all this crap went down and I believed all of it like he and many of my generation did because we didn't have the Alex Jones of the world waking us up to this sick reality which is our government is treasonous against its own people.

Stacy Starnes , 3 hours ago

I guess that what Schumer meant when he said that the intelligence community has a million and one ways to get you. "Drain the swamp".

Benjamin Wright , 1 day ago

"The FBI has joined the chat"

GoogleSearch TheEsseneGospelOfPeace.#JesusGang , 1 day ago

Joe: Google searching "free proxy servers" before this interview

Reegan O'Hara , 4 hours ago

He was given the same speech training as Obama. Same cadence, same pauses, same use of "uhh", "right" and "Look...". The repeating of certain words quickly before finishing the main point is particularly noticeable, i.e. "th- the.." "th- that", "whe- when..."

Destinyxos , 4 hours ago

I feel like lack of communication is so the reason for a lot occupational struggles as well as in the government structures. It makes me sad to see that sharing and informing is just so hard for some people. And that negative energy rubs of on everyone else and I feel like it's a huge spiraling butterfly affect.

But I'm glad to see someone talking about the issues with our society so intensely and so carefully and so factually and I honestly love it. I feel included because of this video and for that, I am great full!

m1force , 1 hour ago

While I'm not saying Snowden is wrong, it's important to realize that this is "his side of the story." This is why fair trials are important.. He complains about the D.C. circuit and perhaps for good reason; I say fine, bring him to the 8th circuit and let's put all the cards on the table.

chilakil , 1 hour ago

I completely believe after following Rogan for a couple of Months that joe is complete controlled opposition

FatalFinality , 1 day ago

Well, this is definitely one of those mornings when being unemployed is convenient.

Tom Hol , 2 hours ago

Honestly don't know how so many can be shocked by these claims. Did you really think that your government sweetheart is trying to protect you? They collectively have an agenda to keep people asleep.

To keep them in their routines so that they don't ask questions. Also throw them a bone every now and then so that they feel as if they are getting rewarded while we extort them, spy on them and use them and then throw them away.

Raul Montes , 4 hours ago

This was longest plug for a book ever...

ck black , 33 minutes ago

Snowden is a D.S. Cutout. Period. Disinfo Personified. He didn't get out of Hong Kong W/O HELP This is pure Agregis B.S.

Mar Z , 35 minutes ago

"The public is not partnered with government. The public does not hold the leash to government. We are subject to them. Subordinate to government" " National security does not equal to public safety. National security is the safety of the state"

Guillermo Baltazar , 3 hours ago

44:20 he kinda dis Obama

Nicco Sanchez , 1 hour ago

Is anybody else kinda thrown off by how condescending and patronizing Snowden is towards Joe? He seems to be throwing low key shade/jabs about his preconceived notions about Joe based off his avatar.

I mean he could have spoken on his initial impression as a little anecdotal segway into how this interview came to fruition, but he seems arrogant to me. Like he feels the average layman is beneath him or of lessor intellectualism. Great interview nonetheless, but I just think Snowden comes off a little uppity (for lack of a better term)😒

Erma4ella Eu , 5 minutes ago

It wasn't Joe Rogan's podcast. It was a Snowden's podcast

Jakob , 1 day ago

Snowden made a "FBI has joined the chat" meme hahahaah

Carlo Anardu , 1 day ago

I can't believe NSA and CIA hired someone that talks that much...

Scott what , 2 hours ago

So every politician I disagree with is a dictator or fascist. Seems someone hasn't learned much

John B , 4 hours ago

It was the Russian government that took him in, the alternative would be rotting in a dark off shore CIA prison. I would not bite the hand that saved me. Snowden is a good guy but i think he needs to learn gratitude.

Scarack Truther , 4 hours ago

If this video is trending, this mean Snowden is a puppet to the NWO. NO WAY THEY WILL ALLOW A VIDEO LIKE THIS TO EVER TREND IN YOUTUBE OR ANY WHERE.

Szimba Zsununnu , 5 hours ago

Ed, you made one mistake: Americans are not "afraid"! US citizens did NOT vote for DT out of fear. They voted out of CONCERN. The average American? Goes to McD's once a month (they're lovin' it), buys their daughter an ice cream at Dairy Queen (or equivalent ice cream place in town), anticipates when is the most convenient day to schedule an oil change, etc. "Fear", "scared", "fearmonger"?

These are nonsensical words the other side likes to spew. Americans are c-o-n-c-e-r-n-e-d about their country. The British (and I speak on behalf of all Americans, British, and so forth - thank you, thank you) opted out of the EU because of CONCERN for their future. Not fear. You're a smart guy Ed, and this interview is very telling, (and we the people think you're gonna get your ass assassinated for speaking so freely like this), and although I only had the patience to sit through the first hour, this is a good video, and a memorable interview.

But just understand -- aside from North Koreans and maybe a Syrian here and there, citizens are not afraid. We are instead courageous. We CARE about the now. We care about the future. We support those that care as well. We're concerned, kiddo. Not fearful. Boris, Donald, Orban, that green-faced Putin opponent Alexei Navalny guy, Nigel, Milo, Geert, PJW, Brigitte Bardot, August Sabbe, Romas Kalanta, Joan of Arc (and countless others) - at risk of their safety / public standing / status quo / whatever - CARE.

Those are the leaders (ASS KICKERS) that we support and vote for. We are members of the human race. We are not afraid.

Grasshopper , 4 hours ago

#1 if people didn't realize this was going on before 2013, then I don't know where your brain was. #2 this guy may correct, but he's an opportunist.

He's spent a lot of time putting this story together. How can he say there are no bodies laying around when Obama was sending up drones that fired missles at cell phones? I worked in the telecom industry starting in the 90s... I was tracking calls on 9/11. I knew who was calling who, and the FBI didn't ask permission to see where the calls were going or coming from.

Z.A.C. , 1 day ago (edited)

He's had John McAfee, Rhonda Patrick, Mike Tyson, Graham Hancock, Neil Degrasse Tyson, Lance Armstrong, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Jay Leno, Anthony Bourdain, David Goggins, Ron White, Jordan Peterson, Everlast, Immortal Technique, Bernie Sanders, Ben Shapiro, George St.Pierre, Elon Musk, Alex Jones, and now Edward Snowden. Just to name a few.

Reuben Handel , 4 hours ago (edited)

But there were numerous people warned not to fly/go to wtc on 911. Willie Brown, Salmon Rushdie, Israeli citizens, apparently the French knew as well... But Snowden says they didn't know

Trey Wilson , 1 minute ago div cl

"Give me one good reason the government would have committed 9/11." - steel beams don't melt jet fuel, also watch this podcast and you'll wish you still lived in the matrix

Invincible Osprey , 4 hours ago

Ed Snowden is creepily still playing his role for the same people behind 9/11 and other False Flags...

J. Copache , 34 minutes ago (edited)

Right now, Chile, my home country, is going through a very difficult and delicate process of civil unrest that has been met with relentless repression at the hands of a government that works in favor of private interests and has been confirmed to commit several and systematic human rights violations, including torture, murder, rape, state terrorism, and the list goes on. Listening to this podcast right now really puts in perspective the extent to wich a State can manipulate, hide and forge information in order to limit civil rights with the excuse of protecting the people.

We NEED guys like Snowden to come forth and show governments around the world that any measures taken to protect order and national interests should always be second to the well-being, civil and human rights of the people that constitute the very foundation of what a country is.

People from the US are lucky to have true patriots like Snowden, willing to go against the rotten systems so deeply ingrained in their institutional complexes in order to uphold the ideals that gave birth to their country in the first place. We need help, and we need clarity. If y'all can, please get informed and divulge what you learn about our situation right now. Get people talking and get people acting.

No government that - literally- fires against its people should be left unchecked. Information is a tool, the greatest one we've got in this day and age, and we the people are more capable than ever of using it in our advantage.

Alek Kelly , 22 minutes ago

At 14:15 , he says he went to journalists with the information and gave them conditions on how that information could be published. Was this a trust or legal based transaction? If it was trust, would Snowden still be as confident in doing it that way in today's media climate?

Joseph Edward , 5 hours ago (edited)

34:50 . Our founding fathers are turning in their graves.

Brian Houck , 6 hours ago

So James Clapper just straight-up lied to Congress under oath and there were no repercussions, yet they did their best to hunt down Ed Snowden and treat him like a dirty dog? What is wrong with this picture? Besides everything, I mean.

Joseph Edward , 6 hours ago

Around 30:00 Snowden said that the highest members of our government have the lowest loyalty. (The ones at the top are the ones selling us out.)

therealjoelsalazar , 6 hours ago

The scary thing is, is that while Snowden is telling us what happened in the past, the government is actively abusing powers while looking for new ways to violate our rights. We need to really look at ourselves as citizens and make sure the people we vote for are actually serving the public no matter what party or tak they're on.

words wpns , 7 hours ago

With all do respect to snowden , 9 11 was an inside job The whole event was controlled. Controlled demolition , controlled airlines to launch them in to the towers. All orchestrated by elements of the CIA , FBI , and NSA

[Jan 02, 2020] 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 revisit 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 globo-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.

[Dec 26, 2019] Real protections will come only if federal laws are passed to limit what companies can do with the data they collect. Until then, no matter what settings we choose, we're all at risk

Dec 26, 2019 | twitter.com

Max Coleman

"Real protections will come only if federal laws are passed to limit what companies can do with the data they collect. Until then, no matter what settings we choose, we're all at risk."

Freaked Out?

3 Steps to Protect Your Phone - The New York Times

https://www. nytimes.com/interactive/20 19/12/19/opinion/location-tracking-privacy-tips.html

[Dec 26, 2019] Colleges Track Hundreds Of Thousands Of Students Using Their Phones

Dec 26, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Colleges Track Hundreds Of Thousands Of Students Using Their Phones by Tyler Durden Wed, 12/25/2019 - 20:15 0 SHARES

"Graduates will be well prepared to embrace 24/7 government tracking and social credit systems ."

An app created to track the attendance of 'less academically inclined' college athletes is under fire, after over 40 schools have begun using the technology to monitor students campus-wide , according to the Washington Post .

Syracuse professor Jeff Rubin says his lectures have never been so full

Developed by former college basketball coach Rick Carter (who is currently under a restraining order by DePaul University for allegedly threatening the athletic director and head basketball coach), the Chicago-based SpotterEDU app uses Bluetooth beacons to ping a student's smartphone once they enter a lecture hall. About the size of a deck of cards, they are installed in covert locations on walls and ceilings.

School officials give SpotterEDU the students' full schedules , and the system can email a professor or adviser automatically if a student skips class or walks in more than two minutes late . The app records a full timeline of the students' presence so advisers can see whether they left early or stepped out for a break. - Washington Post

Syracuse University IT instructor Jeff Rubin uses the app to encourage his students to attend lectures - awarding "attendance points" to those who show up. Rubin is also notified when students skip classes.

"They want those points," said Rubin. " They know I'm watching and acting on it. So, behaviorally, they change. "

According to Rubin, his 340-student lecture has never been so full at around 90% attendance.

Double Secret Dystopia

Understandably, not everyone is thrilled with the intrusive new technology , which many argue breaches students' privacy rights on a massive scale.

" We're adults. Do we really need to be tracked? " said sophomore Robby Pfeifer, a student at Commonwealth University in Richmond, which recently began using the campus' WiFi network to track students. "Why is this necessary? How does this benefit us? And is it just going to keep progressing until we're micromanaged every second of the day? "

School and company officials, on the other hand, argue that monitoring students is a powerful motivator and will encourage students to adopt habits geared towards success.

"If they know more about where students are going, they argue, they can intervene before problems arise," according to the Post .

That said, some schools have taken things further - assigning "risk scores" to students based on factors such as whether they are going to the library enough .

The dream of some administrators is a university where every student is a model student, adhering to disciplined patterns of behavior that are intimately quantified, surveilled and analyzed .

But some educators say this move toward heightened educational vigilance threatens to undermine students' independence and prevents them from pursuing interests beyond the classroom because they feel they might be watched.

" These administrators have made a justification for surveilling a student population because it serves their interests , in terms of the scholarships that come out of their budget, the reputation of their programs, the statistics for the school," said Kyle M. L. Jones, an Indiana University assistant professor who researches student privacy.

" What's to say that the institution doesn't change their eye of surveillance and start focusing on minority populations, or anyone else? " he added. Students "should have all the rights, responsibilities and privileges that an adult has. So why do we treat them so differently?" - Washington Post

"It embodies a very cynical view of education -- that it's something we need to enforce on students, almost against their will," said UCSD digital scholarship librarian Erin Rose Glass. "We're reinforcing this sense of powerlessness when we could be asking harder questions, like: Why are we creating institutions where students don't want to show up? "

Hilariously, creators of the dystopian surveillance app have tried to make things 'more fun,' by 'gamifying students' schedules with colorful Bitmoji or digital multiday streaks.'

That said, " the real value may be for school officials, who Carter said can split students into groups, such as "students of color" or "out-of-state students," for further review ."

When asked why an official would want to segregate out data on students of color, Carter said many colleges already do so, looking for patterns in academic retention and performance , adding that it "can provide important data for retention. Even the first few months of recorded data on class attendance and performance can help predict how likely a group of students is to" stay enrolled.

Students' attendance and tardiness are scored into a point system that some professors use for grading, Carter said, and schools can use the data to "take action" against truant students, such as grabbing back scholarship funds. - Washington Post

Meanwhile, another app from Austin-based start-up Degree Analytics uses WiFi check-ins to track around 200,000 students across 19 state universities, private colleges and other schools , according to the Post.

Founded in 2017 by data scientist Aaron Benz, the company claims that every student can graduate with "a proper environment and perhaps a few nudges along the way."

According to Benz, his system can solve "a real lack of understanding about the student experience" by using campus WiFi data to measure and analyze 98% of students.

But the company also claims to see much more than just attendance. By logging the time a student spends in different parts of the campus, Benz said, his team has found a way to identify signs of personal anguish: A student avoiding the cafeteria might suffer from food insecurity or an eating disorder; a student skipping class might be grievously depressed. The data isn't conclusive, Benz said, but it can "shine a light on where people can investigate, so students don't slip through the cracks."

To help find these students, he said, his team designed algorithms to look for patterns in a student's "behavioral state" and automatically flag when their habits change. He calls it scaffolding -- a temporary support used to build up a student, removed when they can stand on their own.

At a Silicon Valley summit in April, Benz outlined a recent real-life case: that of Student ID 106033, a depressed and "extremely isolated" student he called Sasha whom the system had flagged as "highly at-risk" because she only left her dorm to eat. "At every school, there are lots of Sashas," he said. "And the bigger you are, the more Sashas that you have." - Washington Post

Read the rest of the report here .

[Dec 21, 2019] How Jeff Bezos Became Santa and Changed Our Holidays Forever

Dec 21, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Around half of Americans surveyed this year said they are planning to buy their holiday gifts from Amazon and three quarters said they compare prices with Amazon before buying elsewhere. Approximately half of all the money spent online by Americans is estimated to have gone to Amazon products and services over the past few years. The company sells more toys, books, clothing, and electronics than any other business and its Amazon Prime service has more than half of all American households under its umbrella. There is evidence to suggest that Amazon intentionally delays shipping times for those who don't have Prime. And once customers do sign up, they rarely shop online elsewhere, leaving third parties a stark choice: close up shop or sell according to Amazon's rules and fees.

Of course, there's no law saying holiday shoppers are required to patronize Amazon. Nonetheless, most Americans continue to log on and load up on holiday gifts just like they did last year. This year's "Cyber Monday" saw the biggest sales in Amazon's history, as the company announced that it had shipped out "hundreds of millions" of products. These kinds of massive sales figures are the new normal for Amazon, as its predatory pricing scheme starts paying sky-high dividends. By holding Prime Day in the summer, Amazon also forces the Christmas and holiday shopping cycle to begin half a year early .

Of the more than 350 million products sold on Amazon, only around 12 million are sold directly by them ; many others are sold by third parties. Amazon is not primarily interested in being the biggest player in the market; rather, it wants to become the market . With increasing numbers of people searching for items to buy on Amazon directly rather than through a search engine, the site has moved closer to just that kind of dominance.

Transforming from a small internet start-up in the mid-1990s that ran on almost no profit for two decades into the booming behemoth it has become today, the Seattle-based giant is a true blue American success story. In fact, it's such a success story that there are serious concerns that it has become economically exploitative. Amazon artfully dodges corporate taxes and keeps expanding its reach into every nook and cranny of our lives (hello there, Alexa). By selling at a loss and then raising prices -- cushioned by the enormous profits from its Amazon Web Services (AWS) -- Amazon forces other companies to ride or die.

Although Amazon is not a legally defined monopoly according to the Department of Justice's cautious parameters, it falls right in line with any other historical monopoly, in that it stifles competition and significantly shapes the contours of its own market. In other words, it is a monopoly . President Trump appears to agree, having referred previously to the company's "huge antitrust problem," although ironically Amazon has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of Trump's corporate tax cuts. As the company begins gobbling up more of the market, traditional antitrust precedent may need to be expanded in order to take it on and protect consumers and workers. It may also be necessary to crack down on the profusion of counterfeit products and scams that use Amazon to hawk their wares.

There's a credible argument to be made that Amazon is also a monopsony, referring to an economic scenario in which one market-dominating buyer can artificially set prices to sellers because it is also their primary customer. This phenomenon can be seen in situations like Amazon's heavy influence on courier companies like FedEx, which might well be sleeping with the fishes without Bezos' business coming their way (and in fact, they could be history in any case, since their business is being supplanted by Amazon's private fleet of aircraft and bevy of drones and trucks). As the job provider par excellence, Amazon also creates various neo-feudalist fiefdoms in communities where it provides the vast majority of jobs, allowing it to push employee wages to the bottom of the barrel. Meanwhile the company has hundreds of employees working in artificial intelligence as it continues to phase in more advanced automation technology and expand its drone delivery services.

There are dozens of companies Amazon could well crush in just the near future, including auto parts stores, pharmacies, bookstores, food delivery services, courier services like UPS and FedEx, office supply stores, fabric stores, and various online platforms for gaming and streaming.

As figures on the left like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have pointed out, Amazon is getting away with way too much. Sanders wants Amazon to pay its fair share of taxes, while Warren wants to break them up. There has been significant criticism of Amazon on the right as well, by commentators like Fox News host Tucker Carlson , who has slammed the company for leeching off of the American economic system to the detriment of workers and communities.

None of this is subtle: Amazon hurts workers and small business. It hurts workers by creating a one-stop employment environment that leaves employees taking the scraps from Jeff Bezos' table. Amazon contract workers have sued the company, alleging it paid them less than minimum wage , while allegations of harsh worker conditions are rampant. Amazon workers might not be living in cardboard boxes (no guarantee) but they're certainly packing them with your orders for a depressingly low amount of compensation under major pressure. Amazon frequently uses "seasonal" contract labor and "permatemps," who are hired temporarily despite working full-time, so as to avoid paying benefits or giving raises.

Amazon pays low wages -- often below industry standards -- and had already indirectly caused the loss of 149,000 American retail jobs as of 2016, as well as 22,000 businesses. Same-day delivery has pushed Amazon's contract workers into such desperation that there have been numerous fatal crashes and pile-ups. Other drivers have had to urinate in their own vans in order to deliver packages on time.

Amazon's control also cuts into the experiences that surround holiday gift giving and browsing. Gift-buying is supposed to be fun , part of a day out with the family or a nice stroll downtown. Now it's become a stressful exercise in trying to click on all the right items while typing in a credit card number hunched in front of a glaring screen. Amazon is constantly gathering data on its consumers and using it to target them. It's been criticized for "surge pricing" where it raises prices algorithmically.

Limiting Amazon via antitrust law hasn't been tried yet, but there is no reason to think that lobbyists will have their way forever, particularly when a credible argument exists that Amazon has in fact provably and specifically broken antitrust law by disguising predatory pricing through revenue declaration loopholes.

It's time for legislators to act both to prevent Amazon from further excesses and to set a precedent. This Christmas, after eating a delicious turkey from Whole Foods (oops), we can hope that Casa Amazon also receives a special, glittering gift under the tree: antitrust action. Merry Christmas, Mr. Bezos.

Paul Brian is a freelance journalist. He has reported for the BBC, Reuters, and Foreign Policy , and contributed to The Week, The Federalist, and others. You can follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian or visit his website www.paulrbrian.com .

This article was supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors.

[Dec 20, 2019] Alarming NYT Op-Ed Reveals Disturbing Secretive Surveillance State Powered By Your Phone's Location Services Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... detailed smartphone tracking is far more ubiquitous than many think , despite the ongoing claims by companies that people's data is "anonymous". ..."
"... describing location data as anonymous is "a completely false claim that has been debunked in multiple studies." ..."
"... "Really precise, longitudinal geolocation information is absolutely impossible to anonymize. D.N.A. is probably the only thing that's harder to anonymize than precise geolocation information." ..."
"... The op-ed looked at trying to identify people in positions of power. It identified and tracked "scores" of notable people, like military officials with security clearances, as they drove home at night. They also tracked law enforcement officials and high powered lawyers. Though they didn't name any of the people, they followed them on private jets, vacations and taking their kids to school. ..."
"... "That makes me uncomfortable. I'm sure that makes every other person uncomfortable, to know that companies can have free rein to take your data, locations, whatever else they're using. It is disturbing," she continued. ..."
"... These companies downplay the risks of collecting such revealing data at scale. Brian Czarny, chief marketing officer at Factual, one such company, said: "No, it doesn't really keep us up at night. Factual does not resell detailed data like the information [The Times] reviewed. We don't feel like anybody should be doing that because it's a risk to the whole business." ..."
"... Companies are required to disclose "very little" about data collection, but rather are only required to describe their practices in their privacy policies. ..."
"... Companies like Verizon and AT&T have been selling the data for years. Last year, Vice found that data being sold was being used by bounty hunters to find specific cell phones in real time. Telecom companies pledged, after the scandal, to stop selling the data. But there is still no law that prevents it. ..."
"... In one case, we observed a change in the regular movements of a Microsoft engineer. He made a visit one Tuesday afternoon to the main Seattle campus of a Microsoft competitor, Amazon. The following month, he started a new job at Amazon. It took minutes to identify him as Ben Broili, a manager now for Amazon Prime Air, a drone delivery service. ..."
Dec 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Millions of Americans are walking around with phones that have, unknowingly, created one of the most disturbing and unintentional "surveillance states" to ever exist. An explosive new opinion piece in the NY Times aims to demonstrate that detailed smartphone tracking is far more ubiquitous than many think , despite the ongoing claims by companies that people's data is "anonymous".

Paul Ohm, a law professor and privacy researcher at the Georgetown University Law Center, said that describing location data as anonymous is "a completely false claim that has been debunked in multiple studies."

He added: "Really precise, longitudinal geolocation information is absolutely impossible to anonymize. D.N.A. is probably the only thing that's harder to anonymize than precise geolocation information."

The op-ed looked at trying to identify people in positions of power. It identified and tracked "scores" of notable people, like military officials with security clearances, as they drove home at night. They also tracked law enforcement officials and high powered lawyers. Though they didn't name any of the people, they followed them on private jets, vacations and taking their kids to school.

Despite some of the data pointing to "scandal and crime", the purpose of tracking them was to document the risk of under-regulated surveillance.

One person identified was Mary Millben, a singer based in Virginia who has performed for three Presidents. When told her phone was putting her "on the map" for everyone to see, she said: "To know that you have a list of places I have been, and my phone is connected to that, that's scary. What's the business of a company benefiting off of knowing where I am? That seems a little dangerous to me."

She couldn't name the app that shared her location, despite saying she was "careful" about which apps she allowed to share her location.

"That makes me uncomfortable. I'm sure that makes every other person uncomfortable, to know that companies can have free rein to take your data, locations, whatever else they're using. It is disturbing," she continued.

On inauguration weekend, the authors were able to track "elite attendees at presidential ceremonies, religious observers at church services, supporters assembling across the National Mall", as well as protesters. They even spotted a senior official at the DOD walking through the Women's March, along with his wife.

Yet companies that take your location data collect "orders of magnitude" more that what the Times opinion writers had access to.

There are dozens of companies out there that profit from this data. Many use "technical and nuanced language that may be confusing to average smartphone users." Many company names would likely be unfamiliar to most Americans.

These companies downplay the risks of collecting such revealing data at scale. Brian Czarny, chief marketing officer at Factual, one such company, said: "No, it doesn't really keep us up at night. Factual does not resell detailed data like the information [The Times] reviewed. We don't feel like anybody should be doing that because it's a risk to the whole business."

But without federal privacy laws, the industry has largely been self-regulated. Several groups have offered ethical guidelines and groups like the Mobile Marketing Association are drafting pledges to improve this self-regulation.

But states are starting to respond. For instance, the California Consumer Protection Act takes effect next year and allows residents to ask companies to delete their data or prevent its sale. But legally, the law could leave the industry free to do whatever it wants.

Calli Schroeder, a lawyer for the privacy and data protection company VeraSafe said: "If a private company is legally collecting location data, they're free to spread it or share it however they want."

Companies are required to disclose "very little" about data collection, but rather are only required to describe their practices in their privacy policies.

Location data, gathered by latitude and longitude, coupled with time spent in an area, feed a lucrative secondary business of analyzing, licensing and transferring that information to third parties. Here's what that data looks like:

The data provides intelligence for big businesses, as well:

The Weather Channel app's parent company, for example, analyzed users' location data for hedge funds, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles this year that was triggered by Times reporting. And Foursquare received much attention in 2016 after using its data trove to predict that after an E. coli crisis, Chipotle's sales would drop by 30 percent in the coming months. Its same-store sales ultimately fell 29.7 percent.

Companies like Verizon and AT&T have been selling the data for years. Last year, Vice found that data being sold was being used by bounty hunters to find specific cell phones in real time. Telecom companies pledged, after the scandal, to stop selling the data. But there is still no law that prevents it.

Additionally, the piece notes "everything can be hacked". That means that any server that houses this data is susceptible to having it wind up in the wrong hands.

Broili/NYT

For most Americans, the distribution of this information could result in embarrassment or inconvenience. But for people like survivors of abuse, it could come with substantially more risks.

And the ability to identify individuals was stunning:

In one case, we observed a change in the regular movements of a Microsoft engineer. He made a visit one Tuesday afternoon to the main Seattle campus of a Microsoft competitor, Amazon. The following month, he started a new job at Amazon. It took minutes to identify him as Ben Broili, a manager now for Amazon Prime Air, a drone delivery service.

Broili commented: "I can't say I'm surprised. But knowing that you all can get ahold of it and comb through and place me to see where I work and live -- that's weird."

He continued: "It's an awful lot of data. And I really still don't understand how it's being used. I'd have to see how the other companies were weaponizing or monetizing it to make that call."

You can read the full long form op-ed here .

[Dec 19, 2019] YouTube recently changed its policy on retention of videos and I expect it covers their ass for responding to "Winston Smith" types of requests from late empire trying to rewrite history.

Dec 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian , Dec 19 2019 22:10 utc | 25

@ Posted by: WJ | Dec 19 2019 21:42 utc | 21 with the reporting about YouTube deleting videos that support b's postings

I am not surprised. YouTube recently changed its policy on retention of videos and I expect it covers their ass for responding to "Winston Smith" types of requests from late empire trying to rewrite history.

[Dec 15, 2019] The current system of unlimited domestic spying on population which reminds STASI was built by both parties

Dec 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

In case of Page it was much worse the Glenn Greenwald claims. The most probably scenario that he was directed to join Trump compain and then to contact Russian government so that this false flag operatin can be used for establishing surveillance. Why they need to establish surveillance on CIA/FBI informant? Because he called people they really wanted to survail.

IG Report On FBI Spying Exposes Scandal Of Historic Magnitude For US Media Glenn Greenwald

IG Report On FBI Spying Exposes "Scandal Of Historic Magnitude" For US Media

by Tyler Durden Sat, 12/14/2019 - 13:30 0 SHARES

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via The Intercept,

Just as was true when the Mueller investigation closed without a single American being charged with criminally conspiring with Russia over the 2016 election, Wednesday's issuance of the long-waited report from the Department of Justice's Inspector General reveals that years of major claims and narratives from the U.S. media were utter frauds .

Before evaluating the media component of this scandal, the FBI's gross abuse of its power – its serial deceit – is so grave and manifest that it requires little effort to demonstrate it. In sum, the IG Report documents multiple instances in which the FBI – in order to convince a FISA court to allow it spy on former Trump campaign operative Carter Page during the 2016 election – manipulated documents, concealed crucial exonerating evidence, and touted what it knew were unreliable if not outright false claims.

If you don't consider FBI lying, concealment of evidence, and manipulation of documents in order to spy on a U.S. citizen in the middle of a presidential campaign to be a major scandal, what is? But none of this is aberrational: the FBI still has its headquarters in a building named after J. Edgar Hoover – who constantly blackmailed elected officials with dossiers and tried to blackmail Martin Luther King into killing himself – because that's what these security state agencies are. They are out-of-control, virtually unlimited police state factions that lie, abuse their spying and law enforcement powers, and subvert democracy and civic and political freedoms as a matter of course.

In this case, no rational person should allow standard partisan bickering to distort or hide this severe FBI corruption. The IG Report leaves no doubt about it. It's brimming with proof of FBI subterfuge and deceit, all in service of persuading a FISA court of something that was not true: that U.S. citizen and former Trump campaign official Carter Page was an agent of the Russian government and therefore needed to have his communications surveilled.

Just a few excerpts from the report should suffice to end any debate for rational persons about how damning it is. The focus of the first part of the IG Report was on the warrants obtained by the DOJ, at the behest of the FBI, to spy on Carter Page on the grounds that there was probable cause to believe he was an agent of the Russian government. That Page was a Kremlin agent was a widely disseminated media claim – typically asserted as fact even though it had no evidence. As a result of this media narrative, the Mueller investigation examined these widespread accusations yet concluded that "the investigation did not establish that Page coordinated with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election."

The IG Report went much further, documenting a multitude of lies and misrepresentations by the FBI to deceive the FISA court into believing that probable cause existed to believe Page was a Kremlin agent. The first FISA warrant to spy on Page was obtained during the 2016 election, after Page had left the Trump campaign but weeks before the election was to be held.

About the warrant application submitted regarding Page, the IG Report, in its own words, "found that FBI personnel fell far short of the requirement in FBI policy that they ensure that all factual statements in a FISA application are 'scrupulously accurate.'" Specifically, "we identified multiple instances in which factual assertions relied upon in the first FISA application were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information the FBI had in its possession at the time the application was filed."

It's vital to reiterate this because of its gravity: we identified multiple instances in which factual assertions relied upon in the first FISA application were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information the FBI had in its possession at the time the application was filed.

The specifics cited by the IG Report are even more damning. Specifically, "based upon the information known to the FBI in October 2016, the first application contained [] seven significant inaccuracies and omissions." Among those "significant inaccuracies and omissions": the FBI concealed that Page had been working with the CIA in connection with his dealings with Russia and had notified CIA case managers of at least some of those contacts after he was "approved as an 'operational contact'" with Russia; the FBI lied about both the timing and substance of Page's relationship with the CIA; vastly overstated the value and corroboration of Steele's prior work for the U.S. Government to make him appear more credible than he was; and concealed from the court serious reasons to doubt the reliability of Steele's key source.

... ... ..

Among the most significant new acts of deceit was that the FBI "omitted the fact that Steele's Primary Subsource, who the FBI found credible, had made statements in January 2017 raising significant questions about the reliability of allegations included in the FISA applications, including, for example, that he/she did not recall any discussion with Person 1 concerning Wikileaks and there was 'nothing bad' about the communications between the Kremlin and the Trump team, and that he/she did not report to Steele in July 2016 that Page had met with Sechin."

In other words, Steele's own key source told the FBI that Steele was lying about what the source said: an obviously critical fact that the FBI simply concealed from the FISA court because it knew how devastating that would be to being able to continue to spy on Page. As the Report put it, "among the most serious of the 10 additional errors we found in the renewal applications was the FBI's failure to advise [DOJ] or the court of the inconsistences, described in detail in Chapter Six, between Steele and his Primary Sub-source on the reporting relied upon in the FISA applications."

The IG Report also found that the FBI hid key information from the court about Steele's motives: for instance, it "omitted information obtained from [Bruce] Ohr about Steele and his election reporting, including that (1) Steele's reporting was going to Clinton's presidential campaign and others, (2) [Fusion GPS's Glenn] Simpson was paying Steele to discuss his reporting with the media, and (3) Steele was "desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being the U.S. President."

If it does not bother you to learn that the FBI repeatedly and deliberately deceived the FISA court into granting it permission to spy on a U.S. citizen in the middle of a presidential campaign, then it is virtually certain that you are either someone with no principles, someone who cares only about partisan advantage and nothing about basic civil liberties and the rule of law, or both. There is simply no way for anyone of good faith to read this IG Report and reach any conclusion other than that this is yet another instance of the FBI abusing its power in severe ways to subvert and undermine U.S. democracy. If you don't care about that, what do you care about?

* * * * *

But the revelations of the IG Report are not merely a massive FBI scandal. They are also a massive media scandal, because they reveal that so much of what the U.S. media has authoritatively claimed about all of these matters for more than two years is completely false.

Ever since Trump's inauguration, a handful of commentators and journalists – I'm included among them – have been sounding the alarm about the highly dangerous trend of news outlets not merely repeating the mistake of the Iraq War by blindly relying on the claims of security state agents but, far worse, now employing them in their newsrooms to shape the news. As Politico's media writer Jack Shafer wrote in 2018, in an article entitled "The Spies Who Came Into the TV Studio" :

In the old days, America's top spies would complete their tenures at the CIA or one of the other Washington puzzle palaces and segue to more ordinary pursuits. Some wrote their memoirs . One ran for president . Another died a few months after surrendering his post. But today's national-security establishment retiree has a different game plan. After so many years of brawling in the shadows, he yearns for a second, lucrative career in the public eye. He takes a crash course in speaking in soundbites, refreshes his wardrobe and signs a TV news contract. Then, several times a week, waits for a network limousine to shuttle him to the broadcast news studios where, after a light dusting of foundation and a spritz of hairspray, he takes a supporting role in the anchors' nighttime shows. . . .

[T]he downside of outsourcing national security coverage to the TV spies is obvious. They aren't in the business of breaking news or uncovering secrets. Their first loyalty -- and this is no slam -- is to the agency from which they hail. Imagine a TV network covering the auto industry through the eyes of dozens of paid former auto executives and you begin to appreciate the current peculiarities.

In a perfect television world, the networks would retire the retired spooks from their payrolls and reallocate those sums to the hiring of independent reporters to cover the national security beat. Let the TV spies become unpaid anonymous sources because when you get down to it, TV spies don't want to make news -- they just want to talk about it.

It's long been the case that CIA, FBI and NSA operatives tried to infiltrate and shape domestic news, but they at least had the decency to do it clandestinely. In 2008, the New York Times' David Barstow won the Pulitzer Prize for exposing a secret Pentagon program in which retired Generals and other security state agents would get hired as commentators and analysts and then – unbeknownst to their networks – coordinate their messaging to ensure that domestic news was being shaped by the propaganda of the military and intelligence communities.

But now it's all out in the open. It's virtually impossible to turn on MSNBC or CNN without being bombarded with former Generals, CIA operatives, FBI agents and NSA officials who now work for those networks as commentators and, increasingly, as reporters.

Congrats to my friend @joshscampbell , CNN's newest national Correspondent. His passion for going where the news is and covering important stories will continue to benefit viewers. pic.twitter.com/j49k0KOzNj

-- Sam Vinograd (@sam_vinograd) November 19, 2019

The past three years of "Russiagate" reporting – for which U.S. journalists have lavished themselves with Pulitzers and other prizes despite a multitude of embarrassing and dangerous errors about the Grave Russian Threat – has relied almost exclusively on anonymous, uncorroborated claims from Deep State operatives (and yes, that's a term that fully applies to the U.S.). The few exceptions are when these networks feature former high-level security state operatives on camera to spread their false propaganda, as in this enduringly humiliating instance:

John Brennan has a lot to answer for -- going before the American public for months, cloaked with CIA authority and openly suggesting he's got secret info, and repeatedly turning in performances like this. pic.twitter.com/EziCxy9FVQ

-- Terry Moran (@TerryMoran) March 25, 2019

All of this has meant that U.S. discourse on these national security questions is shaped almost entirely by the very agencies that are trained to lie: the CIA, the NSA, the Pentagon, the FBI. And their lying has been highly effective.

For years, we were told by the nation's leading national security reporters something that was blatantly false: that the FBI's warrants to spy on Carter Page were not based on the Steele Dossier. GOP Congressman Devin Nunes was widely vilified and mocked by the super-smart DC national security reporters for issuing a report claiming that this was the case. The Nunes memo in essence claimed what the IG Report has corroborated: that embedded within the FBI's efforts to obtain FISA court authorization to spy on Carter Page was a series of misrepresentations, falsehoods and concealment of key evidence:

As the Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi – one of the few left/liberal journalists with the courage and integrity to dissent from the DNC/MSNBC script on these issues – put it in a detailed article :

"Democrats are not going to want to hear this, since conventional wisdom says former House Intelligence chief Devin Nunes is a conspiratorial evildoer, but the Horowitz report ratifies the major claims of the infamous ' Nunes memo .'"

That the Page warrant was based on the Steele Dossier was something that the media servants of the FBI and CIA rushed to deny. Did they have any evidence for those denials? That would be hard to believe, given that the FISA warrant applications are highly classified. It seems far more likely that – as usual – they were just repeating what the FBI and CIA (and the pathologically dishonest Rep. Adam Schiff) told them to say, like the good and loyal puppets that they are. But either way, what they kept telling the public – in highly definitive tones – was completely false, as we now know from the IG Report:

Yes. I am telling you the dossier was not used as the basis for a FISA warrant on Carter Page.

-- Shane Harris (@shaneharris) January 12, 2018

New: Two Democratic members of House Intel tell me McCabe did not say dossier was basis of FISA warrant, disputing central claim of #NunesMemo

-- Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) February 2, 2018

Over and over, the IG Report makes clear that, contrary to these denials, the Steele Dossier was indeed crucial to the Page eavesdropping warrant. "We determined that the Crossfire Hurricane team's receipt of Steele's election reporting on September 19, 2016 played a central and essential role in the FBI's and Department's decision to seek the FISA order," the IG Report explained. A central and essential role .

Just compare the pompous denials from so many U.S. national security reporters at the nation's leading news outlets – that the Page warrant was not based on the Steele Dossier – to the actual truth that we now know :

"in support of the fourth element in the FISA application-Carter Page's alleged coordination with the Russian government on 2016 U.S. presidential election activities, the application relied entirely on the following information from Steele Reports 80, 94, 95, and 102″ (emphasis added).

Indeed, it was the Steele Dossier that led FBI leadership, including Director James Comey and Deputy Diretor Andrew McCabe, to approve the warrant application in the first place despite concerns raised by other agents that the information was unreliable. Explains the IG Report:

FBI leadership supported relying on Steele's reporting to seek a FISA order on Page after being advised of, and giving consideration to, concerns expressed by Stuart Evans, then NSD's Deputy Assistant Attorney General with oversight responsibility over QI, that Steele may have been hired by someone associated with presidential candidate Clinton or the DNC, and that the foreign intelligence to be collected through the FISA order would probably not be worth the 'risk' of being criticized later for collecting communications of someone (Carter Page) who was "politically sensitive."

The narrative manufactured by the security state agencies and laundered by their reliable media servants about these critical matters was a sham, a fraud, a lie. Yet again, U.S. discourse was subsumed by propaganda because the U.S. media and key parts of the security state have decided that subverting the Trump presidency is of such a high priority – that their political judgment outweighs the results of the election – that everything, including outright lying even to courts let alone the public, is justified because the ends are so noble.

As Taibbi put it:

"No matter what people think the political meaning of the Horowitz report might be, reporters who read it will know: Anybody who touched this nonsense in print should be embarrassed."

No matter how dangerous you believe the Trump presidency to be, this is a grave threat to the pillars of U.S. democracy, a free press, an informed citizenry and the rule of law.* * * * *

Underlying all of this is another major lie spun over the last three years by the newly-minted media stars and liberal icons from the security state agencies. Ever since the Snowden reporting – indeed, prior to that, when the New York Times' Eric Lichtblau and Jim Risen (now with the Intercept) revealed in 2005 that the Bush-era NSA was illegally spying on U.S. citizens without the warrants required by law – it was widely understood that the FISA process was a rubber-stamping joke, an illusory safeguard that, in reality, offered no real limits on the ability of the U.S. Government to spy on its own citizens. Back in 2013 at the Guardian, I wrote a long article , based on Snowden documents, revealing what an empty sham this process was.

But over the last three years, the strategy of Democrats and liberals – particularly their cable outlets and news sites – has been to venerate and elevate security state agents as the noble truth-tellers of U.S. democracy. Once-reviled-by-liberal sites such as Lawfare – composed of little more than pro-NSA and pro-FBI apparatchiks – gained mainstream visibility for the first time on the strength of a whole new group of liberals who decided that the salvation of U.S. democracy lies not with the political process but with the dark arts of the NSA, the FBI and the CIA.

Sites like Lawfare – led by Comey-friend Benjamin Wittes and ex-NSA lawyer Susan Hennessey – became Twitter and cable news stars and used their platform to resuscitate what had been a long-discredited lie: namely, that the FISA process is highly rigorous and that the potential for abuse is very low. Liberals, eager to believe that the security state agencies opposed to Trump should be trusted despite their decades of violent lawlessness and systemic lying, came to believe in the sanctity of the NSA and the FISA process.

The IG Report obliterates that carefully cultivated delusion. It lays bare what a sham the whole FISA process is, how easy it is for the NSA and the FBI to obtain from the FISA court whatever authorization it wants to spy on any Americans they want regardless of how flimsy is the justification. The ACLU and other civil libertarians had spent years finally getting people to realize this truth, but it was wiped out by the Trump-era veneration of these security state agencies.

In an excellent article on the fallout from the IG Report , the New York Times' Charlie Savage, long one of the leading journalistic experts on these debates, makes clear how devastating these revelations are to this concocted narrative designed to lead Americans to trust the FBI and NSA's eavesdropping authorities :

At more than 400 pages, the study amounted to the most searching look ever at the government's secretive system for carrying out national-security surveillance on American soil. And what the report showed was not pretty.

The Justice Department's independent inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, and his team uncovered a staggeringly dysfunctional and error-ridden process in how the F.B.I. went about obtaining and renewing court permission under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, to wiretap Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

"The litany of problems with the Carter Page surveillance applications demonstrates how the secrecy shrouding the government's one-sided FISA approval process breeds abuse," said Hina Shamsi, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Security Project. "The concerns the inspector general identifies apply to intrusive investigations of others, including especially Muslims, and far better safeguards against abuse are necessary."

His exposé left some former officials who generally defend government surveillance practices aghast.

"These errors are bad," said David Kris, an expert in FISA who oversaw the Justice Department's National Security Division in the Obama administration. "If the broader audit of FISA applications reveals a systematic pattern of errors of this sort that plagued this one, then I would expect very serious consequences and reforms" .

Civil libertarians for years have called the surveillance court a rubber stamp because it only rarely rejects wiretap applications. Out of 1,080 requests by the government in 2018, for example, government records showed that the court fully denied only one.

Defenders of the system have argued that the low rejection rate stems in part from how well the Justice Department self-polices and avoids presenting the court with requests that fall short of the legal standard. They have also stressed that officials obey a heightened duty to be candid and provide any mitigating evidence that might undercut their request. . . .

But the inspector general found major errors, material omissions and unsupported statements about Mr. Page in the materials that went to the court. F.B.I. agents cherry-picked the evidence, telling the Justice Department information that made Mr. Page look suspicious and omitting material that cut the other way, and the department passed that misleading portrait onto the court.

This system of unlimited domestic spying was built by both parties, which only rouse themselves to object when the power lies in the other side's hands. Just last year, the vast majority of the GOP caucus joined with a minority of Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff to hand President Trump all-new domestic spying powers while blocking crucial reforms and safeguards to prevent abuse. The spying machinery that Edward Snowden risked his life and liberty to expose always has been, and still is, a bipartisan creation.

Perhaps these revelations will finally lead to a realization about how rogue, and dangerous, these police state agencies have become, and how urgently needed is serious reform. But if nothing else, it must serve as a tonic to the three years of unrelenting media propaganda that has deceived and misled millions of Americans into believing things that are simply untrue.

None of these journalists have acknowledged an iota of error in the wake of this report because they know that lying is not just permitted but encouraged as long as it pleases and vindicates the political beliefs of their audiences . Until that stops, credibility and faith in journalism will never be restored, and – despite how toxic it is to have a media that has no claim on credibility – that despised status will be fully deserved.

... ... ...


Great Deceivah2 , 6 minutes ago link

((((Glenn Greenwald))) via The Intercept,

The former (((Guardian))) "journalist" *** libtard Joo who lives in Brazil with his boyfriend, is going to tell us the truth about the (((FBI))) and the (((Deep State)))????

LOL

The (((Intercept))) has already ratted out at least one whistleblower to the Deep State, so be careful on who do you believe in..

https://www.mintpressnews.com/bad-track-record-gets-worse-new-whistleblower-outed-intercept/239822/

Xena fobe , 7 minutes ago link

MSM news never was trustworthy. At least not in my lifetime.

Soloamber , 10 minutes ago link

Don't wait for an apology from a cult . Simply shut them off .

How many businesses can get away with routinely lying to their customers .

For those die hard cult members you can say anything . Hello CNN , MSNBC , ABC .

Even FOX causes a gag reflex at times . Way too much preachy " info news " .

The format doesn't allow of these stations balanced or complete discussion .

I am sick of these people cutting off panelists . Anyone going on those shows better be able to say what they want in about

20 seconds .

Darracq , 53 minutes ago link

The most important point of the FISA abuse for surveillance authorization of 4 US citizens was for the purpose of collateral surveillance of all of their contacts with the Trump campaign, transition and White House

CashMcCall , 1 hour ago link

This story ain't got any legs at all...

Reality_checkers , 1 hour ago link

It's not a story, it's an insane rant by emotional cripple Glenn Greenwald.

Asoka_The_Great , 56 minutes ago link

Don't be fooled. Glenn Greenwald is one of those US Dark State/Mi6 operative, masquerade as a "journalist".

He here to fool the potential whistleblowers to come to him, so they will be disappeared into the CIA dungeons.

devnickle , 48 minutes ago link

So telling the truth makes you a tool?

I feel sorry for you.

Asoka_The_Great , 32 minutes ago link

He just trying to gain some credibility, not telling the Truth.

vienna_proxy , 1 hour ago link

investigate the 17 intel agencies that unanimously said Russia 'meddled' in the 2016 election. if they lied for political gain, then they are traitors for trying to start a war with Russia that endangers all Americans

Fluff The Cat , 1 hour ago link

I honestly don't care either way. The entire system is corrupt and overrun with Zionists from top to bottom, including of course the MSM. All this theater of a witch hunt against Trump is for show; in reality they're all on the same page, playing the American public for fools. That's why nothing significant ever changes no matter who gets into office. Always more wars for faux-Israel and the MIC, staged coups and proxy wars abroad, more regulatory capture, the national debt skyrocketing into oblivion, no border security, special privileges for a (((chosen few))) which violate Constitutional law, massive bailouts at taxpayers' expense, and on it goes.

CogitoMan , 1 hour ago link

I did not waste my time reading it all. Just skimmed few paragraphs to confirm that all of this was known to everybody long time ago.

To me the basic question is why Trump is a such *****. He should fire long time ago 3/4 of CIA, FBI, Justice Department and many other three letter government employers. He has full right as a president to do this. If he doesn't do that they eventually will destroy him.

Instead he is pussying around those grave issues and nobody gets punished for high crimes they committed. He is just tweeting crap that bear no consequences to anybody.

This is the best chance he's got to drain the swamp. But I am pretty sure swamp will stink for a long time after he is gone. In short, he is sissy unable to do the job he promised to do to the people who voted for him.

Damn loser!

[Dec 13, 2019] Review of Michael Rectenwald's book "Google Archipelago"

Notable quotes:
"... In his latest book, Google Archipelago , Rectenwald outlines how this system works, why leftism is synonymous with oppression, and how the Google Archipelago's regime of "simulated reality" "must be countered, not only with real knowledge, but with a metaphysics of truth." ..."
"... Gradually, Rectenwald began to realize that PC was not a philosophy, but the enemy of open inquiry. For this reason, and because Rectenwald is an expert in the so-called digital humanities and the long history of scientific (and pseudo-scientific) thinking that feeds into it, Google Archipelago is not just a dry monograph about a social issue. By turns memoir, Kafkaesque dream sequence, trenchant rebuke of leftist censorship, and intellectual history of woke corporate political correctness, Google Archipelago is a welcoming window into a mind working happily in overdrive. ..."
"... There is much in Google Archipelago addressing the lie that Google, Facebook, and Twitter are neutral platforms for free-ranging debate. This is not so much, because, statistically and empirically, it is irrefutable that Silicon Valley is hostile to non-Beltway-leftist opinions, but because, much more damningly, their woke-capital corporate structures are themselves iterations of massification, propaganda, and deep social control. For Rectenwald, the "Google archipelago" is not PC version 2.0; it is Marxism, version 1,000 (and raised by several orders of magnitude to boot). ..."
Dec 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

It is tempting to see this as a function of political correctness. Americans, and others around the world, who have found themselves on the "wrong side of history" (as determined by the cultural elite in an endless cycle of epistemological door closing) have long been shut out of conversations, their views deemed beyond the pale of acceptable discourse in enlightened modern societies. Google, Facebook, Twitter -- are these corporations, and their uber-woke CEOs, just cranking the PC up to eleven and imposing their schoolmarmish proclivities on the billions of people who want to scrawl messages on their electronic chalkboards?

Not so, says reformed leftist -- and current PC target -- Michael Rectenwald. The truth of Stanford and Harvard alumni's death grip on global discourse is much more complicated than just PC run amok. It is not that the Silicon Valley giants are agents of mass surveillance and censorship (although mass surveillance and censorship are precisely the business they're in). It's that the very system they have designed is, structurally, the same as the systems of oppression that blanketed and smothered free expression in so much of the world during the previous century.

In his latest book, Google Archipelago , Rectenwald outlines how this system works, why leftism is synonymous with oppression, and how the Google Archipelago's regime of "simulated reality" "must be countered, not only with real knowledge, but with a metaphysics of truth."

Google Archipelago is divided into eight chapters and is rooted in both Rectenwald's encyclopedic knowledge of the history of science and corporate control of culture, as well as in his own experiences. Before retiring, Rectenwald had been a professor at New York University, where he was thoroughly entrenched in the PC episteme that squelches real thought at universities across North America and beyond. Gradually, Rectenwald began to realize that PC was not a philosophy, but the enemy of open inquiry. For this reason, and because Rectenwald is an expert in the so-called digital humanities and the long history of scientific (and pseudo-scientific) thinking that feeds into it, Google Archipelago is not just a dry monograph about a social issue. By turns memoir, Kafkaesque dream sequence, trenchant rebuke of leftist censorship, and intellectual history of woke corporate political correctness, Google Archipelago is a welcoming window into a mind working happily in overdrive.

There is much in Google Archipelago addressing the lie that Google, Facebook, and Twitter are neutral platforms for free-ranging debate. This is not so much, because, statistically and empirically, it is irrefutable that Silicon Valley is hostile to non-Beltway-leftist opinions, but because, much more damningly, their woke-capital corporate structures are themselves iterations of massification, propaganda, and deep social control. For Rectenwald, the "Google archipelago" is not PC version 2.0; it is Marxism, version 1,000 (and raised by several orders of magnitude to boot).

For example, in the first and second chapters of Google Archipelago , Rectenwald lays out how the various elements of woke-capitalist ideological repression work together in actual practice. Rectenwald's chief example is the Gillette ad campaign of January 2019, in which a company whose products (razor blades and shaving cream) are purchased, of course, was said to insult the very essence of its customers by belittling manhood as "toxic." Why would a razor blade company go out of its way to alienate the people who buy the majority of razorblades? The answer is surprising. Rectenwald tells us Gillette was not simply responding to a renewed PC craze by running the "toxic masculinity" ad. Gillette, from the beginning, has been a pioneer in designing systems to mold public opinion and shape individuals into easily pliable socialist masses. King Camp Gillette, the founder of what is now the Gillette company, hated competition and sought to make, as he put it, a "world corporation." Through this corporation, the ignorant plebs around the globe could be impelled to do what their social and intellectual superiors -- the leaders of the "world corporation" -- thought was in their best interest. This "singular monopoly," as Rectenwald puts it, would control the material and mental makeup of the entire world. Quoting King Camp Gillette's biographer, Rectenwald adds, "It was almost as if Karl Marx had paused between The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital to develop a dissolving toothbrush or collapsible comb."

Rectenwald outlines a direct line of descent from this earlier corporate socialism of razor blades and "collapsible comb[s]" to the "authoritarian leftism" of the present digital age, authoritarian leftism being "the operational ethos of the Google Archipelago." The Google Archipelago's "wokeforce" practices what Rectenwald calls "avant-garde identity politics extremism," the organizing principle for deciding which parts of society are in revolt against PC and need to be excised from the archipelago of allowed opinion. The internet did create the "information superhighway," as was endlessly exclaimed by politicians and nascent digitalistas during the late 1990s. But it also amplified the structures of woke corporate control that had been in place since the beginning of globalized leftism, Marxian "capitalist" finance, and elite-led collectivism -- precisely the kind of inversion of free enterprise and perversion of the free market practiced by King Camp Gillette and his socialist comrades a hundred and more years before. The Google Archipelago is not a product of the personal computer, but of another kind of political correctness, the PC that is the manifestation of the same old human urge to control others and bring the world under the sway of one's will.

[Dec 10, 2019] The revealed face of the the USA ruling class during Trump impeachment is Neo-Orwellian.

Dec 10, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

clarky90 , , December 9, 2019 at 7:06 pm

The MSM is reporting the "impeachment" as if it was a serious (approved by expert academics) endeavor. However, the veil is lifting. The revealed face of the ruling class is Neo-Orwellian.

"Nadler's committee will likely vote to impeach Trump. In a report defining what it considers impeachable offenses, the committee states that even if Trump did not actually break any laws in his supposed "quid pro quo" dealings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he can still be impeached for his unstated motives.

"The question is not whether the president's conduct could have resulted from permissible motives. It is whether the president's real reasons, the ones in his mind at the time, were legitimate, " it stated."

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980918000328

Certainly they are working on mind wave tech, to scan us for "unstated motives" as we live our day to day lives?

[Dec 02, 2019] Cheap, ubiquitous cameras, microphones, and location trackers are the real issue. If the state can track everyone's movements and conversations, then it can build a better Stasi even with crude, simple AI

Notable quotes:
"... Seeing Like a State ..."
"... More generally, I think AI gets far too much of the billing in authoritarian apocalypse forecasts. Cheap, ubiquitous cameras, microphones, and location trackers are the real issue. If the state can track everyone's movements and conversations, then it can build a better Stasi even with crude, simple ai. ..."
Dec 02, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

The theory behind this is one of strength reinforcing strength – the strengths of ubiquitous data gathering and analysis reinforcing the strengths of authoritarian repression to create an unstoppable juggernaut of nearly perfectly efficient oppression. Yet there is another story to be told – of weakness reinforcing weakness. Authoritarian states were always particularly prone to the deficiencies identified in James Scott's Seeing Like a State – the desire to make citizens and their doings legible to the state, by standardizing and categorizing them, and reorganizing collective life in simplified ways, for example by remaking cities so that they were not organic structures that emerged from the doings of their citizens, but instead grand chessboards with ordered squares and boulevards, reducing all complexities to a square of planed wood . The grand state bureaucracies that were built to carry out these operations were responsible for multitudes of horrors, but also for the crumbling of the Stalinist state into a Brezhnevian desuetude, where everyone pretended to be carrying on as normal because everyone else was carrying on too. The deficiencies of state action, and its need to reduce the world into something simpler that it could comprehend and act upon created a kind of feedback loop, in which imperfections of vision and action repeatedly reinforced each other.

So what might a similar analysis say about the marriage of authoritarianism and machine learning? Something like the following, I think. There are two notable problems with machine learning. One – that while it can do many extraordinary things, it is not nearly as universally effective as the mythology suggests. The other is that it can serve as a magnifier for already existing biases in the data. The patterns that it identifies may be the product of the problematic data that goes in, which is (to the extent that it is accurate) often the product of biased social processes. When this data is then used to make decisions that may plausibly reinforce those processes (by singling e.g. particular groups that are regarded as problematic out for particular police attention, leading them to be more liable to be arrested and so on), the bias may feed upon itself.

This is a substantial problem in democratic societies, but it is a problem where there are at least some counteracting tendencies. The great advantage of democracy is its openness to contrary opinions and divergent perspectives . This opens up democracy to a specific set of destabilizing attacks but it also means that there are countervailing tendencies to self-reinforcing biases. When there are groups that are victimized by such biases, they may mobilize against it (although they will find it harder to mobilize against algorithms than overt discrimination). When there are obvious inefficiencies or social, political or economic problems that result from biases, then there will be ways for people to point out these inefficiencies or problems.

These correction tendencies will be weaker in authoritarian societies; in extreme versions of authoritarianism, they may barely even exist. Groups that are discriminated against will have no obvious recourse. Major mistakes may go uncorrected: they may be nearly invisible to a state whose data is polluted both by the means employed to observe and classify it, and the policies implemented on the basis of this data. A plausible feedback loop would see bias leading to error leading to further bias, and no ready ways to correct it. This of course, will be likely to be reinforced by the ordinary politics of authoritarianism, and the typical reluctance to correct leaders, even when their policies are leading to disaster. The flawed ideology of the leader (We must all study Comrade Xi thought to discover the truth!) and of the algorithm (machine learning is magic!) may reinforce each other in highly unfortunate ways.

In short, there is a very plausible set of mechanisms under which machine learning and related techniques may turn out to be a disaster for authoritarianism, reinforcing its weaknesses rather than its strengths, by increasing its tendency to bad decision making, and reducing further the possibility of negative feedback that could help correct against errors. This disaster would unfold in two ways. The first will involve enormous human costs: self-reinforcing bias will likely increase discrimination against out-groups, of the sort that we are seeing against the Uighur today. The second will involve more ordinary self-ramifying errors, that may lead to widespread planning disasters, which will differ from those described in Scott's account of High Modernism in that they are not as immediately visible, but that may also be more pernicious, and more damaging to the political health and viability of the regime for just that reason.

So in short, this conjecture would suggest that the conjunction of AI and authoritarianism (has someone coined the term 'aithoritarianism' yet? I'd really prefer not to take the blame), will have more or less the opposite effects of what people expect. It will not be Singapore writ large, and perhaps more brutal. Instead, it will be both more radically monstrous and more radically unstable.

Like all monotheoretic accounts, you should treat this post with some skepticism – political reality is always more complex and muddier than any abstraction. There are surely other effects (another, particularly interesting one for big countries such as China, is to relax the assumption that the state is a monolith, and to think about the intersection between machine learning and warring bureaucratic factions within the center, and between the center and periphery).Yet I think that it is plausible that it at least maps one significant set of causal relationships, that may push (in combination with, or against, other structural forces) towards very different outcomes than the conventional wisdom imagines. Comments, elaborations, qualifications and disagreements welcome.


Ben 11.25.19 at 6:32 pm (no link)

This seems to equivocate between two meanings of bias. Bias might mean a flaw that leads to empirically incorrect judgements and so to bad decisions, and it's true that that type of bias could destabilize an authoritarian state. But what we usually worry about with machine learning is that the system will find very real, but deeply unjust, patterns in the data, and reinforce those pattern. If there's a particular ethnic group that really does produce a disproportionate number of dissidents, and an algorithm leads to even-more-excessive repression of that group -- I'm not sure why an authoritarian state would see a stability threat in that tendency.

More generally, I think AI gets far too much of the billing in authoritarian apocalypse forecasts. Cheap, ubiquitous cameras, microphones, and location trackers are the real issue. If the state can track everyone's movements and conversations, then it can build a better Stasi even with crude, simple ai.

faustusnotes 11.26.19 at 1:00 am (no link)
I'd just like to point out (re: the tweet in the original post) that the "Uighur face-matching AI" idea is bullshit invented by scaremongers, with no basis in fact and traceable to a shoddy reddit thread. The Chinese government is not using facial recognition to identify Uighur, and the facial recognition fears about the Chinese government are vastly overstated.

Australia's border control facial recognition software is far more advanced than China's, as is the UK's, and facial recognition is actually pretty common in democracies. See e.g. the iPhone.

The main areas in which China uses facial recognition are in verifying ID for some high cost functions (like buying high speed rail tickets), and it's quite easy to avoid these functions by joining a queue and paying a human. The real intrusiveness of the Chinese security state is in its constant bag searches and very human-centric abuses of power in everyday life in connection with "security". Whether you get stopped and searched depends a lot on very arbitrary and error prone judgments by bored security staff at railway stations, in public squares, and on buses, not some evil intrusive state technology.

Conversely, the UK is a world leader in installing and using CCTV cameras, and has been for a long time. Furthermore, these CCTV cameras are a huge boon to law-abiding citizens, since they act as both excellent forms of crime prevention (I have had this experience myself) and for finding serious criminals. The people responsible for the death of those 39 Vietnamese labourers in the ice truck were caught because of CCTV; so was the guy who murdered that woman on the street in Melbourne a few years ago.

Finally to address another point that's already been raised (sadly): China no longer harvests organs, and the 2019 report that says it does is a sham. The social credit system is also largely a myth, and nobody from China even seems to know wtf it is.

If you're going to talk about how state's work, and the relative merits of autocratic vs. democratic states and their interaction with technology, it's a really good idea to get the basic facts right first.

Nathanael 11.26.19 at 6:10 am (no link)
I'll add that John Quiggin's point that Xi has already lost control of the provinces is correct -- but it DOES threaten his position as dictator. Once the provincial governors know they can act with impunity, it is absolutely standard for the next step to be getting rid of that annoying guy who is pretending to be dictator. It may take a few years but Xi now has dozens of powerful insiders who know that he's a weakling. They'll bide their time but when he crosses too many of them they'll take him out. And if China doesn't shut down coal, he's going to look like a weakling internationally too, in a couple of years. This will create a new group of ambitious insiders with a different reason to take him out.

Xi broke the "technocratic consensus" which was present after Deng, of central committee members who strove for competence and fact-based decision-making. That was a surprisingly effective type of junta government which led to lots of thinkpieces about whether authoritarian China would beat the democratic west. But it succumbed to the succession problem, like all authoritarian systems; Xi made himself Premier-for-life and the country is now exhibiting all the usual failures of authoritarian countries.

Hidari 11.26.19 at 9:08 am (no link)
@11 Yes it's strange that allegations of Chinese use of facial recognition software is gaining so much traction at a time when the Trump regime is deliberately ratcheting up tensions with China to pursue nakedly imperial goals, when the objective facts of Israeli use of similar software, which the Israelis boast about ( https://www.nbcnews.com/news/all/why-did-microsoft-fund-israeli-firm-surveils-west-bank-palestinians-n1072116 ) doesn't cause so much interest, at a time when the Trump regime has simple decreed that the Israeli invasion/colonisation of Palestine is 'legal under international law'.

One of life's little mysteries I guess.

If we must talk about China could we at least bring it back to areas where we are responsible and where, therefore, we can do something about it?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/01/blackwater-founder-erik-prince-to-build-training-camp-in-chinas-xinjiang

[Nov 27, 2019] A cage went in search of a bird

Nov 27, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

Publishing here my afterword for "2030, A New Vision for Europe", the manifesto for European Data Protection Supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, who died this summer. The manifesto was developed by Christian D'Cunha, who works in the EDPS office, based on his many conversations with Giovanni.

"A cage went in search of a bird"

Franz Kafka certainly knew how to write a story. The eight-word aphorism he jotted down in a notebook a century ago reveals so much about our world today. Surveillance goes in search of subjects. Use-cases go in search of profit. Walled gardens go in search of tame customers. Data-extractive monopolies go in search of whole countries, of democracy itself, to envelop and re-shape, to cage and control. The cage of surveillance technology stalks the world, looking for birds to trap and monetise. And it cannot stop itself. The surveillance cage is the original autonomous vehicle, driven by financial algorithms it doesn't control. So when we describe our data-driven world as 'Kafka-esque', we are speaking a deeper truth than we even guess.

Giovanni knew this. He knew that data is power and that the radical concentration of power in a tiny number of companies is not a technocratic concern for specialists but an existential issue for our species. Giovanni's manifesto, Privacy 2030: A Vision for Europe, goes far beyond data protection. It connects the dots to show how data-maximisation exploits power asymmetries to drive global inequality. It spells out how relentless data-processing actually drives climate change. Giovanni's manifesto calls for us to connect the dots in how we respond, to start from the understanding that sociopathic data-extraction and mindless computation are the acts of a machine that needs to be radically reprogrammed.

... ... ...

In October 2018, the Vatican's Papal Nuncio to the European Union wrote to Giovanni to support the work of the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. He said technology is a precious resource when it's working for everyone, but that technology alone cannot set the direction of human progress. You don't have to be a Catholic to insist that we ditch cute, reductionist mind-games like the 'trolley problem' to decide who wins and who loses, and insist that technology ethics are instead grounded in respect for people. And you shouldn't have to sound radical to insist that tech business models must serve and be accountable to us, not the other way around.

The manifesto and its Ten-Point Plan for Sustainable Privacy show there is another digital path forward. Not the oppressive brittleness of China's state sovereignty model, and not the colonialist extraction of Silicon Valley. There is a European Union version of the Internet that starts with the society we as citizens want to live in, and then figures out how to get there. It recognises that just as we don't live our lives to serve corporate interests, nor must we sacrifice our private and public spaces to serve the state. Because in any future we actively want to live in, autonomy is for humans, not machines.

The European vision of our digital future will take the work of many of our lifetimes to achieve. That eight-word story doesn't have an ending we can yet see. The surveillance cage cannot help but try to trap birds. That's its programming. That's just what it does. But the cage isn't the technology; the cage is our flawed and narrow assumptions about what technology can do.

notGoodenough 11.19.19 at 11:02 am (no link)

Gareth Wilson @ 1

With respect, nowhere in the post has it been implied that iris scanners are required for refugee camps, so you would appear to be disagreeing with a position that hasn´t been proposed.

I won´t speak for the OP, but I think it is not a particularly controversial idea that technology can facilitate things (for good or ill), and so it would seem not unreasonable that there should be at least some consideration of potential ethical and social ramifications during the process of implementation.

For example, most people using modern technology generate information about themselves (the websites they visit, who they follow on the twitters, who is facebook friends, etc.). What should be that person´s right to privacy and control over their information? I don´t think it requires the most active imagination to think of ways this could be exploited (and indeed, one might be able to find examples even now), and leaving these things unregulated does rather open that possibility.

While people may disagree whether or not it is problematic for companies to undertake commodification our electronic information (and to what extent, if any, this should be regulated), I would hope you agree that the conversation is worth having?

[Nov 26, 2019] The problem with the loyalty of government employees in the state that strive to dominate the world

Notable quotes:
"... America was feared by many intellectuals, both in the United States and Britain of the 1940s and 1950s, and their fears were not unwarranted. ..."
"... Big, brawny America – its power establishment – very much was inclined towards dominating the world after WWII. The whole tone of the American press and speeches of major political figures in the period was actually quite frightening. Any highly intelligent, sensitive type would be concerned by it. ..."
"... America wanted a monopoly on nuclear weapons, so that it would be in an unassailable position as it built its imperial apparatus after WWII, the time effectively it "took over" as world imperial power with so many potential competitors flattened. ..."
"... Later, the Pentagon actually planned things like an all-out first strike on the Soviets – it did that more once as well as doing so later for China – so there were indeed plenty of dark intentions in Washington. ..."
"... Spies and ex-spies often put disinformation into their books. Sometimes officials even insist they do so. ..."
Nov 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

Comments below are from Was Robert Oppenheimer a Soviet Agent, by John Wear - The Unz Review


JOHN CHUCKMAN , says: Website November 25, 2019 at 8:59 am GMT

The motives for so many Western spies serving the Soviet Union – and in the 1940s and 1950s the Soviets had the best "humint" on earth – were rather idealistic. This was largely true for the Cambridge Circle in Britain. They were concerned that America was going to "lord it over" the Russians and everyone else.

America was feared by many intellectuals, both in the United States and Britain of the 1940s and 1950s, and their fears were not unwarranted.

Big, brawny America – its power establishment – very much was inclined towards dominating the world after WWII. The whole tone of the American press and speeches of major political figures in the period was actually quite frightening. Any highly intelligent, sensitive type would be concerned by it.

You certainly did not have to be a communist to feel that way, but being one assisted with access to important Soviet contacts. They sought you out.

America wanted a monopoly on nuclear weapons, so that it would be in an unassailable position as it built its imperial apparatus after WWII, the time effectively it "took over" as world imperial power with so many potential competitors flattened.

It made little secret of its desire to keep such a monopoly, so brilliant people like Oppenheimer would be well aware of something they might well regard as ominous.

Later, the Pentagon actually planned things like an all-out first strike on the Soviets – it did that more once as well as doing so later for China – so there were indeed plenty of dark intentions in Washington.

A hugely important general like MacArthur was unblinkingly ready in 1950 to use atomic weapons in the Korean War to destroy North Korea's connections with China.

I read several major biographies of Oppenheimer, and there is little to nothing concerning Soviet intelligence work. When I came across the Sudoplatov book with its straightforward declaration of Oppenheimer's assistance, it was difficult to know how to weigh the claim.

Spies and ex-spies often put disinformation into their books. Sometimes officials even insist they do so.

Judging by what is suggested here, if Oppenheimer did help, it was in subtle ways like letting Klaus Fuchs, a fellow scientist and a rather distinguished one (but a Soviet spy), look at certain papers. But the scientific community always has some considerable tendency to share information, a tendency having nothing to do with spying.

In general, it should be understood, that Oppenheimer, despite all his brilliance, was a rather disturbed man all his life. Quite early on, as just one example, he attempted to poison someone he did not like. Only pure luck prevented the man's eating a lethally-laced apple. There were other disturbing behaviors too.

He was subject to severe emotional breakdowns.

SolontoCroesus , says: November 25, 2019 at 12:10 pm GMT

"the[y] . . . saw themselves as a new breed of superstatesmen whose mandate transcended national boundaries"

Like Vindman

another anon , says: November 25, 2019 at 12:20 pm GMT

Later they believed that equality of superpower status for the Soviet Union would contribute to world peace.

How dumb were these "scientists". Everyone knows that once Soviet Union fell, peace and freedom and democracy are flowering all over the world and United States are not waging any wars anymore.

[Nov 21, 2019] The Origins Of Thought Police... And Why They Should Scare Us

Notable quotes:
"... Finally, the Thought Police were also inspired by the human struggle for self-honesty and the pressure to conform. "The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe," Rudyard Kipling once observed. ..."
"... The struggle to remain true to one's self was also felt by Orwell, who wrote about "the smelly little orthodoxies" that contend for the human soul. Orwell prided himself with a "power of facing unpleasant facts" -- something of a rarity in humans -- even though it often hurt him in British society. ..."
"... In a sense, 1984 is largely a book about the human capacity to maintain a grip on the truth in the face of propaganda and power. ..."
"... The new Thought Police may be less sinister than the ThinkPol in 1984 , but the next generation will have to decide if seeking conformity of thought or language through public shaming is healthy or suffocating. FEE's Dan Sanchez recently observed that many people today feel like they're "walking on eggshells" and live in fear of making a verbal mistake that could draw condemnation. ..."
"... When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that the Stasi , East Germany's secret police, had a full-time staff of 91,000. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but what's frightening is that the organization had almost double that in informants, including children. And it wasn't just children reporting on parents; sometimes it was the other way around." ..."
"... Movies like the Matrix actually helped people to question everything. What is real and not. Who is the enemy, and can we be sure. And when Conspiracy theories become fact, people learn. The problem is in later generations who get indoctrinated at school and college to not think, not question. Rational examination is forbidden. ..."
Nov 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Origins Of Thought Police... And Why They Should Scare Us by Tyler Durden Thu, 11/21/2019 - 20:25 0 SHARES

Authored by Jon Miltimore via The Foundation for Economic Education,

There are a lot of unpleasant things in George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984 . Spying screens. Torture and propaganda. Victory Gin and Victory Coffee always sounded particularly dreadful. And there is Winston Smith's varicose ulcer, apparently a symbol of his humanity (or something), which always seems to be "throbbing." Gross.

None of this sounds very enjoyable, but it's not the worst thing in 1984 . To me, the most terrifying part was that you couldn't keep Big Brother out of your head.

Unlike other 20th-century totalitarians, the authoritarians in 1984 aren't that interested in controlling behavior or speech. They do, of course, but it's only as a means to an end. Their real goal is to control the gray matter between the ears.

"When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will," O'Brien (the bad guy) tells the protagonist Winston Smith near the end of the book.

We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him.

Big Brother's tool for doing this is the Thought Police, aka the ThinkPol, who are assigned to root out and punish unapproved thoughts. We see how this works when Winston's neighbor Parsons, an obnoxious Party sycophant, is reported to the Thought Police by his own child, who heard him commit a thought crime while talking in his sleep.

"It was my little daughter," Parsons tells Winston when asked who it was who denounced him.

"She listened at the keyhole. Heard what I was saying, and nipped off to the patrols the very next day. Pretty smart for a nipper of seven, eh?"

Who Are These Thought Police?

We don't know a lot about the Thought Police, and some of what we think we know may actually not be true since some of what Winston learns comes from the Inner Party, and they lie.

What we know is this: The Thought Police are secret police of Oceania -- the fictional land of 1984 that probably consists of the UK, the Americas, and parts of Africa -- who use surveillance and informants to monitor the thoughts of citizens. The Thought Police also use psychological warfare and false-flag operations to entrap free thinkers or nonconformists.

Those who stray from Party orthodoxy are punished but not killed. The Thought Police don't want to kill nonconformists so much as break them. This happens in Room 101 of the Ministry of Love, where prisoners are re-educated through degradation and torture. (Funny sidebar: the name Room 101 apparently was inspired by a conference room at the BBC in which Orwell was forced to endure tediously long meetings.)

The Origins of the Thought Police

Orwell didn't create the Thought Police out of thin air. They were inspired to at least some degree by his experiences in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), a complicated and confusing affair. What you really need to know is that there were no good guys, and it ended with left-leaning anarchists and Republicans in Spain crushed by their Communist overlords, which helped the fascists win.

Orwell, an idealistic 33-year-old socialist when the conflict started, supported the anarchists and loyalists fighting for the left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, which received most of its support from the Soviet Union and Josef Stalin. (That might sound bad, but keep in mind that the Nazis were on the other side.) Orwell described the atmosphere in Barcelona in December 1936 when everything seemed to be going well for his side.

The anarchists were still in virtual control of Catalonia and the revolution was still in full swing ... It was the first time that I had ever been in a town where the working class was in the saddle,

he wrote in Homage to Catalonia.

[E]very wall was scrawled with the hammer and sickle ... every shop and café had an inscription saying that it had been collectivized.

That all changed pretty fast. Stalin, a rather paranoid fellow, was bent on making Republican Spain loyal to him . Factions and leaders perceived as loyal to his exiled Communist rival, Leon Trotsky , were liquidated. Loyal Communists found themselves denounced as fascists. Nonconformists and "uncontrollables" were disappeared.

Orwell never forgot the purges or the steady stream of lies and propaganda churned out from Communist papers during the conflict. (To be fair, their Nationalist opponents also used propaganda and lies .) Stalin's NKVD was not exactly like the Thought Police -- the NKVD showed less patience with its victims -- but they certainly helped inspire Orwell's secret police.

The Thought Police were not all propaganda and torture, though. They also stem from Orwell's ideas on truth. During his time in Spain, he saw how power could corrupt truth, and he shared these reflections in his work George Orwell: My Country Right or Left, 1940-1943 .

...I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed. I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors, and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as the heroes of imaginary victories; and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that had never happened.

In short, Orwell's brush with totalitarianism left him worried that "the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world."

This scared him. A lot. He actually wrote, "This kind of thing is frightening to me."

Finally, the Thought Police were also inspired by the human struggle for self-honesty and the pressure to conform. "The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe," Rudyard Kipling once observed.

The struggle to remain true to one's self was also felt by Orwell, who wrote about "the smelly little orthodoxies" that contend for the human soul. Orwell prided himself with a "power of facing unpleasant facts" -- something of a rarity in humans -- even though it often hurt him in British society.

In a sense, 1984 is largely a book about the human capacity to maintain a grip on the truth in the face of propaganda and power.

It might be tempting to dismiss Orwell's book as a figment of dystopian literature. Unfortunately, that's not as easy as it sounds. Modern history shows he was onto something.

When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that the Stasi, East Germany's secret police, had a full-time staff of 91,000.

When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that the Stasi , East Germany's secret police, had a full-time staff of 91,000. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but what's frightening is that the organization had almost double that in informants, including children. And it wasn't just children reporting on parents; sometimes it was the other way around.

Nor did the use of state spies to prosecute thoughtcrimes end with the fall of the Soviet Union. Believe it or not, it's still happening today. The New York Times recently ran a report featuring one Peng Wei, a 21-year-old Chinese chemistry major. He is one of the thousands of "student information officers" China uses to root out professors who show signs of disloyalty to President Xi Jinping or the Communist Party.

The New Thought Police?

The First Amendment of the US Constitution, fortunately, largely protects Americans from the creepy authoritarian systems found in 1984 , East Germany, and China; but the rise of "cancel culture" shows the pressure to conform to all sorts of orthodoxies (smelly or not) remains strong.

The new Thought Police may be less sinister than the ThinkPol in 1984 , but the next generation will have to decide if seeking conformity of thought or language through public shaming is healthy or suffocating. FEE's Dan Sanchez recently observed that many people today feel like they're "walking on eggshells" and live in fear of making a verbal mistake that could draw condemnation.

That's a lot of pressure, especially for people still learning the acceptable boundaries of a new moral code that is constantly evolving. Most people, if the pressure is sufficient, will eventually say "2+2=5" just to escape punishment. That's exactly what Winston Smith does at the end of 1984 , after all. Yet Orwell also leaves readers with a glimmer of hope.

"Being in a minority, even a minority of one, did not make you mad," Orwell wrote.

"There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad."

In other words, the world may be mad, but that doesn't mean you have to be.


Cardinal Fang , 40 minutes ago link

Frank Zappa asked this very question decades ago...

Who Are The Brain Police?

https://youtu.be/DuABc9ZNtrA

sbin , 1 hour ago link

Was raised reading

  • Orwell has many good books.
  • Burmese days
  • Down and out in Paris and London

Nice that an author referenced Orwell but if you do not understand the original works then the authors reference is meaningless.

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 , 1 hour ago link

" When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that the Stasi, East Germany's secret police, had a full-time staff of 91,000.

When the Berlin Wall came down in November 1989, it was revealed that the Stasi , East Germany's secret police, had a full-time staff of 91,000. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but what's frightening is that the organization had almost double that in informants, including children. And it wasn't just children reporting on parents; sometimes it was the other way around."

Confidential informants should be illegal.

How many people are employed by the various Federal intelligence agencies, of which there are 17 the last time I heard. Hundreds of thousands of Federal employees, protected by strong government employee unions.

When this shitshow goes live, it will only take a small team to shut off the water that is necessary to keep the NSA servers cool in Utah.

New_Meat , 2 hours ago link

"Unlike other 20th-century totalitarians, ..."

I offer DPRK and in many ways PRC as counter-examples.

Thom Paine , 2 hours ago link

Movies like the Matrix actually helped people to question everything. What is real and not. Who is the enemy, and can we be sure. And when Conspiracy theories become fact, people learn. The problem is in later generations who get indoctrinated at school and college to not think, not question. Rational examination is forbidden.

[Nov 14, 2019] Alert! Court Actually Claws Back Post-9-11 Search Creep by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

Notable quotes:
"... "The border has become a rights-free zone for Americans who have to travel," Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said in a statement given to Boland at the time. "The founders never could have imagined that the government would be able to sift through your entire digital life, from pictures to emails and even where you've been, just because you decide to take a vacation or travel for work." ..."
Nov 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Alert! Court Actually Claws Back Post-9/11 Search Creep

New ruling puts the brakes on practice of seizing travelers' laptops and cell phones. (Shutterstock/By Carolina K. Smith MD)

At last a victory for citizens. For nearly 20 years, the federal government has used and abused the memory of the 9/11 attacks to expand its law enforcement authorities at the nation's airports, even if that has meant broaching one of our most sacrosanct constitutional freedoms: the right against illegal search and seizure, otherwise known as the 4th Amendment.

On Tuesday, a federal court in Boston ruled that the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can no longer detain Americans coming back over the border to search their laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices, without cause. One would think this is a no-brainer, but the number of these incidents has actually escalated to over 33,000 last year -- nearly four times as many as the previous three years, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

The ruling came in a lawsuit, Alasaad v. McAleenan , filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and ACLU of Massachusetts, on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without individualized suspicion at U.S. ports of entry.

International travelers returning to the United States have reported numerous cases of abusive searches in recent months. While searching through the phone of Zainab Merchant, a plaintiff in the Alasaad case, a border agent knowingly rifled through privileged attorney-client communications. An immigration officer at Boston Logan Airport reportedly searched an incoming Harvard freshman's cell phone and laptop, reprimanded the student for friends' social media postings expressing views critical of the U.S. government, and denied the student entry into the country following the search.

According to EFF, border officers "must now demonstrate individualized suspicion of illegal contraband before they can search a traveler's device."

TAC's Barbara Boland reported on this over the summer . The number of electronic devices accessed in 2018 was six times the number in 2012, suggesting that this is not only a post-9/11 issue, but that somewhere along the line the Trump Administration signaled to these agencies, which are all under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security, that it was gloves-off at the border -- even for American citizens. Lest you think this is just an extension of the president's tough illegal immigration policies, be warned, many of the folks targeted were typical international visitors and U.S. citizens -- think students, journalists, academics, doctors -- and not travelers to this country for the first time. And they were treated like they were coming into the Third World. From Boland:

One person detailed to Amnesty International how she was selected for secondary screening at the border, locked in a cramped, narrow concrete cell, and subjected to an invasive body search. Her requests for a lawyer and medical treatment were denied. The supervisor told her she would be held indefinitely.

When she told him that she is an American citizen, he replied: "The Fourth Amendment doesn't apply here. We can hold you for as long as we want to."

She was released after four hours.

Journalist Seth Harp wrote a similarly disturbing story about what happened when he was singled out for a "secondary screening" at the Austin Airport in Texas. CBP agents pried him for information about what he was writing, his sources, his reporting as a war correspondent, and his discussions with his editors.

"The border has become a rights-free zone for Americans who have to travel," Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said in a statement given to Boland at the time. "The founders never could have imagined that the government would be able to sift through your entire digital life, from pictures to emails and even where you've been, just because you decide to take a vacation or travel for work."

Let's hope that Tuesday's order fixes that -- though it might take a Supreme Court ruling to put an end to it for good.

[Nov 14, 2019] You know what will be the next big headline with Google and health services? It will be the discovery that Google has secretly purchased access to people's DNA from Ancestry or 23andMe and now they will link your DNA with all those health records. Can't tell me that they are not negotiating for it.

Nov 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The Rev Kev , November 12, 2019 at 9:18 am

I've seen this movie before. After a lot of legal wrangling, Google will admit they they might have bent the rules a bit and will have to pay a few billion in fines which they will proceed to claim back on their next tax form. They will ensure, however, that they do not admit doing something illegal in court and so no executives will go to the slammer to stop this happening again. Google will also promise to delete that data.

Meanwhile, a copy of all these files will have gone to a set of their servers in a country that the US legal system cannot access where it will be analyzed further. Perhaps Google techs will be able to access it in California on a secured line. Non Disclosure Agreements will ensure that nobody talks about this work.

You know what will be the next big headline with Google and health services? It will be the discovery that Google has secretly purchased access to people's DNA from Ancestry or 23andMe and now they will link your DNA with all those health records. Can't tell me that they are not negotiating for it.

petal , November 12, 2019 at 9:42 am

Google is a minority investor in 23andMe. I don't have time to go digging about data sharing/purchasing, though. Maybe someone else can?

The Rev Kev , November 12, 2019 at 9:52 am

Thanks for that petal. Looks like it is going to be 23andMe and not Ancestry. Want a fun fact that I have just discovered? And I quote-

Sergey Brin, president of technology and a co-founder of Google is the husband of 23andMe Co-founder Anne Wojcicki. He previously invested around $10 million of his own money in 23andMe's convertible debt financing, which was converted into Series B preferred stock as part of 23andMe's Series B round.

How about that! Article at-

https://www.genomeweb.com/dxpgx/google-invests-another-26m-23andme

petal , November 12, 2019 at 10:13 am

Oh yes, was aware of that for quite a while now. The companies have been attached at the hip from the beginning. Pillow talk? They are no longer together(Brin and Wojcicki). She was linked with ARod for awhile haha. Interesting group of characters involved.

Krystyn Walentka , November 13, 2019 at 12:24 pm

My one regret was using 23andme, but I have to say it helped me so much it tempers the fact that I know parts of my "unidentifiable" genome is flying around out there somewhere. I think using gmail is more of a risk in reality. There is a lot more regulation risk pertaining to DNA data already on the books. Not saying it would stop them.

I was already degoogled before this Ascension news, but I just told my friends that I will not email them if they have a gmail address. A total boycott of google from me.

Otis B Driftwood , November 12, 2019 at 9:40 am

I work in healthcare IT, and I can certainly attest to the fact that insurance companies are keenly interested in acquiring clinical data. The term of art for this is "chart chasing", and right now it is pretty much a manual process wherein the patient data is gathered by insurance company workers or their subcontractors reaching out to medical facilities for the patient data residing in file cabinets or computers.

It should come as no surprise that healthcare IT companies see a business opportunity in making this work more efficiently for payers – to suck in data at a rate that is orders of magnitude faster than currently possible. And you can be certain they are working on this right now.

What Google may or may be up to with patient data is another issue entirely.

Under HIPAA, a covered entity may acquire access to patient data under a so-called "purpose of use" that include Treatment, Payment or Operations.

The purpose of the HIPAA Privacy Rule was to introduce restrictions on the allowable uses and disclosures of protected health information, stipulating when, with whom, and under what circumstances, health information could be shared. Another important purpose of the HIPAA Privacy Rule was to give patients access to their health data on request. The purpose of the HIPAA Security Rule is mainly to ensure electronic health data is appropriately secured, access to electronic health data is controlled, and an auditable trail of PHI activity is maintained.

Full article here: https://www.hipaajournal.com/purpose-of-hipaa/

If Google is developing software to analyze data on behalf of Ascension, that's one thing. They should not have access to the data itself. It's an important distinction. And I don't trust Google to do the right thing.

As a patient, I would advise anyone who is worried about their data being shared with third parties to contact their doctor and ask them about their policy with respect to release of their data. You may find that the facility is releasing your information as they have an "opt-out" policy. If so, demand that your data not be shared without your explicit consent.

Google tried their hand at healthcare about 10 years ago with their failed Google Health project. They staffed the team with people who had no background in healthcare, but were otherwise the best and the brightest.

See https://www.mobihealthnews.com/11480/10-reasons-why-google-health-failed/

Incidentally, Microsoft's Healthvault project only faired somewhat better. MS shutdown the project this month.

Finally, as someone who has worked in healthcare interoperability I disagree strongly that digitizing health data has been a one-sided disaster. On the contrary, giving clinicians access to health information about patients across different settings of care has in fact improved the quality of care and saved lives. I'm proud of my work in helping make this happen.

I should also note that making de-identified healtchare data available for population-based analytics is also a good thing. It's not always about squeezing more $$$ out of patients.

Carolinian , November 12, 2019 at 9:48 am

Thanks for the post. The Affordable Care Act was an IT mess too. Perhaps Obama should have paid more attention during those meetings with what he called his "propeller heads" instead of playing with his Blackberry. But Al "streamlining government" Gore comes in for some blame too. These days we seem to barely regulate anything (except consumers trying to bring in drugs from overseas).

Some of us used to defend Google around here but that's long gone. Bezos has talked about trying to get involved in health care as well. Perhaps Google felt they had to beat him to the punch.

David Carl Grimes , November 12, 2019 at 10:13 am

Google also bought Fitbit giving them access to our exercise records

[Nov 14, 2019] Google Collecting Medical Data on Millions Without Informing Patients or Doctors

Nov 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on November 12, 2019 by Yves Smith The Wall Street Journal has broken an important story on Google's foray into the medical arena . Without notifying patients or doctors, much the less obtaining their consent, the search giant has obtained the medical records of "tens of millions of people" in 21 states, all patients of Ascension, a St. Louis-based chain of 2600 hospitals.

Moreover, you can see that the effort is aggressive, with the aim of generating patient medical histories, linking individuals to family members, and making staffing and treatment suggestions .as well as identifying opportunities for upcoding and other ways to milk patients.

... ... ...

However, Journal readers (at least as far as I read, and I got pretty far into the hundreds of comments) were without exception very upset about the prospect of Google having access to their medical data. Given that Big Tech is in the crosshairs of more than a few Congresscritters, one can hope that Google and Ascension officials will soon have to 'splain themselves.

A few examples:

stuart jenner

NO. I use Google AdWords They provide the data that they need in order to sell us .

No, I don't trust Google with my information. They will set their systems to disadvantage patients, they will jerk partners around & and they will take away info people rely on in order to raise their prices -- examples galore.

David Kessinger

Who will Google sell this information to? If they can't sell it in some form they wouldn't bother with it. Google at it's core has no ethics beyond how to get money – to heck with who gets hurts.

STEVEN FRANKEL

This is not comforting. Rest assured this most personal information will be accessed by people you do not want anywhere near your personal information at some time. What would it take for Google or any other company or government employee to allow unauthorized people to your information? Probably not very much. And even a subpoena, how tough is that to obtain with the flimsiest of pretexts, especially with government employees not accountable for perjury, even to a FISA court? I would not give my doctor any information if it goes into a computer; I would rather pay cash and have no records other than the ones I would keep on flash drive.

It's not hard to understand some of the motives for an initiative like this. As we've repeatedly posted, relying on the considerable work of the Health Care Renewal blog, electronic health records are a train wreck. They are designed around billing, not around doctor needs. Health Care Renewal has stressed that they if anything have made matters worse for doctors by diverting attention from patients and making it harder to find relevant information to the degree that they undermine care . They have been cited as a contributor to doctor burnout and even the reason some doctors stop practicing . An authoritative body, the ECRI Institute, even listed health care information technology as its number one patient risk in large health care organizations .

They are also often designed by relatively small players, so not only are they kludgy, but they are seldom compatible across health care organizations.

So you can see why there would be demand for a health care information system that is actually about health care. But given that Ascension has explicit upcoding and upselling motives, will that really result, or will this just be a less terrible, more portable version of the current EHRs?

Oh, and if you believe Google, this won't just be about EHRs and helping organizations like
Ascension pull in more revenues (which translates into making health care an even bigger percentage of GDP), but bring techno hocus pocus to medicine. We quoted this section earlier:

Google in this case is using the data in part to design new software, underpinned by advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, that zeroes in on individual patients to suggest changes to their care.

Notice that this is vaporware: Google hopes to do all of this but it remains to be seen what it can do. And it's not clear that even with data on so many patients that it could develop decent AI for medical purposes. Bias in studies is already a big problem with medical research. One problem is that some populations are very much under-represented. Women are under-treated for heart disease in part because doctors see men as being at more risk, which is reinforced by studied being done mainly on men. Similarly, women have more trouble with hip replacements than men do because the studies were done on men but women are not small men. They load their hips differently.

[Nov 08, 2019] Assange lawyers links to US govt and Bill Browder raises questions by Lucy Komisar

Notable quotes:
"... Browder is key in the U.S. demonization of Russia. Assange has exposed U.S. war crimes. For lawyers associated in the British legal system to take both sides on that conflict would appear to be an egregious conflict of interest. But it fits with the U.S.-UK support of the Browder-Magnitsky hoax and their cooperation in the attack on Assange. ..."
"... Bailin is a member of Matrix Chambers, which was founded by the wife of Tony Blair, the former neocon Labor British Prime Minister. He is solidly in the Browder camp. He represented Leonid Nevzlin, a major partner of Browder collaborator Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who according to filings with FARA (the Foreign Agents Registration Act), paid $385,000 for Congress to adopt the Magnitsky Act which has been used by the U.S. as a weapon against the Russian government. ..."
"... In 2017 British legal actions surrounding an inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy, he represented Browder, who claimed that the Russian, who died of a heart attack, was somehow a victim of Russian President Putin. Perepilichnyy had lost money in investments he was handling for clients and had to get out of town. ..."
"... Needing support, he decamped to London and gave Browder documents relating to his client's questionable bank transfers. He died after a jog, Browder claimed he was poisoned by a rare botanical substance, obviously ordered by Putin, but forensic tests found that untrue. Robertson accused local police of a cover-up. ..."
"... Why did Assange or his advisors choose lawyers associated with the interests of the U.S. government and Browder? Or how could those lawyers be so ignorant about the facts of Browder's massive tax evasion and his Magnitsky story fabrications? ..."
"... What we are seeing now is no different from the Lula case in Brazil or any one of a thousand similar cases in authoritarian regimes. Upset the Deep State and you face selected targeted application of the law and the destruction of your life and future. ..."
"... because of the peculiar quirks of the legal system in Britain that may include a great deal of secrecy about how aspects of it operate, is how Julian Assange came to have such a dubious legal representation with its various connections to Bill Browder and Mikhail Khodorkovsky ..."
"... who is going to foot these barristers' bills? ..."
Nov 08, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Assange lawyers' links to US govt & Bill Browder raises questions The network of lawyers in conflicting roles in Browder, Assange and US government cases raises questions about Julian Assange's defense. Editor

A US government lawyer in the Assange extradition case just wrote a London Times oped promoting the Browder Magnitsky hoax. Ben Brandon is one of five lawyers in a London network whose spokes link to convicted tax fraudster William Browder, the U.S. government, and to both sides of the extradition case against whistleblower publisher Julian Assange.

Here is how the British legal system works. Lawyers are either solicitors who work with clients or barristers who go to court in cases assigned by the solicitors. To share costs, barristers operate in chambers , which provide office space, including conference rooms and dining halls, clerks who receive and assign cases from solicitors, and other support staff. London has 210 chambers. There are not "partners" sharing profits, but members operate fraternally with each other.

Browder is key in the U.S. demonization of Russia. Assange has exposed U.S. war crimes. For lawyers associated in the British legal system to take both sides on that conflict would appear to be an egregious conflict of interest. But it fits with the U.S.-UK support of the Browder-Magnitsky hoax and their cooperation in the attack on Assange.

The law firm and chambers involved in the Browder-Assange stories are Mishcon de Reya, Matrix Chambers and Doughty Street Chambers.

Ben Brandon of Mishcon de Reya and Alex Bailin of Matrix Chambers co-authored an opinion article in The Times of London October 24, 2019 in which they repeated William Browder's fabrications about the death of his accountant Sergei Magnitsky.

The article aimed to promote the Magnitsky Act which builds a political wall against Russia. It is based on the fake claim that Magnitsky, the accountant who handled Browder's tax evasion in Russia, was really a lawyer who exposed a government scam.

Except that is not true, there is no evidence for it, and the lies are documented here . But the Act has prevented the Russians from collecting about $100 million Browder owes in back taxes and illicit stock buys.

Brandon's and Bailin's connections are notable. Law firms, at least in the U.S., tend to stake out their commitments. Lawyers who represent unions do not represent companies fighting unions. It appears to be different in Britain, where legal chambers have members on either side of some cases.

Bailin is a member of Matrix Chambers, which was founded by the wife of Tony Blair, the former neocon Labor British Prime Minister. He is solidly in the Browder camp. He represented Leonid Nevzlin, a major partner of Browder collaborator Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who according to filings with FARA (the Foreign Agents Registration Act), paid $385,000 for Congress to adopt the Magnitsky Act which has been used by the U.S. as a weapon against the Russian government.

Nevzlin's suit was for $50 billion against Russia for money allegedly lost by the nationalization of Yukos Oil. Yukos was obtained by Khodorkovsky in the mid-90s in one of then Russian President Boris Yeltsin's rigged auctions. Khodorkovsky's bank Menatep ran the auction.

He paid $309 million for a controlling 78 percent of the state company. Months later, Yukos traded on the Russian stock exchange at a market capitalization of $6 billion. Not surprising, after Yeltsin departed, the state wanted the stolen assets back.

To add insult to injury, Khodorkovsky laundered profits from Yukos through transfer-pricing and other scams.

Transfer pricing is when you sell products to a shell company at a fake low price, and the shell sells them on the world market at the real price, giving you the rake-off. It cheats tax authorities and minority shareholders. See how Khodorkovsky and Browder did this with Russian company Avisma, which Khodorkovsky also got through a rigged auction.

The Times oped co-author, Brandon of Mishcon de Reya, has a startling connection. The day after an extradition request targeting Julian Assange was signed by the UK home secretary , Brandon representing the U.S. government, formally opened the extradition case.

Now look at another Assange link. Mark Summers , who is representing Julian Assange is, along with Bailin, a member of Matrix Chambers.

But while he is Assange's lawyer, Summers is acting for Assange's persecutor, the U.S. government, in a major extradition case involving executives of Credit Suisse in 2013 making fake loans and getting kickbacks from Mozambique government officials.

Does Assange, or those who care about his interests, know he is part of chambers working for the U.S. government?

And where do you put this factoid? Alex Bailin is representing Andrew Pearse, one of the Credit Suisse bankers that the U.S. government, represented by Summers, is seeking to extradite!

But there's chambers where two members are each supporting both Browder and Assange.

Geoffrey Robertson is founder of Doughty Street Chambers. He is also a longtime Browder / Magnitsky story promoter. He has pitched implementation of a Magnitsky Act in Australia and has served Browder in UK court.

In 2017 British legal actions surrounding an inquest into the death of Alexander Perepilichnyy, he represented Browder, who claimed that the Russian, who died of a heart attack, was somehow a victim of Russian President Putin. Perepilichnyy had lost money in investments he was handling for clients and had to get out of town.

Needing support, he decamped to London and gave Browder documents relating to his client's questionable bank transfers. He died after a jog, Browder claimed he was poisoned by a rare botanical substance, obviously ordered by Putin, but forensic tests found that untrue. Robertson accused local police of a cover-up.

He is a legal advisor to Assange and is regularly interviewed by international media about the case.

Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers also has a Browder connection. She is acting for Paul Radu a journalist and official of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) which is being sued by an Azerbaijan MP. OCCRP is a Browder collaborator.

Browder admits in a deposition that OCCRP prepared documents he would give to the U.S. Justice Department to accuse the son of a Russian railway official of getting $1.9 million of $230 million defrauded from the Russian Treasury. The case was settled when the U.S. couldn't prove the charge, and the target declined to spend more millions of dollars in his defense. OCCRP got the first Magnitsky Human Rights award , set up for Browder's partners and acolytes.

Robinson is also the longest-serving member of Assange's legal team. She acted for Assange in the Swedish extradition proceedings and in relation to Ecuador's request to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Advisory Opinion proceedings on the right to asylum.

Why did Assange or his advisors choose lawyers associated with the interests of the U.S. government and Browder? Or how could those lawyers be so ignorant about the facts of Browder's massive tax evasion and his Magnitsky story fabrications?

It raises questions about how they are handling the Assange defense.

The individuals cited were asked to respond to points made about them, but none did.

Here is my audio interview on this issue on Fault Lines, "The Avisma Scandal + The Link Between Browder & Assange." The Browder-Assange part starts 13:20 minutes in. Filed under: Assange Arrest , latest , Russia , United States Tagged with: Bill Browder , julian assange , Lucy Komisar , russia , Sergei Magnitsky , Wikileaks

can you spare $1.00 a month to support independent media


Adrian @ J'Accuse

The Telegraph reports on a 2015 private dinner in the home of Doughty Street 's Geoffrey Robertson at which the Magnitsky myth and sanctions against Russia are pitched to then-Labour-Party-leader Ed Miliband, and Doughty Street lawyer Amal Clooney and co.:

Revealed: Ed Miliband's dinner with George and Amal Clooney

Today we find aforementioned Browder/Magnitsky touts Alex Bailin, QC (Matrix lawyer and "legal writer for The Guardian, The Times and The Lawyer – co-writer of the bogus FT Magnitsky column with Ben Brandon), and Geoffrey Robertson, QC (Doughty Street's eminence grise), both on the Advisory Board of Amal Clooney's " TrialWatch " (part of the Clooney " Foundation for Justice "): TrialWatch® Advisory Board

universal
The tentacles of the deep state (no longer secret now) are clamping on our life so tightly that one would honestly wish that one of those extraterrestrial rocks would smash into this planet causing total annhilation –just in order to get rid of these psychopathic mongrels ruling over us.

I am not sure, though, fantasy could solve problems!

mark
We have a corrupt and politicised "justice" system used for the purposes of intimidation and political persecution. Some people still believe in fairy stories like the Rule of Law and an independent judiciary.

What we are seeing now is no different from the Lula case in Brazil or any one of a thousand similar cases in authoritarian regimes. Upset the Deep State and you face selected targeted application of the law and the destruction of your life and future.

Jen
Unfortunately what we don't get in Lucy Komisar's article, perhaps because of the peculiar quirks of the legal system in Britain that may include a great deal of secrecy about how aspects of it operate, is how Julian Assange came to have such a dubious legal representation with its various connections to Bill Browder and Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Who recommended Mishcon de Reya and other barristers to Assange and Wikileaks, and who is going to foot these barristers' bills? Are there no other barristers specialising in human rights cases in Britain who can take on Assange's case or was the case awarded to certain chambers in some kind of bidding arrangement or some other competitive arrangement?

BTW it's not unusual for law firms in Britain and Australia to have clients whose interests may be opposed, ie a law firm can represent both a company and a trade union whose members may be employed by that company. What usually happens is that different teams of lawyers work for the two sides and the work of one team is separated from the other team by internal firewalls. The firewalls include physical separations: the teams may even work on different floors so as not to share copiers or other office equipment and lawyers in opposing teams may be discouraged from socialising with each other during lunch and coffee breaks. Sounds bizarre but this does happen.

R Heybroek
With respect, you can't judge British law by US standards. Barristers are briefed by solicitors, not individual clients, and associate primarily in areas of competence, e.g. criminal, corporate or tax law. In their specialization, they generally follow the 'cab rank' principle and accept briefs from prosecution or defence as they arise. It's a strength of the system, not a problem.

Whatever I may think of some of the barristers in Matrix or Doughty, it would be foolish to assume that everyone in a chambers shares the same political views or attitudes. They do not. They argue like cats and dogs, usually with considerable professional respect.

I see nothing dubious about the range of experience of Assange's legal team. If his solicitor thinks a barrister has a conflict of interest, he will withdraw the brief. I'd suggest you direct your enquiries to the instructing solicitor.

RobG
Julian Assange was a dead man walking from the time he was taken (totally illegally) from the Ecuadorian embassy. Just about all the Wikileaks team are now totally corrupted; and as this article points out, most of Assange's legal team are also corrupted. The alleged mental deterioration of Assange, combined with harsh (and totally unnecessary) prison conditions, might account for some of this.
Jen
But surely it's odd that at the same time he is representing Julian Assange against the US government, Mark Summers is also acting for the United States government in another case in which three British-based Credit Suisse bankers are fighting extradition to the US on charges of security fraud and money laundering?
MLS
An important subsidiary question becomes, why aren't any of his high profile champions asking these questions? John Pilger? Craig Murray? They all bang on about stuff like 'torture' but never point out that his lawyers totally fail to address this pretty darn crucial issue. Craig Murray says 'Julian has great lawyers'. Really? If we step back and think for a minute, does it honestly look that way?

They can't even get him out of solitary or into a lower security prison. Shit, they can't even get his mail delivered adequately or uphold his right to get regular legal visitation! And yet no one, not even his parents, are complaining about these failures! And who is running Wikileaks these days? Do we have any way of being sure they aren't just a co-opted shell?

Betrayed planet
To be fair Pilger is one of the few real supporters of Julian along with a handful of musicians. His lone voice is not enough. I saw a clip of Pilger crying after the recent spectacle of a so called hearing. The presiding judge, The Honorary Upyourbottom should have been in the dock for perjury, fraud, lying before a court and crimes against humanity.
LawStudent
I'm a 2nd year law student and I can confirm that questions about the conduct of Assange's defence are legion in my school. MNynpeople talking about the inexplicable lapses. Just s fee usdyes often discussed: Why didn't the defense take up the judge's offer of bail application? To say 'well they would lose' is counter to the basics of jurisprudence.

Why is there no complaint being lodged about his detention in a maximum security facility when he's on remand – not serving a sentence – pending an extradition hearing? Why don't his lawyers lodge an appeal to the ECHR based on the testimony of the UN observers? Why are his lawyers keeping such low media profiles?

It's generally agreed something is very 'off' about this.

L Took
I think his lawyers stated that they were never offered a bail application, even though the judge claimed they had refused one. But I'm not sure; I had heard previous to this event that the lawyers would not ask because if they lost (the appeal?) Assange could be further punished for the loss. Is this accurate?
MaryD
It may be relevant that one of Assange's barristers also represents the corporate psyop Extinction Rebellion!
nottheonly1

Assange lawyers' links to US govt & Bill Browder raises questions. The network of lawyers in conflicting roles in Browder, Assange and US government cases raises questions about Julian Assange's defense.

Assange lawyers' links to US govt & Bill Browder raises only one question: What the?

I know it's not comedy, because people get seriously hurt and killed as a result of the transformation of a more or less democratic government into a well organized criminal organization. Who better to run the courts, than the mob? Mob 'Law' enforcement included. So, organized crime owns everything. The big club. The biggest profits are made with stuff that was bought to blow up something. Or somebody. One could ask: 'With links like these, who needs enemies?' Anybody interfering into, or compromising the Mob execution of the owners' plan, will be taken care of. Laws are written to owners' demands and are quickly as needed in show trials.

The eloquence in describing what is happening right now – and in all other show trials – is comforting.

As it is more like 'a gang of lawyers in revolving door roles in organized crime by Browder and US regime et al versus Julian Assange, providing Defense for Julian Assange in his case against the same people and the same regime.

I forgot where, but I have heard of such things before.

The World will have to understand that, without the immediate release of Julian Assange, no more rule of law exists on Earth. And to whomever has not connected the Assange affair with 'pre-emptive incarceration', might for a little longer enjoy playing outdoor chess on the deck of a sinking cruise ship.

Oh, and yes, the qualifier "six ways to/from Sunday" should also be mentioned as an exemplary business practice by the Mob regime. Actually, the Mob merged with the regime, with the regime belonging to the owners' club.

Northern
Good to see another article on this, seen several people raising concerns about these associations in independent media over the last few months, though it's no doubt one of those things that will never be 'officially' addressed. Many people with more knowledge than I have questioned the wisdom of certain decisions his legal team have made (or not, as the case may be) in recent proceedings. Craig Murray's account of Julian's recent court appearance reads like something you'd expect from a country with 'the people's democratic republic' in the name.

On a tangentially related note, anybody reading this who has the impetus to write to Julian in support;

The 'writetoJulian' website which appears at to the top of Google's search results for those who google how to go about such a thing, is either accidentally or deliberately (one can probably guess which) mis-advising its readers of the requirements. The website advises several times NOT to include Julian's prisoner number on any correspondence sent to him, but I know from direct knowledge of communicating with the incarcerated that without the prisoner number your correspondence will be destroyed and neither you nor the receiver will be notified. I hate to think how many well meaning messages of support for Julian have been 'legally' destroyed without him seeing them as a result of this.

Northern
Ah, in a limited sliver of good news; The aforementioned website seem to have cottoned on to their mistake after several people bringing it to their attention. They now advise you should include his number on all correspondence.

Mr Julian Assange
Prisoner #: A9379AY
HMP Belmarsh
Western Way
London SE28 0EB
UK

Betrayed planet
I have long suspected that Julian is not getting proper legal council. That his lawyers have not yet been able to get a proper hearing whilst he is left to rot in a maximum security prison is suspect in the extreme. The obvious Nazi style behaviour of the unlawful and fascist U.K. government and its lick spittle judiciary are apparent to all with absolutely no fight back from the excuse of a media nor indeed 99.9 percent of its compliant increasingly dumbed down and wilfully ignorant population.

What is obvious now to anyone with half an eye open is that the U.K. is now a rogue state where law and justice are meaningless, where bribery and corruption are common place. That Julian Assange is slowly dying in front of the whole world, will die without some kind of major intervention is a stain on every single aware English resident. Mind you with a population seemingly set to vote back in the same filthy vermin that have turned the country into the complete shithole it has become, it's hardly surprising.
Does anybody know if Gareth Pierce is still involved in his case?

nottheonly1
For quite some time now, an odd possibility offers itself – theoretically. Julian Assange is not the messenger. He is the message.

As a messenger, he is somewhat ineffective. He has not been able to convince people that the need for an uprising against lawlessness exists. That any form of government cannot work when the judiciary is corrupt and that there is no justice in a society ruled over by a regime.

As a message however, he is in the eyes of masses of people. Probably a majority of humans on Earth know who Julian Assange is. How many know who he is, where he came from and what it was exactly he did, before he published videos showing how well the 'Support our Troops' deserve was used up in the way it was intended, can only be a guess. Or a dedicated team of statisticians to hold polls in every country.

So, the published material, that was also leaked by a whistle blower, was proof of how deserving those soldiers were of our support – showing them killing innocent human beings and 'our Troops' having the greatest times of their lives doing it.

The message is simply: Look, if we can do this to Assange, what do you think we will do to you from Monday to Sunday – if you get any ideas?

No matter where you are. No matter who you are.

The only antidote to this insanity is the Truth and it be given its day(s) in court. 'Justice Mondays'.

Petra Liverani
I wonder if Alexander Perepilichnyy's death happened any which way – if indeed he was even a real person – there's only two photos of him as far as I can tell and the feeling of reality about his is not strong – as the Japan Times says, "What we know of Perepilichnyy is slight." Could he have just conveniently been invented and disappeared somehow? The story of him spending his last night with his 22 year-old mistress (the good old 22) in Paris, complaining about his dinner, vomiting and then having his wife the next day in London prepare his favourite food, sorrel soup, for lunch then going out jogging somehow doesn't ring true and we see a typical anomaly of faked stories, different versions:

The Guardian: "was found outside his Surrey home"
The Atlantic: "He collapsed on Granville Road, within 100 meters of the house he was renting"
Japan Times: "Then, 50 meters from his home, he staggered into the road and died."
Wikipedia: "[he] was found dead on the road by a neighbour" with a reference to a BBC story makes no mention of neighbour
BBC story: "[he] has been found dead near his home in Weybridge. had collapsed on a road early on the evening"

Collapsed on a road? Wouldn't you give the name of the road in a suburban area?

Rhys Jaggar
Same story in UK sports reporting corrupt industries raking in cash for unprincipled wordsmithery
DiggerUK
The defence team around Julian seems to be unfathomable at many levels. My main concern has been over the unproved allegations of chemical torture made during his incarceration in Bellmarsh Prison. Why has his defence team not asked for an independent medical assessment? Why have concerns not been raised with prison visitors who are allowed to investigate independently? https://www.imb.org.uk/independent-monitoring-boards/

Craig Murray who saw Julian on his last court appearance wrote of his condition . https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/10/assange-in-court/ is it as a result of drugs used during interrogations, or is it down to mental trauma after what he has been through. Either way, his defense team and close friends need to up their game.

This article is not the first time that concerns have been raised in a worrying manner about the defence team around Julian _

Rhys Jaggar
It is a standard Uk tactic to have someone try to beat you up then publicly say what a friend of yours they are. Happened to me four times: I called the lot of them out on it, something which gets them on their faux high horses very quickly
Harry Stotle
Amazing isn't it, the way the legal system goes into hyperdrive pursuing those who expose war crimes while nonchantly turning a blind eye to those who commit them (no matter how high the body count). Harder to find a more glaring example of the way hypocrisy defines the elite's relationship with things like morality, fairness or decency, not least because no western politician has ever been held to account for the havoc they have unleashed (in any court prosecuting war crimes).

Ellen DeGeneres hi-fiving with George Bush. British MPs pretending a courageous whistle blower is not being tortured to death just a few miles from parliament.

The one MP who did stand up for Assange has just been kicked out of Labour by the NEC. They should at least have the courage to make public the names of those who voted for Chris Williamson's expulsion. https://labour.org.uk/about/how-we-work/national-executive-committee/whos-on-the-nec/

Needless to say the MSM has fully sided with the criminals: first denigrating Julian Assange, then mocking his plight – this gave way to lies, and now silence.

The importance of Craig Murray's analysis of the way the law has been used to destroy a journalist cannot be overtstated.
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/10/assange-in-court/

Put simply can anyone expect justice in Britain if their actions conflict with the ethos of the gangsters who control Britain's economic, media and military interests?

Rhys Jaggar
We are actually approaching apartheid South Africa in that regard, namely contempt for legal due process. Not quite had the Met coppers beating Assange over the head like SA cops did to Steve Biko, but we are slowly getting there

[Oct 27, 2019] Edward Snowden And Turnkey Tyranny

Oct 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

My intent here is not to summarize Snowden's entire interview. I want to focus on some points he made that I found especially revealing, pertinent, and insightful.

Without further ado, here are 12 points I took from this interview:

1. People who reach the highest levels of government do so by being risk-averse. Their goal is never to screw-up in a major way. This mentality breeds cautiousness, mediocrity, and buck-passing. (I saw the same in my 20 years in the U.S. military.)

2. The American people are no longer partners of government. We are subjects. Our rights are routinely violated even as we become accustomed (or largely oblivious) to a form of turnkey tyranny.

3. Intelligence agencies in the U.S. used 9/11 to enlarge their power. They argued that 9/11 happened because there were "too many restrictions" on them. This led to the PATRIOT Act and unconstitutional global mass surveillance, disguised as the price of being kept "safe" from terrorism. Simultaneously, America's 17 intelligence agencies wanted most of all not to be blamed for 9/11. They wanted to ensure the buck stopped nowhere. This was a goal they achieved.

4. Every persuasive lie has a kernel of truth. Terrorism does exist - that's the kernel of truth. Illegal mass surveillance, facilitated by nearly unlimited government power, in the cause of "keeping us safe" is the persuasive lie.

5. The government uses classification ("Top Secret" and so on) primarily to hide things from the American people, who have no "need to know" in the view of government officials. Secrecy becomes a cloak for illegality. Government becomes unaccountable; the people don't know, therefore we are powerless to rein in government excesses or to prosecute for abuses of power.

6. Fear is the mind-killer (my expression here, quoting Frank Herbert's Dune ). Snowden spoke much about the use of fear by the government, using expressions like "they'll be blood on your hands" and "think of the children." Fear is the way to cloud people's minds. As Snowden put it, you lose the ability to act because you are afraid.

7. What is true patriotism? For Snowden, it's about a constant effort to do good for the people. It's not loyalty to government. Loyalty, Snowden notes, is only good in the service of something good.

8. National security and public safety are not synonymous. In fact, in the name of national security, our rights are being violated. We are "sweeping up the broken glass of our lost rights" in today's world of global mass surveillance, Snowden noted.

9. We live naked before power. Companies like Facebook and Google, together with the U.S. government, know everything about us; we know little about them. It's supposed to be the reverse (at least in a democracy).

10. "The system is built on lies." James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, lies under oath before Congress. And there are no consequences. He goes unpunished.

11. We own less and less of our own data. Data increasingly belongs to corporations and the government. It's become a commodity. Which means we are the commodity. We are being exploited and manipulated, we are being sold, and it's all legal, because the powerful make the policies and the laws, and they are unaccountable to the people.

12. Don't wait for a hero to save you. What matters is heroic decisions. You are never more than one decision away from making the world a better place.

In 2013, Edward Snowden made a heroic decision to reveal illegal mass surveillance by the U.S. government, among other governmental crimes. He has made the world a better place, but as he himself knows, the fight has only just begun against turnkey tyranny.


ohm , 14 minutes ago link

Governments using fear for control is nothing new.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H. L. Mencken

Ruler , 2 minutes ago link

People under stress spend money. Mostly on low cost frivolous things that have no return.

That's why doom **** and yellow journalism exist.

Gobble D. Goop , 14 minutes ago link

Sorry folks. In time you will see that Snowden was, is, and always will be CIA (black hat). The whistle blowing was a CIA attempt to shut down the NSA (white hat) leaving no one to watch over the black hats whilst they conduct thier drug running and regime changing, and MK ultra operations. Ask Kennedy. Oh wait CIA and daddy Bush blew his head off.

Youri Carma , 47 minutes ago link

Joe Rogan Experience – Edward Snowden
Oct 23, 2019 PowerfulJRE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efs3QRr8LWw

Wild Bill Steamcock , 56 minutes ago link

Snowden, in my opinion, is a limited hangout. Not necessarily aware of it, he could just be a convenient dupe.

If there's this much surveillance, how in the Hell did he exfiltrate that much data AND be able to leave the country? Why did it take so long to track him down and revoke his passport? It makes no sense. Why didn't he go to Wikileaks, who has a proven and reliable track record but instead went to MSM?

I think he is probably genuine in his beliefs, but still see him as a limited hangout.

He has made the world a better place

How? Uncle Scam still has all it's capabilities. That big *** data center in Utah. Nothing's changed except we were told about it- again. Remember Drake, Wiebe and Binney spilled the beans in 2004.

Wild Bill Steamcock , 51 minutes ago link

And even then it wasn't new or surprising. ECHELON and the five eyes was talked about in the '70s

Wild Bill Steamcock , 49 minutes ago link

And how does a guy go from CIA janitor to effectively an NSA systems admin? Seriously, not to **** on janitors, but how in the actual **** does that happen?

freedogger , 36 minutes ago link

All your questions are answered in his book. Wkileaks wasn't an option because they release en masse without any vetting. He didn't want people to die from release of some of the docs he had.

AlexanderHistoryX , 24 minutes ago link

They are just now getting to the point where they have the tech to effectively sort and search through all that data. Plus. He tapped it from the source.

The real shame is how little resulted from the exposure. Nothing changed, no one was held to account, and we the people did nothing. We are a nation of contented slaves, for now.

Sam Spayed , 1 hour ago link

"Intelligence agencies in the U.S. used 9/11 to enlarge their power. "

And their power was supposed to be limited to foreign actors. The skinny, jug-eared, gay guy and his acolytes thought up sinister illegal ways to extend that power to private US citizens and the gay guy's political enemies.

One-Hung-Lo , 1 hour ago link

Most of these problems were predicted centuries ago when the founders feared a standing army that could be turned against the people. Now we have standing armies, and civilian paramilitaries in every county and big city, local cops, city cops, state police. We have ATF, FBI, CIA, NSA, IRS, and dozens of other armed alphabet soup agencies.

With We THE People are gonna regain our country again and many people will die again, and with luck all the traitors will hang by the neck until dead.

The elites who think it is their birthright to lord over us need to be reminded that they serve us. All the communist democrats are in need of reminders and quick drop at the end of a rope.

ToSoft4Truth , 56 minutes ago link

You mention a lot of people. Some of them must be sitting across from us at Thanksgiving dinner.

Scipio Africanuz , 1 hour ago link

It's heartening to know Snowden is a martial alumni..

And speaking of tyranny, we came across a gem, a most enlightening gem thus..

"If you take me down, I'll come after you with everything I've got It will become my life's mission."

"These are the words of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to newspaper publisher Arnon Mozes in a recording that has become central evidence in a corruption case against Netanyahu, as revealed Saturday by Channel 13 journalist Raviv Drucker.."

So why have we brought this to your attention?

So you may understand that Liberty is not for the lily livered. If Jefferson and Co had been squeamish, Americans would still be serfs..

If MLK had been squeamish, negros would not be free today, to be in position to advocate for rights..

And if Cesar Chavez had adopted cowardice, then Latinos would have no mojo to advocate..

And if Hugo Chavez had not given his life to Venezuela, it's doubtful that Maduro would have had a leg to stand on..

And yet, Lula is imprisoned..just like Nelson Mandela, for the best years of his life..

My friends, mortality eventually ends, that's a certainty..what you do with yours, is consequential, for good or ill..

When the depraved hurl threats, it means they're afraid, and in that event, increase the artillery barrage of truth..cheers...

Edited:

Here's the link to the quote..

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-netanyahu-recordings-revealed-i-ll-come-after-you-with-everything-i-ve-got-1.8029010

abgary1 , 1 hour ago link

The digital world has become disturbingly invasive and the source of the data the governments uses against us.

Abstain.

Get off of social media, limit net time, encrypt communications, leave our mobile devices at home and use cash.

Anything that leaves a digital footprint is being tracked.

The loss of our privacy is the loss of our freedom.

To return democracy to the people we need to do the following:

-Term limits of 8 years at any one level of government for the politicians, diplomats, bureaucrats and senior civil servants. If our legislators know they will spend the majority of their working lives in the private sector they will not pass laws that solely benefit the public sector.

-Recall legislation to hold our legislators accountable.

-Balance budget laws that require referendums to amend or repeal.

-Zero tax increase laws that require referendums to amend or repeal.

We need to return democracy to the people and we do that by demanding change at the grassroots levels.

elitist99percenter , 1 hour ago link

These days , The Shang Dynasty's moral decay quickly comes to mind, as outlined in The Art of War : lies, deceit and diffusion were the norm; unaccountable leaders immersed themselves in debauchery, orgies and lavish self-profiting (today's Epsteinism in full-swing); brutally-enforced high taxes & wage thefts levied on citizens; government's increased violence against state residents, particularly those brave enough to resist widespread tyranny; escalated harmful interference in the country's agricultural operations; and knee-jerked, violent responses with heavy-handed, inhuman punishments (like SWAT teams blowing away innocents -- women & children -- over minor, inconsequential infractions), especially violation of peoples' guaranteed civil liberties, as well as their sovereign dignities and property rights, under the guise of ridiculously concocted "boogeymen" nonsense.

Hmm, sounds familiar.

Lumberjack , 1 hour ago link

During the Rogan interview, Snowden said that all the corrupt creatures live in the suburbs within a 200 mile radius of DC. Just sayin...

Wolfbay , 37 minutes ago link

It's also interesting that this area has more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in America. It's not a high tech area, no manufacturing, and no big agriculture. Sucking the tit of our taxes.

Arising , 1 hour ago link

Snowden must be a ZHer.

All his points are pretty basic stuff for me and a large portion of the people here.

I learned very early in life, and I teach my kids today that Govt, Banks and Media are not, have never and will never be your friends.

If you understand this at an early age everything else becomes much less cloudy in life.

[Oct 24, 2019] Empire Interventionism Versus Republic Noninterventionism by Jacob Hornberger

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... All that changed with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state and with the adoption of a pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy. When that happened, the U.S. government assumed the duty to fix the wrongs of the world. ..."
"... That's when U.S. officials began thinking in terms of empire and using empire-speak. Foreign regimes became "allies," "partners," and "friends." Others became "opponents," "rivals," or "enemies." Events thousands of miles away became threats to "national security." ..."
"... The results of U.S. imperialism and interventionism have always been perverse, not only for foreigners but also for Americans. That's how Americans have ended up with out-of-control federal spending and debt that have left much of the middle class high and dry, unable to support themselves in their senior years, unable to save a nest egg for financial emergencies, and living paycheck to paycheck. Empire and interventionism do not come cheap. ..."
"... There is but one solution to all this chaos and mayhem -- the dismantling, not the reform, of the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the vast empire of foreign and domestic military bases, and the NSA, along with an immediate end to all foreign interventionism. A free, peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious society necessarily entails the restoration of a limited-government republic and a non-interventionist foreign policy to our land. ..."
Oct 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Jacob Hornberger via The Future of Freedom Foundation,

The chaos arising from U.S. interventionism in Syria provides an excellent opportunity to explore the interventionist mind.

Consider the terminology being employed by interventionists: President Trump's actions in Syria have left a "power vacuum," one that Russia and Iran are now filling. The United States will no longer have "influence" in the region. "Allies" will no longer be able to trust the U.S. to come to their assistance. Trump's actions have threatened "national security." It is now possible that ISIS will reformulate and threaten to take over lands and even regimes in the Middle East.

This verbiage is classic empire-speak. It is the language of the interventionist and the imperialist.

Amidst all the interventionist chaos in the Middle East, it is important to keep in mind one critically important fact: None of it will mean a violent takeover of the U.S. government or an invasion and conquest of the United States. The federal government will go on. American life will go on. There will be no army of Muslims, terrorists, Syrians, ISISians, Russians, Chinese, drug dealers, or illegal immigrants coming to get us and take over the reins of the IRS.

Why is that an important point? Because it shows that no matter what happens in Syria or the rest of the Middle East, life will continue here in the United States. Even if Russia gets to continue controlling Syria, that's not going to result in a conquest of the United States. The same holds true if ISIS, say, takes over Iraq. Or if Turkey ends up killing lots of Kurds. Or if Syria ends up protecting the Kurds. Or if Iran continues to be controlled by a theocratic state. Or if the Russians retake control over Ukraine.

It was no different than when North Vietnam ended up winning the Vietnamese civil war. The dominoes did not fall onto the United States and make America Red. It also makes no difference if Egypt continues to be controlled by a brutal military dictatorship. Or that Cuba, North Korea, and China are controlled by communist regimes. Or that Russia is controlled by an authoritarian regime. Or that Myanmar (Burma) is controlled by a totalitarian military regime. America and the federal government will continue standing.

America was founded as a limited government republic, one that did not send its military forces around the world to slay monsters. That's not to say that bad things didn't happen around the world. Bad things have always happened around the world. Dictatorships. Famines. Wars. Civil wars. Revolutions. Empires. Torture. Extra-judicial executions. Tyranny. Oppression. The policy of the United States was that it would not go abroad to fix or clear up those types of things.

All that changed with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state and with the adoption of a pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy. When that happened, the U.S. government assumed the duty to fix the wrongs of the world.

That's when U.S. officials began thinking in terms of empire and using empire-speak. Foreign regimes became "allies," "partners," and "friends." Others became "opponents," "rivals," or "enemies." Events thousands of miles away became threats to "national security."

That's when U.S. forces began invading and occupying other countries, waging wars of aggression against them, intervening in foreign wars, revolutions, and civil wars, initiating coups, destroying democratic regimes, establishing an empire of domestic and foreign military bases, and bombing, shooting, killing, assassinating, spying on, maiming, torturing, kidnapping, injuring, and destroying people in countries all over the world.

The results of U.S. imperialism and interventionism have always been perverse, not only for foreigners but also for Americans. That's how Americans have ended up with out-of-control federal spending and debt that have left much of the middle class high and dry, unable to support themselves in their senior years, unable to save a nest egg for financial emergencies, and living paycheck to paycheck. Empire and interventionism do not come cheap.

The shift toward empire and interventionism has brought about the destruction of American liberty and privacy here at home. That's what the assassinations, secret surveillance, torture, and indefinite detentions of American citizens are all about -- to supposedly protect us from the dangers produced by U.S. imperialism and interventionism abroad. One might call it waging perpetual war for freedom and peace, both here and abroad.

There is but one solution to all this chaos and mayhem -- the dismantling, not the reform, of the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the vast empire of foreign and domestic military bases, and the NSA, along with an immediate end to all foreign interventionism. A free, peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious society necessarily entails the restoration of a limited-government republic and a non-interventionist foreign policy to our land.

[Oct 24, 2019] Snowden behaviour toward Russia is highly suspecious: The Russian government has saved his bacon and has given him refuge with great freedoms he would not have in the USA -- or Airstrip One ... or, HK, or any South American backyard colony. And yet he makes no attempt to thank them and even virtually panders to the American anti-Russian meme

Is/was he a plant like Oswald in the past?
Notable quotes:
"... The main take away for me came towards the end where Snowden outlines the special legal conditions and laws that the US government enforces to control presentation of evidence in these cases. These same 'servant' thugs who are stepping into the now 3rd-world UK court system and pulling the strings on Australia's Assange. The same crew that Snowden worked with and blew the whistle on (apparently). ..."
"... Snowden makes great bravado about being willing to go back to the USA and face the music -- if only he could say in court why he did it (something the legal Act prohibits apparently). In this, and a few other matters of history, I find him less than genuine. Is/was he a plant? .... I'm still out with the jury on that. ..."
Oct 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

imo , Oct 24 2019 2:42 utc | 43

@8 Trailer Trash

Indeed Orwell's "1984" referred to the UK as "Airstrip One" and this Brexit fiasco surely proves that Outside Influences not only run the Judiciary when necessary, but also plant poison on doorknobs when it suits them.

The ever servile Australian government to the empire du jour does nothing to honor their passport pledge. We would have to assume it qualifies as Orwell's "Airstrip Two"

In contrast to Assange's predicament (and Manning I assume), the main point of this post is to mention the recent Joe Rogan interview of Edward Snowden (touting his book) -- http://podcasts.joerogan.net/podcasts/edward-snowden

Nearly three hours of mostly Snowden rambling on. I stayed with it to the end. A few items of interest but mostly just noise. I found him initially somewhat suspicious -- by the end I was more neutral. However, what a display of American arrogance and ingratitude. The Russian government has saved his bacon and has given him refuge with great freedoms he would not have in the USA -- or Airstrip One ... or, HK, or any South American backyard colony. And yet he makes no attempt to thank them and even virtually panders to the American anti-Russian meme. He has even dabbled in Russian opposition politics via local newspaper comments. What an ungrateful guest! (Or still an agent @ work?) I would entirely understand the Russians putting him on a plane back to the USA tomorrow. Ungrateful little character, imo. And says a lot about the way Americans treat the external world from inside their little fishbowl. Simply a doormat for convenience.

The main take away for me came towards the end where Snowden outlines the special legal conditions and laws that the US government enforces to control presentation of evidence in these cases. These same 'servant' thugs who are stepping into the now 3rd-world UK court system and pulling the strings on Australia's Assange. The same crew that Snowden worked with and blew the whistle on (apparently).

Snowden makes great bravado about being willing to go back to the USA and face the music -- if only he could say in court why he did it (something the legal Act prohibits apparently). In this, and a few other matters of history, I find him less than genuine. Is/was he a plant? .... I'm still out with the jury on that.

[Oct 24, 2019] NSA fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever

Notable quotes:
"... "The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time," Hunt said. "Since you can't connect dots you don't have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever." ..."
"... "Technology in this world is moving faster than government or law can keep up," he said. "It's moving faster I would argue than you can keep up: You should be asking the question of what are your rights and who owns your data." ..."
"... In its vast Utah Data Center constructed earlier this decade, the National Security Agency has the capacity to store virtually unlimited amounts of digital data it hoovers up daily. This is what Gus Hunt was talking about. The biggest problem is how to make that data useful for the government's purposes -- that is, how to find the needle in the haystack of data. ..."
"... " Your entire life is in storage somewhere -- and the government will be able to search it at will, quickly." ..."
"... 'Somewhere' has an address. Add in the data stored by FB/Amazon/Google, and a nearly complete picture of you as an individual, your thoughts, fears, hopes, etc is online and can be quantified. https://www.theatlantic.com... ..."
"... I sincerely hope that the NSA, looking at my life, will find itself sufficiently entertained that it will put up with my boring comments. I would hate to be responsible for someone its bowels to be put to sleep at an inopportune moment and have a serious national crisis occur as a result ..."
"... The hubris is that tech is all powerful, because we have experienced a rapid growth in the ability to produce and access information, but it is not bringing wisdom or any beer governance. ..."
Oct 24, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

In his new memoir, Permanent Record , Edward Snowden writes about a speech that Gus Hunt, the CIA's chief technology officer, gave in 2013. Only the Huffington Post covered it (though you can watch it online). From HuffPo's report:

Speaking before a crowd of tech geeks at GigaOM's Structure:Data conference in New York City, CTO Ira "Gus" Hunt said that the world is increasingly awash in information from text messages, tweets, and videos -- and that the agency wants all of it.

"The value of any piece of information is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time," Hunt said. "Since you can't connect dots you don't have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever."

Hunt's comments come two days after Federal Computer Week reported that the CIA has committed to a massive, $600 million, 10-year deal with Amazon for cloud computing services. The agency has not commented on that report, but Hunt's speech, which included multiple references to cloud computing, indicates that it does indeed have interest in storage and analysis capabilities on a massive scale.

More:

"It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information," Hunt said. After that mark is reached, Hunt said, the agency would also like to be able to save and analyze all of the digital breadcrumbs people don't even know they are creating.

"You're already a walking sensor platform," he said, nothing that mobiles, smartphones and iPads come with cameras, accelerometers, light detectors and geolocation capabilities.

"You are aware of the fact that somebody can know where you are at all times, because you carry a mobile device, even if that mobile device is turned off," he said. "You know this, I hope? Yes? Well, you should."

Hunt also spoke of mobile apps that will be able to control pacemakers -- even involuntarily -- and joked about a "dystopian" future where self-driving cars force people to go to the grocery store to pick up milk for their spouses.

Hunt's speech barely touched on privacy concerns. But he did acknowledge that they exist.

"Technology in this world is moving faster than government or law can keep up," he said. "It's moving faster I would argue than you can keep up: You should be asking the question of what are your rights and who owns your data."

Note well: "It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information."

Here is a link to Gus Hunt's speech on YouTube.

In its vast Utah Data Center constructed earlier this decade, the National Security Agency has the capacity to store virtually unlimited amounts of digital data it hoovers up daily. This is what Gus Hunt was talking about. The biggest problem is how to make that data useful for the government's purposes -- that is, how to find the needle in the haystack of data.


Adamant 3 hours ago

" Your entire life is in storage somewhere -- and the government will be able to search it at will, quickly."

'Somewhere' has an address. Add in the data stored by FB/Amazon/Google, and a nearly complete picture of you as an individual, your thoughts, fears, hopes, etc is online and can be quantified. https://www.theatlantic.com...

Charles Cosimano 3 hours ago
I sincerely hope that the NSA, looking at my life, will find itself sufficiently entertained that it will put up with my boring comments. I would hate to be responsible for someone its bowels to be put to sleep at an inopportune moment and have a serious national crisis occur as a result
John 2 hours ago
Or, optionally, you refuse to participate by maintaining a minimal online presence or communicating in person. Also, this sure is all snazzy, but it's happening in a nation which is facing serious material and structural issues.

The hubris is that tech is all powerful, because we have experienced a rapid growth in the ability to produce and access information, but it is not bringing wisdom or any beer governance. The material systems which underlie the technical ones, such as infrastructure, food production, and so on, can't be "quantized" in a supercomputer. If anything, reliance on tech really moves us closer to real collapse.

[Oct 23, 2019] Google's Auto-Delete Tools Are Practically Worthless For Privacy

Oct 23, 2019 | yro.slashdot.org

By default, Google collects a vast amount of data on users' behavior, including a lifelong record of web searches, locations, and YouTube views.

But amid a privacy backlash and ongoing regulatory threats, the company has started to hype its recently released privacy tools, like the ability to automatically delete some of the data it collects about you -- data that helps power its $116 billion ad business. [...]

In reality, these auto-delete tools accomplish little for users, even as they generate positive PR for Google. Experts say that by the time three months rolls around, Google has already extracted nearly all the potential value from users' data, and from an advertising standpoint, data becomes practically worthless when it's more than a few months old . "Anything up to one month is extremely valuable," says David Dweck, the head of paid search at digital ad firm WPromote.

"Anything beyond one month, we probably weren't going to target you anyway." Dweck says that in the digital ad industry, recent activity is essential.

If you start searching on Google for real estate or looking up housing values, for instance, Google might lump you into a "prospective home buyers" category for advertisers. That information becomes instantly valuable to realtors, appraisers, and lenders for ad targeting, and it could remain valuable for a while as other companies, such as painters or appliance brands, try to follow up on your home buying.

Still, it's unusual for advertisers to target users based on their activity from months earlier, Dweck says.

[Oct 22, 2019] Researchers Tricked Google Home and Alexa Into Eavesdropping and Password Phishing

Oct 22, 2019 | yro.slashdot.org

(arstechnica.com) 34 Ars Technica reports: The threat isn't just theoretical. Whitehat hackers at Germany's Security Research Labs developed eight apps -- four Alexa "skills" and four Google Home "actions" -- that all passed Amazon or Google security-vetting processes. The skills or actions posed as simple apps for checking horoscopes, with the exception of one, which masqueraded as a random-number generator. Behind the scenes, these "smart spies," as the researchers call them, surreptitiously eavesdropped on users and phished for their passwords ...

The apps gave the impression they were no longer running when they, in fact, silently waited for the next phase of the attack .... The apps quietly logged all conversations within earshot of the device and sent a copy to a developer-designated server. The phishing apps follow a slightly different path by responding with an error message that claims the skill or action isn't available in that user's country. They then go silent to give the impression the app is no longer running. After about a minute, the apps use a voice that mimics the ones used by Alexa and Google home to falsely claim a device update is available and prompts the user for a password for it to be installed....

In response, both companies removed the apps and said they are changing their approval processes to prevent skills and actions from having similar capabilities in the future.

[Oct 22, 2019] Smart TVs Are Data-Collecting Machines, New Study Shows

Oct 22, 2019 | yro.slashdot.org

(theverge.com) 41 BeauHD on Friday October 11, 2019 @07:20PM from the can't-act-like-I'm-surprised dept. A new study from Princeton University shows internet-connected TVs, which allow people to stream Netflix and Hulu, are loaded with data-hungry trackers . "If you use a device such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV, there are numerous companies that can build up a fairly comprehensive picture of what you're watching," Arvind Narayanan, associate professor of computer science at Princeton, wrote in an email to The Verge. "There's very little oversight or awareness of their practices, including where that data is being sold." From the report: To understand how much surveillance is taking place on smart TVs, Narayanan and his co-author Hooman Mohajeri Moghaddam built a bot that automatically installed thousands of channels on their Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. It then mimicked human behavior by browsing and watching videos. As soon as it ran into an ad, it would track what data was being collected behind the scenes. Some of the information, like device type, city, and state, is hardly unique to one user. But other data, like the device serial number, Wi-Fi network, and advertising ID, could be used to pinpoint an individual. "This gives them a more complete picture of who you are," said Moghaddam. He noted that some channels even sent unencrypted email addresses and video titles to the trackers.

In total, the study found trackers on 69 percent of Roku channels and 89 percent of Amazon Fire channels. "Some of these are well known, such as Google, while many others are relatively obscure companies that most of us have never heard of," Narayanan said. Google's ad service DoubleClick was found on 97 percent of Roku channels. "Like other publishers, smart TV app developers can use Google's ad services to show ads against their content, and we've helped design industry guidelines for this that enable a privacy-safe experience for users," a Google spokesperson said in a statement emailed to The Verge. "Depending on the user's preferences, the developer may share data with Google that's similar to data used for ads in mobile apps or on the web." "Better privacy controls would certainly help, but they are ultimately band-aids," Narayanan said. "The business model of targeted advertising on TVs is incompatible with privacy, and we need to confront that reality. To maximize revenue, platforms based on ad targeting will likely turn to data mining and algorithmic personalization/persuasion to keep people glued to the screen as long as possible."

Another study from Northeastern University and the Imperial College of London found that other smart-home devices are also collecting reams of data that is being sent to third parties like advertisers and major tech companies.

[Oct 19, 2019] Kunstler One Big Reason Why America Is Driving Itself Bat$hit Crazy

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It's a major unanticipated consequence of the digital "revolution." It has gotten us stuck looking backward at events, obsessively replaying them, while working overtime to spin them favorably for one team or the other, at the expense of actually living in real time and dealing with reality as it unspools with us. If life were a ballgame, we'd only be watching jumbotron replays while failing to pay attention to the action on the field. ..."
"... The stupendous failure of the Mueller Investigation only revealed what can happen when extraordinary bad faith, dishonesty, and incompetence are brought to this project of reinventing "truth" -- of who did what and why -- while it provoked a counter-industry of detecting its gross falsifications. ..."
"... Perhaps you can see why unleashing the CIA, NSA, and the FBI on political enemies by Mr. Obama and his cohorts has become such a disaster. When that scheme blew up, the intel community went to the mattresses, as the saying goes in Mafia legend and lore. The "company" found itself at existential risk. Of course, the CIA has long been accused of following an agenda of its own simply because it had the means to do it. It had the manpower, the money, and the equipment to run whatever operations it felt like running, and a history of going its own way out of sheer institutional arrogance, of knowing better than the crackers and clowns elected by the hoi-polloi. The secrecy inherent in its charter was a green light for limitless mischief and some of the agency's directors showed open contempt for the occupants of the White House. Think: Allen Dulles and William Casey. And lately, Mr. Brennan. ..."
Oct 19, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Here's one big reason that America is driving itself batshit crazy : the explosion of computerized records, emails, inter-office memos, Twitter trails, Facebook memorabilia, iPhone videos, YouTubes, recorded conversations, and the vast alternative universe of storage capacity for all this stuff makes it seem possible to constantly go back and reconstruct reality. All it has really done is amplified the potential for political mischief to suicide level.

It's a major unanticipated consequence of the digital "revolution." It has gotten us stuck looking backward at events, obsessively replaying them, while working overtime to spin them favorably for one team or the other, at the expense of actually living in real time and dealing with reality as it unspools with us. If life were a ballgame, we'd only be watching jumbotron replays while failing to pay attention to the action on the field.

Before all this, history was left largely to historians, who curated it from a range of views for carefully considered introduction to the stream of human culture, and managed this process at a pace that allowed a polity to get on with its business at hand in the here-and-now -- instead of incessantly and recursively reviewing events that have already happened 24/7. The more electronic media has evolved, the more it lends itself to manipulation, propaganda, and falsification of whatever happened five minutes, or five hours, or five weeks ago.

This is exactly why and how the losing team in the 2016 election has worked so hard to change that bit of history. The stupendous failure of the Mueller Investigation only revealed what can happen when extraordinary bad faith, dishonesty, and incompetence are brought to this project of reinventing "truth" -- of who did what and why -- while it provoked a counter-industry of detecting its gross falsifications.

This dynamic has long been systematically studied and applied by institutions like the so-called "intelligence community," and has gotten so out-of-hand that its main mission these days appears to be the maximum gaslighting of the nation -- for the purpose of its own desperate self-defense. The "Whistleblower" episode is the latest turn in dishonestly manipulated records, but the most interesting feature of it is that the release of the actual transcript of the Trump-Zelensky phone call did not affect the "narrative" precooked between the CIA and Adam Schiff's House Intel Committee. They just blundered on with the story and when major parts of the replay didn't add up, they retreated to secret sessions in the basement of the US capitol.

Perhaps you can see why unleashing the CIA, NSA, and the FBI on political enemies by Mr. Obama and his cohorts has become such a disaster. When that scheme blew up, the intel community went to the mattresses, as the saying goes in Mafia legend and lore. The "company" found itself at existential risk. Of course, the CIA has long been accused of following an agenda of its own simply because it had the means to do it. It had the manpower, the money, and the equipment to run whatever operations it felt like running, and a history of going its own way out of sheer institutional arrogance, of knowing better than the crackers and clowns elected by the hoi-polloi. The secrecy inherent in its charter was a green light for limitless mischief and some of the agency's directors showed open contempt for the occupants of the White House. Think: Allen Dulles and William Casey. And lately, Mr. Brennan.

The recently-spawned NSA has mainly added the capacity to turn everything that happens into replay material, since it is suspected of recording every phone call, every email, every financial transaction, every closed-circuit screen capture, and anything else its computers can snare for storage in its Utah Data Storage Center. Now you know why the actions of Edward Snowden were so significant. He did what he did because he was moral enough to know the face of malevolence when he saw it. That he survives in exile is a miracle.

As for the FBI, only an exceptional species of ineptitude explains the trouble they got themselves into with the RussiaGate fiasco. The unbelievable election loss of Mrs. Clinton screwed the pooch for them, and the desperate acts that followed only made things worse. The incompetence and mendacity on display was only matched by Mr. Mueller and his lawyers, who were supposed to be the FBI's cleanup crew and only left a bigger mess -- all of it cataloged in digital records.

Now, persons throughout all these agencies are waiting for the hammer to fall. If they are prosecuted, the process will entail yet another monumental excursion into the replaying of those digital records. It could go on for years. So, the final act in the collapse of the USA will be the government choking itself to death on replayed narratives from its own server farms.

In the meantime, events are actually tending in a direction that will eventually deprive the nation of the means to continue most of its accustomed activities including credible elections, food distribution, a reliable electric grid, and perhaps even self-defense.

[Oct 09, 2019] George Orwell assumes that if such societies as he describes in Nineteen Eighty-Four come into being there will be several super states. These super states will naturally be in opposition to each other or (a novel point) will pretend to be much more in opposition than in fact they are

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... This is the direction in which the world is going at the present time, and the trend lies deep in the political, social and economic foundations of the contemporary world situation. ..."
"... Specifically the danger lies in the structure imposed on Socialist and on Liberal capitalist communities by the necessity to prepare for total war with the U.S.S.R. and the new weapons, of which of course the atomic bomb is the most powerful and the most publicized. But danger lies also in the acceptance of a totalitarian outlook by intellectuals of all colours. ..."
"... Two of the principal super states will obviously be the Anglo-American world and Eurasia. If these two great blocks line up as mortal enemies it is obvious that the Anglo-Americans will not take the name of their opponents and will not dramatize themselves on the scene of history as Communists. Thus they will have to find a new name for themselves. The name suggested in Nineteen Eighty-Four is of course Ingsoc, but in practice a wide range of choices is open. In the U.S.A. the phrase "Americanism" or "hundred per cent Americanism" is suitable and the qualifying adjective is as totalitarian as anyone could wish. ..."
"... Pretty much explains the SDP and NuLabourInc and his name sake Blair and our political landscape of the last 50 years, don't you think? ..."
"... Also pay attention to the 'parody phrase. ' ..."
Oct 09, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Dungroanin -> MikeE Oct 9, 2019 12:46 AM

That is my down tick.

Because i feel that some agenda is at play. I'm not going to accuse you of trolling, or even a bit of gas lighting, but it seems like a slide into classic red scaring and recasting of Eric Blair

By way of explaining my emotion and since you mention Warburg, here is an example of Orwellian post humous attribution. He never said "imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever."

'from a post-publication press release directed by publisher Fredric Warburg toward readers who "had misinterpreted [Orwell's] aim, taking the novel as a criticism of the current British Labour Party, or of contemporary socialism in general." The quotation from the press release was "soon given the status of a last statement or deathbed appeal, given that Orwell was hospitalized at the time and dead six months later."

You can read more at georgeorwellnovels.com, which provides a great deal of context on this press release, which runs, in full, as follows:

It has been suggested by some of the reviewers of Nineteen Eighty-Four that it is the author's view that this, or something like this, is what will happen inside the next forty years in the Western world. This is not correct. I think that, allowing for the book being after all a parody, something like Nineteen Eighty-Four could happen. This is the direction in which the world is going at the present time, and the trend lies deep in the political, social and economic foundations of the contemporary world situation.

Specifically the danger lies in the structure imposed on Socialist and on Liberal capitalist communities by the necessity to prepare for total war with the U.S.S.R. and the new weapons, of which of course the atomic bomb is the most powerful and the most publicized. But danger lies also in the acceptance of a totalitarian outlook by intellectuals of all colours.

The moral to be drawn from this dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one: Don't let it happen. It depends on you.

George Orwell assumes that if such societies as he describes in Nineteen Eighty-Four come into being there will be several super states. This is fully dealt with in the relevant chapters of Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is also discussed from a different angle by James Burnham in The Managerial Revolution. These super states will naturally be in opposition to each other or (a novel point) will pretend to be much more in opposition than in fact they are.

Two of the principal super states will obviously be the Anglo-American world and Eurasia. If these two great blocks line up as mortal enemies it is obvious that the Anglo-Americans will not take the name of their opponents and will not dramatize themselves on the scene of history as Communists. Thus they will have to find a new name for themselves. The name suggested in Nineteen Eighty-Four is of course Ingsoc, but in practice a wide range of choices is open. In the U.S.A. the phrase "Americanism" or "hundred per cent Americanism" is suitable and the qualifying adjective is as totalitarian as anyone could wish.

If there is a failure of nerve and the Labour party breaks down in its attempt to deal with the hard problems with which it will be faced, tougher types than the present Labour leaders will inevitably take over, drawn probably from the ranks of the Left, but not sharing the Liberal aspirations of those now in power. Members of the present British government, from Mr. Attlee and Sir Stafford Cripps down to Aneurin Bevan will never willingly sell the pass to the enemy, and in general the older men, nurtured in a Liberal tradition, are safe, but the younger generation is suspect and the seeds of totalitarian thought are probably widespread among them. It is invidious to mention names, but everyone could without difficulty think for himself of prominent English and American personalities whom the cap would fit.'
http://www.openculture.com/2014/11/george-orwells-final-warning.html

-- -- -- -

Pretty much explains the SDP and NuLabourInc and his name sake Blair and our political landscape of the last 50 years, don't you think?

Also pay attention to the 'parody phrase. '
'
As i wrote earlier, perhaps Blair of Eton ultimately saw how clearly hist talents had been misused by the 'totalitarians' before he died.

I understand that some of his works are still censored and others never published. As are his state employment in propaganda on which he probably based his 'parody' on.

[Sep 28, 2019] Orwell vs Jack London

The Iron Heel is a dystopian[1] novel by American writer Jack London, first published in 1908.[2] Generally considered to be "the earliest of the modern dystopian" fiction,[3] it chronicles the rise of an oligarchic tyranny in the United States.
In The Iron Heel, Jack London's socialist views are explicitly on display. A forerunner of soft science fiction novels and stories of the 1960s and '70s, the book stresses future changes in society and politics while paying much less attention to technological changes.
The novel is based on the fictional "Everhard Manuscript" written by Avis Everhard... The Manuscript itself covers the years 1912 through 1932 in which the Oligarchy (or "Iron Heel") arose in the United States. In Asia, Japan conquered East Asia and created its own empire, India gained independence, and Europe became socialist. Canada, Mexico, and Cuba formed their own Oligarchies and were aligned with the U.S. (London remains silent as to the fates of South America, Africa, and the Middle East.)
In North America, the Oligarchy maintains power for three centuries until the Revolution succeeds and ushers in the Brotherhood of Man. During the years of the novel, the First Revolt is described and preparations for the Second Revolt are discussed. From the perspective of Everhard, the imminent Second Revolt is sure to succeed but from Meredith's frame story , the reader knows that Ernest Everhard's hopes would go unfulfilled until centuries after his death.
The Oligarchy is the largest monopoly of trusts (or robber barons ) who manage to squeeze out the middle class by bankrupting most small to mid-sized business as well as reducing all farmers to effective serfdom . This Oligarchy maintains power through a "labor caste " and the Mercenaries . Laborers in essential industries like steel and rail are elevated and given decent wages, housing, and education. Indeed, the tragic turn in the novel (and Jack London's core warning to his contemporaries) is the treachery of these favored unions which break with the other unions and side with the Oligarchy. Further, a second, military caste is formed: the Mercenaries. The Mercenaries are officially the army of the US but are in fact in the employ of the Oligarchs.
Jack London ambitiously predicted a breakdown of the US republic starting a few years past 1908, but various events have caused his predicted future to diverge from actual history. Most crucially, though London placed quite accurately the time when international tensions will reach their peak (1913 in "The Iron Heel", 1914 in actual history ), he (like many others at the time) predicted that when this moment came, labor solidarity would prevent a war that would include the US, Germany and other nations.
The Iron Heel is cited by George Orwell 's biographer Michael Shelden as having influenced Orwell's most famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four . [4] Orwell himself described London as having made "a very remarkable prophecy of the rise of Fascism ", in the book and believed that London's understanding of the primitive had made him a better prophet "than many better-informed and more logical thinkers." [5] ( The Iron Heel - Wikipedia )
Sep 28, 2019 | www.unz.com

As writer or thinker, Jack London can't touch George Orwell, but he's nearly the Brit's equal when it comes to describing society's bottom. To both, being a writer is as much a physical as an intellectual endeavor. Wading into everything, they braved all discomforts and dangers. This attitude has become very rare, and not just among writers. Trapped in intensely mediated lives, we all think we know more as we experience less and less.

At age 14, London worked in a salmon cannery. At 16, he was an oyster pirate. At 17, he was a sailor on a sealing schooner that reached Japan. At 18, London crossed the country as a hobo and, near Buffalo, was jailed for 30 days for vagrancy. At 21, he prospected for gold in the Klondike. London was also a newsboy, longshoreman, roustabout, window washer, jute mill grunt, carpet cleaner and electrician, so he had many incidents, mishaps and ordeals to draw from, and countless characters to portray.

London's The Road chronicles his hobo and prison misadventure. Condemned to hard labor, the teenager nearly starved, "While we got plenty of water, we did not get enough of the bread. A ration of bread was about the size of one's two fists, and three rations a day were given to each prisoner. There was one good thing, I must say, about the water -- it was hot. In the morning it was called 'coffee,' at noon it was dignified as 'soup,' and at night it masqueraded as 'tea.' But it was the same old water all the time."

London quickly worked his way up the clink's hierarchy, to become one of 13 enforcers for the guards. This experience alone should have taught him that in all situations, not just dire ones, each man will prioritize his own interest and survival, and that there's no solidarity among the "downtrodden" or whatever. Orwell's Animal Farm is a parable about this. Since man is an egoist, power lust lurks everywhere.

During the Russo-Japanese War a decade later, London would approvingly quote a letter from Japanese socialists to their Russian comrades, but this pacific gesture was nothing compared to the nationalistic fervor engulfing both countries. Like racism, nationalism is but self love. Though clearly madness if overblown, it's unextinguishable.

Jailed, London the future socialist stood by as his gang disciplined a naïf, "I remember a handsome young mulatto of about twenty who got the insane idea into his head that he should stand for his rights. And he did have the right of it, too; but that didn't help him any. He lived on the topmost gallery. Eight hall-men took the conceit out of him in just about a minute and a half -- for that was the length of time required to travel along his gallery to the end and down five flights of steel stairs. He travelled the whole distance on every portion of his anatomy except his feet, and the eight hall-men were not idle. The mulatto struck the pavement where I was standing watching it all. He regained his feet and stood upright for a moment. In that moment he threw his arms wide apart and omitted an awful scream of terror and pain and heartbreak. At the same instant, as in a transformation scene, the shreds of his stout prison clothes fell from him, leaving him wholly naked and streaming blood from every portion of the surface of his body. Then he collapsed in a heap, unconscious. He had learned his lesson, and every convict within those walls who heard him scream had learned a lesson. So had I learned mine. It is not a nice thing to see a man's heart broken in a minute and a half."

Jailed, you immediately recover your racial consciousness, but London apparently missed this. In any case, a lesser writer or man wouldn't confess to such complicity with power. Elsewhere, London admits to much hustling and lying, and even claims these practices made him a writer, "I have often thought that to this training of my tramp days is due much of my success as a story-writer. In order to get the food whereby I lived, I was compelled to tell tales that rang true [ ] Also, I quite believe it was my tramp-apprenticeship that made a realist out of me. Realism constitutes the only goods one can exchange at the kitchen door for grub."

Informed by hard-earned, bitter experience, London's accounts resonate and convince, even when outlandish, for they are essentially true about the human condition.

London on a fellow prisoner, "He was a huge, illiterate brute, an ex-Chesapeake-Bay-oyster-pirate, an 'ex-con' who had done five years in Sing Sing, and a general all-around stupidly carnivorous beast. He used to trap sparrows that flew into our hall through the open bars. When he made a capture, he hurried away with it into his cell, where I have seen him crunching bones and spitting out feathers as he bolted it raw."

Though London often uses "beast" or "beastly" to describe how humans are treated, this fellow appears to be congenitally bestial, with his all-around stupidity. As for the other prisoners, "Our hall was a common stews, filled with the ruck and the filth, the scum and dregs, of society -- hereditary inefficients, degenerates, wrecks, lunatics, addled intelligences, epileptics, monsters, weaklings, in short, a very nightmare of humanity." Though many are wrecked, others are born deficient, addled or weak, but in our retarded days, morons must be smart in other ways, and raging monsters are merely oppressed into mayhem or murder.

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But of course, society does oppress, then and now. Remember that an 18-year-old London was sentenced to 30 days of hard labor for merely being in a strange city without a hotel reservation. Another inmate was doing 60 for eating from a trash can, "He had strayed out to the circus ground, and, being hungry, had made his way to the barrel that contained the refuse from the table of the circus people. 'And it was good bread,' he often assured me; 'and the meat was out of sight.' A policeman had seen him and arrested him, and there he was." Well, at least Americans are no longer locked up for dumpster diving, so there's progress for you, but then many must still feed from the garbage, with that number rapidly rising.

Though London was a worldwide celebrity at his death in 1916, his fame faded so fast that Orwell could comment in 1944, "Jack London is one of those border-line writers whose works might be forgotten altogether unless somebody takes the trouble to revive them."

London's most enduring book may turn out to be The People of the Abyss, his 1903 investigation into the abjectly impoverished of London's East End.

Dressed accordingly, London joined its homeless to see how they survived. With a 58-year-old carter and a 65-year-old carpenter, London wandered the cold streets, "From the slimy, spittle-drenched, sidewalk, they were picking up bits of orange peel, apple skin, and grape stems, and, they were eating them. The pits of greengage plums they cracked between their teeth for the kernels inside. They picked up stray bits of bread the size of peas, apple cores so black and dirty one would not take them to be apple cores, and these things these two men took into their mouths, and chewed them, and swallowed them; and this, between six and seven o'clock in the evening of August 20, year of our Lord 1902, in the heart of the greatest, wealthiest, and most powerful empire the world has ever seen."

Having mingled with many homeless in cities across America, I can attest that the food situation is not as bad in that unraveling empire, but the squalor is just as appalling, if not worse. A Wall Street Journal headline, "California's Biggest Cities Confront a 'Defecation Crisis'." There's no need to import public shitting from shitholes, since there's already plenty of it, homegrown and well-fertilized with smirkingly cynical policies.

Trump, "We can't let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what's happening," but he's only talking about the unsightliness of it all, not its root cause, which is a deliberately wrecked economy that, over decades, has fabulously enriched his and our masters. This, too, is a controlled demolition.

Ensconced in some leafy suburb, you might be missing this beastly, raving, zonked out and shitty transformation. Jack London, though, never recoiled from society's diarrhea. My favorite passage of The People of the Abyss is his account of bathing, so to speak, in a workhouse:

We stripped our clothes, wrapping them up in our coats and buckling our belts about them, and deposited them in a heaped rack and on the floor -- a beautiful scheme for the spread of vermin. Then, two by two, we entered the bathroom. There were two ordinary tubs, and this I know: the two men preceding had washed in that water, we washed in the same water, and it was not changed for the two men that followed us. This I know; but I am also certain that the twenty-two of us washed in the same water.

I did no more than make a show of splashing some of this dubious liquid at myself, while I hastily brushed it off with a towel wet from the bodies of other men. My equanimity was not restored by seeing the back of one poor wretch a mass of blood from attacks of vermin and retaliatory scratching.

If other men had to endure that, why shouldn't London, especially since he was trying to understand these wretches?

Many moons, suns and saturns ago, I taught a writing course at UPenn, and for one assignment, I asked students to take the subway to a strange stop, get off, walk around and observe, but don't do it in the dark, I did warn them. Frightened, one girl couldn't get off, so simply wrote about her very first ride. At least she got a taste of an entirely alien world beyond campus. Considering that her parents had to cough up over 60 grands annually to consign her to the Ivy League, they'd probably want to murder me for subjecting their precious to such needless anxieties.

Cocooned, Americans are oblivious to their own destruction. Screwed, they're fixated by Pornhub.

London insisted a worldwide class revolution was the answer. A century and several gory nightmares later, there are those who still cling to this faith, but only in the West. In the East, even the most ignorant know the survival of his identity and dignity is conterminous with his nation's. Orwell understood this well. It is the biggest crime to wreck anyone's heritage in a flash.

In each society, you can begin to right the ship by prosecuting the biggest criminals, with existing laws, but first, you must have the clarity and courage to identify them.

In the US, at least, this shouldn't be too complicated, for their crimes are mostly out in the open, and their enforcers appear nightly in your living room, not unlike 1984. As you watch, they cheerfully lie, silence witnesses, mass murder, squander your last cent and dismantle, brick by brick, the house your forefathers built and died defending. Even if all they saw was its basement, it was still their everything.

Linh Dinh's latest book is Postcards from the End of America . He maintains a regularly updated photo blog .


AmRusDebate , says: September 26, 2019 at 3:33 pm GMT

Lexicologically, Jack London far surpasses Orwell. He mixes erudite and argot. Stylistically London far surpassed anything Orwell ever came up with. Orwell is a man of unum librum.

Nor would I say Orwell was a better thinker than London. 1984 is partly inspired by the Iron Heel, an image coined by London in a namesake book.

Reducing London to being a mere "socialist" is moronic.

Bardon Kaldian , says: September 26, 2019 at 5:21 pm GMT
London is one of those authors whom aesthetes despise, but who- against all odds- stubbornly refuse to go away. When he wrote about "serious" topics, London was a failure (Burning Daylight, Martin Eden, ); on the other hand, when he wrote about animals, primitives, mentally impaired, (white) underclass & quasi-fascist-Darwinian fantasies (most stories & short novels) -he was an unavoidable writer, one that will be read long after most canonized authors are just a footnote.

By the way, he was extremely popular even in Czarist Russia, something along the lines of American vitalism & energy.

Top Hat , says: September 27, 2019 at 12:24 am GMT
Jack London's "The Iron Heel" is another of his fictional stories about the working classes and in the book he attacks capitalism and promotes socialism while presenting the story of the US turned into an oligarchy in 1913 (the book was written in 1907). What's interesting about "The Iron Heel" is that by 1900 it must have been quite obvious as to how the world's more powerful nations were planning on parceling up the world, and London makes reference to this in his novel about the future military campaigns that will take place in the book's dystopian future, and his fiction was not far wrong from what actually transpired in WW1 and WW2.

After Jack London gained fame he did not work alone, he hired aspiring writers to "fill-in" his fiction, much like famous painters painting large commissions would hire subordinates to "fill-in" their canvas after the outline was drawn. The plot and subplots would come from London, but his underlings would write the stories. At this point in time I can't remember the names but as I recall a few famous authors got their start working for Jack London.

London was also cursed with the writer's nemesis, he was an alcoholic, and his autobiographical novel "John Barleycorn" treats the "demon drink" as one of the world's great ills. The book being published in 1913, it is noteworthy that the eighteenth amendment banning alcohol was passed by congress a few years later in 1919, so it could be that London was at least a minor fulcrum in giving a push to the moral crusade against alcohol being sold in the US.

Much of Jack London's work is classic like his short story fiction placed in Alaska, "To Start a Fire" about a man exposed to the elements and slowly freezing to death, or his fictional tales about being a constable sailing a schooner chasing pirates off the coast of California. Also unique and thrilling is the short story "A Piece of Steak" about an aging boxer hoping to win one last fight. These were tough and gritty stories about men at their extremity, and not tales for children.

London wrote a good tale and he understood human nature, and perhaps that's what motivated him to become an alcoholic socialist.

durd , says: September 27, 2019 at 1:26 am GMT
@Bardon Kaldian I enjoyed much of London's works. Although I read many of his books when young,and I don't remember them too much, they helped inspire me to head north in the very backyard of Burning Daylight, a best seller in it's day. His portrayal of characters of the North seem quite believable and his description of the land and it's peculiar traits are also accurate. The short story 'All Gold Canyon' is spot on for how a prospector prospects.

I read the Jack London Reader (for sale in Chicken, ak) a few years ago and enjoyed it immensely as I did the Sea Wolf.

Martin Eden is a depressing read. I have only read Animal Farm so I really can't compare. Depends how much one 'likes' to get disgruntled.

Nancy Pelosi's Latina Maid , says: September 27, 2019 at 8:05 am GMT

Cocooned, Americans are oblivious to their own destruction. Screwed, they're fixated by Pornhub.

Funny, all I ever read on the Internet these days are articles about America's destruction. This article's another one. Yet according to some pouty guy on the other side of the planet, we're oblivious.

And Pornhub is #32 according to Alexa. That's really high, but 31 websites precede it. I've never visited Pornhub, and I'd bet neither have 9 out of 10 Americans. Eliminate kids under 10, adults over 80, most women, and all those without Internet access, and you're left with a core of certain primetime lusty guys who are comfortable with pornography. Couldn't be more than 10%.

It'd be wonderful if we could have a single calendar day, say October 21, when everyone declares a moratorium on blithely shitting on America. Or is this part of the Jewish strategy to keep us divided and unhappy?

swamped , says: September 27, 2019 at 9:16 am GMT
"London was also a newsboy, longshoreman, roustabout, window washer, jute mill grunt, carpet cleaner and electrician" and – not least – SPORTSWRITER!John Griffith Chaney packed a lot of experience into his short forty year span on this wretched earth but his stint on the Oakland Herald & later sports writing – especially about surfing – are some of his best & consistent with his own fiery enjoyment of active outdoor sports. Perhaps best summed up in his aphorism:"I would rather be ashes than dust." London was not known for being a soccer fan but nonetheless, he would probably still be pleased to know that there is in his hometown today a very large & thriving Jack London Youth Soccer League. Anybody's guess how long it will be before the Woke Folk in town try to shut it down for being named after a 'white supremacist'.
Eric Arthur Blair had a similarly short stay in this world – only seven more years than London – but didn't much share his enthusiasm for the sporting life. Orwell was quite candid in his rejection of the world's favorite past time, explaining in an essay: "I loathed the game, and since I could see no pleasure or usefulness in it, it was very difficult for me to show courage at it. Football, it seemed to me, is not really played for the pleasure of kicking a ball about, but is a species of fighting." Orwell was even more pointed in a London Tribune op-ed during his early newspaper days, commenting on a recent series of matches between a Russian & English clubs, " the games cult did not start till the later part of the last century. Dr Arnold, generally regarded as the founder of the modern public school, looked on games as simply a waste of time. Then, chiefly in England and the United States, games were built up into a heavily-financed activity, capable of attracting vast crowds and rousing savage passions, and the infection spread from country to country. It is the most violently combative sports, football and boxing, that have spread the widest. There cannot be much doubt that the whole thing is bound up with the rise of nationalism -- that is, with the lunatic modern habit of identifying oneself with large power units and seeing everything in terms of competitive prestige."

"Orwell understood this well. It is the biggest crime to wreck anyone's heritage in a flash."
Or beat their national team. Go Golden Dragons!

TKK , says: September 27, 2019 at 11:19 am GMT
When I read about a woman dying from a rooster attack, or people falling to their death to take selfies, or the growing number of hikers who venture out into semi- wilderness with their cell phones but not adequate water, I always think of London's "To Build a Fire."

If London observed man's diminished capacity to measure and survive nature in his era, what would he make of any airport or street today? Like the parasite creature in "Alien", phones are stuck to every face encountered. Most people are not "present" in any sense when in the public sphere now, let alone taking note of the world around them.

6dust6 , says: September 27, 2019 at 11:52 am GMT
Great essay. I made it a point to visit Jack London's ranch on a California visit. The ranch was a huge unfulfilled project with the sad burnt out ruins of his dream house reminding us of his grand plans. The condition of his grown-over untended grave startled me. I find it interesting that many men of that time viewed socialism as a panacea; however, the intellect, ambition and energy of a man like Jack London would never have survived the ideology he espoused.
follyofwar , says: September 27, 2019 at 2:46 pm GMT
@Paul Did you see the "Trotsky" miniseries on Netflix? It was in Russian with English subtitles, but I enjoyed reading them all and found it riveting. It appeared to be historically accurate to someone like me who knows little of Russian history. Trotsky (born Lev Bronstein) was a Ukrainian Jew who cared little for how many Russians he killed. I guess Ukies hated Russians even back then.
follyofwar , says: September 27, 2019 at 3:01 pm GMT
@6dust6 Who knows, if London had lived longer he might have been a fascist supporter of Mussolini (as was Ezra Pound) and Hitler.
Emslander , says: September 27, 2019 at 3:03 pm GMT

In each society, you can begin to right the ship by prosecuting the biggest criminals, with existing laws, but first, you must have the clarity and courage to identify them.

This is why I don't get your disgust at President Trump. He has the will and the position to do just as you recommend and he would do it if the ruling class weren't trying to cut him off at the knees 24-7. Trump is the people's first successful attempt to drive the destroyers from the forum. I fear for coming generations if he doesn't.

Bardon Kaldian , says: September 27, 2019 at 3:17 pm GMT
@simple_pseudonymic_handle Nathaniel Hawthorne
Herman Melville
Walt Whitman
Mark Twain
Stephen Crane
T.S. Eliot
Henry James
Tennessee Williams
Saul Bellow
John Updike
pyrrhus , says: September 27, 2019 at 3:29 pm GMT
Jack London also wrote the classic short story 'To Build a Fire', and the novel 'The Call of the Wild', both set in Alaska ..He was a talented writer.
Zagonostra , says: September 27, 2019 at 4:13 pm GMT
I wish the author would have done an analysis of London's "Iron Heel." I just read it for the first time, and what he was writing about 100 years ago on the dominance of the "oligarchs", i.e., the "iron heel" rings as true today as it did back then.

Curious also how he died so suddenly. There is a YouTube video of him at his ranch looking as healthy as can be only a couple of days before he mysteriously died.

Jeff Stryker , says: September 27, 2019 at 4:25 pm GMT
@Anonymous Snanonymous Sir, you have made a remarkably prescient point.

USA today is like Britain in the late Victorian age. A Superpower of vast divides.

In those days, a serial killer called Jack the Ripper stalked the streets.

There is no difference. The class system has been replaced by rich Wall Street sharks and tech billionaires but the plutocracy is a plutocracy.

Gin has given way to Opoids.

But it is strangely similar.

Linh Dinh , says: Website September 27, 2019 at 9:23 pm GMT
@AaronB An empire exploits and abuses all natives, including those of its host nation. Just think of how they must send these natives to foreign lands, not just to kill, but die. It's better to be a house slave than a field one, however, so many far flung subjects of the empire will try to sneak into the house. It's also safer there, generally. Except for rare instances, as in 9/11, the empire won't blow up natives inside its borders.

[Sep 26, 2019] Big Tech 'Nudges' Our Behavior for Its Own Greed: Here's a 4-Step Social Media Self-Defense Class by Justin Podur

The surveillance capitalists -- nice term
Sep 25, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
September 25, 2019 by Yves Smith Yves here. I suspect many readers already employ some of the recommendations for how to keep tech from taking too much mindshare.

By Justin Podur, a Toronto-based writer and a writing fellow at Globetrotter , a project of the Independent Media Institute. You can find him on his website at podur.org and on Twitter @justinpodur . He teaches at York University in the Faculty of Environmental Studies. He is the author of the novel Siegebreakers . Produced by Globetrotter , a project of the Independent Media Institute

Human nature -- how we exist, how we live our lives -- is at risk. That's the premise of Shoshana Zuboff's book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism .

Zuboff believes the tech giants have created a new form of capitalism. The surveillance capitalist "wants your bloodstream and your bed, your breakfast conversation, your commute, your run, your refrigerator, your parking space, your living room."

In the old propaganda system, media audiences were not the consumers but the products, sold to the real consumers, the advertisers. In surveillance capitalism, you are neither the consumer nor the product, simply raw material. The tech giants don't need your consumption, or even your attention: they make their money by selling products that predict your behavior based on the trails of data that you throw off as you go about your daily business online (and, increasingly -- with ubiquitous surveillance devices in the environment -- offline as well).

And once your behavior can be predicted, it can be changed. You are being hacked, Zuboff says, as the surveillance capitalists "nudge, tune, herd, manipulate, and modify behavior in specific directions by executing actions as subtle as inserting a specific phrase into your Facebook news feed, timing the appearance of a BUY button on your phone, or shutting down your car engine when an insurance payment is late."

Each new nudge-able behavior becomes a free asset for the taking, as opportunities are found to make money by controlling you. For example, insurance companies offer discounted premiums if you install a surveillance device in your car to monitor your good driving behavior. Once it's in there, in Zuboff's words, "the insurance company can set specific parameters for driving behavior. These can include anything from fastening the seat belt to rate of speed, idling times, braking and cornering, aggressive acceleration, harsh braking, excessive hours on the road, driving out of state, and entering a restricted area." Amazon's employees, called "athletes," wear monitored devices to push them to higher levels of productivity. We fear being replaced by robots: surveillance capitalists make us into the robots.

The stakes are as high as the level of control is microscopic. A new form of power, which Zuboff calls "instrumentarian," has arisen. Instrumentarian power would have you cede your privacy, your behavior, your free will, all to the profit imperatives of the tech giants. To maintain your individuality, Zuboff suggests, you are forced to "hide in your own life," trying to use encryption and privacy technology to get around the surveillance. But the story of WhatsApp suggests that they can find you if you try to use technology to hide: intended as an encrypted and secure platform for people to chat with one another in privacy, WhatsApp is now one of Facebook's flagship products. It's also the platform on which lynchings are organized in India and on which the fascist Jair Bolsonaro's election was coordinated in Brazil.

As you consciously try to minimize surveillance capitalism's control on your individual mind and life, a philosophical framework would come in handy. Computer scientist Cal Newport has set out such a framework in his book Digital Minimalism . Newport argues that social media tools delivered through smartphones can add value to a person's life, but not if used as directed. He asks readers to think carefully about exactly what value they are getting from engagement with these tools, and how we can get that value without the huge costs in time, energy, and emotion that we are currently paying. You can probably get the full value of Facebook from 20-40 minutes per week, he writes. All the other hours per day that you are spending are a voluntary gift of your attention and eyeballs to Facebook, which has figured out how to turn that attention into profit.

How to Defend Yourself Against Big Tech Manipulation

In the face of the old propaganda system, Noam Chomsky advocated a course of "intellectual self-defense." In the face of the new, supercharged, surveillance capitalist version, I'm advocating a course of "social self-defense." With help from Zuboff and Newport, here are four steps you can take to defend yourself against social media manipulation.

1. Join the Attention Resistance. If you are using social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and hoping to retain your autonomy, Newport writes, "it's crucial to understand that this is not a casual decision. You're instead waging a David and Goliath battle against institutions that are both impossibly rich and intent on using this wealth to stop you from winning." You will have to become a member of what Newport calls the attention resistance, "who combine high-tech tools with disciplined operating procedures to conduct surgical strikes on popular attention economy services -- dropping in to extract value, and then slipping away before the attention traps set by these companies can spring shut." Long live the resistance!

2. Minimize the Role of Devices in Your Life. Newport's tactical advice in this section is sound, and I won't rehash it all, but here are a few key points: remove social media from your phone and access it on a computer; "dumb down" your smartphone; try embracing "slow" media; turn watching Netflix into a social, not an individual activity.

3. Get Into Real Life. One way to "hide in your own life," as Zuboff suggests, is to embrace Newport's suggestions to take up "high-quality" leisure activities to crowd out the "low-quality" leisure that swiping and clicking on your phone represents. Don't use your phone until you've lost the dexterity to use your hands, like the medical students who now lack the dexterity to stitch patients . Do things that involve your hands. Go for walks; embrace conversation, which is a "high-bandwidth" activity and the only real way to maintain friendships (and yes, phone and video calling do count as conversations, though in-person is better).

4. Fight for a Better Digital World. Using your new practice interacting with real human beings in real life, join groups who are trying to get surveillance capitalism under control. The struggle to assert collective rights to privacy, to communication and information, will have to take a collective form. Perhaps it will be a struggle for regulation, to break up the tech monopolies and assert legal and democratic controls. Perhaps the communications infrastructure of societies shouldn't be in private hands at all, but should be nationalized (there was a time when economists believed that certain infrastructures were "natural monopolies" that should be government-owned and run).

Newport emphasizes social and civic activity in crowding out mindless phone use, and warns not to be turned off by normal group dynamics: "It's easy to get caught up in the annoyances or difficulties inherent in any gathering of individuals struggling to work toward a common goal. These obstacles provide a convenient excuse to avoid leaving the comfort of family and close friends, but it's worth pushing past these concerns." I know that I'm not the only activist who has gotten caught up in the "inherent annoyances and difficulties" of offline activism (i.e., endless meetings, dysfunctional group dynamics). And in those dark moments when we think of isolation as an alternative, our phones are there to offer us the lowest forms of socializing and the lowest simulations of activism, clicking "like" (which Newport advises us to never do) and retweeting, or "desperately checking for retweets of a clever quip." Don't do that stuff -- instead, join a real group and interact with people in real life.

There was a time decades ago when I was frustrated as an activist with groups who spent a lot of time talking and not enough time doing things (action being defined then mainly as street protests, or sometimes occupying things). I'm old enough to remember the criticism of "preaching to the choir," back when there was apparently a metaphorical equivalent of a choir who would sing together every week. These days, getting together and talking about politics in person, even just with like-minded people, would already be subversive. Let's talk. Because to work, the new tools of social self-defense must still be complemented by the old intellectual self-defense methods: talking and thinking with others, wide and critical reading, and taking conscious social action according to your principles.


The Rev Kev , September 25, 2019 at 7:28 am

One or two suggestions. Take a look at your mobile and start deleting all those apps that you do not use. Not so much for getting space back on your mobile but you can never be sure just what those apps are doing on your mobile or who they are reporting their findings too. If you don't need them, why are they there? Did they come pre-installed?
Another one. If you can get away with not using any of Google's offerings, perhaps it might be an idea to consider using a Huawei mobile. They are cheaper and appear to be as good as most mobiles but there is a point to consider. Will a Huawei mobile spy on you the same way that an Apple or an Android will? Absolutely! But they will not be in much of a position to monetize you as much as the later two companies will.

Carolinian , September 25, 2019 at 12:59 pm

If you are concerned about privacy you shouldn't be using smartphone at all or at least not one hooked to the web. They do make handy GPS navigators, cameras, music players.

Tom Pfotzer , September 25, 2019 at 8:49 am

Today's smart phone operating system (e.g. Android) is a crucial, strategic interface to today's human being. It's the point at which many of us connect to society at large.

It's like there's a toll-both outside your front door, and in order to enter and operate in society, you must first pay the toll every day, each and every time you participate.

I often wonder what it would take to write, via open-source project, a smart-phone operating system that would have a decent user interface, make and take phone calls, and have a few other basic functions, like web browser support, contacts management, calculator, so forth.

Canonical – the company that supports the Ubuntu derivative of Linux – tried this a while back. They wrote all the software, and then abandoned the project. They gave up because not enough people wanted to use it.

We may be approaching the time to re-visit that decision.

Would you want your phone to be running code that works for you, and defends your interests?

Arizona Slim , September 25, 2019 at 9:18 am

I sure would, Tom! Let's do this thing.

Who else is in?

ejf , September 25, 2019 at 11:03 am

Count me as well. The problem is walking the software into a phone, the hardware. The project would inevitably wind up with lots of DIY projects. With something like this, I'd have to run Ubuntu on my windows laptop, then install it into my project . A pain but doable.

James , September 25, 2019 at 11:57 am

I thought Android was open source except for the google apps and the google store – which both technically are not part of the OS. You could build a new "distribution", which is a whole lot easier than writing a whole new OS from scratch, but it is the apps that do most of the information gathering.

Anon , September 25, 2019 at 9:08 pm

An Android phone has Google software embedded into the OS. Some Google apps can be deleted, but others can only be "disabled". And then there are the "system background services" that cannot be turned off and send info to Google intermittently.

I use a Motorola Play (smartphone) with every possible app turned off. The phone is either off or in "airplane mode". I only carry it on my person if I think I'll absolutely need it; otherwise it's stays at home or in the car. Most of my communication is text (SMS) or email.

The reason to use a laptop more than your phone is the availability of more robust defense apps to keep one's activity in the "dark". (Excepting, of course, the NSA.)

lordkoos , September 25, 2019 at 12:13 pm

Since installing Linux Mint (variation of Ubuntu) on my laptop I'm all in for a Linux smart phone. People are still working on the project and I think at some point it could happen. I use an iphone and have almost everything turned off or deleted, but I do use some apps, such as podcasts, a guitar tuner, maps, etc. I never use the phone for social media.

Peopl