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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 20, 2019] Orwell, Inc. How Your Employer Spies On You From When You Wake Up Until You Go To Bed

There are a lot of exaggerations here.
While email and web activity of employees is definitely monitored, all other monitoring usually is pretty fragmentary. Often on a corporate smartphone there are two zones -- secure zone where you access corporate network and email and private zone where you have access to the internet via you provider and traffic is not monitored other then for the volume.
Keeping track of all those details (and some of them will be wrong) is just too expensive and few corporation outside FIRE sector so that.
In short anything that opens company to a lawsuit will be monitored, but outside of that companies actually are not interested in the information collection as it opens them to additional liability in save of suicides and such.
Mining data from social media is a different complex topic and requires a separate article.
Notable quotes:
"... From there, the company even sees as Chet logs onto the guest Wi-Fi connections at places like the coffee shop in the morning. Many companies require additional authentication when they try to access company information from unsecure Wi-Fi networks. ..."
"... Then, as Chet gets to his desk, his web browsing is tracked along with his email. New software breaks down how workers interact with email and how quickly colleagues reply in an attempt to see which employees are most influential . Some software on company computers even snaps screenshots every 30 seconds to evaluate productivity and hours worked. ..."
"... Even Chet's phone conversations can be recorded, transcribed and monitored. Companies use this information to find subject matter experts and measure productivity. Even conference room discussions and meetings can now be recorded and analyzed by software. ..."
Jul 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Orwell, Inc.: How Your Employer Spies On You From When You Wake Up Until You Go To Bed

An increasing number of large companies are using data from employees' electronic devices to track such personal details like when you they wake up, where they go for coffee in the morning, their whereabouts throughout the entire day, and what time they go to bed according to a new Wall Street Journal article. What's the company explanation for this type of spying?

"An increasing number of companies are keeping track of such information to flag potentially suspicious activity and measure work-life balance," the article claims.

The article walks through the day in the life of a fictional worker, Chet. It starts by noting that his employer logs the time and his location when he first wakes up to check his e-mail in the morning.

From there, the company even sees as Chet logs onto the guest Wi-Fi connections at places like the coffee shop in the morning. Many companies require additional authentication when they try to access company information from unsecure Wi-Fi networks.

Then, a Bluetooth device and his ID badge mark what time he arrives at the office while tracking his movement around the building. These technologies are supposedly used to see what teams collaborate frequently and to make sure that employees aren't accessing unauthorized areas.

Then, as Chet gets to his desk, his web browsing is tracked along with his email. New software breaks down how workers interact with email and how quickly colleagues reply in an attempt to see which employees are most influential . Some software on company computers even snaps screenshots every 30 seconds to evaluate productivity and hours worked.

Even Chet's phone conversations can be recorded, transcribed and monitored. Companies use this information to find subject matter experts and measure productivity. Even conference room discussions and meetings can now be recorded and analyzed by software.

At the end of the day, if Chet goes to the gym or for a run, the company will know that too and just how many calories he has burned: his fitness tracker logs how many steps he takes and what exercise, if any, he is doing. Companies then use that information to determine how frequently employees are exercising and whether or not they should be paying for health and fitness services.

You can view the WSJ's full animated panel here .


Xena fobe , 4 minutes ago link

They retain firms that track us on our social media accounts. Supposedly to defend against workplace violence threats. And then there are the cameras. We never really know. Just do my job and keep personal use of company resources to a minimum.

misgivings , 10 minutes ago link

Just NO. This is pretty much slavery. There should be a right to privacy, human rights. the insidious nature of ever more control must be reversed.

misgivings , 13 minutes ago link

we really ARE just cattle.

Ms No , 15 minutes ago link

Shortly Im going to start leaving my phone at home and just carrying a book with me. Screw these Bolshevik bitches.

Kefeer , 47 minutes ago link

The operation known as "LifeLog" was replaced the very day that Face Book came into being?

Life Log : The objective of the LifeLog concept was "to be able to trace the 'threads' of an individual's life in terms of events, states, and relationships", and it has the ability to "take in all of a subject's experience, from phone numbers dialed and e-mail messages viewed to every breath taken, step made and place gone". [1]

" CIA Can Selectively Disclose Information, Court Affirms " Bookmark this website Anons

My takeaway from all this is that many, perhaps most, human institutions are corrupt and that there is no basis from which most people are able to discern truth from lies or right from wrong. This explains the ability of the Power Elite to easily divide people against each other. For example, you cannot debate a Liberal because they have their basis for truth on their personal feeling or emotions. Many conservatives do as well, but they are closer in their thingking to the foundation from which truth sits upon.

PKKA , 48 minutes ago link

How to avoid electronic surveillance

Edward Snowden, former NSA employee. Snowden is an absolute supporter of encryption of all stored and transmitted content. Now there are many applications that have encryption features. And among them there are common and well-known messengers, such as, for example, WhatsApp, Telegram and others.

The former NSA agent also advises to secure his computer, in particular, the hard drive. On the Internet you can find instructions on how to do this. Usually used special software. For example, for Windows, there is a program preinstalled in advanced versions of the OS -- BitLocker, for Mac -- FileVault. Thus, if the computer is stolen, the attacker will not be able to read your data.

Password Managers A useful thing that most people do not even think about. Such programs allow you to keep your passwords in order - to create unique keys and store them. According to Snowden, one of the most common problems with online privacy is leaks.

Tor. The former NSA official calls the anonymous Tor network "the most important technological project to ensure the confidentiality of those currently used." He stated that he uses it on a daily basis. Tor allows you to "cover up traces" on the Internet, that is, it provides anonymity, making it difficult to determine the person's IP address and location.

Also, Snowden told how to avoid total surveillance. For example, special services that can remotely turn on a microphone or camera on a smartphone and start listening. The answer is simple - pull out the microphone and camera modules from the device. Instead, it is proposed to use an external accessory and disconnect from the selfie and never use it.

Kefeer , 33 minutes ago link

The only safe way is to abstain as much as possible, which is now next to impossible. Security is only as protected as the weakest link. Consider a person who uses their smart phone giving Google or Apple the permissions needed to use their OS's and apps; we do not even know exactly how much info we agreed to give away. Consider all the contact info that your friends, relatives, work or other organizations you associate with have on their devices and how vulnerable they make it; they are not as cautious as you and some people using these things do not even think about security; it never occurs to them.. .. just some musing on my part.

Cardinal Fang , 50 minutes ago link

Jeez, I used to sign a quarterly affirmation that I complied with all of the companies electronic communication monitoring policies...and they made us sign that we understood that they had climbed up our *** and pitched a tent.

One of the reasons they had to find a replacement for me when I quit.

Quia Possum , 57 minutes ago link

If you're using your employer's devices, facilities, or networks, you should assume they are tracking what you're doing, and they have every right to do so. When I buy your company's products or services, I don't want to have to pay for your time spent messing around at work.

I can't read the article since it's behind a paywall, but I don't see how your waking and sleeping time and "work life balance" could be tracked unless you are using your employer's devices or networks outside of work. Which is friggin stupid if you do it.

fezline , 56 minutes ago link

Actually it doesnt work like that... Chet isn't informed of this happening. The fact that the company does this is buried in vague language in the 500 page employee handbook that Chet has to sign when he is hired. Chet is just like anyone else with a company provided electronic device. All companies monitor and track everything they can with the electronic devices they provide. If you have one and th think your company doesnt do it... you are naive.

Wild Bill Steamcock , 12 minutes ago link

Chet has the ability to determine when and where he uses the work-provided devices. And why does work have access to his fitness tracker? Supplied by his employer too? Really, Chet had options

fezline , 1 hour ago link

Not with me... I have a personal phone and when I am not at work I keep my work phone at home turned off. My emails are forwarded to my personal device and any voicemail I get also gets forwarded to my personal device. I never place personal calls with my work phone and I turn it off the second I leave work to go home.

Steele Hammorhands , 1 hour ago link

What a waste of resources. If you want to see what I do, just ask. I'll show you how I accomplish my work-related duties. How I manage my time at work. Where I go to cry and regret my life choices.

[Jul 17, 2019] The only real difference between China and the US is that the Chinese have no expectation of liberty

The amount of data collected by various companies is just staggering. Any person in the USA is really like a bug under the microscope. The question arise why we still have organized crime unless this is a branch of CIA.
Notable quotes:
"... Not to mention the legally required auto and homeowner's insurance, which can only be obtained through private corporations. Both of which maintain histories on your driving and lifestyle habits to determine how much of your wage to pocket. ..."
"... Even basic healthcare is only provided through private insurance that you are legally required to pay. And these insurance companies desperately try to charge you extra or cancel you for pre-existing conditions. ..."
"... The liberty of Americans has to be redefined. Where liberty is no longer to live a life of freedom from coercion, but to only live a life of coercion from government, except when the coercion involves a private corporation, then it is perfectly acceptable. And Americans have readily given up their liberty. ..."
Jul 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Kent 11 hours ago

The government actually has little influence in our lives. But it doesn't need to. Life's necessities are all controlled by private corporations. The key to the control is the removal of liberty. If housing costs so much that I have to obtain a mortgage to buy basic shelter, then my credit score determines my ability to obtain adequate shelter. The same works with rent. And I can't pay for either of those things without a wage based job. And I can't be hired into one of those without the proper credentials being bestowed upon me by some school, and I cannot have any felony arrests in my background. And transportation to my job generally requires a car and another loan with the associated credit score.

Not to mention the legally required auto and homeowner's insurance, which can only be obtained through private corporations. Both of which maintain histories on your driving and lifestyle habits to determine how much of your wage to pocket.

Even basic healthcare is only provided through private insurance that you are legally required to pay. And these insurance companies desperately try to charge you extra or cancel you for pre-existing conditions.

The government actually doesn't have to control you. They've turned over the destruction of your liberty to private corporations who are all working hard to nudge you to accept their rules through various subtle systems.

And unless you have enough money to own your own house and cars, and not actually have to work, you have no choice but to be obedient.

The only real difference between China and the US is that the Chinese have no expectation of liberty. They understand from birth that they must be obedient.

The liberty of Americans has to be redefined. Where liberty is no longer to live a life of freedom from coercion, but to only live a life of coercion from government, except when the coercion involves a private corporation, then it is perfectly acceptable. And Americans have readily given up their liberty.

They have had no choice in the matter.

[Jul 05, 2019] Sweden sought Assange for 8 or 9 years to arrest him. This is the reason he spent 7 years in the embassy. Now he was arrested but Sweden doesn't want him (at least until now).

Jul 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

UncommonGround says: July 5, 2019 at 11:02 am GMT 400 Words

It is also rigged to silence real journalists like Julian Assange who are trying to overturn the access journalism prized by the corporate media – with its reliance on official sources and insiders for stories – to divulge the secrets of the national security states we live in.

His case is really Kafaesque. Sweden wanted his extradition to Sweden and issued an European arrest warrant for him to be arrested and taken to Sweden. He sought asyl in the embassy of Ecuador. People kept saying for years that he was a criminal evading justice because of that. The British police kept the embassy under surveillance for seven years without interruptions in order to arrest him and send him to Sweden.

Finally after seven years he was forced to leave the embassy. He should have been sent immediately to Sweden. After all, this was the reason why the British had initially arrested him, had limited his movements, had sought to arrest him after he went to the embassy. Everything happened because of an allegued crime in Sweden. But when he was arrested Sweden didn't care to demand that he be taken to Sweden. They had issued an European arrest warrant and this means that they should have a case against him that would justify him being arrested in England. The material against him should be ready and they should send it again to England. But they haven't done that until now.

I'm not sure of the details but I think that the first time that they issued an arrest warrant, this was done by the Swedish prosecuting attorney and not by a judge. Many people complained that this was not legal, but it was said that the French version of European agreements would allow this to happen. Now, the Swedish prosecuting attorney would like to reopen the case against Assange, but this time apparently the case has to be assessed by a judge and some months after Assange was arrested the Swedes haven't yet demanded that he be taken to Sweden. Sweden sought Assange for 8 or 9 years to arrest him. This is the reason he spent 7 years in the embassy. Now he was arrested but Sweden doesn't want him (at least until now).

[Jun 30, 2019] Orwell s 1984 No Longer Reads Like Fiction It s The Reality Of Our Times by Robert Bridge

Highly recommended!
1984, Brave New World, and Idiocracy look more and more like Documentaries now.
Notable quotes:
"... Describing the protagonist Winston Smith's frugal London flat, he mentions an instrument called a 'telescreen', which sounds strikingly similar to the handheld 'smartphone' that is enthusiastically used by billions of people around the world today. ..."
"... At the same time, the denizens of 1984 were never allowed to forget they were living in a totalitarian surveillance state, under the control of the much-feared Thought Police. Massive posters with the slogan 'Big Brother is Watching You' were as prevalent as our modern-day advertising billboards. Today, however, such polite warnings about surveillance would seem redundant, as reports of unauthorized spying still gets the occasional lazy nod in the media now and then. ..."
"... In fact, just in time for 1984's anniversary, it has been reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) has once again been illicitly collecting records on telephone calls and text messages placed by US citizens. ..."
"... Another method of control alluded to in 1984 fell under a system of speech known as 'Newspeak', which attempted to reduce the language to 'doublethink', with the ulterior motive of controlling ideas and thoughts. ..."
"... Another Newspeak term, known as 'facecrime', provides yet another striking parallel to our modern situation. Defined as "to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense." It would be difficult for the modern reader to hear the term 'facecrime' and not connect it with 'Facebook', the social media platform that regularly censors content creators for expressing thoughts it finds 'hateful' or inappropriate. ..."
"... 'Hate speech' is precisely one of those delightfully vague, subjective terms with no real meaning that one would expect to find in the Newspeak style guide. Short of threatening the life of a person or persons, individuals should be free to criticize others without fear of reprisal, least of all from the state, which should be in the business of protecting free speech at all cost. ..."
"... Another modern phenomenon that would be right at home in Orwell's Oceania is the obsession with political correctness, which is defined as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against." But since so many people today identify with some marginalized group, this has made the intelligent discussion of controversial ideas – not least of all on US college campuses , of all places – exceedingly difficult, if not downright dangerous. Orwell must be looking down on all of this madness with much surprise, since he provided the world with the best possible warning to prevent it. ..."
Jun 30, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Robert Bridge, op-ed via RT.com,

70 years ago, the British writer George Orwell captured the essence of technology in its ability to shape our destinies in his seminal work, 1984. The tragedy of our times is that we have failed to heed his warning.

No matter how many times I read 1984, the feeling of total helplessness and despair that weaves itself throughout Orwell's masterpiece never fails to take me by surprise. Although usually referred to as a 'dystopian futuristic novel', it is actually a horror story on a scale far greater than anything that has emerged from the minds of prolific writers like Stephen King or Dean Koontz. The reason is simple. The nightmare world that the protagonist Winston Smith inhabits, a place called Oceania, is all too easily imaginable. Man, as opposed to some imaginary clown or demon, is the evil monster.

In the very first pages of the book, Orwell demonstrates an uncanny ability to foresee future trends in technology. Describing the protagonist Winston Smith's frugal London flat, he mentions an instrument called a 'telescreen', which sounds strikingly similar to the handheld 'smartphone' that is enthusiastically used by billions of people around the world today.

Orwell describes the ubiquitous device as an "oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror" affixed to the wall that "could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely." Sound familiar?

It is through this gadget that the rulers of Oceania are able to monitor the actions of its citizens every minute of every day.

At the same time, the denizens of 1984 were never allowed to forget they were living in a totalitarian surveillance state, under the control of the much-feared Thought Police. Massive posters with the slogan 'Big Brother is Watching You' were as prevalent as our modern-day advertising billboards. Today, however, such polite warnings about surveillance would seem redundant, as reports of unauthorized spying still gets the occasional lazy nod in the media now and then.

In fact, just in time for 1984's anniversary, it has been reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) has once again been illicitly collecting records on telephone calls and text messages placed by US citizens. This latest invasion of privacy has been casually dismissed as an "error" after an unnamed telecommunications firm handed over call records the NSA allegedly "hadn't requested" and "weren't approved" by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In 2013, former CIA employee Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA's intrusive surveillance operations, yet somehow the government agency is able to continue – with the help of the corporate sector – vacuuming up the private information of regular citizens.

Another method of control alluded to in 1984 fell under a system of speech known as 'Newspeak', which attempted to reduce the language to 'doublethink', with the ulterior motive of controlling ideas and thoughts. For example, the term 'joycamp', a truncated term every bit as euphemistic as the 'PATRIOT Act', was used to describe a forced labor camp, whereas a 'doubleplusgood duckspeaker' was used to praise an orator who 'quacked' correctly with regards to the political situation.

Another Newspeak term, known as 'facecrime', provides yet another striking parallel to our modern situation. Defined as "to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense." It would be difficult for the modern reader to hear the term 'facecrime' and not connect it with 'Facebook', the social media platform that regularly censors content creators for expressing thoughts it finds 'hateful' or inappropriate. What social media users need is an Orwellian lesson in 'crimestop', which Orwell defined as "the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought." Those so-called unacceptable 'dangerous thoughts' were determined not by the will of the people, of course, but by their rulers.

And yes, it gets worse. Just this week, Mark Zuckerberg's 'private company' agreed to give French authorities the "identification data" of Facebook users suspected of spreading 'hate speech' on the platform, in what would be an unprecedented move on the part of Silicon Valley.

'Hate speech' is precisely one of those delightfully vague, subjective terms with no real meaning that one would expect to find in the Newspeak style guide. Short of threatening the life of a person or persons, individuals should be free to criticize others without fear of reprisal, least of all from the state, which should be in the business of protecting free speech at all cost.

Another modern phenomenon that would be right at home in Orwell's Oceania is the obsession with political correctness, which is defined as "the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against." But since so many people today identify with some marginalized group, this has made the intelligent discussion of controversial ideas – not least of all on US college campuses , of all places – exceedingly difficult, if not downright dangerous. Orwell must be looking down on all of this madness with much surprise, since he provided the world with the best possible warning to prevent it.

For anyone who entertains expectations for a happy ending in 1984, be prepared for serious disappointment (spoiler alert, for the few who have somehow not read this book). Although Winston Smith manages to finally experience love, the brief romance – like a delicate flower that was able to take root amid a field of asphalt – is crushed by the authorities with shocking brutality. Not satisfied with merely destroying the relationship, however, Smith is forced to betray his 'Julia' after undergoing the worst imaginable torture at the 'Ministry of Love'.

The book ends with the words, "He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother." Will we too declare, like Winston Smith, our love for 'Big Brother' above all else, or will we emerge victorious against the forces of a technological tyranny that appears to be just over the horizon? Or is Orwell's 1984 just really good fiction and not the instruction manual for tyrants many have come to fear it is?

An awful lot is riding on our answers to those questions, and time is running out.

[Jun 29, 2019] Everyone's Got A Surveillance Score And It Can Cost You Big Money

Jun 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Companies are using Secret Surveillance Scores to evaluate you.

The opening paragraphs of the 38-page complaint are chilling:

Major American corporations, including online and retail businesses, employers and landlords are using Secret Surveillance Scores to charge some people higher prices for the same product than others, to provide some people with better customer services than others, to deny some consumers the right to purchase services or buy or return products while allowing others to do so and even to deny people housing and jobs.

The Secret Surveillance Scores are generated by a shadowy group of privacy-busting firms that operate in dark recesses of the American marketplace. They collect thousands or even tens of thousands of intimate details of each person's life – enough information, it is thought, to literally predetermine a person's behavior – either directly or through data brokers. Then, in what is euphemistically referred to as "data analytics," the firms' engineers write software algorithms that instruct computers to parse a person's data trail and develop a digital "mug shot." Eventually, that individual profile is reduced to a number – the score – and transmitted to corporate clients looking for ways to take advantage of, or even avoid, the consumer. The scoring system is automatic and instantaneous. None of this is disclosed to the consumer: the existence of the algorithm, the application of the Surveillance Score or even that they have become the victim of a technological scheme that just a few years ago would appear only in a dystopian science fiction novel. ( source )

These scores are used to discriminate based on income.

Written by lawyers Laura Antonini, the policy director of the Consumer Education Foundation, and Harvey Rosenfield, who leads the foundation, the complaint highlights four areas in which companies are using surveillance scoring: pricing, customer service, fraud prevention, and housing and employment.

"This is a way for companies to discriminate against users based on income and wealth," Antonini told The Hill .

"It can range from monetary harm or basic necessities of life that you're not getting."

Antonini and Rosenfield argue that the practices outlined in the complaint are illegal – and that consumers are largely unaware that they're being secretly evaluated in ways that can influence how much they pay online.

"The ability of corporations to target, manipulate and discriminate against Americans is unprecedented and inconsistent with the principles of competition and free markets," the complaint reads . "Surveillance scoring promotes inequality by empowering companies to decide which consumers they want to do business with and on what terms, weeding out the people who they deem less valuable. Such discrimination is as much a threat to democracy as it is to a free market."

Stores are using this scoring system to charge you higher prices.

Here's more detail, from The Hill :

The filing points to a 2014 Northeastern University study exploring the ways that companies like Home Depot and Walmart use consumer data to customize prices for different customers. Rosenfield and Antonini replicated the study using an online tool that compares prices that they're charged on their own computers with their own data profiles versus the prices charged to a user browsing sites through an anonymized computer server with no data history.

What they found was that Walmart and Home Depot were offering lower prices on a number of products to the anonymous computer. In the search results for "white paint" on Home Depot's website, Rosenfield and Antonini were seeing higher prices for six of the first 24 items that popped up.

In one example, a five-gallon tub of Glidden premium exterior paint would have cost them $119 compared with $101 for the anonymous computer.

A similar pattern emerged on Walmart's website. The two lawyers found the site was charging them more on a variety of items compared with the anonymous web tool, including paper towels, highlighters, pens and paint.

One paper towel holder cost $10 less for the blank web user. ( source )

To see screenshots of different "personalized" prices shown for items from Home Depot and Walmart, please see pages 12-16 of the complaint. The examples presented demonstrate just how much these inflated prices for common household goods can really add up.

The travel industry is particularly sneaky.

A few days ago, we reported on hidden fees that could be costing you big bucks . The travel industry is a particularly large offender when it comes to sneaky fees, and they are also implicated in this scheme:

Travelocity. Software developer Christian Bennefeld, founder of etracker.com and eBlocker.com, did a sample search for hotel rooms in Paris on Travelocity in 2017 using his eBlocker device, which "allows him to act as if he were searching from two different" computers. Bennefeld found that when he performed the two searches at the same time, there was a $23 difference in Travelocity's prices for the Hotel Le Six in Paris.

CheapTickets. The Northeastern Price Discrimination Study found that the online bargain travel site CheapTickets offers reduced prices on hotels to consumers who are logged into an account with CheapTickets, compared to those who proceed as "guests." We performed our own search of airfares on CheapTickets without being logged in. We searched for flights from LAX to Las Vegas for April 5 through April 8, 2019. Our searches produced identical flight results in the same order, but Mr. Rosenfield's prices were all quoted at three dollars higher than Ms. Antonini's.

Other travel websites. The Northeastern Price Discrimination Study found that Orbitz also offers reduced prices on hotels to consumers who were logged into an account (Orbitz has been accused of quoting higher prices to Mac users versus PC users because Mac users have a higher household income); Expedia and Hotels.com steer a subset of users toward more expensive hotels; and Priceline acknowledges it "personalizes search results based on a user's history of clicks and purchases. ( source )

There is an industry that exists to evaluate you and sell your data to companies.

The complaint also describes an industry that offers retailers evaluations of their customers' "trustworthiness" to determine whether they are a potential risk for fraudulent returns. One such firm – called Sift – offers these evaluations to major companies like Starbucks and Airbnb. Sift boasts on its website that it can tailor "user experiences based on 16,000+ real-time signals – putting good customers in the express lane and stopping bad customers from reaching the checkout."

The Hill contacted Sift for comment, and the company was not able to respond. But, back in April, a Sift spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that it rates customers on a scale of 0 to 100, likening it to a credit score for trustworthiness.

While credit scores can wreak havoc on a person's ability to make big purchases (and sometimes, gain employment), they at least are transparent. Surveillance scoring is not. There is NO transparency for consumers, and Rosenfield and Antonini argue that companies are using them to engage in illegal discrimination while users have little recourse to correct false information about them or challenge their ratings.

We are being spied on and scored on a wide variety of factors.

"In the World Privacy Forum's landmark study "The Scoring of America: How Secret Consumer Scores Threaten Your Privacy and Future," authors Pam Dixon and Bob Gellman identified approximately 44 scores currently used to predict the actions of consumers," the complaint explains:

These include:

The Medication Adherence Score, which predicts whether a consumer is likely to follow a medication regimen;

The Health Risk Score, which predicts how much a specific patient will cost an insurance company;

The Consumer Profitability Score, which predicts which households may be profitable for a company and hence desirable customers;

The Job Security score, which predicts a person's future income and ability to pay for things;

The Churn Score, which predicts whether a consumer is likely to move her business to another company;

The Discretionary Spending Index, which scores how much extra cash a particular consumer might be able to spend on non-necessities;

The Invitation to Apply Score, which predicts how likely a consumer is to respond to a sales offer;

The Charitable Donor Score, which predicts how likely a household is to make significant charitable donations;

The Pregnancy Predictor Score, which predicts the likelihood of someone getting pregnant. ( source )

The government isn't doing anything to stop these practices.

Back in 2014, the Federal Trade Commission held a workshop on a practice they call "predictive scoring" but the agency has done little since to reign in the practice. Antonini said that their complaint is pushing the agency to reexamine the industry and investigate whether it violates laws against unfair and deceptive business practices, according to The Hill :

"It's far, far worse than when they looked at it in 2014," she said. "There's an exponentially larger amount of data that's being collected about the American public that's in the hands of data brokers and companies. Their ability to process that data and write algorithms have also improved exponentially. " ( source )

We seem to be past the point of expecting our data to remain private, The Introduction to the complaint begins with a passage that sums up reality for us now:

This Petition does not ask the Commission to investigate the collection of Americans' personal information. The battle over whether Americans' personal data can be collected is over, and, as of this moment at least, consumers have lost. Consumers are now victims of an unavoidable corporate surveillance capitalism.

Rather, this Petition highlights a disturbing evolution in how consumers' data is deployed against them. ( source )

We can't go anywhere without being surveilled now.

It is now impossible to shop in any large chain stores without being spied on. Stores are starting to use "smart coolers", which are refrigerators equipped with cameras that scan shoppers' faces and make inferences on their age and gender. And, a recent article from Futurism describes how security cameras are no longer being used solely to reduce theft:

"Instead of just keeping track of who's in a store, surveillance systems could use facial recognition to determine peoples' identities and gathering even more information about them. That data would then be out there, with no opportunity to opt out. ( source )

A new ACLU report titled "The Dawn of Robot Surveillance" describes how emerging AI technology enables security companies to constantly monitor and collect data about people.

"Growth in the use and effectiveness of artificial intelligence techniques has been so rapid that people haven't had time to assimilate a new understanding of what is being done, and what the consequences of data collection and privacy invasions can be," the report concludes.

[Jun 24, 2019] Google's Chrome Web Browser Has Become Spy Software

Notable quotes:
"... Google, Facebook and Twitter will track you even if you don't use their services. Firefox recently disabled all the add-ons I used to block these trackers. Firefox now whitelists Google. Screw them, I switched to Brave. ..."
"... No browser is secure. ..."
"... People would be very naive to think that anything done online is "hidden", regardless of the software, VPN, ad-block, browser, or anything else they use to attempt to block or obfuscate their activity. All that stuff does is alert the "authorities" that you want to hide your online activities, which earns you an automatic red flag and more in-depth tracking and surveillance. ..."
"... If you don't want to be tracked, don't use technology that can track you (i.e., anything Internet- or GPS-connected). It's that simple. And don't be so naive as to think that switching from one browser to another or adding an adblock is going to protect you from being tracked. People need to get real about this. ..."
"... These people are not omnipotent. Nor are they the best and brightest. ..."
"... HOWEVER - if you know you are being Spied on then You have the advantage. You can misdirect, misinform, decoy etc ..."
"... Yes, you can do those things, but just like there are AIs that can detect forgeries, there are AIs that can detect when you're purposely trying to cover your Internet tracks, so why bother? ..."
"... Your profile was developed years ago already. Nothing you do now will change that, except if you stop all Internet activity and wear a hat, sunglasses and burka every time you go outdoors. Oh, and never live in the same place for more than a few months. ..."
"... Most of the smart people have been replaced by H1Bs, wahmen, and minorities. My evidence, besides inside info, is that Google has not created anything innovative in-house since Gmail. ..."
"... One should have NO expectation of privacy especially at work and on work's computers. ..."
"... There is no privacy. Once you venture onto the internet nothing is secret, private, or able to be hidden. Not convinced that Firefox is really any better than others. ..."
Jun 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Google's Chrome Web Browser "Has Become Spy Software"

by Tyler Durden Mon, 06/24/2019 - 04:15 3 SHARES

Google's Chrome is essentially spy software according to Washington Post tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler, who spent a week analyzing the popular browser and concluded that it "looks a lot like surveillance software."

Fowler has since switched to Mozilla's Firefox because of its default privacy settings, and says that it was easier than one might imagine.

My tests of Chrome vs. Firefox unearthed a personal data caper of absurd proportions . In a week of Web surfing on my desktop, I discovered 11,189 requests for tracker "cookies" that Chrome would have ushered right onto my computer but were automatically blocked by Firefox. These little files are the hooks that data firms, including Google itself, use to follow what websites you visit so they can build profiles of your interests, income and personality.

Chrome welcomed trackers even at websites you would think would be private . I watched Aetna and the Federal Student Aid website set cookies for Facebook and Google. They surreptitiously told the data giants every time I pulled up the insurance and loan service's log-in pages.

And that's not the half of it.

Look in the upper right corner of your Chrome browser. See a picture or a name in the circle? If so, you're logged in to the browser, and Google might be tapping into your Web activity to target ads . Don't recall signing in? I didn't, either. Chrome recently started doing that automatically when you use Gmail. - Washington Post

When you use Chrome, signing into Gmail automatically logs in the browser to your Google account. When "sync" is also on, Google receives your browsing history. (Geoffrey Fowler/The Washington Post)

Meanwhile, Chrome is even worse when it comes to mobile devices - reporting the precise location of Android users unless location sharing is turned off, in which case it will send out your rough coordinates.

Cookie monsters

According to one study, tracking cookies from third-parties are on 92% of websites . The Washington Post , for example, uses around 40 - which the company said is "average for a news site," and says they are designed to deliver better-targeted ads and track ad performance.

But cookies can also be found on websites with no advertising.

Both Aetna and the FSA service said the cookies on their sites help measure their own external marketing campaigns.

The blame for this mess belongs to the entire advertising, publishing and tech industries. But what responsibility does a browser have in protecting us from code that isn't doing much more than spying? - Washington Post

Mozilla to the rescue ?

For the past four years or so, Firefox browser has had a built-in anti-tracking feature for the past four or so years in its "private" browsing mode. Earlier this month, Mozilla activated this feature for normal browsing mode . While ads will still appear, Firefox is now separating cookies in real time to determine which ones are required for a website to function correctly, and which ones are simply spies.

Apple began to block cookies on their Safari mobile browser starting in 2017, using an algorithm the company calls "intelligent tracking protection."

Chrome, meanwhile, continues to welcome cookies onto your computer and phone with open arms. That said, the company announced last month that it would require third-party cookies to better identify themselves, which will supposedly allow them to apply better controls. That said, the company did not offer The Post a timeline or say whether it would employ default tracking blockers.

I'm not holding my breath. G oogle itself, through its Doubleclick and other ad businesses, is the No. 1 cookie maker -- the Mrs. Fields of the Web . It's hard to imagine Chrome ever cutting off Google's moneymaker. - Washington Post

"Cookies play a role in user privacy, but a narrow focus on cookies obscures the broader privacy discussion because it's just one way in which users can be tracked across sites," according to Chrome's director of product management, Ben Galbraith. " This is a complex problem, and simple, blunt cookie blocking solutions force tracking into more opaque practices ."

Giving up on Google

In his decision to kick Chrome to the curb, Fowler cites a blog post by Johns Hopkins associate professor Matthew Green, who said last year he was "done" with the browser.

Like Green, I've chosen Firefox, which works across phones, tablets, PCs and Macs. Apple's Safari is also a good option on Macs, iPhones and iPads, and the niche Brave browser goes even further in trying to jam the ad-tech industry.

What does switching to Firefox cost you? It's free, and downloading a different browser is much simpler than changing phones.

In 2017, Mozilla launched a new version of Firefox called Quantum that made it considerably faster. In my tests, it has felt almost as fast as Chrome, though benchmark tests have found it can be slower in some contexts. Firefox says it's better about managing memory if you use lots and lots of tabs.

Switching means you'll have to move your bookmarks, and Firefox offers tools to help. Shifting passwords is easy if you use a password manager . And most browser add-ons are available, though it's possible you won't find your favorite. - Washington Post

Perhaps Fowler can reach out to some of his Washington Post colleagues to see what their many sources in the US intelligence community think of Chrome vs. Firefox...


zeezrom2point0 , 23 seconds ago link

Uninstall Chrome. Firefox is still spyware. Use Brave...until it's compromised.

hoytmonger , 4 minutes ago link

Google, Facebook and Twitter will track you even if you don't use their services. Firefox recently disabled all the add-ons I used to block these trackers. Firefox now whitelists Google. Screw them, I switched to Brave.

Brave automatically blocks ads, trackers, scripts and upgrades HTTP to HTTPS. They also don't seem to mind that I still use all the add-ons that Firefox disabled.

mrjinx007 , 4 minutes ago link

Maybe god got tired of watching everything we do and hired Google to do the job. Maybe if we donate some money to Google, they can make some of our past actions from the web deleted.

BGO , 21 minutes ago link

If you like Chrome's interface but don't want to share every last detail of your online life with the Googlebergs, SRWare's Iron browser is a good alternative.

Smilygladhands , 24 minutes ago link

No browser is secure. Firefox jumped the shark when their board made that gentleman resign several years ago because he supported traditional marriage.

This article doesn't mention browser add-ons that block cookies and trackers.

  • Ghostery
  • Adblock
  • Adblock plus
  • Adblock for YouTube

There are many more. Just search Google extensions for Adblockers and pick which ones floats your buoy

The Herdsman , 11 minutes ago link

Just use Brave and its all automatically blocked. No add-ons needed.

hoytmonger , 2 minutes ago link
  • uMatrix
  • uBlock Origin
  • NoScript
  • HTTPS Everywhere
  • Privacy Badger
  • Cookie Autodelete
Lizzy Boardroom , 27 minutes ago link

Trust no one, tell your secrets to nobody, and no one will ever betray you.

PanApollo , 34 minutes ago link

Google is CIA...

Justin Case , 37 minutes ago link

If privacy and anonymity are your goals, and you don't mind some impact on the way you usually use the Internet, then Tor is the solution you seek. Tor (The Onion Router) is actually a system more than just a browser.

The Tor browser connects to the Tor network and uses technology originally developed by the United States Naval Research Laboratory to provide secure communications for intelligence assets (spies, diplomats, etc.).

oday, millions of people around the world who need serious privacy protection use Tor. We're talking about those intelligence assets, along with activists, whistleblowers, police, citizen journalists, and anyone else who is willing to trade some convenience and speed for greater privacy and anonymity.

The Tor browser is based on Firefox. While it is designed for browsing the public Internet (the Clearnet) just like Firefox is, Tor doesn't connect directly to a resource in the Clearnet. All communications between your Tor browser and a Clearnet resource pass through the Tor network of volunteer-run routers.

Messages between the Tor network and the Clearnet resource are not encrypted. However, thanks to the design of the Tor network, the resource cannot see your IP Address. It can only see the IP Address of the Tor server that it is connected to. This makes you anonymous in that there is no way, short of hacking the Tor network (or you doing something stupid), of connecting your messages to your address.

Link

HushHushSweet , 54 minutes ago link

People would be very naive to think that anything done online is "hidden", regardless of the software, VPN, ad-block, browser, or anything else they use to attempt to block or obfuscate their activity. All that stuff does is alert the "authorities" that you want to hide your online activities, which earns you an automatic red flag and more in-depth tracking and surveillance.

You know I'm right about this.

If you don't want to be tracked, don't use technology that can track you (i.e., anything Internet- or GPS-connected). It's that simple. And don't be so naive as to think that switching from one browser to another or adding an adblock is going to protect you from being tracked. People need to get real about this. The article is not keeping it real.

Abaco , 45 minutes ago link

These people are not omnipotent. Nor are they the best and brightest.

fackbankz , 34 minutes ago link

As a law abiding citizen, I'm not worried about "the authorities" knowing that I post on ZeroHedge. The invasive nature of private companies selling my data without compensating me offends me, and I'm not comfortable with the idea that some kid (or an AI) at Facebook or Google can activate my camera and read my emotions as I look at a meme or read an article.

Everyone should strive to stay offline as much as possible, but we should also take all legal measures to protect our privacy. Of course the government can track you; that doesn't mean you should make your life an open book to the data pimps.

Everyone has things that they would prefer to keep private. That's why the Fourth Amendment exists.

mikkybkk , 55 minutes ago link

Brave browser is a much better option than firefox. Strips away all crap and even pays you to watch ads if you enable it and its available in your area. Completely changes the model for how ads and revenue to content creators are set up.

Thom Paine , 55 minutes ago link

HOWEVER - if you know you are being Spied on then You have the advantage. You can misdirect, misinform, decoy etc

HushHushSweet , 48 minutes ago link

Yes, you can do those things, but just like there are AIs that can detect forgeries, there are AIs that can detect when you're purposely trying to cover your Internet tracks, so why bother?

Your profile was developed years ago already. Nothing you do now will change that, except if you stop all Internet activity and wear a hat, sunglasses and burka every time you go outdoors. Oh, and never live in the same place for more than a few months.

Otherwise, you're a known and categorized entity.

Tactical Joke , 34 minutes ago link

Most of the smart people have been replaced by H1Bs, wahmen, and minorities. My evidence, besides inside info, is that Google has not created anything innovative in-house since Gmail.

detached.amusement , 43 minutes ago link

One should have NO expectation of privacy especially at work and on work's computers. They don't just own that hardware, they legally own all that data on the drives.

Thom Paine , 1 hour ago link

Then again if you use Windows then any security measures you take are a waste of time.

CAPT DRAKE , 1 hour ago link

There is no privacy. Once you venture onto the internet nothing is secret, private, or able to be hidden. Not convinced that Firefox is really any better than others.

Thom Paine , 1 hour ago link

VPN usage can be hidden by using an Obfuscated VPN if you really do no want your ISP to know you are using a VPN. But even with a naked VPN your data is encrypted. Or you can use a double VPN if you are concerned. Or TOR if data speed is not an issue.

If you test your VPN security and privacy on the various tests sites you will find that your IP address is gone and replaced. You ought to secure your browser with privacy extensions to ensure nothing else leaks.

We connect to Chinese and other streaming TV that is blocked in our country. They are smart enough to know to block a VPN, but don't recognize a double VPN for some reason, or XOR. And streams at TV quality download to our TV.

Abaco , 14 minutes ago link

Don't believe this BS. VPN providers have known IP addresses. You don't need any special tricks to know that if you are connecting to a VPN provider's IP you are using a VPN.

There is a lot of horseshit passed around as knowledge by people pimping VPN's. VPN's provide a brick in the wall of security but aren't the magic pill people pimp them as.

Obfuscation requires compatible software on both ends. It doesn't matter if your VPN claims to use it. That will only work from your router to the VPN provider - whose IP's are known.

aspnaz , 1 hour ago link

Putting Google software onto your device means that they now have all your passwords, all your private files, all of everything, so does Microsoft.

SeanInNYC , 1 hour ago link

The push for Firefox is because Firefox is ideologically compliant in blocking websites that question the globalist degeneration of the free world. Mozilla joined up with George Soros to block websites that publish "fake news" or spread "hate" as defined by groups like the ADL, SPLSC, etc. Look up Mozilla's MITI program.

aspnaz , 1 hour ago link

Put Firefox on your device and you have Soros on your device, reading everything, not just web data.

D. G. Neree , 1 hour ago link

I only use Chrome for the pr0n sites (different nick). Firefox is for my D.G.Neree stuff (main nick). Opera is for my real name stuff (I won't tell you). Now I have installed Brave too and it will be for my political commentaries (still searching for a nick)

aspnaz , 1 hour ago link

You installed Google software on your device. You now have no privacy, even if Google appears to not be running, it will have a monitoring program running, recording everything you do.

D. G. Neree , 56 minutes ago link

I just found out Opera is Chinese now. I will ditch it and use Brave for my personal stuff

RedBaron616 , 1 hour ago link

I use Vivaldi, which was developed by one of the Opera co-founders. I believe it has Chrome behind it, but I have both Ad-block and Ghostery. I also have gone deep into the settings, customizing it exactly the way I want it. Constantly delete all history, cookies, etc. So I see no ads on ZH whatsoever. I also use a VPN.

aspnaz , 1 hour ago link

Stop being stupid. You installed someone else's software on your device, it can now read everything - it can even send screen grabs to Google - your privacy is no more.

VTHOR , 1 hour ago link

BETTER LISTEN. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVDs9iQ0Jm4

DavidC , 1 hour ago link

I won't touch Google Chrome, I use Firefox and Opera, like Opera. Anyone any feedback on it?

DavidC

Sweet Daddy D , 1 hour ago link

I have a feeling Firefox is slowly getting dodgy too, I hope I'm wrong

RedBaron616 , 1 hour ago link

I used to like Opera, but the Chinese bought the company. That ended my use of Opera. See my post above on Vivaldi. I used to really like Firefox, but they bug you to log in now. I don't want a Firefox account and won't ever sign up for one!

JamcaicanMeAfraid , 48 minutes ago link

Google recently were in the process of rewriting the Chromium engine that Opera and Vivaldi among others use as a basis of their browsers. Microsoft is also following suit rewriting Edge with the Chromium engine. Back to the new Chromium release, Google had written the new engine to remove all Ad Blocking hooks, that would mean if you were using say Brave along with an ad blocker, your ad blocker would be disabled. The browser publishers threw a fit such that Google said they were rethinking that decision, most publishers said they would not use the new engine as well. I haven't seen any recent developments since Google made that statement. As a note Firefox does not use the Chromium engine.

Here is what Google has noted about disabling ad blockers in the latest version: Google Chrome

shadow54 , 1 hour ago link

Add adblock plus to both browsers and make the settings block social media trackers. Adblock plus is blocking 30 trackers on this zerohedge page.

Joe Potato , 19 minutes ago link

Adblock was great when it first came out, but it sold out to the advertisers a long time ago. Since adblock plus actually allows ads and trackers now, i'm not sure what benefit there is in using it. Ublock Origin blocks ads.

[Jun 20, 2019] The Omnipresent Surveillance State by John W. Whitehead

Jun 19, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

"You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

-- George Orwell, 1984

Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state .

It's been 70 years since Orwell -- dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm -- depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984 .

Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, "He loved Big Brother," we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.

"To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone -- to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink -- greetings!"

-- George Orwell

1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. The government, or "Party," is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: "Big Brother is watching you."

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

―George Orwell

Much like Orwell's Big Brother in 1984 , the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move. Much like Huxley's A Brave New World , we are churning out a society of watchers who "have their liberties taken away from them, but rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing." Much like Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale , the populace is now taught to "know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away ."

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick's darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state -- which became the basis for Steven Spielberg's futuristic thriller Minority Report -- we are now trapped in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike -- facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on -- are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality .

Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes , facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

―George Orwell

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America. And bodily privacy and integrity have been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

―George Orwell, Animal Farm

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state.

What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach.

In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future.

The government now has at its disposal technological arsenals so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. Spearheaded by the NSA, which has shown itself to care little to nothing for constitutional limits or privacy, the "security/industrial complex" -- a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance -- has come to dominate the government and our lives. At three times the size of the CIA, constituting one third of the intelligence budget and with its own global spy network to boot, the NSA has a long history of spying on Americans, whether or not it has always had the authorization to do so.

Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who is paying the price? The American people, of course.

Orwell understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan flag-waving, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control over the citizenry at all costs. As Orwell explains:

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it."

― George Orwell

How do you change the way people think? You start by changing the words they use.

In totalitarian regimes -- a.k.a. police states -- where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.

Dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 , reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.

In Huxley's Brave New World , serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.

And in Orwell's 1984 , Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish "thoughtcrimes." In this dystopian vision of the future, the Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the Ministry of Peace deals with war and defense, the Ministry of Plenty deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love deals with law and order (torture and brainwashing), and the Ministry of Truth deals with news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda). The mottos of Oceania: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

All three -- Bradbury, Huxley and Orwell -- had an uncanny knack for realizing the future, yet it is Orwell who best understood the power of language to manipulate the masses. Orwell's Big Brother relied on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary. To give a single example, as psychologist Erich Fromm illustrates in his afterword to 1984 :

The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as "This dog is free from lice" or "This field is free from weeds." It could not be used in its old sense of "politically free" or "intellectually free," since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed as concepts .

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is "safe" and "accepted" by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

"Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious."

-- George Orwell

Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their privacy rights . In fact, the addiction to screen devices -- especially cell phones -- has created a hive effect where the populace not only watched but is controlled by AI bots. However, at one time, the idea of a total surveillance state tracking one's every move would have been abhorrent to most Americans. That all changed with the 9/11 attacks. As professor Jeffrey Rosen observes, "Before Sept. 11, the idea that Americans would voluntarily agree to live their lives under the gaze of a network of biometric surveillance cameras, peering at them in government buildings, shopping malls, subways and stadiums, would have seemed unthinkable, a dystopian fantasy of a society that had surrendered privacy and anonymity ."

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry -- mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all -- we have nowhere left to go.

We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government. In search of so-called terrorists and extremists hiding amongst us -- the proverbial "needle in a haystack," as one official termed it -- the Corporate State has taken to monitoring all aspects of our lives, from cell phone calls and emails to Internet activity and credit card transactions. Much of this data is being fed through fusion centers across the country, which work with the Department of Homeland Security to make threat assessments on every citizen, including school children. These are state and regional intelligence centers that collect data on you.

"Big Brother is Watching You."

―George Orwell

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched, especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations equipped with facial recognition software. When you use a cell phone or drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. Such information is shared with government agents, including local police. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts and your activities is now being fed to the U.S. government.

The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites and Internet surveillance.

Speech recognition technology now makes it possible for the government to carry out massive eavesdropping by way of sophisticated computer systems. Phone calls can be monitored, the audio converted to text files and stored in computer databases indefinitely. And if any "threatening" words are detected -- no matter how inane or silly -- the record can be flagged and assigned to a government agent for further investigation. Federal and state governments, again working with private corporations, monitor your Internet content. Users are profiled and tracked in order to identify, target and even prosecute them.

In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you're guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, the FBI uses its wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.

"Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull."

― George Orwell

Here's what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it's not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We've already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called "hateful" thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.

Say hello to the new Thought Police .

Total Internet surveillance by the Corporate State, as omnipresent as God, is used by the government to predict and, more importantly, control the populace, and it's not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA is now designing an artificial intelligence system that is designed to anticipate your every move. In a nutshell, the NSA will feed vast amounts of the information it collects to a computer system known as Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence), which the computer can then use to detect patterns and predict behavior.

No information is sacred or spared.

Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability."

Thus, what we are witnessing, in the so-called name of security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprised of the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians and private corporations).

Clearly, the age of privacy in America is at an end.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever."

-- Orwell

So where does that leave us?

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.

It won't be long before we find ourselves looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted without those thoughts, words and activities being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.

To be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government's roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.

Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw.

So how do you survive in the American surveillance state?

We're running out of options.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People , we'll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, entertainment industry, etc.) and self-preservation in the form of renewed vigilance about threats to our freedoms and active engagement in self-governance.

Yet as Aldous Huxley acknowledged in Brave New World Revisited : "Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it."

John W. Whitehead is the president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People .

[Jun 19, 2019] How to stop Google and Facebook from strangling journalism

Jun 19, 2019 | theweek.com

he last two decades have been perhaps the worst in American history for journalism. After years of decline , newsroom employment fell a further 23 percent from 2008-2017 -- a trend which shows no sign of stopping .

There are three big reasons why. First, the rise of the internet, which undermined traditional newspaper revenue models, especially classified ads. Second, the Great Recession, which tanked employment of all kinds. Third and most importantly, the rise of online monopolies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

It raises a question: How can we stop these corporate behemoths from strangling the life out of American journalism? A good place to start would be breaking up the tech giants, and regulating the online advertising market to ensure fair competition.

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Spending on digital advertising is projected to surpass the traditional sort in 2019 for the first time, and you will not be surprised to learn where that money is going. Last year, Google alone was estimated to make more than $40 billion in online advertising with $4.7 billion of that coming from news content , according to a new report from the News Media Alliance. That is nearly as much as the $5.1 billion the entire American news industry earned in online ads. What's more, Google "only" accounts for 37 percent of the online ad market. Facebook makes up another 22 percent -- an effective duopoly that has only been partially disrupted by (who else?) Amazon, which has moved aggressively into the market over the last few years and now takes up 9 percent.

That is why journalism has continued to flounder even as the broader economy has improved a lot, and why even digital native companies like Buzzfeed and Vox are struggling to keep their heads above water. For instance, as Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo explains , Google runs the major ad market (DoubleClick), is the largest purchaser on that market (through Adexchange), and has privileged access to all the valuable data thus obtained. Its "monopoly control is almost comically great," he writes -- and that's just one company. Just as online ad revenue got to the point where it might replace print ads, internet behemoths have sucked up a huge majority of it, leaving news companies to fight over scraps, or desperately pivot to alternative revenue models like video content or subscriptions.

Remarkably, there appears to be some bipartisan support for regulatory action to give news companies a leg up. Hearings are scheduled on Tuesday for a bill which would grant news companies an exemption to antitrust law, reports CNN , "allowing them to band together in negotiations with online platforms."

This would probably be worth trying, but it's likely not nearly aggressive enough. The journalism industry is fragmented, damaged, and cash-poor, and would surely struggle to compete with Google and Facebook even if it could coordinate properly. It's telling that only Amazon -- another gargantuan, hugely profitable tech colossus -- has managed to compete even a little.

A better approach would be to simply break up and regulate these companies. Following American antitrust law, force Alphabet (Google's parent company) to break all its major parts into separate companies -- Google for search, YouTube for video, DoubleClick for ads, Analytics for audience analysis, and so on. Do the same for Facebook, forcing it to split off Instagram and Whatsapp.

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Then regulate the online ad market. It is outrageous for one company to both run the major ad market and have first bite at sales on that market, because it puts other sellers and buyers at an unfair disadvantage -- as Marshall notes, "the interplay between DoubleClick and Adexchange is textbook anti-competitive practice." Breaking DoubleClick out into a different company would solve that particular instance of abuse of market power, but it probably wouldn't be the end of it. An online ad sales platform (like many internet businesses) has high fixed costs but very low marginal costs -- meaning it costs a great deal to set up all the servers and networks, but almost nothing to serve one additional ad. Once a company has achieved massive scale, like Google has with DoubleClick, it has an ever-increasing advantage over any would-be competitors. That's the classic definition of a natural monopoly, which if left to its own devices will certainly abuse its market power just like Gilded Age railroads .

Therefore, abuse of market power should be banned outright with common carrier regulations mandating equal prices for equal services across the whole online ad business -- either that, or DoubleClick should be nationalized outright and run as a public utility.

For many years, Big Tech had a glossy reputation, portraying itself as the vanguard of a new high-tech future where fancy gadgets and websites would solve all our problems. It turns out it is just another grubby corporate sector, ruthlessly seeking profit no matter who or what gets trodden underfoot in the process. It's long since time we brought these companies to heel. Cracking them up and regulating their markets is a good place to start.

[Jun 19, 2019] The fantasy of online privacy

Notable quotes:
"... The internet, as Yasha Levine showed us in an admirable and unfortunately neglected book last year, was always envisioned by the military industrial complex responsible for its creation as a tool for surveillance. ..."
"... It should come as no surprise that neoliberal capitalism, the only system with even more global reach than the American armed forces (with which big tech is increasingly allied anyway), would turn it to the very purpose for which it was designed. There was never going to be another way. ..."
"... We can insist on disclosure, but nobody is ever going to read through those terms of service documents. We can also attempt to limit the relationship between digital advertising and free social media services, but the latter could not exist without the former. Nor could the unlimited amount of "content" produced by wage slaves or unpaid amateurs. ..."
"... The fact that hundreds of companies know virtually everything about me because I use technologies that are all but unavoidable for anyone who participates in modern life is terrifying. ..."
"... I wonder how many other people now think that the old arrangement -- in which we took photos with real cameras and paid people at department stores to make prints of them and shared them in the privacy of our homes with people we really love, and had beautifully clear conversations on reliable pieces of hardware, and paid for newspapers that offered good wages to their writers and editors thanks to the existence of classified ads -- was so bad. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | theweek.com

Nothing in our conversations about the pros and cons of the modern internet seems to me more naïve than our complaints about privacy.

... ... ...

The problem is that Facebook is not really a bookstore in this analogy -- at least not in any straightforward sense. To understand what they do you have to imagine a chain for whom selling books is not really the point; the books, which are rather enticingly free, are only there to give the store's owners a sense of what you might be interested in, information that they then sell to other companies that will in turn try to hawk everything from clothing to medicine to political candidates. If you think the neat blue website pays engineers hundreds of millions of dollars to let you share dog scrapbooks and spy on your old high-school classmates out of the goodness of its founders' hearts, you're delusional.

But the issues go well beyond any single platform or website. The internet, as Yasha Levine showed us in an admirable and unfortunately neglected book last year, was always envisioned by the military industrial complex responsible for its creation as a tool for surveillance.

It should come as no surprise that neoliberal capitalism, the only system with even more global reach than the American armed forces (with which big tech is increasingly allied anyway), would turn it to the very purpose for which it was designed. There was never going to be another way.

This doesn't necessarily mean that we have to live with the status quo. It is possible to imagine a future in which the moral hazard of putting all the information available from search engines and email use into the hands of private corporations disappeared. Instead of Google and Gmail we could have a massive Library of Congress search engine and a free -- with paid upgrades available for those who need additional storage -- Postal Service email platform. I for one would not mind entrusting Uncle Sam with the knowledge that the phrase beginning with "M" I am most likely to search for information about is "Michigan football recruiting."

The sad truth, though, is that these things have already been tried . Very few people remember now that the post office once attempted to get into the email business and made various attempts to keep digital commerce within the purview of the government rather than in the hands of private corporations. These efforts failed time and again, often due to Silicon Valley lobbying efforts. (Internal incompetence was also an issue: imagine paying $1.70 per email in 2002.)

This problem might be solved easily enough if those corporations had no say in the matter, like the coal companies under the post-war Labour government in Britain. But even if forcibly nationalizing search, email, and other basic internet services now seems like the ideal solution, it would involve the most radical use of government power since the New Deal. I doubt there is a single member of Congress who would even entertain the idea. What does that leave with us? A box of Band-Aids for some gaping wounds. We can insist on disclosure, but nobody is ever going to read through those terms of service documents. We can also attempt to limit the relationship between digital advertising and free social media services, but the latter could not exist without the former. Nor could the unlimited amount of "content" produced by wage slaves or unpaid amateurs.

I don't mean to sound unduly cynical. The fact that hundreds of companies know virtually everything about me because I use technologies that are all but unavoidable for anyone who participates in modern life is terrifying.

I wonder how many other people now think that the old arrangement -- in which we took photos with real cameras and paid people at department stores to make prints of them and shared them in the privacy of our homes with people we really love, and had beautifully clear conversations on reliable pieces of hardware, and paid for newspapers that offered good wages to their writers and editors thanks to the existence of classified ads -- was so bad.

In the future we should be more mindful of the power of technology to destroy things we value. But how many of those things are still left?

[Jun 16, 2019] Court Transcript Exposes Facebook's View User Privacy Is Legally Non-Existent

Jun 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

A new report by The Intercept has unearthed some stunning quotes from Facebook's lawyers as the controversial social media giant recently battled litigation in California courts related to the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal. The report notes that statements from Facebook's counsel "reveal one of the most stunning examples of corporate doublespeak certainly in Facebook's history" concerning privacy and individual users' rights.

Contrary to CEO Mark Zuckerberg's last testimony before Congress which included the vague promise, "We believe that everyone around the world deserves good privacy controls," the latest courtroom statements expose in shockingly unambiguous terms that Facebook actually sees privacy as legally "nonexistent" -- to use The Intercept's apt description of what's in the courtroom transcript -- up until now largely ignored in media commentary. The courtroom debate was first reported by Law360 , and captures the transcribed back and forth between Facebook lawyer Orin Snyder of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and US District Judge Vince Chhabria.

The Intercept cites multiple key sections of the transcript from the May 29, 2019 court proceedings showing Snyder arguing essentially something the complete opposite of Zuckerberg's public statements on data privacy , specifically, on the idea that users have any reasonable expectation of privacy at all.

Facebook's lawyer argued :

There is no privacy interest , because by sharing with a hundred friends on a social media platform, which is an affirmative social act to publish, to disclose, to share ostensibly private information with a hundred people, you have just, under centuries of common law, under the judgment of Congress, under the SCA, negated any reasonable expectation of privacy .

As The Intercept commented of the blunt remarks , "So not only is it Facebook's legal position that you're not entitled to any expectation of privacy, but it's your fault that the expectation went poof the moment you started using the site (or at least once you connected with 100 Facebook "friends")."

Scipio Africanuz , 7 hours ago link

Privacy invasion, is similar to rape - one is an invasion of the body, the other, of the soul..

However, if you don't want your privacy invaded, stop using Facebook, WhatsApp, and all the other privacy invading apps they offer, and find platforms that respect your rights to your privacy..

On the other hand, stop sharing extremely intimate details if you'd rather have them be off limits - do mano a mano sharing, so you can know who leaked what, and when..

Still, monetizing the souls of folks, without their consent, is egregious, and yet, you get what you pay for..if it's free, you're the product, or more accurately, the cow, or better yet, the gold laying geese, or most egregiously, the snitch, snitching on yourself..

Zuckerberg, is NOT anyone's definition of a honest person..his contraption began with a theft, is based on a deception, and operates via blackmail, for the purpose of control..how you describe such a person, is your prerogative, cheers...

numapepi , 10 hours ago link

The argument...

"Let me give you a hypothetical of my own. I go into a classroom and invite a hundred friends. This courtroom. I invite a hundred friends, I rent out the courtroom, and I have a party. And I disclose — And I disclose something private about myself to a hundred people, friends and colleagues. Those friends then rent out a 100,000-person arena, and they rebroadcast those to 100,000 people. I have no cause of action because by going to a hundred people and saying my private truths, I have negated any reasonable expectation of privacy , because the case law is clear."

...is spurious because, in his example, it is the friends who are disseminating the information, but Facebook is more like the person who he rented the hall from... disseminating the information. It would be like 101 bankers setting up a meeting in a Marriott, and discussing business plans and tactics, as the Marriott records and sells that information to credit unions. Claiming the Bankers gave up any right to privacy... because there were over 100 of them in that banquet room.

In the case of the Marriott recording and selling information that is passed in their banquet rooms... would the Facebook attorney agree that is acceptable? To be consistent he must.

[Jun 15, 2019] Facebook and ebola virus

Jun 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

East Indian , 21 hours ago link

"We believe that everyone around the world deserves good privacy controls," - Facebook

"We believe that everyone around the world deserves good health care" - ebola virus

[Jun 14, 2019] How NeoCon Billionaire Paul Singer Is Driving the Outsourcing of US Tech Jobs to Israel

Notable quotes:
"... With nearly 6 million Americans unemployed and regular bouts of layoffs in the U.S. tech industry, major American tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Intel Corporation are nonetheless moving key operations, billions in investments, and thousands of jobs to Israel -- a trend that has largely escaped media attention or concern from even "America first" politicians. The fact that this massive transfer of investment and jobs has been so overlooked is particularly striking given that it is largely the work of a single leading neoconservative Republican donor who has given millions of dollars to President Donald Trump. ..."
"... In this report, MintPress identifies dozens of former members of an elite Israeli military intelligence unit who now hold top positions at Microsoft, Google and Facebook. ..."
"... Yet, some of these tech giants, particularly those based in the U.S., are heavily investing in their Israeli branches while laying off thousands of American employees, all while receiving millions of dollars in U.S. government subsidies funded by American taxpayers. ..."
"... Particularly troubling is the fact that, since SUNC's founding, the number of former Unit 8200 members in top positions in American tech companies has skyrocketed. Based on a non-exhaustive analysis conducted by Mintpress of over 200 LinkedIn accounts of former Israeli military intelligence and intelligence officers in three major tech companies, numerous former Unit 8200 alumni were found to currently hold top managerial or executive positions in Microsoft, Google and Facebook. ..."
"... Similarly, at Google, 28 former Unit 8200 members at the company were identified from their LinkedIn accounts. Among them are Google's Engineering Director, its strategic partner manager, two growth marketing leads, its lead technical manager, and six product and program managers, including Google's manager for trust and safety search. ..."
"... Netanyahu further outlined this policy at the 2019 Cybertech conference in Tel Aviv, where he stated that Israel's emergence as one of the top five "cyber powers" had "required allowing this combination of military intelligence, academia and industry to converge in one place" and that this further required allowing "our graduates of our military and intelligence units to merge into companies with local partners and foreign partners." The direct tie-ins of SUNC to Netanyahu and the fact that Paul Singer has also been a long-time political donor and backer of Netanyahu suggest that SUNC is a key part of Netanyahu's policy of placing former military intelligence and intelligence operatives in strategic positions in major technology companies. ..."
"... This concern is further exacerbated by the deep ties connecting top tech companies like Microsoft and Google to the U.S. military. Microsoft and Google are both key military contractors -- Microsoft in particular, given that it is set to win a lucrative contract for the Pentagon's cloud management and has partnered with the Department of Defense to produce a "secure" election system known as ElectionGuard that is set to be implemented in some U.S. states for the 2020 general election. ..."
Jun 13, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Several U.S. tech giants including Google, Microsoft and Intel Corporation have filled top positions with former members of Israeli military intelligence and are heavily investing in their Israeli branches while laying off thousands of American employees, all while receiving millions of dollars in U.S. government subsidies funded by American taxpayers.

With nearly 6 million Americans unemployed and regular bouts of layoffs in the U.S. tech industry, major American tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Intel Corporation are nonetheless moving key operations, billions in investments, and thousands of jobs to Israel -- a trend that has largely escaped media attention or concern from even "America first" politicians. The fact that this massive transfer of investment and jobs has been so overlooked is particularly striking given that it is largely the work of a single leading neoconservative Republican donor who has given millions of dollars to President Donald Trump.

To make matters worse, many of these top tech companies shifting investment and jobs to Israel at record rates continue to collect sizable U.S. government subsidies for their operations while they move critical aspects of their business abroad, continue to layoff thousands of American workers, and struggle to house their growing company branches in Israel. This is particularly troubling in light of the importance of the tech sector to the overall U.S. economy, as it accounts for 7.1 percent of total GDP and 11.6 percent of total private-sector payroll.

Furthermore, many of these companies are hiring members of controversial Israeli companies -- known to have spied on Americans, American companies, and U.S. federal agencies -- as well as numerous members of Israeli military intelligence as top managers and executives.

This massive transfer of the American tech industry has largely been the work of one leading Republican donor -- billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, who also funds the neoconservative think tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Islamophobic and hawkish think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), and also funded the now-defunct Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI).

Singer's project to bolster Israel's tech economy at the U.S.' expense is known as Start-Up Nation Central, which he founded in response to the global Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to use nonviolent means to pressure Israel to comply with international law in relation to its treatment of Palestinians.

This project is directly linked to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who in recent years has publicly mentioned that it has been his "deliberate policy" to have former members of Israel's "military and intelligence units merge into companies with local partners and foreign partners" in order to make it all but impossible for major corporations and foreign governments to boycott Israel.

In this report, MintPress identifies dozens of former members of an elite Israeli military intelligence unit who now hold top positions at Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

Singer's nonprofit organization has acted as the vehicle through which Netanyahu's policy has been realized, via the group's close connections to the Israeli PM and Singer's long-time support for Netanyahu and the Likud Party. With deep ties to Netanyahu, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and controversial tech companies -- like Amdocs -- that spied on the American government, this Singer-funded organization has formed a nexus of connections between the public and private sectors of both the American and Israeli economies with the single goal of making Israel the new technology superpower, largely at the expense of the American economy and government, which currently gives $3.2 billion in aid to Israel annually.

Researched and developed in Israel

In recent years, the top U.S. tech companies have been shifting many of their most critical operations, particularly research and development, to one country: Israel. A 2016 report in Business Insider noted that Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple had all opened up research and development (R&D) centers in recent years, with some of them having as many as three such centers in Israel, a country roughly the size of New Jersey. Other major tech companies that have also opened key operation and research centers in Israel include Sandisk, Nvidia, PayPal, Palantir and Dell. Forbes noted last year that the world's top 10 tech companies were now "doing mission-critical work in Israel that's core to their businesses back at HQ."

Yet, some of these tech giants, particularly those based in the U.S., are heavily investing in their Israeli branches while laying off thousands of American employees, all while receiving millions of dollars in U.S. government subsidies funded by American taxpayers.

For example, Intel Corporation, which is the world's second largest manufacturer of semiconductor computer chips and is headquartered in California, has long been a major employer in Israel, with over 10,000 employees in the Jewish state. However, earlier this year, Intel announced that it would be investing $11 billion in a new factory in Israel and would receive around $1 billion in an Israeli government grant for that investment. Just a matter of months after Intel announced its major new investment in Israel, it announced a new round of layoffs in the United States.

Yet this is just one recent example of what has become a trend for Intel. In 2018, Intel made public its plan to invest $5 billion in one of its Israeli factories and had invested an additional $15 billion in Israeli-created autonomous driving technology a year prior, creating thousands of Intel jobs in Israel. Notably, over that same time frame, Intel has cut nearly 12,000 jobs in the United States. While this great transfer of investment and jobs was undermining the U.S. economy and hurting American workers, particularly in the tech sector, Intel received over $25 million dollars in subsidies from the U.S. federal government.

A similar phenomenon has been occurring at another U.S.-based tech giant, Microsoft. Beginning in 2014 and continuing into 2018, Microsoft has laid off well over 20,000 employees , most of them Americans, in several different rounds of staff cuts. Over that same time period, Microsoft has been on a hiring spree in Israel, building new campuses and investing billions of dollars annually in its Israel-based research and development center and in other Israeli start-up companies , creating thousands of jobs abroad. In addition, Microsoft has been pumping millions of dollars into technology programs at Israeli universities and institutes, such as the Technion Institute . Over this same time frame, Microsoft has received nearly $197 million in subsidies from the state governments of Washington, Iowa and Virginia.

Though Israeli politicians and tech company executives have praised this dramatic shift as the result of Israel's tech prowess and growing reputation as a technological innovation hub, much of this dramatic shift has been the work of the Netanyahu-tied Singer's effort to counter a global movement aimed at boycotting Israel and to make Israel a global "cyber power."

Start-Up Nation Central and the Neocons

In 2009, a book titled Start Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle , written by American neoconservative Dan Senor and Jerusalem Post journalist Saul Singer (unrelated to Paul), quickly rose to the New York Times bestseller list for its depiction of Israel as the tech start-up capital of the world. The book -- published by the Council on Foreign Relations, where Senor was then serving as Adjunct Senior Fellow -- asserts that Israel's success in producing so many start-up companies resulted from the combination of its liberal immigration laws and its "leverage of the business talents of young people with military experience."

"The West needs innovation; Israel's got it," wrote Senor and Singer. In a post-publication interview with the blog Freakonomics , Senor asserted that service in the Israeli military was crucial to Israel's tech sector success, stating that:

"Certain units have become technology boot camps, where 18- to 22-year-olds get thrown projects and missions that would make the heads spin of their counterparts in universities or the private sector anywhere else in the world. The Israelis come out of the military not just with hands-on exposure to next-gen technology, but with training in teamwork, mission orientation, leadership, and a desire to continue serving their country by contributing to its tech sector -- a source of pride for just about every Israeli."

The book, in addition to the many accolades it received from the mainstream press, left a lasting impact on top Republican donor Paul Singer, known for funding the most influential neoconservative think tanks in America, as noted above. Paul Singer was so inspired by Senor and Singer's book that he decided to spend $20 million to fund and create an organization with a similar name. He created the Start-Up Nation Central (SUNC) just three years after the book's release in 2012 .

To achieve his vision, Singer – who is also a top donor to the Republican Party and Trump – tapped Israeli economist Eugene Kandel, who served as Netanyahu's national economic adviser and chaired the Israeli National Economic Council from 2009 to 2015.

Senor was likely directly involved in the creation of SUNC, as he was then employed by Paul Singer and, with neoconservatives Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, co-founded the FPI, which Singer had long funded before it closed in 2017. In addition, Dan Senor's sister, Wendy Singer (unrelated to either Paul or Saul), long-time director of Israel's AIPAC office, became the organization's executive director.

SUNC's management team, in addition to Eugene Kandel and Wendy Singer, includes Guy Hilton as the organization's general manager. Hilton is a long-time marketing executive at Israeli telecommunications company Amdocs, where he "transformed" the company's marketing organization. Amdocs was once highly controversial in the United States after it was revealed by a 2001 Fox News investigation that numerous federal agencies had investigated the company, which then had contracts with the 25 largest telephone companies in the country, for its alleged role in an aggressive espionage operation that targeted the U.S. government. Hilton worked at Microsoft prior to joining Amdocs.

Beyond the management team, SUNC's board of directors includes Paul Singer, Dan Senor and Terry Kassel -- who work for Singer at his hedge fund, Elliott Management -- and Rapheal Ouzan. Ouzan was an officer in the elite foreign military intelligence unit of Israel, Unit 8200, who co-founded BillGuard the day after he left that unit, which is often compared to the U.S.' National Security Agency (NSA). Within five months of its founding, BillGuard was backed by funding from PayPal founder Peter Thiel and former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt. Ouzan is also connected to U.S. tech companies that have greatly expanded their Israeli branches since SUNC's founding -- such as Microsoft, Google, PayPal and Intel, all of which support Ouzan's non-profit Israel Tech Challenge.

According to reports from the time published in Haaretz and Bloomberg , SUNC was explicitly founded to serve as " a foreign ministry for Israel's tech industry " and " to strength Israel's economy " while also aiming to counter the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to use a nonviolent boycott to end the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and Israeli apartheid, as well as the growth of illegal Jewish-only settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

Since its founding, SUNC has sought to transfer tech jobs from foreign companies to Israel by developing connections and influence with foreign governments and companies so that they "deepen their relationship with Israel's tech industry." Though SUNC has since expanded to include other sectors of the Israeli "start-up" economy, its focus has long remained on Israel's tech, specifically its cybersecurity industry. Foreign investment in this single Israeli industry has grown from $227 million in 2014 to $815 million in 2018.

In addition to its own activities, SUNC appears to be closely linked to a similar organization, sponsored by Coca Cola and Daimler Mercedes Benz, called The Bridge , which also seeks to connect Israeli start-up companies with large international corporations. Indeed, SUNC, according to its website , was actually responsible for Daimler Mercedes Benz's decision to join The Bridge, thanks to a delegation from the company that SUNC hosted in Israel and the connections made during that visit.

Teaming up with Israel's Unit 8200

Members of Israel's signals intelligence Unit 8200 work under a Saudi flag. Photo | Moti Milrod

Notably, SUNC has deep ties to Israel's military intelligence unit known as Unit 8200 and, true to Start Up Nation' s praise of IDF service as key to Israel's success, has been instrumental in connecting Unit 8200 alumni with key roles in foreign companies, particularly American tech companies. For instance, Maty Zwaig , a former lieutenant colonel in Unit 8200, is SUNC's current director of human capital programs, and SUNC's current manager of strategic programs, Tamar Weiss , is also a former member of the unit.

One particularly glaring connection between SUNC and Unit 8200 can be seen in Inbal Arieli , who served as SUNC's Vice President of Strategic Partnerships from 2014 to 2017 and continues to serve as a senior adviser to the organization. Arieli, a former lieutenant in Unit 8200, is the founder and head of the 8200 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Support Program (EISP), which was the first start-up accelerator in Israel aimed at harnessing "the vast network and entrepreneurial DNA of [Unit] 8200 alumni" and is currently one of the top company accelerators in Israel. Arieli was the top executive at 8200 EISP while working at SUNC.

Another key connection between SUNC and Unit 8200 is SUNC's promotion of Team8, a company-creation platform whose CEO and co-founder is Nadav Zafrir, former commander of Unit 8200. In addition to prominently featuring Team8 and Zafrir on the cybersecurity section of its website, SUNC also sponsored a talk by Zafrir and an Israeli government economist at the World Economic Forum, often referred to as "Davos," that was attended personally by Paul Singer.

Team8's investors include Google's Eric Schmidt, Microsoft , and Walmart -- and it recently hired former head of the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, retired Admiral Mike Rogers. Team8 described the decision to hire Rogers as being "instrumental in helping strategize" Team8's expansion in the United States. However, Jake Williams, a veteran of NSA's Tailored Access Operations hacking unit, told CyberScoop :

"Rogers is not being brought into this role because of his technical experience. It's purely because of his knowledge of classified operations and his ability to influence many in the U.S. government and private-sector contractors."

In addition to connections to Unit 8200-linked groups like Team8 and 8200 EISP, SUNC also directly collaborates with the IDF in an initiative aimed at preparing young Israeli women to serve in Unit 8200. That initiative, called the CyberGirlz Club , is jointly funded by Israel's Defense Ministry, SUNC and the Rashi Foundation, the philanthropic organization set up by the Leven family of Perrier-brand water, which has close ties to the Israeli government and IDF.

"Our aim is to bring the girls to this process already skilled, with the knowledge needed to pass the exams for Unit 8200 and serve in the military as programmers," Zwaig told Israel National News .

Seeding American tech

The connections between SUNC and Unit 8200 are troubling for more than a few reasons, one of which being that Unit 8200, often likened to the U.S.' NSA, closely coordinates with Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad, and is responsible for 90 percent of the intelligence material obtained by the Israeli government, according to its former commander Yair Cohen. Cohen told Forbes in 2016, that "there isn't a major operation, from the Mossad or any intelligence security agency, that 8200 is not involved in." For obvious reasons, the fact that an organization founded by an American billionaire is actively promoting the presence of former military intelligence officers in foreign companies, specifically American companies, while also promoting the transfer of jobs and investment to that same country, is very troubling indeed.

Particularly troubling is the fact that, since SUNC's founding, the number of former Unit 8200 members in top positions in American tech companies has skyrocketed. Based on a non-exhaustive analysis conducted by Mintpress of over 200 LinkedIn accounts of former Israeli military intelligence and intelligence officers in three major tech companies, numerous former Unit 8200 alumni were found to currently hold top managerial or executive positions in Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

At Microsoft, managers for at least 15 of the company's products and programs -- including Microsoft's lead managers for engineering, product strategy, threat analytics and cloud business intelligence -- publicly listed their affiliation with Unit 8200 on their LinkedIn accounts. In addition, the general manager of Microsoft's Israeli Research and Development Center is also a former member of Unit 8200. In total, of the 200 accounts analyzed, 50 of them currently worked for Microsoft.

Similarly, at Google, 28 former Unit 8200 members at the company were identified from their LinkedIn accounts. Among them are Google's Engineering Director, its strategic partner manager, two growth marketing leads, its lead technical manager, and six product and program managers, including Google's manager for trust and safety search.

Facebook also has several Unit 8200 members in prominent positions, though fewer than Google and Microsoft. MintPress identified at least 13 Unit 8200 alumni working for Facebook, including its director of engineering, lead manager for express wi-fi, and technical program manager. Notably, Facebook has spent the last several years collaborating with Israel's government to censor Israel's critics.

Of course, there is likely much more influence of Unit 8200 on these companies than this non-exhaustive analysis revealed, given that many of these companies acquired several Israeli start-ups run by and staffed by many Unit 8200 alumni who subsequently went on to found new companies and start-ups a few years or shortly after acquisition. Furthermore, due to the limitations of LinkedIn's set-up, MintPress was not able to access the complete list of Unit 8200 alumni at these three tech companies, meaning that the eye-opening numbers found were generated by a relatively small sample.

This jump in Unit 8200 members in top positions in tech companies of global importance is actually a policy long promoted by Netanyahu, whose long-time economic adviser is the chief executive at SUNC. During an interview with Fox News last year, Netanyahu was asked by Fox News host Mark Levin if the large growth seen in recent years in Israel's technology sector was part of Netanyahu's plan. Netanyahu responded, "That's very much my plan It's a very deliberate policy." He later added that "Israel had technology because the military, especially military intelligence, produced a lot of capabilities. These incredibly gifted young men and women who come out of the military or the Mossad, they want to start their start-ups."

Netanyahu further outlined this policy at the 2019 Cybertech conference in Tel Aviv, where he stated that Israel's emergence as one of the top five "cyber powers" had "required allowing this combination of military intelligence, academia and industry to converge in one place" and that this further required allowing "our graduates of our military and intelligence units to merge into companies with local partners and foreign partners." The direct tie-ins of SUNC to Netanyahu and the fact that Paul Singer has also been a long-time political donor and backer of Netanyahu suggest that SUNC is a key part of Netanyahu's policy of placing former military intelligence and intelligence operatives in strategic positions in major technology companies.

Notably, just as SUNC was founded to counter the BDS movement, Netanyahu has asserted that this policy of ensuring Israel's role as a "cyber power" is aimed at increasing its diplomatic power and specifically undermining BDS as well as the United Nations, which has repeatedly condemned Israel's government for war crimes and violations of international law in relation to the Palestinians.

Building the bi-national surveillance state

Top U.S. tech companies have filled top positions with former members of Israeli military intelligence and moved strategic and critical operations to Israel, boosting Israel's economy at the expense of America's, and SUNC's role in this marked shift merits scrutiny.

A powerful American billionaire has built an influential organization with deep connections to the U.S.-Israel lobby (AIPAC), an Israeli company that has been repeatedly investigated for spying on the U.S. government (Amdocs), and the elite Israeli military intelligence unit (Unit 8200) that has used its influential connections to the U.S. government and the U.S. private sector to dramatically shift the operations and make-up of major companies in a critical sector of the U.S. economy.

Further consider that U.S. government documents leaked by Edward Snowden have flagged Israel as "leading threat" to the infrastructure of U.S. financial and banking institutions, which use much of the software produced by these top tech companies, and have also flagged Israel as a top espionage threat. One U.S. government document cited Israel as the third most aggressive intelligence service against the U.S. behind Russia and China. Thus, Paul Singer's pet project in Start-Up Nation Central has undermined not only the U.S. economy but arguably U.S. national security as well.

This concern is further exacerbated by the deep ties connecting top tech companies like Microsoft and Google to the U.S. military. Microsoft and Google are both key military contractors -- Microsoft in particular, given that it is set to win a lucrative contract for the Pentagon's cloud management and has partnered with the Department of Defense to produce a "secure" election system known as ElectionGuard that is set to be implemented in some U.S. states for the 2020 general election.

mintpressnews.com

[Jun 11, 2019] The Omnipresent Surveillance State: Orwell s 1984 Is No Longer Fiction by John W. Whitehead

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society. ..."
"... We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state. ..."
"... What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach. ..."
"... In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future. ..."
"... Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability." ..."
Jun 11, 2019 | www.theburningplatform.com

"You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized." -- George Orwell, 1984

Tread cautiously: the fiction of George Orwell has become an operation manual for the omnipresent, modern-day surveillance state .

It's been 70 years since Orwell -- dying, beset by fever and bloody coughing fits, and driven to warn against the rise of a society in which rampant abuse of power and mass manipulation are the norm -- depicted the ominous rise of ubiquitous technology, fascism and totalitarianism in 1984 .

Who could have predicted that 70 years after Orwell typed the final words to his dystopian novel, "He loved Big Brother," we would fail to heed his warning and come to love Big Brother.

"To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone -- to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink -- greetings!" -- George Orwell

1984 portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. People are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes.

The government, or "Party," is headed by Big Brother who appears on posters everywhere with the words: "Big Brother is watching you."

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by not only Orwell but also such fiction writers as Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."―George Orwell

Much like Orwell's Big Brother in 1984 , the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move. Much like Huxley's A Brave New World , we are churning out a society of watchers who "have their liberties taken away from them, but rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing." Much like Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale , the populace is now taught to "know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away ."

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick's darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state -- which became the basis for Steven Spielberg's futuristic thriller Minority Report -- we are now trapped in a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

What once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike -- facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on -- are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, the dystopian visions of past writers is fast becoming our reality .

Our world is characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes , facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness -- a philosophy that discourages diversity -- has become a guiding principle of modern society.

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."―George Orwell

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America. And bodily privacy and integrity have been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."―George Orwell, Animal Farm

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state.

What many fail to realize is that the government is not operating alone. It cannot. The government requires an accomplice. Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of the massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental overreach.

In fact, Big Tech wedded to Big Government has become Big Brother, and we are now ruled by the Corporate Elite whose tentacles have spread worldwide. For example, USA Today reports that five years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the homeland security business was booming to such an extent that it eclipsed mature enterprises like movie-making and the music industry in annual revenue. This security spending to private corporations such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others is forecast to exceed $1 trillion in the near future.

The government now has at its disposal technological arsenals so sophisticated and invasive as to render any constitutional protections null and void. Spearheaded by the NSA, which has shown itself to care little to nothing for constitutional limits or privacy, the "security/industrial complex" -- a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance -- has come to dominate the government and our lives. At three times the size of the CIA, constituting one third of the intelligence budget and with its own global spy network to boot, the NSA has a long history of spying on Americans, whether or not it has always had the authorization to do so.

Money, power, control. There is no shortage of motives fueling the convergence of mega-corporations and government. But who is paying the price? The American people, of course.

Orwell understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan flag-waving, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control over the citizenry at all costs. As Orwell explains:

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." ― George Orwell

How do you change the way people think? You start by changing the words they use.

In totalitarian regimes -- a.k.a. police states -- where conformity and compliance are enforced at the end of a loaded gun, the government dictates what words can and cannot be used. In countries where the police state hides behind a benevolent mask and disguises itself as tolerance, the citizens censor themselves, policing their words and thoughts to conform to the dictates of the mass mind.

Dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 , reading is banned and books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled.

In Huxley's Brave New World , serious literature, scientific thinking and experimentation are banned as subversive, while critical thinking is discouraged through the use of conditioning, social taboos and inferior education. Likewise, expressions of individuality, independence and morality are viewed as vulgar and abnormal.

And in Orwell's 1984 , Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish "thoughtcrimes." In this dystopian vision of the future, the Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the Ministry of Peace deals with war and defense, the Ministry of Plenty deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love deals with law and order (torture and brainwashing), and the Ministry of Truth deals with news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda). The mottos of Oceania: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

All three -- Bradbury, Huxley and Orwell -- had an uncanny knack for realizing the future, yet it is Orwell who best understood the power of language to manipulate the masses. Orwell's Big Brother relied on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary. To give a single example, as psychologist Erich Fromm illustrates in his afterword to 1984 :

The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as "This dog is free from lice" or "This field is free from weeds." It could not be used in its old sense of "politically free" or "intellectually free," since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed as concepts .

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is "safe" and "accepted" by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

"Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious." -- George Orwell

Americans have been conditioned to accept routine incursions on their privacy rights . In fact, the addiction to screen devices -- especially cell phones -- has created a hive effect where the populace not only watched but is controlled by AI bots. However, at one time, the idea of a total surveillance state tracking one's every move would have been abhorrent to most Americans. That all changed with the 9/11 attacks. As professor Jeffrey Rosen observes, "Before Sept. 11, the idea that Americans would voluntarily agree to live their lives under the gaze of a network of biometric surveillance cameras, peering at them in government buildings, shopping malls, subways and stadiums, would have seemed unthinkable, a dystopian fantasy of a society that had surrendered privacy and anonymity ."

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry -- mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all -- we have nowhere left to go.

We have, so to speak, gone from being a nation where privacy is king to one where nothing is safe from the prying eyes of government. In search of so-called terrorists and extremists hiding amongst us -- the proverbial "needle in a haystack," as one official termed it -- the Corporate State has taken to monitoring all aspects of our lives, from cell phone calls and emails to Internet activity and credit card transactions. Much of this data is being fed through fusion centers across the country, which work with the Department of Homeland Security to make threat assessments on every citizen, including school children. These are state and regional intelligence centers that collect data on you.

"Big Brother is Watching You."―George Orwell

Wherever you go and whatever you do, you are now being watched, especially if you leave behind an electronic footprint. When you use your cell phone, you leave a record of when the call was placed, who you called, how long it lasted and even where you were at the time. When you use your ATM card, you leave a record of where and when you used the card. There is even a video camera at most locations equipped with facial recognition software. When you use a cell phone or drive a car enabled with GPS, you can be tracked by satellite. Such information is shared with government agents, including local police. And all of this once-private information about your consumer habits, your whereabouts and your activities is now being fed to the U.S. government.

The government has nearly inexhaustible resources when it comes to tracking our movements, from electronic wiretapping devices, traffic cameras and biometrics to radio-frequency identification cards, satellites and Internet surveillance.

Speech recognition technology now makes it possible for the government to carry out massive eavesdropping by way of sophisticated computer systems. Phone calls can be monitored, the audio converted to text files and stored in computer databases indefinitely. And if any "threatening" words are detected -- no matter how inane or silly -- the record can be flagged and assigned to a government agent for further investigation. Federal and state governments, again working with private corporations, monitor your Internet content. Users are profiled and tracked in order to identify, target and even prosecute them.

In such a climate, everyone is a suspect. And you're guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. To underscore this shift in how the government now views its citizens, the FBI uses its wide-ranging authority to investigate individuals or groups, regardless of whether they are suspected of criminal activity.

"Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull." ― George Orwell

Here's what a lot of people fail to understand, however: it's not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. We've already seen this play out on the state and federal level with hate crime legislation that cracks down on so-called "hateful" thoughts and expression, encourages self-censoring and reduces free debate on various subject matter.

Say hello to the new Thought Police .

Total Internet surveillance by the Corporate State, as omnipresent as God, is used by the government to predict and, more importantly, control the populace, and it's not as far-fetched as you might think. For example, the NSA is now designing an artificial intelligence system that is designed to anticipate your every move. In a nutshell, the NSA will feed vast amounts of the information it collects to a computer system known as Aquaint (the acronym stands for Advanced QUestion Answering for INTelligence), which the computer can then use to detect patterns and predict behavior.

No information is sacred or spared.

Everything from cell phone recordings and logs, to emails, to text messages, to personal information posted on social networking sites, to credit card statements, to library circulation records, to credit card histories, etc., is collected by the NSA and shared freely with its agents in crime: the CIA, FBI and DHS. One NSA researcher actually quit the Aquaint program, "citing concerns over the dangers in placing such a powerful weapon in the hands of a top-secret agency with little accountability."

Thus, what we are witnessing, in the so-called name of security and efficiency, is the creation of a new class system comprised of the watched (average Americans such as you and me) and the watchers (government bureaucrats, technicians and private corporations).

Clearly, the age of privacy in America is at an end.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever." -- Orwell

So where does that leave us?

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed and controlled by our technology, which answers not to us but to our government and corporate rulers. This is the fact-is-stranger-than-fiction lesson that is being pounded into us on a daily basis.

It won't be long before we find ourselves looking back on the past with longing, back to an age where we could speak to whom we wanted, buy what we wanted, think what we wanted without those thoughts, words and activities being tracked, processed and stored by corporate giants such as Google, sold to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA, and used against us by militarized police with their army of futuristic technologies.

To be an individual today, to not conform, to have even a shred of privacy, and to live beyond the reach of the government's roaming eyes and technological spies, one must not only be a rebel but rebel.

Even when you rebel and take your stand, there is rarely a happy ending awaiting you. You are rendered an outlaw.

So how do you survive in the American surveillance state?

We're running out of options

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People , we'll soon have to choose between self-indulgence (the bread-and-circus distractions offered up by the news media, politicians, sports conglomerates, entertainment industry, etc.) and self-preservation in the form of renewed vigilance about threats to our freedoms and active engagement in self-governance.

Yet as Aldous Huxley acknowledged in Brave New World Revisited : "Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it."

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The corrupt establishment will do anything to suppress sites like the Burning Platform from revealing the truth. The corporate media does this by demonetizing sites like mine by blackballing the site from advertising revenue. If you get value from this site, please keep it running with a donation. [Jim Quinn - PO Box 1520

Every hour taxpayers in the United States are paying $32,077,626 for Total Cost of Wars Since 2001.

$4,827,476,776,986

See more counters at https://www.nationalpriorities.org/cost-of/ national debt Older Articles Favorite Websites

BB

I'm going through a Department of Defense background check right now and it's not so bad. The thing is they already know everything damn there is to know about me. How do I know this ? Because I can pull up on their computers what they already know. It's to help guys like me pass or at least that's what they say.
They got us by the balls now . How can you fight something like this Unless you take down the whole electric grid. Only God knows the horror that would bring.

grace country pastor

"The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." – Orwell

Galatians 4:16 KJB "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" – Paul

Boat Guy

It is serious concern the move from a free republic to a corporate state with armed government badge wearing just doing my job minions existing in comfort thanks to the confiscatory tax and asset forfeiture programs in play by the circle jerk of Wall Street to K-Street to Capitol Street .
Sadly the people of honor and integrity that could initiate a Nuremberg style justice system upon those in power and control will quickly be stricken down by minions unaccountable thanks to nonsense like the patriot act and FISA courts . So much for the bill of Rights that is supposed to be the impenetrable shield protecting Americans from government . Our alleged honor and oath bound representatives have been able to turn it into Swiss cheese !
Refuse & Resist , Forget Me Not !

Hollywood Rob

Yes, and they do this using the tactics described in plain sight. You can download their bible if you like. It's free.

https://monoskop.org/images/4/4d/Alinsky_Saul_D_Rules_for_Radicals_A_Practical_Primer_for_Realistic_Radicals.pdf

KaD

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/surveillance-tool-coming-u-skies-080010177.html

[Jun 10, 2019] The key to prosecuting Assange has always been to punish him without again embarrassing the powerful figures made mockeries by his disclosures by Eric Zuesse

Looks like PP damage the USA will sustain from prosecuting Assange will be comparable if not greater that initial damage from WikiLeaks. This also might stimulate "revenge disclosures"
Notable quotes:
"... CNN never mentioned that Clapper was accused of perjury in denying the existence of the National Security Agency surveillance program and was personally implicated in the scandal that WikiLeaks triggered. ..."
"... this is Washington and people like Clapper are untouchable ..."
Jun 10, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Right now, the U.S. regime is raising to a fever-pitch and twisting beyond recognition not only U.S. laws but the U.S. Constitution, so as to impose its will against him. President Trump is supported in this effort by the corrupt U.S. Congress, to either end Assange's life, or else lock him up for the rest of his heroic life in a dungeon having no communication with the world outside, until he does finally die, in isolation, punishment for his heroic last-ditch fight for the public's freedom and for democracy -- his fight, actually, against our 1984 regime.

What Jesus of Nazareth was locally for the Roman regime in his region, Assange is for the U.S. regime throughout the world: an example to terrify anyone else who might come forth effectively to challenge the Emperor's authority.

A key country in this operation is Ecuador, which is ruled by the dictator Lenin Moreno, who stole office by lying to the public and pretending to be a progressive who backed his democratically elected predecessor, Rafael Correa, but then as soon as he won power, he reversed Correa's progressive initiatives, including, above all, his protection of Assange, who had sought refuge in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London.

On 11 April 2019, RT headlined "Who is Lenin Moreno and why did he hand Assange over to British police?" and reported that: Following his 2017 election, Moreno quickly moved away from his election platform after taking office. He reversed several key pieces of legislation passed under his predecessor which targeted the wealthy and the banks. He also reversed a referendum decision on indefinite re-election while simultaneously blocking any potential for Correa to return. He effectively purged many of Correa's appointments to key positions in Ecuador's judiciary and National Electoral Council via the CPCCS-T council which boasts supra-constitutional powers.

Moreno has also cozied up to the US, with whom Ecuador had a strained relationship under Correa. Following a visit from Vice President Mike Pence in June 2018, Ecuador bolstered its security cooperation with the US, including major arms deals, training exercises and intelligence sharing. Following Assange's arrest Correa, who granted Assange asylum in the first place, described Moreno as the "greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history" saying he was guilty of a "crime that humanity will never forget."

Despite his overwhelming power and influence, however, Moreno and his family are the subject of a sweeping corruption probe in the country, as he faces down accusations of money laundering in offshore accounts and shell companies in Panama, including the INA Investment Corp, which is owned by Moreno's brother.

Damning images, purportedly hacked from Moreno's phone, have irreparably damaged both his attempts at establishing himself as an anti-corruption champion as well as his relationship with Assange, whom he accused of coordinating the hacking efforts.

On 14 April 2019, Denis Rogatyuk at The Gray Zone headlined: "Sell Out: How Corruption, Voter Fraud and a Neoliberal Turn Led Ecuador's Lenin to Give Up Assange Desperate to ingratiate his government with Washington and distract the public from his mounting scandals, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has sacrificed Julian Assange – and his country's independence" , and he described some of the documentation for the accusations that Moreno is corrupt. On 12 April 2019, Zero Hedge headlined "Facebook Removes Page Of Ecuador's Former President On Same Day As Assange's Arrest" , and opened: "Facebook has unpublished the page of Ecuador's former president, Rafael Correa, the social media giant confirmed on Thursday, claiming that the popular leftist leader violated the company's security policies."

On 16 April 2019, Jonathan Turley bannered "'He Is Our Property': The D.C. Establishment Awaits Assange With A Glee And Grudge" , and opened: They will punish Assange for their sins The key to prosecuting Assange has always been to punish him without again embarrassing the powerful figures made mockeries by his disclosures. That means to keep him from discussing how the U.S. government concealed alleged war crimes and huge civilian losses, the type of disclosures that were made in the famous Pentagon Papers case.

He cannot discuss how Democratic and Republican members either were complicit or incompetent in their oversight. He cannot discuss how the public was lied to about the program. A glimpse of that artificial scope was seen within minutes of the arrest. CNN brought on its national security analyst, James Clapper, former director of national intelligence.

CNN never mentioned that Clapper was accused of perjury in denying the existence of the National Security Agency surveillance program and was personally implicated in the scandal that WikiLeaks triggered. Clapper was asked directly before Congress, "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" Clapper responded, "No, sir. Not wittingly." Later, Clapper said his testimony was "the least untruthful" statement he could make.

That would still make it a lie, of course, but this is Washington and people like Clapper are untouchable. In the view of the establishment, Assange is the problem.

On 11 April 2019, the YouGov polling organization headlined "53% of Americans say Julian Assange should be extradited to America" . On 13 April 2019, I headlined "What Public Opinion on Assange Tells Us About the US Government Direction", and reported the only international poll that had ever been done of opinions about Assange, and its findings demonstrated that, out of the 23 nations which were surveyed, U.S. was the only one where the public are anti-Assange, and that the difference between the U.S. and all of the others was enormous and stark.

The report opened: The only extensive poll of public opinion regarding Julian Assange or Wikileaks was Reuters/Ipsos on 26 April 2011, "WikiLeaks' Julian Assange is not a criminal: global poll" , and it sampled around a thousand individuals in each of 23 countries -- a total of 18,829 respondents. The Reuters news-report was vague, and not linked to any detailed presentation of the poll-findings, but it did say that "US respondents had a far more critical view" against Wikileaks than in any other country, and that the view by Americans was 69% "believing Assange should be charged and 61 percent opposing WikiLeaks' mission."

Buried elsewhere on the Web was this detailed presentation of Ipsos's findings in that poll : Oppose Wikileaks: 61% US 38% UK 33% Canada 32% Poland 32% Belgium 31% Saudi Arabia 30% Japan 30% France 27% Indonesia 26% Italy 25% Germany 24% Sweden 24% Australia 22% Hungary 22% Brazil 21% Turkey 21% S. Korea 16% Mexico 16% Argentina 15% Spain 15% Russia 15% India 12% S. Africa

Is the US a democracy if the regime is so effective in gripping the minds of its public as to make them hostile to the strongest fighter for their freedom and democracy?

On 13 April 2019, washingtonsblog headlined "4 Myths About Julian Assange DEBUNKED" , and here was one of them: Myth #2: Assange Will Get a Fair Trial In the US 14-year CIA officer John Kiriakou notes:

Assange has been charged in the Eastern District of Virginia -- the so-called "Espionage Court." That is just what many of us have feared. Remember, no national security defendant has ever been found not guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia. The Eastern District is also known as the "rocket docket" for the swiftness with which cases are heard and decided. Not ready to mount a defense? Need more time? Haven't received all of your discovery? Tough luck. See you in court. I have long predicted that Assange would face Judge Leonie Brinkema were he to be charged in the Eastern District. Brinkema handled my case, as well as CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling's. She also has reserved the Ed Snowden case for herself. Brinkema is a hanging judge.

[Jun 05, 2019] Amazon, Uber and predatory pricing

Jun 05, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

cnchal , June 5, 2019 at 4:34 pm

> Transportation: "A new analysis suggests Uber Freight's growing role in shipping is coming at a heavy cost to the business . Morgan Stanley writes in a note initiating coverage of Uber Technologies Inc. that the Freight unit turns back some 99% of its revenue to trucking companies . an analysis suggesting Uber is undercutting its brokerage competitors as it gains market share"

This is how Uber is like Amazon. A short excerpt from a long read .

In particular, current law underappreciates the risk of predatory pricing and how integration across distinct business lines may prove anticompetitive. These concerns are heightened in the context of online platforms for two reasons. First, the economics of platform markets incentivize the pursuit of growth over profits, a strategy that investors have rewarded .

Under these conditions predatory pricing becomes highly rational -- even as existing doctrine treats it as irrational.

Second, because online platforms serve as critical intermediaries, integrating across business lines positions these platforms to control the essential infrastructure on which their rivals depend.

This dual role also enables a platform to exploit information collected on companies using its services to undermine them as competitors .

Transportation executives should be crapping their pants upon the realization that the nearly unlimited funds backing Uber won't run out before they get taken out.

[Jun 05, 2019] Amazon changed retail in the USA

Notable quotes:
"... India has tightened the noose on E-retailers and America should too. ..."
"... By far the worst abuser of the current e-commerce system here in America is Amazon which has developed strong ties with the government. Amazon has even incorporated a complacent United States Postal Service in expanding their advantage over businesses by delivering Amazon packages at a discount and even on Sunday. ..."
"... Amazon effectively put a halt on the big box store sprawl that was happening all across America from the late 1980's to the early 2010's. I'll take Amazon and a healthy competitor (Coke needs Pepsi) over a Walmart every 4.5 miles in every direction. ..."
Jun 05, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Let it Go , 2 hours ago link

India has tightened the noose on E-retailers and America should too. Understanding the value of brick and mortar stores to local communities India has placed several restrictions on E-retailers in order to level the playing field and make things fair.

By far the worst abuser of the current e-commerce system here in America is Amazon which has developed strong ties with the government. Amazon has even incorporated a complacent United States Postal Service in expanding their advantage over businesses by delivering Amazon packages at a discount and even on Sunday.

To make matters worse state and local governments have put special packages together with incentives aimed at luring Amazon to build in their areas oblivious to the damage it will cause in coming years. More about what India is doing and what we can do in the article below.

https://India Tightens Noose On E-retailers And We Should Too! html

Paralentor , 2 hours ago link

Amazon effectively put a halt on the big box store sprawl that was happening all across America from the late 1980's to the early 2010's. I'll take Amazon and a healthy competitor (Coke needs Pepsi) over a Walmart every 4.5 miles in every direction.

Teja , 1 hour ago link

Well, that replaced one evil with another. Both mean death of the Main Street, loss of jobs. But there is no simple solution, sure.

Paralentor

The malls killed mainstreet back in the 1980's. Walmart/Target killed the malls .

[Jun 05, 2019] 'Unlimited reach, no safeguards' Snowden warns of greatest social control scheme in history

Jun 05, 2019 | www.rt.com

The US government has a tendency to hijack and weaponize revolutionary innovations, Edward Snowden said, noting that the natural human desire to communicate with others is now being exploited on an unprecedented scale. "Our utopian vision for the future is never guaranteed to be realized," Snowden told the audience in Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada via live stream from Moscow this week, stressing that the US government "corrupted our knowledge... towards a military purpose."

They took our nuclear capability and transformed it into the most horrible weapon that the world had ever witnessed. And we're seeing an atomic moment of computer science... Its reach is unlimited... but its safeguards are not!

Also on rt.com You've been warned: Widespread US face surveillance is 'imminent reality', says tech privacy report

The whistleblower, who in 2013 leaked a trove of highly classified information about global spying operations by the National Security Agency, argued that, armed with modern technology and with the help of social media and tech giants, governments are becoming "all-powerful" in their ability to monitor, analyze, and influence behavior.

It's through the use of new platforms and algorithms that are built on and around these capabilities that they are able to shift our behavior. In some cases, they are able to predict our decisions and also nudge them to different outcomes.

Also on rt.com Privacy? What's that? Facebook lawyer argues users have none

The natural human need for "belonging" is being exploited and users voluntarily consent to surrender virtually all of their data by signing carefully drafted user agreements that no one bothers to read. "Everything has hundreds and hundreds of pages of legal jargon that we're not qualified to read and assess and yet they are considered binding upon us," Snowden said.

And now these institutions, which are both commercial and governmental... have structuralized and entrenched it to where it has become now the most effective means of social control in the history of our species.

WATCH Edward Snowden's full speech:

[Jun 04, 2019] Google Parses Your Gmail For Financial Transactions by Mark Jeftovic

This is a clear sign that Google is evil...
Notable quotes:
"... Submitted by Mark Jeftovic of EasyDNS ..."
Jun 04, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Submitted by Mark Jeftovic of EasyDNS

Recently I came across this story by Todd Haselton that describes how the author located an obscure "purchases" page in his Google account settings and there found a methodical list of his online purchasing history, from third-party outside vendors, going back to 2o12.

The upshot of the story was that:

  • Google saves years of information on purchases you've made, even outside Google, and pulls this information from Gmail.
  • It's complicated to delete this private information, and options to turn it off are hidden in privacy settings.
  • Google says it doesn't use this information to sell you ads.

Naturally, I flagged this story for the next edition of our #AxisOfEasy newsletter . Haselton reports that it isn't easy to locate and delete this information, nor is there a straight-forward path to find it in your privacy settings to disable this behaviour.

This can't be true (can it?)

The more I thought about this the more I thought "this can't be true". I apologize for doubting Haselton, but I thought he had to have it wrong, that maybe he had a stored credit card in his browser that he had forgotten or something, because the ramifications if true, are dire.

First, it means that in order to isolate and parse purchases, Google must then be scanning every email , otherwise, how would they know what's a purchase and what isn't?

Further, if they were scanning every email for purchases, what else where they scanning for? Either now, or in the future? The important mechanism, the infrastructure and methodology to scan and parse every inbound email is clearly in place and operational now, adding additional criterion is just a matter of tweaking the parameters.

Then, there is the matter that Google is doing this without informing their users. We can probably wager that there is buried down the rabbit hole of the ToS some clause that alludes to the possibility that Google reserves the right from time to time (including all the time) to do something or another with your email that may or may not involve machine reading it and dissecting it for your behavioural patterns; none of us have ever read it.

More importantly, it didn't require an explicit opt-in to fire it up.

[ As a belated aside – everybody in tech already knew that the point of Gmail was it was free, and they would scan the contents to target ads. At some point I think they may have announced that they stopped doing that, I can't remember. But the vast majority of normies (defined as people who don't dream in XML), don't realize this, or haven't given it much thought. However this, parsing out financial transaction data specifically, takes it to a new level.]

I've personally verified this is happening

As I said, I initially thought that Haselton had perhaps stored credit cards in his Chrome browser and his purchase history was being populated from that. I still couldn't believe that Google was in essence reading your email and cataloging your purchases on it's own.

My Google purchases page existed, but was empty. To test it, I configured my gmail account (which I barely use, for anything other than Google news alerts) to receive any email from my Amazon account. None of my web browsers have any credit cards stored. Then I went and picked up a new audiobook.

Sure enough within seconds , my heretofore empty purchases page, suddenly had an entry:

Hovering over the "info" icon anticipates the question, how did this get here?

And so we click to find out

We get it from Google's mouth:

"This purchase was found in your Gmail" (emphasis added, because properly rendered it should read " We found this financial transaction sifting through your email").

Why this is problematic

Before this revelation, I was already habitually remarking how it simply astounded me whenever I came across a law firm, or an investment fund, or medical professional, or financial services firm, or any outfit that routinely carries out propriety or confidential communications (you know them by the typical disclaimer they append to every single email they send):

"This email and any accompanying attachments contain confidential information intended only for the individual or entity named above. Any dissemination or action taken in reliance on this email or attachments by anyone other than the intended recipient is strictly prohibited."

and find they're using Gmail? Yikes. Those disclaimers should be modified to read:

This firm's email and all accompanying attachments and any of your replies to us will be scanned, parsed and analyzed by our email provider. Hope you're cool with that.".

Because that's what's actually happening. Here's the shortlist of problems with this:

  1. We don't know what else they are scanning for, what else they are parsing out, where they are storing it and what they are doing with it.
  2. Google says they are not using this info to target ads, as if that settles matters. Then what are they doing with it or why else would they even bother? Further, Google says a lot of things, some of them turn out to be disingenuous. Google once testified before the US Congress that they don't manually intervene in search results, it was later revealed that they manually intervene in search results.
  3. Whatever data mining and collation and cataloging systems and resources are in place could be abused by Google staff. There are ample cases of tech giant employees abusing their positions and their visibility into user data.
  4. These same systems could be abused or exploited by partners, as has been reported in #AxisOfEasy in previous instances.
  5. These systems could be used (or are being used) under a larger umbrella of State surveillance, which we all know is happening – thanks to the likes of Edward Snowden (see his recent talk to Dalhousie University here ). Google's startup financing came in part from the US intelligence apparatus and, as is frequently observed here and elsewhere, now a major contractor to world governments and the US military.
  6. [ Added – later] As pointed out by a reader, it may also violate data privacy laws of various locales, regardless of what's actually in the ToS.

Objections and Rationalizations

There will no doubt be people who read this and object to this being a problem on three grounds:

  1. "Everybody does it" , in the sense that any email provider who is running virus or spam filters at their edge are in essence scanning every inbound email. This is true, but only in the sense that they are actively seeking to separate noise, which costs everybody, including the recipient, from signal – stuff the recipient wants to receive. They are not parsing non-infected, purportedly non-spam email. Let's call it "real email". They aren't parsing, and cataloging your real email based on its contents .
  2. It's free so shut up . For most gmail users, this is true. But they should also realize that if they don't want to shut up about this, then the correct response is to move one's email away from Gmail and pay a provider you trust not to inspect and datamine your private and business correspondence.Remember the old adage: "If you're not paying for the product, you are the product".
  3. If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. Often quipped by people who have never read a history book. There isn't much to say about these unfortunates other than, go read a few.
    I frequently recommend the biography of Joseph Fouché , the man who ran Napoleon's secret police, who also cast the deciding vote to behead King Louis XVI. He is credited therein with having invented the modern police state as we know it. If you want to see a long trail of people who had nothing to hide become separated from their wealth, their liberty and their heads start there.

What to do about it

Maybe you know all this and you really don't care, and that's fine. As long as your cultural choices and your political beliefs and your lifestyle match the accepted norms of a rapidly shrinking Overton Window of what constitutes "acceptable", then you shouldn't have to worry about anything. Really.

If you're an easyDNS client and you use Gmail, you should probably be made aware that many of the domain packages here come with email hosting included . If you have lots of historical email at Gmail (or anyplace else) you can use our IMAP migration tool to painlessly copy everything over from Google, except, alas, your purchase history.


BGO , 8 minutes ago link

Anyone stupid enough to still be using Gmail deserves to have their **** parsed, probed, spied upon, and otherwise electronically violated.

Pvt Joker , 17 minutes ago link

another reason why I don't use G mail

mikee2481 , 17 minutes ago link

Arrest someone. Charge them with a crime. Make their life miserable. Cyrus Vance can send Manaford to Rikers island just to be a tough guy big ***. Our government prosecutes a picks on those that they choose to. Stop writing these articles. It is a waste of time unless you demand something be done. Google is bad. Close them down. Until someone is acturally put in jail, these people will continue to do worse and worse things.

Incorporated by inference , 19 minutes ago link

One morning I found a note under the windshield wiper of my car. It said "you sick sob what the f is wrong with you!" I could only assume some agency was monitoring my internet traffic.

Ms No , 21 minutes ago link

I use fastmail and just pay for it. Its not that much. If you arent paying for service or ap, you are the product.

Flibbertigibbet , 22 minutes ago link

Gmail is for all the trivial junk one wouldn't deign to sully one's "proper" email addresses with... wot.

eitheror , 31 minutes ago link

Google is in your home:

Nest thermostat and cameras

Just about every new TV has Google software. Do not plug your new TV into the internet

Google is evil.

Ethan Allen Hawley , 35 minutes ago link

Guck foogle

Cabreado , 35 minutes ago link

Mostly, wondering why anyone thinks they need Google, and still partakes in any involvement there...

BustainMovealota , 43 minutes ago link

Let me guess, the privacy terms and agreement that you accepted when you signed up was TL;DR.

GoldmanSax , 46 minutes ago link

Surveillance Capitalism is immoral and unconstitutional. We the people need to band together to destroy this industry. Roll this stuff all the way back, Ludite style.

Bigly , 59 minutes ago link

ffs, do not use gmail except for your spam account.

I like protonmail.com and have bank info go there.

If you don't pay, you are the product.

Tachyon5321 , 52 minutes ago link

I hope Trump breaks these criminals up

GoldmanSax , 44 minutes ago link

It doesnt go far enough. Standard Oil was happy for their break up and so will Google. We need this practiced banned. No one should be able to do this let alone make money doing so.

smacker , 4 minutes ago link

Right on. Serious privacy laws are required which prohibits this sh1t.

High Vigilante , 1 hour ago link

"

  • Google says it doesn't use this information to sell you ads"

That's bad, because then it uses the info for something much more sinister.

GoldmanSax , 44 minutes ago link

Consider this 1000 upvotes.

Cthonic , 1 hour ago link

"don't be evil" was such a strange motto ~ it never meant "be good".

scaleindependent , 36 minutes ago link

Classic "projection" of their guilt into a slogan.

Ms No , 9 minutes ago link

Psychopaths know and find it wonderful that people listen to what they say and take them at their word. They never would. They literally live on that.

Its more of a form of virtue signalling and selling than projection. They believe that normal people are such fools that they will believe anything with a pretty label or fraudulwnt story behind it, usually they are right.

Normal people project and these people arent normal. Its similar but not the same.

Ms No , 15 minutes ago link

They literally invert everything. This also has the effect of gaslighting those who know.

NoMoreLibs , 1 hour ago link

Thanks for telling us where to find it and turn it off.... oh wait, he didn't. Dip.

smacker , 1 hour ago link

This blatant uninvited scanning of private e-mails by Gmail and storing private info from them is outrageous and unacceptable to me and I'm sure millions of others.

I am already in the process of migrating my e-mail services away from Gmail and it will then join the Goolag search engine in the trashcan which I dumped 3-4 years ago🚮🚮🚮🚮🚮😠

PoopFilled , 1 hour ago link

many years ago i pointed out the license plate readers located at every freeway on/off ramp

still think they are for "traffic"?

legalize , 2 hours ago link

Anyone surprised by this wasn't paying attention.

2banana , 27 minutes ago link

Stop using anything Google

Stop using anything Facebook

How many warnings do the citizens need?

bolognasandwich , 2 hours ago link

FYI for anyone who wants their transaction history deleted - the only way is to permanently delete the actual emails. Now, if you're using IMAP from your phone you probably don't want to do that, but if you have a desktop client (configured for POP3) you can store them and delete them off google's server so that you can retain your copies.

roy565658 , 2 hours ago link

𝐆­𝐨­𝐨­𝐠­𝐥­𝐞 𝐢­𝐬 𝐩­𝐚­𝐲­𝐢­𝐧­𝐠 𝟗­𝟕­$ 𝐩­𝐞­𝐫 𝐡­𝐨­𝐮­𝐫,𝐰­𝐢­𝐭­𝐡 𝐰­𝐞­𝐞­𝐤­𝐥­𝐲 𝐩­𝐚­𝐲­𝐨­𝐮­𝐭­𝐬.𝐘­𝐨­𝐮 𝐜­𝐚­𝐧 𝐚­𝐥­𝐬­𝐨 𝐚­𝐯­𝐚­𝐢­𝐥 𝐭­𝐡­𝐢­𝐬.𝐎­𝐧 𝐭­𝐮­𝐞­𝐬­𝐝­𝐚­𝐲 𝐈 𝐠­𝐨­𝐭 𝐚 𝐛­𝐫­𝐚­𝐧­𝐝 𝐧­𝐞­𝐰 𝐋­𝐚­𝐧­𝐝 𝐑­𝐨­𝐯­𝐞­𝐫 𝐑­𝐚­𝐧­𝐠­𝐞 𝐑­𝐨­𝐯­𝐞­𝐫 𝐟­𝐫­𝐨­𝐦 𝐡­𝐚­𝐯­𝐢­𝐧­𝐠 𝐞­𝐚­𝐫­𝐧­𝐞­𝐝 $­𝟏­𝟏­𝟕­𝟓­𝟐 𝐭­𝐡­𝐢­𝐬 𝐥­𝐚­𝐬­𝐭 𝐟­𝐨­𝐮­𝐫 𝐰­𝐞­𝐞­𝐤­𝐬..𝐰­𝐢­𝐭­𝐡-𝐨­𝐮­𝐭 𝐚­𝐧­𝐲 𝐝­𝐨­𝐮­𝐛­𝐭 𝐢­𝐭'𝐬 𝐭­𝐡­𝐞 𝐦­𝐨­𝐬­𝐭-𝐜𝐨­𝐦­𝐟­𝐨­𝐫­𝐭­𝐚­𝐛­𝐥­𝐞 𝐣­𝐨­𝐛 𝐈 𝐡­𝐚­𝐯­𝐞 𝐞­𝐯­𝐞­𝐫 𝐝­𝐨­𝐧­𝐞 .. 𝐈­𝐭 𝐒­𝐨­𝐮­𝐧­𝐝­𝐬 𝐮­𝐧­𝐛­𝐞­𝐥­𝐢­𝐞­𝐯­𝐚­𝐛­𝐥­𝐞 𝐛­𝐮­𝐭 𝐲­𝐨­𝐮 𝐰­𝐨­𝐧­𝐭 𝐟­𝐨­𝐫­𝐠­𝐢­𝐯­𝐞 𝐲­𝐨­𝐮­𝐫­𝐬­𝐞­𝐥­𝐟 𝐢­𝐟 𝐲­𝐨­𝐮 𝐝­𝐨­𝐧'𝐭 𝐜­𝐡­𝐞­𝐜­𝐤 𝐢­𝐭.

click this link════►►► http://www.worktoday33.com

cbxer55 , 2 hours ago link

Flagged as an ASSHAT SPAMMER!!

frankthecrank , 2 hours ago link

now now--be nice. No mean name calling.....

Lumberjack , 2 hours ago link

Whippersnappers!

cbxer55 , 2 hours ago link

I've been using that term for a long time now. You just noticed? Slow on the uptake there Zippy! ;-)

I was under the impression that ASSHAT was the "polite", politically correct way of telling some asshat he's an *******! The lowest form of life on this planet. Well, save those who advertise, they're the lowest, lower than pond scum. ;-)

Mona Lisa , 1 hour ago link

Criminal scammer spammer Alert ! Identity theft Alert ! Malware infected site.

Never give away your personal data to shady and criminal websites as this one.

It is an incredible audacity and impertinence to misuse the company name "google" to pretend credibility for a criminal organization.

Buy a Tesla instead of the same old boring Landy Rovy Rangy Rovy banger all of your gang are buying.

Mona Lisa , 1 hour ago link

ASSHAT SPAMMER - CRIMINAL ASSHAT SCAMMER

cbxer55 is more than right.

E5 , 2 hours ago link

Author says he thought "this can't be true"

Author completely discredits himself

...by thinking Google doesn't parse everything,

Google, an Alphabet owned company,

early invested by the CIA ...another famous "alphabet" company,

who likes to call themselves an "alphabet company"...

and then names the holding company "Alphabet"...

seriously folks, they are laughing at you.

How many people here didn't know that?

frankthecrank , 2 hours ago link

I still think it belongs to or was financed with NSA "black" monies.

emmanuelthoreau , 23 minutes ago link

People don't want to face the Black Iron Prison we're in. Can we blame them? This is dark **** to grapple with.

frankthecrank , 2 hours ago link

Just another reason not to use it. I don't know why anyone likes Android either.

Big Fat Bastard , 2 hours ago link

The alternative is a badge for homosexuals.

frankthecrank , 2 hours ago link

nonsense. It's far better and at least Apple refused the FBI's demand to help them break into their phones.

Big Fat Bastard , 2 hours ago link

Apple products are a poorly performing badge for homosexuals with a backdoor for NSA built in.

frankthecrank , 2 hours ago link

whatever. Meanwhile, the property values in my area are up another 15% so far this year.....

greetings_starfighter , 2 hours ago link

Yeah, well I just saved 15% on my car insurance by switching to Geico.

StheNine , 1 hour ago link

lol you can't actually believe this!

Oh you sad child...

Big Fat Bastard , 2 hours ago link

Mountain View, CA Housing Prices Crater 13% YOY As Silicon Valley Foreclosures And Defaults Surge

https://www.zillow.com/mountain-view-ca/home-values/

PoopFilled , 1 hour ago link

and how is my good friend the Big Fat Bastard doing this fine afternoon?

Legioona , 2 hours ago link

Haha, you can delete individual purchases from the list - but here is the catch: in order to delete the purchase, you need to delete the email that contains the purchase : )

Yes, would claim it parses the emails.

iSage , 2 hours ago link

Gaagle - your data are belong to us.

BT , 2 hours ago link

Google must be working Huawei...

Dickweed Wang , 2 hours ago link

And this one of the reasons why I don't have a '.gmail' email account.

Don't feed the beast.

iSage , 2 hours ago link

We FANGED some people.

A Nanny Moose , 1 hour ago link

That bites.

candyman , 2 hours ago link

What happened to the last half of the article?

[Jun 03, 2019] China's Cyber-Authoritarianism is on the March -

Jun 03, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Kirt Higdon May 29, 2019 at 7:39 am

This is another of those areas where the US should get the log out of its own eye first before looking for splinters in the rest of the world. The US imprisons more people than China with only a quarter of the Chinese population. Social credit in China is imposed by the government but in the US you apparently have 36% of the population willing to be PC snitches to ruin the lives of their neighbors. While I don't know for sure, I suspect that what is socially creditable in China is better than what is politically correct in the US. I doubt if the Chinese give social credit points for promoting sodomy, pornography, and sexual mutilations.

Mr. Groovy , says: May 29, 2019 at 9:11 am

The true genius of China's social credit system is that it grants the government the power to punish you without having to expend additional resources to do so. Beyond the cost of creating, staffing and maintaining the system, screwing with the lives of millions of people is pretty much free; no need to hire more police, build jails, etc. And it comes with the added bonus of inflicting social pain by the way in which individuals are identified and stigmatized, i.e. the deadbeat ringtone that is involuntarily installed on a low-credit person's phone.

On the other hand, Xi has discovered that the system–particularly the social discomfort side–works less well in non-Han cultures, like among the Uyghurs. The detention/reeducation camps are transitioning to labor camps, but at some point the whole enterprise will become too costly to continue to expand. At that point the extermination will begin.

In the West, the manipulation and punishment has already begun, but at the hands of corporations. At some point they will realize that they really do wield more power than the government in most people's lives. Then governments, being essentially self-important and eternally petty and vindictive, will try to catch up in the power and punishment game.

Ugly times lie ahead.

Collin , says: May 29, 2019 at 9:48 am

I believe both the US and China are headed towards a corporatecracy but in opposite directions. Meaning Chinese communist government softly enforces large companies to grow corporate power while in the US it is capitalism large companies are out-competing to create this society. (This is not all bad here IMO.)

Kouros , says: May 29, 2019 at 12:03 pm

It seems no comment so far shows much panic and I'll go along trying to be a bit of a devil's advocate myself.

While discredited for putting his foot in his mouth for "The End of History", Francis Fukuyama, has done better with other work, like: "Trust: The Social Virtues and The Creation of Prosperity". In his analysis of trust across time and societies, China comes very low. And as FF also said in "the Origins of political order", China, absent religion and ultimately the supremacy of Law, with origins from above, has also additional weakness.

Educating people to stay in line or not spit on the street or relieve themselves at bus stops or in stores takes a village. But they have to train the village first, given the fabric of the society.

Abuse? Scores. Anyone thinks our "Democracies" are blameless? Our institutions where hierarchy trumps everything are not abusing their power and overreach, given that there are plenty of incentives to do so and few and weak ones not to are on Par with China.

Political power followed by political decay is upon us

GunnarT , says: May 29, 2019 at 12:07 pm

The issue is there is power available like no one has ever seen. This is the power to know more about everyone (practically a complete set of info about humanity), but also surveillance. You connect tagging devices to people and you have full blown Book of Revelation.

Fran Macadam , says: May 30, 2019 at 8:35 am

You mention Assange as a prophet. As under all empires, his fate is persecution, imprisonment and death for revealing the truth, under our own.

It should be no surprise that Wall Street's Rules mandated alliance with Chinese totalitarians.

[Jun 02, 2019] Trump Declares War On Silicon Valley- DoJ Launches Google Anti-Monopoly Probe -

Notable quotes:
"... Just before midnight on Friday, at the close of what was a hectic month for markets, WSJ dropped a bombshell of a story: The paper reported that the DoJ has opened an anti-trust investigation of Alphabet Inc., which could "present a major new layer of regulatory scrutiny for the search giant, according to people familiar with the matter." The report was sourced to "people familiar with the matter," but was swiftly corroborated by the New York Times, Bloomberg and others. ..."
"... the FTC has appeared to be gearing up for a showdown with big tech. The agency - which shares anti-trust authority with the DoJ - has created a new commission that could help undo big-tech tie-ups like Facebook's acquisition of Instagram, and hired lawyers who have advanced new anti-monopoly theories that would help justify the breakup of companies like Amazon. ..."
"... FTC - which is already reportedly preparing to levy a massive fine against Facebook - could end up taking the lead in those cases. ..."
"... Though WSJ didn't specify which aspects of Google's business might come under the microscope, a string of multi-billion-euro fines recently levied by the EU might offer some guidance. ..."
"... Our best model for tech antitrust is the Department of Justice's anti-bundling case against Microsoft in the '90s, which argued that Microsoft was using its control over the PC market to force out competing operating systems and browsers. If you're looking for a contemporary equivalent, Google is probably the closest fit. ..."
"... Google also has clear and committed enemies, with Microsoft, Oracle, Yelp, and even the Motion Picture Association of America calling for restrictions on the company's power. ..."
"... That might sound tame compared to Europe's billion-dollar fines, but it cuts to the core of how Google is organized. The company has acquired more than 200 startups since it was founded, including central products like YouTube, Android, and DoubleClick. ..."
"... Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has introduced a bill that would place an outright ban on acquisitions by any company with a market cap higher than $100 billion. (As of press time, Google is worth roughly $840 billion.) ..."
"... As far as we can tell, one of the leading roles will likely be played by Justice Department antitrust chief Makan Delrahim, a previously obscure Trump Administration official who is now in charge of one of the most consequential investigations in recent memory. ..."
"... Setting aside what it might mean for Silicon Valley, the investigation will also have major ramifications for markets, since shares of the big tech companies have been at the vanguard of the torrid post-crisis bull market. Though the influence of FANG stocks on overall market performance has waned this year, they remain hugely influential. ..."
"... News of the investigation could adversely impact shares of the big tech companies, which will in turn create a serious drag for the major indexes. ..."
Jun 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Once shielded by the logic of Silicon Valley's relentless churn of innovation - which dictated that no reigning tech empire could rule for long before going the way of Yahoo and AOL - tech giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google have been subjected to intensifying anti-trust pressure - Elizabeth Warren's "Break up Big Tech"s billboard is only the latest example. Indeed, big tech trust-busting has become one of the few issues in contemporary Washington that garners genuine bipartisan support.

Since the Trump administration swept into power two years ago in spite of thinly veiled opposition from Silicon Valley - as it was later revealed, big tech effectively conspired with the Clinton campaign to hurt Trump's chances - the drumbeat of unprecedented anti-trust scrutiny has grown steadily louder, facilitated by the president's own publicly-voiced suspicions.

And on Friday, the levee finally broke.

Just before midnight on Friday, at the close of what was a hectic month for markets, WSJ dropped a bombshell of a story: The paper reported that the DoJ has opened an anti-trust investigation of Alphabet Inc., which could "present a major new layer of regulatory scrutiny for the search giant, according to people familiar with the matter." The report was sourced to "people familiar with the matter," but was swiftly corroborated by the New York Times, Bloomberg and others.

For months now, the FTC has appeared to be gearing up for a showdown with big tech. The agency - which shares anti-trust authority with the DoJ - has created a new commission that could help undo big-tech tie-ups like Facebook's acquisition of Instagram, and hired lawyers who have advanced new anti-monopoly theories that would help justify the breakup of companies like Amazon.

But as it turns out, the Trump administration's first salvo against big tech didn't come from the FTC; instead, this responsibility has been delegated to the DoJ, which has reportedly been tasked with supervising the investigation into Google.

That's not super surprising, since the FTC already had its chance to nail Google with an anti-monopoly probe back in 2013. But the agency came up short. From what we can tell, it appears the administration will divvy up responsibility for any future anti-trust investigations between the two agencies, which means the FTC - which is already reportedly preparing to levy a massive fine against Facebook - could end up taking the lead in those cases.

Though WSJ didn't specify which aspects of Google's business might come under the microscope, a string of multi-billion-euro fines recently levied by the EU might offer some guidance. The bloc's anti-trust authority, which has been far more eager to take on American tech giants than its American counterpart (for reasons that should be obvious to all), has fined Google over its practice of bundling software with its standard Android license, the way its search engine rankings favor its own product listings, and ways it has harmed competition in the digital advertising market.

During the height of the controversy over big tech's abuses of sensitive user data last year, the Verge published a story speculating about how the monopolistic tendencies of each of the dominant Silicon Valley tech giants could be remedied. For Google, the Verge argued, the best remedy would be a ban on acquisitions - a strategy that has been bandied about in Congress.

Our best model for tech antitrust is the Department of Justice's anti-bundling case against Microsoft in the '90s, which argued that Microsoft was using its control over the PC market to force out competing operating systems and browsers. If you're looking for a contemporary equivalent, Google is probably the closest fit. On a good day, Google (or Alphabet, if you prefer) is the most valuable company in the world by market cap, with dozens of different products supported by an all-encompassing ad network.

Google also has clear and committed enemies, with Microsoft, Oracle, Yelp, and even the Motion Picture Association of America calling for restrictions on the company's power.

But according to Open Markets' Matthew Stoller, the best long-term remedy for Google's dominance has more to do with Google's acquisitions. "If you're looking for a silver bullet, probably the best thing to do would be to block Google from being able to buy any companies," says Stoller. "Suddenly, you have to compete with Google, you can't just be bought out by Google."

That might sound tame compared to Europe's billion-dollar fines, but it cuts to the core of how Google is organized. The company has acquired more than 200 startups since it was founded, including central products like YouTube, Android, and DoubleClick. The company's modular structure is arguably a direct result of that buying spree, and it's hard to imagine what Google would look like without it. More recent buys like Nest have fallen under the broader Alphabet umbrella, but the core strategy hasn't changed.

Would Google still be an AI giant if it hadn't bought DeepMind? Probably, but everyone involved would have had to work a lot harder.

Even better, anti-monopoly activists would have a bunch of different ways to block those acquisitions. The Department of Justice's antitrust division hasn't contested Google's acquisitions so far, but it could always change its approach. The strongest fix would come from Congress, where Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has introduced a bill that would place an outright ban on acquisitions by any company with a market cap higher than $100 billion. (As of press time, Google is worth roughly $840 billion.)

We feel it's no exaggeration to say that this is only the beginning of what could become an epoch-defining story arch. And like every good story, this one will have main characters and bit players. As far as we can tell, one of the leading roles will likely be played by Justice Department antitrust chief Makan Delrahim, a previously obscure Trump Administration official who is now in charge of one of the most consequential investigations in recent memory.

Setting aside what it might mean for Silicon Valley, the investigation will also have major ramifications for markets, since shares of the big tech companies have been at the vanguard of the torrid post-crisis bull market. Though the influence of FANG stocks on overall market performance has waned this year, they remain hugely influential.

Tech giants are far and away the biggest contributors to SPX sales growth... ...and they have generated nearly all SPX after-tax adjusted profit margin since the crisis.

Given that big tech valuations are often based, at least partly, on the notion that these companies will achieve an unassailable market position, an anti-trust campaign could be extremely harmful not just for publicly traded tech giants, but for the entire Silicon Valley pipeline, as @SuperMugatu explains.

MUGATU @SuperMugatu

If the DOJ going after $ GOOG is (1) real and (2) indicative of anti trust being back and DC going after SF, SAAS is fucked. These names are all trading on bets that they get to some scale where they're intrenched and then get bought out.

302 10:09 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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MUGATU @SuperMugatu Replying to @SuperMugatu

Everyone in the business, myself included, will spend the weekend trying to figure out (1) and (2), but it's curious that $ GOOG is the name and not $ FB or others. An argument could be made that it's more ominous, as any progress against $ GOOG would likely be easy to carry over.

44 10:10 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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MUGATU @SuperMugatu Replying to @SuperMugatu

Regarding SAAS, the ownership concentration in high sales multiple names across sectors is fairly extreme. Damage to IPO pipeline, bullshit like $ BYND or $ TLRY (Basically, Cowen's 2019 banking business) could be severe.

32 10:12 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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MUGATU @SuperMugatu Replying to @SuperMugatu

So many portfolios in hedge funds and retail are so insanely overweight 1-3 factors here, this could cause some very serious cascading unwinds. Not saying it will, but the market structure set up is *nasty*, and could become self fulfilling.

57 10:14 PM - May 31, 2019
See MUGATU's other Tweets Twitter Ads info and privacy
MUGATU @SuperMugatu Replying to @SuperMugatu

Serious thought needs to be given to:
1) what if big tech is out?
2) what's priced in?
3) who owns what? Correlation?
4) loss tolerance of those pools?
5) if that stuff unwinds, what becomes unfundable? What does it do to demand for IPOs, etc of the large Private VC/growth books?

47 10:16 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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MUGATU @SuperMugatu Replying to @SuperMugatu

A lesson I've learned the hard way before: when the growth guys are forced out, it's a long way down until the value guys step in. But this is across not just A sector, but "the sector of the future." A senior guy at Blackrock told me there was no reason to look anything but SAAS

123 10:17 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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MUGATU @SuperMugatu Replying to @SuperMugatu

Also, IMHO Trumo's DOJ doing this (if true) the day after engaging in a second trade war sort of takes the probability of him being a complete fucking idiot to 90+% and completely eliminated any "he's actually got a plan" permutations. Or he's legit a world champ Jenga player.

114 10:21 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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MUGATU @SuperMugatu Replying to @SuperMugatu

Also would note active managers vol tolerance is at all time lows and many / most face existential firm risk after the last few years. They're not going to gut our major uncertainty here. Especially with a decent start to 2019 and macro + cycle ?????

42 10:34 PM - May 31, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy
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As a counterpoint, it's worth remembering that the presence of two new business-friendly conservative judges on the Supreme Court will make the DoJ's job that much harder, and could ultimately tip the scales in favor of Big Tech winning this battle.

News of the investigation could adversely impact shares of the big tech companies, which will in turn create a serious drag for the major indexes. For investors, it will be one more threat to a bull market which is already teetering thanks to President Trump's trade war with China (and now Mexico).

We imagine we'll be hearing more about the probe through both official and unofficial channels in the coming weeks.

[Jun 02, 2019] As for freedom, it will soon cease to exist in any shape or form

Jun 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

"As for freedom, it will soon cease to exist in any shape or form. Living will depend upon absolute obedience to a strict set of arrangements, which it will no longer be possible to transgress. The air traveler is not free. In the future, life's passengers will be even less so: they will travel through their lives fastened to their (corporate) seats."

- Jean Baudrillard, 1990

"Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States."

-Noah Webster

[Jun 02, 2019] Snowden Most Effective Means Of Social Control In The History Of Our Species Now In Place

He didn't mention Obama's "Hammer" database
Notable quotes:
"... Institutions can "monitor and record private activities of people on a scale that's broad enough that we can say it's close to all-powerful," said Snowden. They do this through "new platforms and algorithms," through which "they're able to shift our behavior. In some cases they're able to predict our decisions -- and also nudge them -- to different outcomes. And they do this by exploiting the human need for belonging ." ..."
"... "We don't sign up for this," he added, dismissing the notion that people know exactly what they are getting into with social media platforms like Facebook. ..."
"... That means that a company, community or country that uses Huawei technology is protecting itself from the US-led international system of surveillance and possible control. And the threats and demands that they stop using Huawei products is more about keeping US control, not so much about blocking Chinese control ..."
Jun 01, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said Thursday that people in systems of power have exploited the human desire to connect in order to create systems of mass surveillance .

Snowden appeared at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia via livestream from Moscow to give a keynote address for the Canadian university's Open Dialogue Series.

Right now, he said, humanity is in a sort of "atomic moment" in the field of computer science. "We're in the midst of the greatest redistribution of power since the Industrial Revolution, and this is happening because technology has provided a new capability," Snowden said.

"It's related to influence that reaches everyone in every place," he said. "It has no regard for borders. Its reach is unlimited, if you will, but its safeguards are not." Without such defenses, technology is able to affect human behavior.

Institutions can "monitor and record private activities of people on a scale that's broad enough that we can say it's close to all-powerful," said Snowden. They do this through "new platforms and algorithms," through which "they're able to shift our behavior. In some cases they're able to predict our decisions -- and also nudge them -- to different outcomes. And they do this by exploiting the human need for belonging ."

"We don't sign up for this," he added, dismissing the notion that people know exactly what they are getting into with social media platforms like Facebook.

... ... ...


mrliberty , 2 hours ago link

Snowden focuses on the common-knowledge stuff to keep our attention away from mass Signals Interference (spoofing and blocking messages, calls, and emails) and other shady programs.

cynicalskeptic , 6 hours ago link

Huxley's 'Ultimate Revolution' - a scientific dictatorship where the masses willingly submit to their own enslavement - is here.

His 1962 UC Berkeley speech sums it all up. Orwell's 1984 depended on terror and force to maintain control. Much easier with A Brave New World where the control is psychological and people 'know their place' in the world and willingly accept it.

NoBigDeal , 6 hours ago link

Mass surveillance is useless if you can't organise such a huge data set into meaningful information, and what's meaningful is always a matter of opinion. Those who paid the bazillions to build this thing must be starting to scratch their heads.

The real threat of a system like this is when some low level user with access exploits it for their personal advantage. Some neighbor or co-worker who doesn't like you.

AI has a long way to go and in this case it just sounds like a poor excuse to keep feeding the big white elephant.

Craven Moorehead , 7 hours ago link

10 to 15 yrs from now, security services and police will intercept any person walking in a public place without some form of smart device to identify who they are, and it is all being implemented by stealth, right before our eyes

Smart identification devices will become mandatory, everything in your life will be tracked, your travel, your spending, your political affiliations, people will willingly give up their freedoms to the illusory safety of the security state, call it slavery

Harry Lightning , 8 hours ago link

I don't know but at least as it pertains to me, I think all the scare tactics aboput Artificial Inteligence is way overblown.

I don't even read the ads on the internet, and if I do happen to spend more than a nanosecond viewing them, its usually only to getg the name of the company so I make sure NOTG to buy anything from them for invading my space.

SoI reallhydon't \care if some algorithm says I am likely to buy a certain kind of product, because they can bombard me with ads all day and all night and it won't make a rat's *** bit of difference in whagt I decide to do. Same with politics...there's nothing they can pipe intop my computer that will make me more or less likely to vote for a candidate. I have voted all over the ballot in any election I ever voted in, and my selections were based on reading what the candidates said at debates or in campaign speeches. Political advertising is a waste of money when itg comes to my voting.

In terms of spying, yes, I can understand how and why tech companies and the government engage in that kind of activity. I surely don't like it, but it really doesn't bother me because I would never portray anything I do to an internet full of anonymous people who may be collecting information. Most people are law abiding and the things they do that come close to criminal occur so infrequently and are for such a relatively small amount of money compared to a criminal enterprise that the government probably doesn't have time to bother with them. If you have nothing to hide than you have nothing to fear, and for the most part, most people have nothing to hide.

In terms of drones surveilling everyone, I think they are great target practice. How often do you get the chance to fire atga moving target outside of skeet shooting ? So if the government or some ahole company wants to spy on you with drones, have fun shooting them out of the air. If enough people take this route, the practice will end because the cost of all those shot up drones will be too expensive for the Peeping Toms to afford. And the government does not have the resources to prosecute a hundred million people all shooting at drones.

Another point : when it comes to election time, go to the local Meet The Candidate forums where you live and ask the candidates who has the balls to state they will vote against any government spying without warrants based on unimpeachable reasonable causes ? Only vote for the politicians who make such pledges, and if they break their promises vote them out of office the next time they try to get elected. Democracy works when the people are willing to use it. So use it.

brokebackbuck , 7 hours ago link

i disagree, democracy does not work because most people are too dumb to choose correctly. This negatively impacts the most intelligent

Karl Marxist , 7 hours ago link

Then get off your dead *** and work to save what power the people have left. Are you that lazy physically and intellectually? TV people own you enough to cave into deep apathy? The I hope you get FEMA camped in one form or another because that's where this **** is headed unless you take to heart the previous poster.

fackbankz , 5 hours ago link

I would have agreed with you 20 years ago. We're way past the point where voting matters. All politicians on both sides are the worst pieces of **** you can imagine. They all support mass surveillance, slavery through fake Fed money, war, GMOs, vaccines and any other evil **** their masters are trying to force on us.

I hope the voting rate in America goes under 10 percent so that 90 percent of us can say, "**** you! I didn't vote for that" and have it be true. Because when it comes to all the important stuff, you did vote for that if you voted for one of these vile wastes of protoplasm in DC.

reader2010 , 8 hours ago link

"As for freedom, it will soon cease to exist in any shape or form. Living will depend upon absolute obedience to a strict set of arrangements, which it will no longer be possible to transgress. The air traveler is not free. In the future, life's passengers will be even less so: they will travel through their lives fastened to their (corporate) seats."

- Jean Baudrillard, 1990

smacker , 8 hours ago link

I agree with Snowden's assessment of the human need to socially connect with others which is being exploited and morphed into mass surveillance.

But .gov cannot be trusted to take any effective action against the likes of Faceache or Goolag because these outfits are in bed with government (see recent ZH article on this very subject). Thus, government is a prime beneficiary of the mass surveillance data being collected.

Anonymous IX , 3 hours ago link

I actually disagree with Snowden. I think social media, from what people describe and what I observe, strokes people's egos and self-esteem. The tragedy here is that social connection becomes redefined rather narrowly within the confines of ego and self-esteem. I note, e.g., the strident and self-righteous tones in some of the posts throughout ZH here today. Along with the hyper-massaging of ego/self-esteem comes hyper-emotionalism. Everything is cataclysmic. You're the "good guy," and everybody and anybody who opposes you are the "bad guys." Stark, vivid black and white thinking propelled by emotions on steroids. Combine ego massage with steroidal emotions, and you get people wearing the equivalent of horse blinders. People who are easily duped.

WhyWait , 9 hours ago link

I was struck by Snowden's remarks about Huawei technology. He makes the claim that in the past 6 years our best minds with unlimited resources had been unable to find Huawei back doors or kill switches, because otherwise we would know, they would have announced it to the world

On the other hand we can assume that American servers and the software they use do have back doors and maybe kill switches

That means that a company, community or country that uses Huawei technology is protecting itself from the US-led international system of surveillance and possible control. And the threats and demands that they stop using Huawei products is more about keeping US control, not so much about blocking Chinese control

This reminds me of the urgency with which the US demands that countries buy Patriot missile systems, not S400's.

my new username , 9 hours ago link

STASI was privatized - now, people volunteer their information, and the CIA-funded ABC and FaceBook aggregate and sell the data back to Big Government.

Groundround , 9 hours ago link

He is right. When myspace, then facebook came out I thought, Cool, I can keep in touch with all these people. Then, when I became obvious that is was being used to spy on everyone and sell their info, I was pissed at myself for being so naive to think that an honest company could exist without stabbing everyone in the back and becoming a tool for for the same intelligence groups that have been standing on our necks for a couple hundred years now. Today it is too much to ask for an honest company and a government that does not victimize its citizens in about every way it can imagine. We can have a better world. It won't come by voting. They locked that **** down. It is time for the rope.

NiggaPleeze , 9 hours ago link

I get the surveillance part, but the social control part is still in the wings. China's social credit system and US' "terrorism" databases are all but inklings of what is to come: constant and ubiquitous 24/7 monitoring with AI drone "enforcement". So far the powers that be feel constrained in using all the data they collect in criminal court - in part because there are not enough prisons, and in part because they don't want a revolt. But: once AI, data collection and drone automation reach the tipping point (not far off), those constraints will be gone: there will be no ability to revolt as the drones will wipe out the "seditionists", and prison won't be a problem because they will use other means (no food, no transportation, or corporal punishment, all administered by integrated sales, transportation and drone systems).

Mr. Kwikky , 10 hours ago link

Watch the testimonies of high level former NSA employee William Binney on yt

https://youtu.be/KQpTofvZJWU

[Jun 02, 2019] Somer highlights of Snowden spreach at Dalhousie University

Highly recommended!
An interesting method of monitoring access to the particular WEB site or page by intercepting pages at the router and inserting reference to the "snooping" site for example one pixel image) which collects IPs of devices which accessed particular page. Does not require breaking into the particular Web site 00 just the control of provider router is is enough. That makes it more understandable the attack on Huawei.
Notable quotes:
"... Said Mr. Snowden was at risk for extra ordinary rendition.. qualified him for application under refuge law. Said to claim refugee status Art. 33 of the refugee humanitarian grounds application is Intl Refuge Law, that those in control of governments are working to eliminate this long standing intl understanding. ..."
"... said we are experiencing the greatest and fastest and most pervasive redistribution of power since the Industrial revolution.Highly concerned that very few are going to benefit. ..."
"... Talked about Conspiracy , a group called 5 eyes (USA, Canada, Australia, NZ, and UK) and prism.. explained how it worked. basically a collaboration between big corporations and government ..."
"... Explained how these corporations and government (mostly government) could intercept web page request between user at home or in office and the target server, and replace generate a blank page that has surveillance hidden in the page, then blend hidden with the legitimate page delivered by the innocent server to the unknowing user. said it goes beyond collaboration and moves to proactive surveillance. ..."
"... Said law is needed to criminalize companies and governments that make useful network devices that people buy, into evil spyware. mentioned the NSO group can remember why?. .. classified "trade in hidden exploits". as evil relayed story about how such devices were used in Mexico to defeat political opposition ..."
Jun 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

snake , Jun 2, 2019 3:41:49 PM | 8

https://www.rt.com/news/460854-snowden-surveillance-social-control/ <=Snowden at Dalhousie University..
Robert Thibault, Att, HK Canada, (I think) Snowden's lawyer explained the law protecting whistle blowers.

Describes the incredible pressure governments are applying on anyone who steps forward to help a whistle blower.

Said Mr. Snowden was at risk for extra ordinary rendition.. qualified him for application under refuge law. Said to claim refugee status Art. 33 of the refugee humanitarian grounds application is Intl Refuge Law, that those in control of governments are working to eliminate this long standing intl understanding.

Explained the constitution of Equador was the most complex constitution on planet its due process rights solid due process safeguard, has a very high threshold but. Morales decision was arbitrary to strip Mr. Assange of his asylum. Said HK angry at Germany over two whistle blowers

Snowden then speaks .. excellent talk..

1st point.. progress in science has been unprecedented, especially nuclear science, but the nation states are using that new knowledge to make nuclear weapons.. called the progress an "Atomic Moment" in Science evolution. .

said we are experiencing the greatest and fastest and most pervasive redistribution of power since the Industrial revolution.Highly concerned that very few are going to benefit.

2nd point Platforms and Algorithms are being used by those in power to "shift our behaviors" accomplished covertly by user contracts people are required to sign when joining something on line (<=he said no one reads these things, but they are dangerous

Talked about Conspiracy , a group called 5 eyes (USA, Canada, Australia, NZ, and UK) and prism.. explained how it worked. basically a collaboration between big corporations and government

Explained how these corporations and government (mostly government) could intercept web page request between user at home or in office and the target server, and replace generate a blank page that has surveillance hidden in the page, then blend hidden with the legitimate page delivered by the innocent server to the unknowing user. said it goes beyond collaboration and moves to proactive surveillance.

said the legal means to spy on the populations existed long before 9/11, but it could not find daylight to be adopted until 9/11. Basically the government and massive in size corporations have all of the data on every single person on the earth because they gather it everywhere all of the time. discussed warrant_less wire tap, explained why whistle blower fair trial in he USA not likely, Said everything single call or electronic communication made by citizens is captured suggested monitoring calls was a felony many corporations committed before the FISA Act was enacted to protect the listener.

Mentioned Signal by Open Whisper <= for encryption??

Said law is needed to criminalize companies and governments that make useful network devices that people buy, into evil spyware. mentioned the NSO group can remember why?. .. classified "trade in hidden exploits". as evil relayed story about how such devices were used in Mexico to defeat political opposition.

But the big thing I got out of it, was how website contract agreements are not innocent. Such agreements prey on human desire to [interact, connect, share and cooperate] these desires have been modelled into a platform that allows government or private commercial enterprises to manipulate, exploit and prey-on any human "interacting with a such websites.

Questions and answers.

[May 31, 2019] Threats to the neoliberal world order to be discussed at Bilderberg meeting

That means implicit acknowledgement from Bilderberg group that neoliberalism is under threat... Essentially trade war with China is destroying neoliberalism as we speak because "national neoliberalism" -- neoliberalism without globalization is just a flavor of neofascism, not a new social system.
May 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Anne Jaclard , May 30, 2019 7:33:37 PM | 31

Bilderberg 2019 Meeting Information Revealed

Stacey Abrams, Eric Schmidt, Mike Pompeo, and Mattel Renzi, among others, will be attending the top-secret Bilderberh meetings from today through the weekend.

Topics to be discussed include the weaponisation of social media, the future of capitalism, Brexit, China, and threats to the neoliberal world order.

Held since 1954, Bilderberg has acted as a meeting point for high-level establishment politicians and corporate elites to promote the interests of Atlanticism and global corporations.

Many attendees of Bilderberg have gone on to play major roles in their countries' politics, including Angela Merkel and Barack Obama.

The presence of Abrams at the event is another sign that she may act as a vice-presidential candidate for Joe Biden, who himself has attended corporate-linked summits including Davos and the Munich Security Conference this year and who has seen his narratives bolstered by think tanks such as More in Common and the Trilateral Commission.

Abrams is herself a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has pursued a neoliberal agenda while in office.

https://bilderbergmeetings.org/meetings/meeting-2019/press-release-2019

[May 23, 2019] Your smartphone is leaking your information Bram Bonn TEDxGhent - YouTube

Notable quotes:
"... You brought up some great points, some people don't realize that "Free Wi-FI" can be dangerous. it's scary to think how easy it is for someone to be the "middle man" and see your data and location. ..."
"... Smartphones are like very small children that will "speak" to any stranger on the streets. ..."
"... If you have a jaolbroken iPhone, download and install Firewall iP7. It will notify you about every connection, incoming and outgoing, and allows you to choose if you want to deny or allow the connections ..."
"... I'm off of WhatsApp from the past 3 years! and I didn't die.. :D lol ..."
May 23, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Nutmeg Technologies , 2 years ago

You brought up some great points, some people don't realize that "Free Wi-FI" can be dangerous. it's scary to think how easy it is for someone to be the "middle man" and see your data and location.

Saber Tig , 6 months ago

Smartphones are like very small children that will "speak" to any stranger on the streets.

Malseph , 2 years ago

Its so funny how easy it is today to completely hijack someones life due to their careless use of technology. Basically anything you use that doesn't require a wire is a huge risk. Even wired is if you dont know what you are doing. Not to mention... Clouds. Cloud systems are great for spying on stupid people. Did you just take a nude photo of yourself to send to your girlfriend? Well, if you use any apple device i'm not the only one that knows you did. Oh modern society...

Aviatorul Dinfilm , 3 years ago

Smartphone = CIA and FBI

RockJumper , 4 years ago

If you have a jaolbroken iPhone, download and install Firewall iP7. It will notify you about every connection, incoming and outgoing, and allows you to choose if you want to deny or allow the connections

Dolly Doodles , 1 year ago

This is a perfect video to explain why to turn off roaming and Wi-fi when you leave the house

S1gm@_Wolf , 6 months ago

Ive been off all social media for 3 months now and feel amazing. I be cancelling my phone service next month. Minimalism is the way back to life guys.

GizmoGirl , 10 months ago

I'm off of WhatsApp from the past 3 years! and I didn't die.. :D lol

Aerox ⁣ , 1 week ago

I'm seriously considering switching to an old 80's phone, buying an old camera, get rid of my computer and start using cash instead of my creditcard. There's no other way to stay safe in todays society! Heck I can't even trust my refridgerator anymore...

[May 23, 2019] How to Avoid Surveillance...With Your Phone Christopher Soghoian TED Talks

Switched off phone is more or less secure pone ;-)
May 23, 2019 | www.youtube.com

HipHopBeatSource , 2 months ago

Without watching this video simply

(1)turn phone off

(2) Remove battery if you can.

(3)Throw directly into toilet.

(4)Walk away.

Ryan Quintana , 3 months ago

This is a lie and disinformation. Look at project prism for proof that apple has been involved with the Nsa since 2012

Summer Love , 1 month ago

People In The Sixties: The Government Will Wiretap Your Home

People Now: Hey Wire Tap, show me pictures of cats.

Soheb khan , 3 years ago

Apple and Facebook are securing our talks - Don't make me laugh.

HotNitrogen , 3 years ago

whatsapp encrypted and private? Not much point since Facebook pretty much hands over data to governments.

Truthshock 5000 , 3 weeks ago

This Shlomo is a PR shill for tech companies.

[May 23, 2019] William "Bill" Binney, former NSA technical director on how NSA track you. From the SHA2017 conference in Netherlands

Important point is that NSA interesting in unlimited growth and money like any large bureaucracy. and this is like cancer for society.
Those data constitute perfect blackmail material for any politician. So that mean that intelligence agencies control the congress and the government.
An interesting question is: why with this massive data collection organized crime still exists.
Aug 08, 2017 | youtube.com

Agent76 , says: May 23, 2019 at 2:08 pm GMT

Aug 8, 2017 How NSA Tracks You (Bill Binney)

William "Bill" Binney, former NSA technical director on how NSA track you. From the SHA2017 conference in Netherlands.

How NSA Tracks You (Bill Binney) [improved audio] - YouTube

William Schutter 1 year ago

This design of bulk data management demonstrates that they are interested in acquiring leverage over politicians and everyone else rather than analysis to block terrorist acts. Could not be clearer.

Rick Geise 11 months ago

Our government is out of control, not only are they apparently collecting everything on each of us, "Most of these terror attacks are done by government guided terrorists, so the NSA is purposely choosing not to see the terror links until after the attack." -Joel Skousen, 2-09-2018 'World Affairs Brief'.

Soul Survivor 1 year ago

It is designed to be a blackmail tool, a LOOKBACK after they have something else on you. It is so massive to keep the employees busy doing nothing in a timely manner. It isn't meant to me a human run predictive tool, they want "machine learning" to be able to work it out. Bill Binney is brilliant.

Naseem Khan 1 year ago

Who better to expose them than Bill Binney, the man who designed the system and he is doing the right thing by exposing them. I used to think that Pentagon was the largest building but three times the size and collecting bulk that they cannot even use is foolish. I cannot accredit them for anything good out of this because there is nothing good except waste of taxpayers money. There was a time when anything this size would be outdated. They should strictly be asked to provide accountability but because they don't, there is no ceiling on their spending.

PAUL ROBINSON 1 year ago

I write what I write knowing they monitor things praying one day they get a clue. I hide nothing!! Before God as they say all seeing and all knowing we can hide nothing in dark or in the light!! Weather they think they are God or not!! They think before all this admission you can't see hear or feel there tactics!! I notice every thing that tries to interfere with my devices! Phone computers electronics ect. Let them play the game, let us use same technology against them and see how it plays out!! Lol sad that don't need to one lil old me vs how many of them with all technology at their fingertips!!! Wow impressive!! Difference between me and them is they wanna manipulate and rip people off n control them and I only wish to help others and not make slaves out of them. If I had the endless funds I would more than pay people what they are worth and help the less fortunate. I could show how everyone could live better, happier and healthier lives. They don't want this they fear it cause they want all power and control!!! Very very pathetic!! Read more Show less Reply 21 22 Loading... View all 10 replies View all 10 replies Hide replies

Remote Viewer 1 11 months ago

If Binney is accurate, then they are bright enough to use Artificial Intelligence to turn the data pile into real intel. Duh. So I think Mr. Binney is allowed to share disinformation. They are operating a fullt operational battlestar.

Doublevanoz 3 months ago

I worked in the same building about a year before Snowden was there. The facility in the movie(Hawaii) looked Hi-Tech in the movie... The place was a fuckin' dump! I laughed when I saw the movie.. you could of walked in there with 1OO thumbdrives in a bag..no metal detector or scanners Read more Show less Reply 1 2

Reclusus 5 months ago (edited)

If the US is doing this, than 100% sure the Chinese and Russians and Iranians even South Africans and Arab Nations do just the same. So having an NSA as a stasi is nothing new nor different from what other nations do. Sure it is illegal...but knowing and safely assuming more nation collect our data...I don't really worry less or more when owning a hard copy at NSA. And a back up hard copy on what they own of us all...can be handy...So sure file your law suit...but I would advise the judges to say that you are right, but that there is higher reasons for doing so thank you sir...but I am not convinced living with closed eyes against open eyes...is a weak position to stand on. So either they are all brought down...or we need a version of our own. I don't think...there is a choice sir.

And sure defame leading people in this field and stating they are as bad as Darth Vader...well...I think sir...you have a fast opinion with a limit on reaching to the true facts of what is happening in internet-land. I think I don't really need your opinion when it is based and outed as simple jokes on people that try and protect our Western World. And sure crime is using NSA information too and sure people are targetted. We can do something about that...but if it is wise to stall the NSA in protecting us in overall sense is not really smart. I think we just want more control over people using this information. So maybe we need this control, but just make sure it is used for good instead of evil. Well that isn't making our days different from before this new stasi rised.

Than comment you have on Iran...smuggling dope through various internation companies...lol...my dear sir they probably got the idea from the Americans using drug money profits to fund groups in the South Americas trying to bring down foreign governments. They are not any different from what the US agencies do. So kindof hypocritic hearing that from an American. Of course they would want a lid on collected data spread, and of course also the NSA holds infiltrants and people that would misuse power. So sure they keep it as much hidden and unknown. I think that is negatively explain-able as well as positivly.

An objective conclusion is to be made. So sure..file your law suit. I think you are just saying what freightened people wish to hear,..and gaining in on profits on it? And you think that is a nice commercial expertise? Or is this all done for free...I doubt that a seat there is free of charge sir. What are you funding with it?

Chaparral7040 1 year ago

NSA Whistleblower William Binney and CIA Whistleblower Ray McGovern at Manhattan Town Hall DNC/Podesta emails were not hacked by the Russians but were an 87 second download to a thumb drive by Seth Rich, who had issues because the DNC and Hillary had stolen the Nomination from Bernie Sanders. The DNC then had to have Seth Rich murdered to sell their "the Russians did it" diversion to keep everyone from looking at the content of the DNC and Podesta emails. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=4nPCBeMJpKQ simflyr1957 4 months ago George Orwell in 1984 was a prophesy for today

W N 4 months ago

Americans and permanent residents, must realize that we live in a country that the government supposedly elected, created, funded, to serve and protect the rights of the citizens and civilians within our border, has become self-supporting and prioritized their own agendas of self promotion and self preservation. The government no longer represents us. Nor serve us. We now live under a modern fascist state.

Those at the top are no even elected or can held accountable by the people. Imminent Domain, Civil forfeiture, unconstitutional spying, suspicion and persecution, blackmail, threats, and even murder. All state sponsored, and complete immunity from lawful prosecution, and retribution. And unless we accept that we're partially to blame for letting them get away with this, we will never effectively bring about justice and change.

It will be status quo, and can only get worse for our posterity. Remember, if every person in this country were in solidarity in mass focused protest.....boycotting products, refusing to sustain their economy, didn't go to work and all called in sick, didn't file our taxes, refused to vote for anyone, flood their spying databases with keywords, and photos, and phrases, Took a hiatus simultaneously from being a part of their 'machine'....it would send a shockwave like a tsunami disrupting all their infrastructure, and if in unified cooperation across the world....that disruption would be global. Recall what India was able to do in nonviolent civil unrest. It drove the invading British empire out of their country.

Chris Turnblom 5 months ago

William Binney is an absolute hero! It's only through the courageous actions of people like him, that we will end the subversion of justice and the overwhelming corruption that has plagued this nation and the world for far too long. Even if all you are capable of is to engage people in conversations over the internet, it is still a very useful tool. Ridiculing people as "keyboard worriers" is a humiliation tactic. They know it works so they are trying many approaches to manage those who would change the world through logic and reason. I encourage everyone to do everything they can to contribute to the ongoing effort and accomplishing the enormous task of ending the era of rule by psychopaths. Donate money to organizations you think would be helpful, vote, attend public meetings and protests, boycott those companies that contribute to the corruption, there's many ways to get this done. Just use your head, every little bit helps. If the "q" thing is to be believed, we have them on the run now so it's time for everyone to pitch in and end this terrible chapter in our history.

Sarge 7000 5 months ago

How is he able to display Top Secret/OBCON/NOFORM/etc? Like he stares, all this material items are in effect today! Don’t worry about the courts-that why the have those Federal Judges, in every major city, that set behind the closed and sealed doors to stop all these suits against the Fed’s. One of the reasons that no one has taken in actions, on the companies involved in these illegal companies are the political problems in the Senate and the house. If a GI dies, so what, the political system looks to the military as founder, most could care less-unless there a camera near by. This the type of man is exactly the type we need to run these type of organization, vis the polices appointee’s!! This was a great lecture, we could use a few more in several federal level. Thank God for Americans like this. Read more Show less Reply 1

Benoit Vanhees 6 months ago (edited)

NSA tracks them, CIA wacks them :0) Maybe someone should start programs to delta overload their storage capacity so much, they'll need 25 Fort Meades and at least 800 000 employees. Read more Show less Reply 1

checkmate 1 year ago

That's great information, but a salmon couldn't swim up the stream you're fighting. Remember what happened to Frank Olson? He knew too much and "jumped" out of a window. The game is rigged, and you can't beat Them. The only way to survive is to not make waves, stay out of trouble, and under the radar, so to speak. Most of us are just small fish, who They wouldn't be very interested in. There are plenty of big fish to keep Them busy. I'm getting too old to waste my time fighting a battle fueled by an endless amount of money... money always wins. If you aren't a big-time drug dealer or a terrorist, they haven't got time to waste on you. It's fucked up... I know that, but it simply is what it is.

frank brown 5 months ago

Quote:- "Give certain people power and sooner or later they will use it".......that needs modifying to "Give certain people power and sooner or later they will ABUSE it". And therein lies the solution. We must be far more careful to whom we give power. Ask the prospective candidates for council seats in your area or for national governmental positions just what they are prepared to do FOR the people, and if you don't like the answer, don't vote them into power.

TEHCONIP .A 1 year ago

The Gestapo reference is spot on.. and I'm sure there's plenty of "It's for your protection" people to keep this thing chuggin along..

MR WHO CARES , 5 months ago

This man knows sooooooo much more, like to sit down off camera and man to man talk and I'll bet it would blow our minds the stuff our sneaky governments do without warrants or anything

They just take what they want and track your moves, listen in on your calls, watching your texts and FB ECT,,, all without our knowledge or consent, this is not constitutional and it's invading our rights along with our privacy rights my private life what and where and how I do everything

it's downright unconstitutional and should be taken to the highest court in the land and terminated

Case Dismissed Guaranteed, 4 months ago

Why didn't he point out that Israel spy's on Americans and America spy for them. No direct spying because THAT's "illegal."

big Cahuna3 months ago (edited)

Laws and jail are only for the poor and ""unconnected"". How else could the crime families, bankers, church, etc. keep their wealth and power ? The commoners and serfs must be divided, controlled , conquered, brainwashed, taxed, intimidated, imprisoned, overworked , and killed when beneficial to the kings, queens, bankers, Popes, and billionaires.

[May 23, 2019] Connections to CIA from major tech companies

May 23, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sean McBride says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 2:54 pm GMT 100 Words @ababush Who wields more power in the contemporary world: big tech billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Larry Page, or spy agency heads like John Brennan, James Clapper and Robert Ashley?

Billionaires in general can easily purchase the services of armies of current and former spooks.

Did you notice the deferential attitude adopted by the US Congress towards Mark Zuckerberg?

How much power does John Brennan now command compared to Jeff Bezos? Read More Replies: @ababush Reply Agree/Disagree/Etc.

Sean McBride , says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 3:10 pm GMT

Where is real power most intensely concentrated in the contemporary world?

Take a close look at the leading AI experts at

-Alibaba
-Amazon
-Apple
-Baidu
-CIA
-DARPA
-DIA
-Facebook
-GCHQ
-Google
-Microsoft
-MIT
-MSS
-NSA
-Stanford
-Tencent
-Unit 8200

They are developing the tools to radically upend and control *everything* .

You might also want to the analyze the distribution of ethnic backgrounds among that set of minds.

Where do their loyalties lie? What are their long-term objectives?

Do our traditional models for framing the world adequately capture what is going on?

ababush , says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 4:00 pm GMT
@Sean McBride Senators (and presidents) are not the real power. The big tech companies potential power is the datas they collect, as well as some propaganda means. Those companies were established worldwide with the help and under the supervision of the deep state (CIA, NSA etc). It is clear for me that the deep state has access to the datas collected by those companies, and also has personal files on their managers that could be used should they suddenly feel powerful and independant.

[May 22, 2019] Israel hacking the world

May 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

Republic , says: Next New Comment May 22, 2019 at 3:40 pm GMT

@Sean McBride

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5VGpWl56ZF0?feature=oembed

Israel hacking the world

[May 20, 2019] Technology, Convenience.....and Death

What is the value of smartphone if you are afraid to call your friends using it because you know that the call will be recorded and the data stored for your lifetime? And you understand that you whereabouts are recorded with amazing precision all the time while you are wearing your smartphone.
Notable quotes:
"... In the ongoing and growing opposition to the seemingly dystopian world technology companies are building, convenience is often overlooked. But it's convenience, and the way convenience is currently created by tech companies and accepted by most of us, that is key to why we've ended up living in a world we all chose, but that nobody seems to want . ..."
"... Tierney explains early on that there are two basic questions he is asking: "First, what is the value of technology to modern individuals? And second, why do they hold this value in such high esteem that, even when faced with technological dangers and dilemmas, they hope for solutions that will enable them to maintain and develop technical culture?" ..."
"... I have the exact same feeling towards some of the amenities of the modern world like Amazon Echo, social networks, body sensors etc. I feel like the alleged benefits don't offset the drawbacks and I simply don't use them. ..."
"... We are in a sort of perfect storm where neo-liberalism meets human frailty and bad (exploitative) players and technology, and every kind of power from insidious 5G "smart phones" to macro economic to raw physical power is increasingly in the hands of the few and so on, and liberty itself, not to mention human dignity, is what is at stake; the very definition it, the way it is understood, the way is is or isn't valued. And no one, or precious few seem to be aware of what is being lost. ..."
"... An aspect not mentioned above is that the combination of pervasive surveillance and indefinite data storage means that you will be judged in the future by who you know and every detail of what you do today. So acquaintances/friends who are socially acceptable now may not be in 20-30 years. Not long ago having many Russian and Chinese friends wouldn't raise any eyebrows. But today it'll put you on higher surveillance. ..."
May 20, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Reader Petter S sent along a recent article The Myth of Convenience , by L.M. Sacasas, Director of the Center for the Study of Ethics and Technology. The piece covers a lot of ground in a relatively short space, so I encourage you to read it in full, along with his earlier post, Privacy Is Not Dying, We're Killing It .

The point of departure for Sacasas' post on convenience was an essay by Colin Horgan, The Tyranny of Convenience. As you'll see soon enough, Sacasas starts with familiar material and takes it in some unexpected but important directions.

Hogan, who provided the grist for the Sacasaa post, with well-warranted ire at the notion that JetBlue was using facial recognition, as described here:

He continues with other examples of "Are we sure we are really net positive from technology?"

In the ongoing and growing opposition to the seemingly dystopian world technology companies are building, convenience is often overlooked. But it's convenience, and the way convenience is currently created by tech companies and accepted by most of us, that is key to why we've ended up living in a world we all chose, but that nobody seems to want .

Convenience is signing up to a social media platform to keep in touch with friends and family and keep abreast of current events, and then discovering that the personal information you've been required to upload to enable your account has been used to micro-target you with disinformation.

Convenience is buying a digital assistant for your home to make hands-free information searches easier, and later finding out that employees of the company that makes it are able to listen to the commands you've been giving it  --  or that its recordings of the ambient sounds of your home have been mailed to someone you don't know ,

Convenience is downloading a weather app to check whether you need to pack an umbrella, only to later realize that the app's code makes it easy for someone to track your movements with such specificity that no amount of anonymization of the data would hide that it was you entering a Planned Parenthood, or riding along with the mayor of New York City

Convenience is driving a car for a ride-hail company because it promises flexible hours, only to find yourself making less than minimum wage and subject to phantom price surge promises, the absolutism of personal star ratings, and constant surveillance, including messages that prompt you to get back to driving like a notification that your phone is unmounted.

Putting the Uber/Lyft driver case aside, which is more a case of misleading marketing, I find it hard to understand the appeal of these supposed conveniences. But some people who may not find the use cases all that useful if they thought about it are also swept along by social and institutional pressure. A lot of schools use Facebook to organize extracurricular activities, like sports teams. I wonder how many people got the Amazon Echo just to show their friends they were cool when it was still novel to have one.

And I don't mean to sound critical of MacKenzie Fegan, but if she was that bothered by having to stare into a camera, why didn't she say something then? Unless she was the very first in line (unlikely; pre-boarding types go first), she would have seen other people getting their mugs shot. You can opt out of the body-scanning machines. It looks as if what social psychologists call "group assent" (where people go along with something because those around them signal that it is OK) or fear of making a ruckus at a check point either desensitized or cowed her. 1

But let us return to the bigger theme, that of the supposed convenience advantage of technology. Overwhelmingly, the recent debate over technology is over the loss of privacy, as in giving up our data is the price of getting things that make our lives more "convenient". But even that premise isn't questioned that often, when the "convenience" benefit too often fails to materialize.

Technology allow advertisers to hound you with ads on flat screens in ride share vehicles and taxis. It's made voting less secure and at least from what I can tell in NYC, no faster (plus those old fashioned voting machine with the toggles were fun). Lambert describes how in one supposedly very tech savvy Asian city, they've installed pay by phone for their metro system .and it's way slower than using coins.

But despite the existence of counterexamples and tradeoffs .what exactly is this convenience supposed to be buying for us? Sacasas defines it as saving time. But how are we using that supposedly freed up time? Where does that minute someone saves by not printing out and retrieving a paper boarding pass, or say the ten minutes a day regained by being able to process e-mail while on hold with ahealth insurer go? I must have missed it, but I don't see a lot of stories about how someone was able to write a great novel, or even have more time to hang out with friends, walk in a park, or meditate, as a result of time freed by technology. Engagement with Internet=based technology seems to lead many, maybe most people to reinvest that liberated time back in the Internet. This may not just be the result of all of the dopamine-inducing tricks apps designer rely upon. There's also an element of intertia. You are sitting at a computer or staring at your mobile screen. The path of least resistance is to do more of the same. 2

And a pernicious side of technology is the way it hasn't freed up workers but almost entirely used to whip them harder. Employees do tasks that were once handled by a secretary, on top of job duties that have become more time compressed. Technology at work has served much more to increase output requirements than liberate workers, with Amazon-warehouse-worker monitoring a visible example. But even as of the early 2000s, senior managers, meaning a level or two below the C-suite in big companies, were being asked to do what was recently a job and a half or two job. And that's before you get to the rise of "on call" expectations for a lot of salaried white collar work.

Sacasas looks at different issues coming from convenience as time-saving:

Horgan's piece recalled to mind Thomas Tierney's The Value of Convenience: A Genealogy of Technical Culture ..

Tierney explains early on that there are two basic questions he is asking: "First, what is the value of technology to modern individuals? And second, why do they hold this value in such high esteem that, even when faced with technological dangers and dilemmas, they hope for solutions that will enable them to maintain and develop technical culture?"

... ... ...

Rafael , May 20, 2019 at 5:20 am

I have the exact same feeling towards some of the amenities of the modern world like Amazon Echo, social networks, body sensors etc. I feel like the alleged benefits don't offset the drawbacks and I simply don't use them. I just find it hard to believe that we reached the tipping point of the technology/convenience ratio exactly now, in my generation. Isn't it something a lot of people already thought before? Also when I consider some of the technological amenities I use (e.g. it wouldn't be so inconvenient to switch back to withdrawing cash instead of using a debit card given the privacy issues a debit card imposes), they could be (and are) considered not beneficial by many people from other generations.

I guess my point is: just like there's no end for the need of new technologies, there's no absolute of what's "enough" technology. This will always be a generational issue, whici of course doesn't mean we should not be critical of new technologies.

PlutoniumKun , May 20, 2019 at 5:31 am

What often surprises me is the shoulder shrug so many people give when you talk about this topic – and I include people I know who are very computer literate and know in detail how this works. And I'm guilty of this sometimes myself.

In some ways its like climate change – people know full well what is happening at some level, but day to day pressures and no doubt a sense of helplessness stop people demanding the changes needed.

vlade , May 20, 2019 at 6:42 am

The problem is, it's now so widespread, that in some cases it's like asking for cart and horse.

I don't do FB, but I do LI – it's hard not to professionaly, when people ask you about it. There were some minor HW things I could source only from Amazon or Alibaba. Take your poison pill.

Pre-schools, schools and most free-time activities do FB/Instagram etc. as a way to coordinate, share pictures.

In late 90s, early 20s I tried to stay away from a mobile. I think I managed to avoid having a mobile until about 2003 (getting a work mobile for the very specified times I was on call), but could not really do it post that. And from then on, it was one big slide towards email on phone etc.. And now, honestly, I don't see how I could ever try managing our house renovation w/o being able to call and hassle the builder every time of the day (since he's only responding to people who hassle him, in order of how much grief he gets. We tried to be nice, it cost us about a year of our lives and a lot of money. Talk about positive feedback loop.. ).

Steven B Kurtz , May 20, 2019 at 6:17 am

Have a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Short_History_of_Progress

Modern technology depends upon exosomatic energy inputs, and there is always heat output from action. Finite resources are inputs. Pollution output. Finite planet. Plague phase of homo superstitious is here having quadrupled in the lifespan of living members like my 94 year old mother. Hubris keeps techno-optimists confident that anthropogenic systems can replace those we destroy. Bad bet. What we don't know about whole-system interactions dwarfs what we think we do know. Our progeny will not see nature the way we did, as megafauna are being eaten and traded for trinkets and superstitious myths. Sad, but real.

a different chris , May 20, 2019 at 8:02 am

It looks as if what social psychologists call "group assent" (where people go along with something because those around them signal that it is OK) or fear of making a ruckus at a check point either desensitized or cowed her.1

Well not everyone is the imitable Yves. :)

But actually this is a lot more complex than that. The whole feeling is "I want my privacy" which seems at first to inform you to not have your picture taken, but if you refuse then you paradoxically find yourself really standing out from the crowd.

Ugh. I think the issue is that you feel "cowed" when you think about either choice. And when you have fear, that's when you go with the group. And it's sad because USians are the most cattleish people on the planet at this point, so we know what the group is going to do.

Brooklin Bridge , May 20, 2019 at 8:11 am

We are in a sort of perfect storm where neo-liberalism meets human frailty and bad (exploitative) players and technology, and every kind of power from insidious 5G "smart phones" to macro economic to raw physical power is increasingly in the hands of the few and so on, and liberty itself, not to mention human dignity, is what is at stake; the very definition it, the way it is understood, the way is is or isn't valued. And no one, or precious few seem to be aware of what is being lost.

We will not come out the other side of this the same if we come out at all. The trick in in all this (including instantaneous teleportation) is to destroy the original. Then it doesn't matter that what comes out at the other end is a copy or not. It's all we've got. And talking to friends and acquaintances and pretty much anyone about issues of privacy vs. convenience and what we might be giving up; the horrible conclusion I can't avoid is that destruction of the original is going gang busters.

DJG , May 20, 2019 at 9:30 am

"While the Greeks thought that the satisfaction of bodily demands required careful attention and planning throughout the household, modernity treats the body instead as the source of limits and barriers imposed upon persons. What these limits require is not planning and attention, but the consumption of various technological devices that allow people to avoid or overcome such limits."

This is an excellent observation, and I note that the word "economy" comes from the Greek word for household (which would have been larger than a modern household and likely would have included a farm and weaving workshop making its own supplies). The horror of the body is deeply embedded in monotheism, which manifests as the idea and practice of mortification (killing) the body. We continue to see a kind of horror of sexuality and gender, which are manifestations of the body–various over-complicated schools of psychology and academic treatises, notwithstanding. The abortion debate seems to center on the inconvenience of pregnancy and who gets to bear the burden–with the added horror of being "inconvenienced" to bear the child of one's rapist.

No wonder there are fantasies like the Singularity and Jesus as My Personal Savior–both of which jettison the body, disdain the material world, and are quite happy to leave a mess behind.

Wukchumni , May 20, 2019 at 9:44 am

In the links thread Luddite piece, i've found i'm one of them, but really only in the way of doing things that computers can't. I've never seen one nurturing a hilly orchard, or taking a walk, or writing anything i'd opt to read, humor not being their long suit. I linked this yesterday, and it deserves another go. These young women from our town have no time for a smartphone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdnJMhVAGnA&t=198s

Keith Newman , May 20, 2019 at 10:06 am

An aspect not mentioned above is that the combination of pervasive surveillance and indefinite data storage means that you will be judged in the future by who you know and every detail of what you do today. So acquaintances/friends who are socially acceptable now may not be in 20-30 years. Not long ago having many Russian and Chinese friends wouldn't raise any eyebrows. But today it'll put you on higher surveillance. And tomorrow? Will you be passed over for a job, come under extreme surveillance, be barred from entering some countries, come under criticism if you seek public office? And what if you watch online porn, etc?

[May 18, 2019] It's time to question the wisdom of our growing exposure to waves, streams of electrons, that we already have for a couple of decades

May 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Really? , May 17, 2019 8:12:32 PM | link

" Not that there aren't legitimate concerns to have, but such concerns should also apply, and should've applied in the last 2 decades, to all previous mobile phone communication systems' effects on global health; cherry-picking just that one time when it's China that's in the lead, and not the West anymore, is quite a blatant admission of the real goal of those who pull the strings."

Can't agree with this. The red flags and warnings have been very prominent regarding cell phone use, microwaves, excessive exposure to any kind of screen, smart phones carried too close to either brains or balls, etc. etc. If you haven't noticed this, you have not been looking. I am very concerned about the health effects of 5G technologyo and it has nothing to do with china. If the China flag is what finally gets this topic into the mainstream, I am, actually, fine with that. It is not only human brains that 5G threatens to scramble: the functioning of all living things, especially all animals, will likely or could strongly be affected. WE DO NOT KNOW. No testing of this technology has taken place. I do not doubt that for many the Chinese element is the only reason to attack 5G at this time. But many, many others are questioning its introduction for the right reasons, as they have questioned the wisdom of our growing exposure to waves, streams of electrons, and what have you for decades. And then there is BlueTooth.
https://www.radiationhealthrisks.com/bluetooth-technology-radiation/

[May 18, 2019] 'US already spying on public, Huawei threat unproven' Swann

Trump is a bully and he does not have any methods of diplomacy other then bulling.
May 16, 2019 | www.youtube.com

US President Donald Trump declared a national emergency over Huawei, which he has deemed a national security threat. His new executive order makes it more difficult for US companies to do business with the Chinese tech giant. RT America's Manila Chan chats with investigative journalist Ben Swann, who says no evidence exists for the Trump administration's claim. #RTAmerica #InQuestionRT #QuestionMore


US Of Zion , 2 days ago

What US bans I will buy. Huawei has profited from Trump's tweets. 😂😂😂

riva2003 , 2 days ago

National emergency against one single company? What a promotion for HUAWEI! They must have paid US government a looooot of money! LOOOOOL

E Walker , 2 days ago (edited)

U.S. cannot spy via Chinese made technology products. That is the problem. When did competition against American technology get to be a national security threat? It is about creating a monopoly of only certain products in America. I hope American companies fight back. Prices in American stores have already started to rise. Monopolies mean high prices.

BTV-Channel , 2 days ago div

In the age of technology...any country who doesn't SPY on other countries or their own citizens is LYING thru their teeth! USA is NO DIFFERENT than CHINA.....they both are rogue nations, competing for the same thing, TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP! The problem is....HUAWEI just got the upper hand in 5G technology before the US can compete...so as such, the US threatens other countries with scare tactics until the US can develop and deploy 5G technology to compete with CHINA. It's all about MONEY and BUSINESS.

OGASI , 2 days ago

USA has dishonestly gathered more data on it's own civilians than it can access or understand in several lifetimes, they have the gaul to attack others without proof? UNREAL

[May 14, 2019] Facebook and Google Must Be Regulated Now The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... The database keeps out extremism, but it is also an overly broad censorship tool. Users have been banned under this system without even knowing why they were banned. And there is nobody that they can appeal to to reverse their ban. ..."
"... Their surveillance of users is a feature, not a bug. ..."
"... The issue of privacy is one that the United States will need to regulate. Facebook and Google are merely the tip of the iceberg. ..."
"... Many data brokers are far more intrusive, and Google and Facebook buy data from them , as well as from payments companies like Mastercard. Acxiom is a data broker that collects 1,500 data points per person on more than 700 million consumers and sells analysis of such information. ..."
"... Not even the Stasi had as much information on the East Germans as Google, Facebook, and its data brokers have on American citizens. ..."
"... It is bad when the data is accurate, but it is almost worse when it is not. They store data indefinitely, even when people have had their criminal or misdemeanor records expunged by courts, and it has cost people jobs . ..."
"... Apple CEO Tim Cook has called on the FTC to create a " data-broker clearinghouse ." All data brokers would have to register and allow users to see what data is held on them and allow users to see what data of theirs has been tracked and sold. It would also allow them to delete it. This is a good first step. Another important step is to require user consent before a merchant passes on data to a third party. This currently takes place with no user content. ..."
"... The most contentious issue for reform is treating Facebook and Google like the monopolies they are. In a way, it makes sense. For years, Zuckerberg routinely described Facebook as a " social utility ." Indeed, it was originally part of the company's slogan. ..."
"... In 2017, Steve Bannon said tech companies like Facebook and Google have become essential elements of 21st-century life and should be regulated as utilities. ..."
"... In short, they cannot be both "media companies" and monopolies because monopoly control of media is the end of democracy. They are monopolies, therefore they cannot be allowed the editorial freedom of media companies. ..."
"... The services provided by Facebook, Google, etc have become an integral part of our daily lives. They are also natural monopolies. In that sense they are like the electric and gas companies, which are regulated utilities. So they, too should be regulated utilities. ..."
"... My ancestors didn't fight two world wars and a Cold War to secure a privacy violating mass surveillance society for their posterity. In some ways, we're turning into the very things that Americans fought tooth and nail to destroy, and that real Americans loathe to their marrow. It's sickening. ..."
"... I doubt "regulation" is enough. They operate like giant, unaccountable monopolies and should probably be broken up or shut down. Do it. Harsh criminal penalties and huge civil fines for violators of individual rights and privacy. ..."
May 14, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

At the recent F8 conference for Facebook developers, Mark Zuckerberg stood on stage laughing and trying to crack jokes.

"I know that we don't exactly have the strongest reputation on ptrivacy right now, to put it lightly," he said. The audience was speechless. It would be like BP laughing about oil spills or Union Carbide laughing about the Bhopal disaster. Nobody laughed, not even Facebook employees.

That same week, Facebook disclosed that it will be setting aside $5 billion to pay for potential fines from the Federal Trade Commission relating to violations of user privacy. The fine is significant -- if only symbolically -- because when it comes to the tech giants, the Department of Justice and FTC have been toothless enforcers and regulators. The biggest fine they've imposed thus far was for $22.5 million to Google in 2012 for misleading consumers about its online tracking tools, a penalty so inconsequential that it amounts to less than a rounding error.

While banks are too big to fail, tech giants are too big to manage. Facebook has accumulated over 2 billion users on its main platform, and also owns Instagram and Whatsapp. It is far too large to operate with any sensible degree of competent oversight.

The company has been accused of selling advertisements based on anti-Semitic keywords like " Jew haters ," selling ads that discriminate based on age for job advertisements, targeting people by race to exclude minorities , and live-streaming murders and suicides. It has helped fuel the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Myanmar, according to the United Nations. It has exposed hundreds of millions of passwords stored internally without encryption. It has saved user videos that it promised were deleted . It has repeatedly misled advertisers about its advertising metrics.

... ... ...

Efforts by Facebook, Google, and Twitter to self-regulate have encountered little success and present a host of problems. For example, the tech giants collaborate in the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. It shares a database of objectionable content that can be used to ban files and users. The problem with this database is that there is no transparency, accountability or even a right to appeal. The database keeps out extremism, but it is also an overly broad censorship tool. Users have been banned under this system without even knowing why they were banned. And there is nobody that they can appeal to to reverse their ban.

When it comes to privacy in the United States, the tech giants have no interest in harming their ad-driven business models, and there is very little self-regulation. Their surveillance of users is a feature, not a bug. Europe has the General Data Protection Regulation, a regulatory framework to protect individuals, but the tech giants have fought privacy regulations at every step in state legislatures and on Capitol Hill.

The issue of privacy is one that the United States will need to regulate. Facebook and Google are merely the tip of the iceberg.

Many data brokers are far more intrusive, and Google and Facebook buy data from them , as well as from payments companies like Mastercard. Acxiom is a data broker that collects 1,500 data points per person on more than 700 million consumers and sells analysis of such information. The kind of information it collects is vast: identifying and contact information, court and public record information, financial "indicators", health "interests" including web searches for "diabetes, arthritis, homeopathic, organic and senior needs," demographic information such as home value, home characteristics, marital status, presence of children in the household, number of members in the household, education, occupation, and political party, "lifestyle and interest indicators."

Not even the Stasi had as much information on the East Germans as Google, Facebook, and its data brokers have on American citizens.

It is bad when the data is accurate, but it is almost worse when it is not. They store data indefinitely, even when people have had their criminal or misdemeanor records expunged by courts, and it has cost people jobs .

Apple CEO Tim Cook has called on the FTC to create a " data-broker clearinghouse ." All data brokers would have to register and allow users to see what data is held on them and allow users to see what data of theirs has been tracked and sold. It would also allow them to delete it. This is a good first step. Another important step is to require user consent before a merchant passes on data to a third party. This currently takes place with no user content.

Most importantly, the tech giants should be regulated as media companies. Executives from Google and Facebook go to great lengths to deny that they run media companies, even though they behave exactly like media companies.

They aggregate, curate, and distribute content, but bear none of the burdens that come with that designation. Facebook's news feed has become what the front page of the newspaper was for older generations of people; at least 66 percent of the social network's 2 billion users use it as a news source, according to a Pew Research Center study.

Thee are de facto editors of news content. Facebook and YouTube -- a subsidiary of Google's parent company, Alphabet -- have intentionally designed their algorithms to customize user experience to increase engagement. They accomplish this by suggesting stories that user will be most likely to respond to. An algorithm may not be an old-fashioned editor, but it is making editorial choices all the same.

They are also creators of content. Facebook and Google may say they aren't media companies, but they have been investing in originally produced entertainment videos and shows.

If Facebook and Google were held responsible for the content they promote, the Federal Communications Commission would not let them off lightly for their many failings. If Facebook and Google were treated as media companies, they would be held accountable for the content that appears on their platforms. Today, under Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act , tech giants are broadly immune from liability over content posted by others.

The most contentious issue for reform is treating Facebook and Google like the monopolies they are. In a way, it makes sense. For years, Zuckerberg routinely described Facebook as a " social utility ." Indeed, it was originally part of the company's slogan.

Facebook and Google have become essential fixtures of 21st-century life. If you want to be on a network with all of your friends, there is really only one network to be on, and it is on Facebook. Likewise for search where Google has almost a 90 percent market share globally with very strong feedback loops from its platform and advertisers. These business models have become a natural monopoly, much like a phone company or water system except that they remain completely unregulated.

Figures from the Left and Right have called for them to be regulated like public utilities. In 2017, Steve Bannon said tech companies like Facebook and Google have become essential elements of 21st-century life and should be regulated as utilities. The Economist has mooted the idea that the tech giants could be regulated based on a regulated return on assets. They can stay private and enjoy utility-like status, but the returns they can harvest from being natural monopolies are capped at utility like rates based on the return on their assets.

Reform is not impossible. More than two decades ago in 1998, Congress recognized that the internet was revolutionizing media and commerce and passed two laws to address copyright and free speech concerns. Two decades is an awfully long time in Silicon Valley and technology. Times have changed, and updating the laws is long overdue.

Jonathan Tepper is a senior fellow at , founder of Variant Perception , a macroeconomic research company, and co-author of The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition . This article was supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors.


Emil Shitalkovic, says: May 13, 2019 at 12:27 am

Section 230, the "media companies" thing, is not enough. These companies have more power than the government did at the time the First Amendment was ratified, especially when they act in concert as they have been doing recently to ban political speech.

The 1934 Universal Service Act is the right approach. Natural monopolies cannot be allowed to curate. They need to stop using demonetizing, Youtube Jail, condescending Twitter "time outs", weaponized spam false positives they claim are "mistakes" when caught, and outright bans to retaliate against legal speech they don't like, whether it is flat earth conspiracies, anti-vaxers, Republicans, "Nazis," whatever. Even "Nazis" are allowed to buy food, have telephones, and print newspapers in this country. It is extreme, but we decided to draw the line where we did for a reason, and have not agreed to move it since the Revolutionary War. It is not their right to unilaterally move that line for us. They are so powerful all legal speech must be allowed, and the people will have to sort out what's true. Achieving social harmony, or bettering humanity by arbitrating truth, are not their responsibilities. They are not media companies.

In short, they cannot be both "media companies" and monopolies because monopoly control of media is the end of democracy. They are monopolies, therefore they cannot be allowed the editorial freedom of media companies.

polistra , says: May 13, 2019 at 1:36 am
We know what will happen. Dodd-Frank. A "regulation" that makes it even easier for FB and Google to evade taxes and censor opponents and kill competitors.

Bear in mind that the hearings in both Congress and Parliament were NOT bashing FB for invading privacy and censoring opinion. Both were bashing FB for INADEQUATE censorship and invasion. They expected MORE EVIL, and Zuck was happy to give them more evil.

Gene Smolko , says: May 13, 2019 at 2:59 am
So the free market isn't fixing this?
Kent , says: May 13, 2019 at 6:49 am
The issue is very simple. Let capitalism work by simply passing a law that states that information about an individual is the property of that individual. And just like you can't sell the land I own without a contract to do so, you can't sell the information (about me) that I own without a contract to do so.

In the agricultural age, property (land) rights became recognized. In the Industrial Age, capital, debt and share ownership rights became codified. We are in the Information Age, and it's time to recognize the proper ownership of information.

SomeKindOfDruidDude , says: May 13, 2019 at 8:00 am
Gene Smolko: It doesn't look like it. There used to be a bunch of search engines. Now it looks like there will never be another search engine. "Search engine" is starting to look like a utility, something we all need to share to make more profit elsewhere.
Connecticut Farmer , says: May 13, 2019 at 8:52 am
While I totally agree that FB has evolved into what amounts to a public utility and needs to be treated as such, beware of the following caveat: FB, Google etc. will no longer be "free." The likelihood will be that once the dust settles their services (as well as those of any rival companies that will result from this process) will come with a price tag. FB, Google etc. will become like electricity–if you want it, you have to pay for it.
TheSnark , says: May 13, 2019 at 10:45 am

The services provided by Facebook, Google, etc have become an integral part of our daily lives. They are also natural monopolies. In that sense they are like the electric and gas companies, which are regulated utilities. So they, too should be regulated utilities.

On the advertising and data side, there are many competing data brokers who have every incentive to abuse your personal data. What we need there is not just a law, but a constitutional amendment defining a citizen's right to privacy, that we own our own data, and we must approve of any use of it. That simply was not an issue when the Bill of Rights was written, but it is now.

North Peninsulan , says: May 13, 2019 at 10:45 am

My ancestors didn't fight two world wars and a Cold War to secure a privacy violating mass surveillance society for their posterity. In some ways, we're turning into the very things that Americans fought tooth and nail to destroy, and that real Americans loathe to their marrow. It's sickening.

I doubt "regulation" is enough. They operate like giant, unaccountable monopolies and should probably be broken up or shut down. Do it. Harsh criminal penalties and huge civil fines for violators of individual rights and privacy.

[May 14, 2019] 1984 Turns 70-Years-Old In A World That Looks A Lot Like The Book

Notable quotes:
"... In the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four , there is an all-encompassing surveillance state that keeps a watchful eye on everyone, in search of possible rebels and points of resistance. ..."
"... Censorship is the norm in this world, and is so extreme that individuals can become "unpersons" who are essentially deleted from society because their ideas were considered dangerous by the establishment. This is an idea that is very familiar to activists and independent journalists who are being removed from the public conversation for speaking out about government and corporate corruption on social media. ..."
"... Orwell is famous for coining the term "double-speak," which is a way to describe the euphemistic language that government uses to whitewash their most dirty deeds. For example, in Orwell's story, the ministry of propaganda was called the Ministry of Truth, just as today the government agency that was once known as "The Department of War," is now called the "Department of Defense." ..."
"... "Sometimes the man who looks happiest in town, with the biggest smile, is the one carrying the biggest load of sin. There are smiles and smiles; learn to tell the dark variety from the light. The seal-barker, the laugh-shouter, half the time he's covering up. He's had his fun and he's guilty. And men do love sin, oh how they love it, never doubt, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and smells." ..."
"... Unfortunately, just like in Orwell's book, people in the modern world are so distracted by entertainment and the divided by politics that they have no idea they are living in a tyrannical police state. ..."
"... "We are not at war with Eurasia. You are being made into obedient, stupid slaves of the Party." -Emmanuel Goldstein ..."
May 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

1984 Turns 70-Years-Old In A World That Looks A Lot Like The Book

by Tyler Durden Tue, 05/14/2019 - 16:25 0 SHARES Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print Authored by John Vibes via ActivistPost.com,

This month, George Orwell's legendary novel Nineteen Eighty-Four turns 70 years old, and the warnings contained within the story are now more relevant than ever. Orwell's predictions were so spot on that it almost seems like it was used as some type of accidental instruction manual for would-be tyrants.

In the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four , there is an all-encompassing surveillance state that keeps a watchful eye on everyone, in search of possible rebels and points of resistance.

Censorship is the norm in this world, and is so extreme that individuals can become "unpersons" who are essentially deleted from society because their ideas were considered dangerous by the establishment. This is an idea that is very familiar to activists and independent journalists who are being removed from the public conversation for speaking out about government and corporate corruption on social media.

Orwell is famous for coining the term "double-speak," which is a way to describe the euphemistic language that government uses to whitewash their most dirty deeds. For example, in Orwell's story, the ministry of propaganda was called the Ministry of Truth, just as today the government agency that was once known as "The Department of War," is now called the "Department of Defense."

There was also never-ending war in Orwell's story, the conditions of which would change on a regular basis, keeping the general population confused about conflicts so they give up on trying to understand what is actually going on. Some of these predictions were merely recognitions of patterns in human history, since the idea of "unpersons" and war propaganda is nothing new. However, Orwell had an incredible understanding of how technology was going to progress over the 20th century, and he was able to envision how technology would be used by those in power to control the masses.

The technological predictions made in the book were truly uncanny, as they give a fairly accurate description of our modern world. Orwell described "telescreens," which acted as both an entertainment device and a two-way communication device. This type of technology was predicted by many futurists at the time, but Orwell's prediction was unique because he suggested that these devices would be used by the government to spy on people, through microphones and cameras built into the devices.

Unfortunately, just like in Orwell's book, people in the modern world are so distracted by entertainment and the divided by politics that they have no idea they are living in a tyrannical police state. This police state was also a strong deterrent in the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four , because although many of the citizens in the book had a positive opinion of "big brother," it was still something that they feared, and it was a force that kept them in control. Of course, this is not much different from the attitude that the average American or European has when confronted with police brutality and government corruption.

Many of the ideas about power and authority that were expressed in Orwell's classic are timeless and as old as recorded history ; but his analysis of how technology would amplify the destructive nature of power was incredibly unique, especially for his time.


wonder warthog , 2 minutes ago link

Not to stray too far, I always liked the part in Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes":

"Sometimes the man who looks happiest in town, with the biggest smile, is the one carrying the biggest load of sin. There are smiles and smiles; learn to tell the dark variety from the light. The seal-barker, the laugh-shouter, half the time he's covering up. He's had his fun and he's guilty. And men do love sin, oh how they love it, never doubt, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and smells."

The laugh shouter is one of those government or corporate chuckle-heads that goes along, gets along, and usually spends less than an hour a day actually doing his job. You see them on TV and in every office. Everything out of their mouths has to be punctuated with a chuckle.

sacredfire , 2 minutes ago link

Coincidentially, I am reading it now and when I first started reading it three weeks ago I was stunned at it's accurate depiction of todays America!

Teja , 6 minutes ago link

Regarding the way the world is dis-informed and manipulated by social media comments, try "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card, written in 1985.

Reaper , 7 minutes ago link

The Exceptionals find virtue in trusting their "protectors," aka police/FBI/military/CIA./courts.

wonder warthog , 12 minutes ago link

The thing I remember from the novel was the "versificator" which was a typewriter-like device that allowed historical events to be changed as needed . . . very much like the networked computer.

TahoeBilly2012 , 11 minutes ago link

Facebook recently made me an UnPerson, not joking. I had deleted my acct some years ago, re-registered to man a business page and...haha they rejected me, recent photo and all.

Deep Snorkeler , 21 minutes ago link

Donald Trump's World

He watches TV. That's his primary experience with reality.

He communes with nature solely through manicured golf courses.

A man of empty sensationalism, devoid of real experience,

uneducated, insulated and deeply shallow.

WileyCoyote , 22 minutes ago link

A group of 'servants' possessing a monopoly of force and using it to rule over others has never worked out well for the 'citizens' in the long run.

hedgeless_horseman , 28 minutes ago link

...and The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Barbarossa296 , 19 minutes ago link

A great classic by Edward Gibbons. History does indeed repeat itself.

Alananda , 28 minutes ago link

There are a few other books and booklets and letters that also seem eerily prescient. Following modern-day protocols, however, it's best not to mention them in polite company. ;-)

chumbawamba , 22 minutes ago link

To which Protocols do you refer?

-chumblez.

hedgeless_horseman , 32 minutes ago link

Unfortunately, just like in Orwell's book, people in the modern world are so distracted by entertainment and the divided by politics that they have no idea they are living in a tyrannical police state.

Exactly...

"We are not at war with Eurasia. You are being made into obedient, stupid slaves of the Party." -Emmanuel Goldstein

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-10/voting-big-brother-you-might-be-low-information-voter

chumbawamba , 28 minutes ago link

"1984", otherwise known as "Plantation Theory 101" to the bloodline elites.

-chumblez.

hedgeless_horseman , 20 minutes ago link

I plan on voting in the local elections, especially for Sheriff and the bond issues. Also, I still think that voting for the quality Libertarian candidates is a better option than not voting, but I do understand your point. But when all else fails, you better be prepared to vote from the rooftops...

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-18/political-power-grows-out-barrel-gun-mao-tse-tung

[May 14, 2019] Why Everyone in the U.S. Who Counts Wants Julian Assange Dead naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... The film also shows war crimes that implicate the entire structure of the U.S. military, as everyone involved was acting under orders, seeking permission to fire, waiting, then getting it before once more blasting away. The publication of this video, plus all the Wikileaks publications that followed, comprise the whole reason everyone in the U.S. who matters, everyone with power, wants Julian Assange dead. They also want him hated. Generating that hate is the process we're watching today. ..."
"... "Everyone" in this case includes every major newspaper that published and received awards for publishing Wikileaks material; all major U.S. televised media outlets; and all "respectable" U.S. politicians -- including, of course, Hillary Clinton, who was rumored (though unverifiably) to have said, "Can't we just drone this guy?" ..."
"... Please watch it. The footage shows not only murder, but bloodlust and conscienceless brutality, so much of it in fact that this became one of the main reasons Chelsea Manning leaked it in the first place. As she said at her court-martial : "The most alarming aspect of the video for me, was the seemingly delight of bloodlust they [the pilots] appeared to have. They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging with, and seemed to not value human life in referring to them as 'dead bastards,' and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers." ..."
May 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. Even though this post covers known territory, it seems worthwhile to encourage those of you who haven't watched the "Collateral Murder" footage to view the full version. It's important not only to keep the public (and that includes people in your personal circle) focused on what Assange's true hanging crime is in the eyes of the officialdom .and it ain't RussiaGate. That serves as a convenient diversion from his real offense. That effort has a secondary benefit of having more people watch the video.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

Before and after images of the van that came to pick up the bodies of eleven men shot to death by circling American helicopters in Iraq in 2007. Both children in the van were wounded. "Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids to a battle," said one of the pilots. "That's right," replies another. From the video Collateral Murder .

Below is a full video version of Collateral Murder , the 2007 war footage that was leaked in 2010 to Wikileaks by Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning. This version was posted to the Wikileaks YouTube channel with subtitles. It will only take about 15 minutes of your life to view it.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/HfvFpT-iypw

It's brutal to watch, but I challenge you to do it anyway. It shows not just murder, but a special kind of murder -- murder from the safety of the air, murder by men with heavy machine guns slowly circling their targets in helicopters like hunters with shotguns who walk the edges of a trout pond, shooting at will, waiting, walking, then shooting again, till all the fish are dead.

The film also shows war crimes that implicate the entire structure of the U.S. military, as everyone involved was acting under orders, seeking permission to fire, waiting, then getting it before once more blasting away. The publication of this video, plus all the Wikileaks publications that followed, comprise the whole reason everyone in the U.S. who matters, everyone with power, wants Julian Assange dead. They also want him hated. Generating that hate is the process we're watching today.

"Everyone" in this case includes every major newspaper that published and received awards for publishing Wikileaks material; all major U.S. televised media outlets; and all "respectable" U.S. politicians -- including, of course, Hillary Clinton, who was rumored (though unverifiably) to have said, "Can't we just drone this guy?"

Yes, Julian Assange the person can be a giant douche even to his supporters, as this exchange reported by Intercept writer Micah Lee attests. Nevertheless, it's not for being a douche that the Establishment state wants him dead; that state breeds, harbors and honors douches everywhere in the world . They want him dead for publishing videos like these.

Please watch it. The footage shows not only murder, but bloodlust and conscienceless brutality, so much of it in fact that this became one of the main reasons Chelsea Manning leaked it in the first place. As she said at her court-martial : "The most alarming aspect of the video for me, was the seemingly delight of bloodlust they [the pilots] appeared to have. They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging with, and seemed to not value human life in referring to them as 'dead bastards,' and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers."

The Wikileaks page for the video is here . A transcript is here .

This was done in our name, to "keep us safe." This continues to be done every day that we and our allies are at "war" in the Middle East.

Bodies pile on bodies as this continues. The least we can do, literally the least, is to witness and acknowledge their deaths.

[May 12, 2019] Nova The Spy Factory Full Video

An interesting video. clearly shows the danger of over-centralization. Although technology now allow automatic creation of dossier those are of very limited value because to distinguish signal from noise is almost impossible. Aesop language complicates decoding of the conversation greatly and unless long series is available (enough to established the context for used code words; like "bottle of milk" term in this video) it is practically undecodable. In such cases all you have is an envelope. Which is powerful information (tell me who you are calling and who call you and I will tell you who you are ;-), but if person is alert to the fact that NSA is listening (which in after Snowden world that category includes all people who has something to hide) that is also of limited value. In such cases the key conversations are moved from phone to direct contact or to private encrypted channels.
The mere existence of NSA gave huge stimulus for developing to steganography. Also foreign embassies and multinationals located outside of the USA now know that they are dealing with an extremely sophisticated opponent and use appropriate precautions. For example compression of the pain text before applying the cipher recently became the standard practice makes breaking generally beyond NSA capabilities as (if headers are destroyed and the type of compression is unknown or randomly chosen) . Because compression removes lion share of redundancy in the plain text.
Notable quotes:
"... It's exactly like Enemy of the State you Liars and you would still be lying if Edward Snowden hadn't exposed it ..."
May 12, 2019 | www.youtube.com
sam son 3 months ago

It's exactly like Enemy of the State you Liars and you would still be lying if Edward Snowden hadn't exposed it

Roderick Horton 2 years ago

Sometimes even the FBI and NSA need a helping hand.

Otto graff 1 month ago

Al CIA da brought to you by the U.S. government! 9/11 was never met to be stopped! The Patriot Act was sitting on the shelf just waiting for 9/11 to be pulled off!

[May 08, 2019] Obama Spied on Other Republicans and Democrats As Well by Larry C Johnson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The CIA, with the knowledge of the Director of National Intelligence, worked with British counterparts starting in the summer of 2015 to collect intelligence on Republican and at least one Democrat candidate. John Brennan was probably hoping that his proactive steps to help the Hillary Clinton campaign would ensure him taking over as DNI in the new Clinton Administration. Regardless of motives, the CIA enlisted the British intelligence community to start gathering intelligence on most major Republican candidates and on Bernie Sanders. This initial phase of intelligence gathering goes beyond opposition research. The information being gathered identified the key personnel in each campaign and identified the people outside the United States receiving their calls, texts and emails. This information was turned into intelligence reports that then were passed back to the United States intel community as "liaison reporting." This was not put into normal classified channels. This intelligence was put into a SAP, i.e. a Special Access Program. ..."
"... One person who needs to be called on the carpet and asked some hard questions is current CIA Director Gina Haspel. She was CIA Chief of Station in London at the time and was a regular attendee at the meeting of the Brit's Joint Intelligence Committee aka the JIC. I suppose it is possible she was cut out of the process, but I believe that is unlikely. ..."
"... I am confident that a survey of NSA and CIA liaison reporting will show that George Papadopoulos was identified as a possible target by the fall of 2015. Initially, his name was "masked." But we now know that many people on the Trump campaign had their names "unmasked." You cannot unmask someone unless their name is in an intelligence report. ..."
"... Sater's communication with Rozov were intercepted by western intelligence agencies -- GCHQ and NSA. I do not know which agency put it into an intel report, but it was put into the system. The Sater FD-1023 will tell us whether or not Sater did this at the direction of the FBI or acted on his own initiative. The key point is that the "bait" to do something with the Russians came from a registered FBI informant. ..."
"... That's good, sooner it's clarified the better, and the stronger the better, ..."
"... Best approach is to slaughter Donald for his bromance with Putin , but not go too far betting on Putin re Syria ..."
"... Hakluyt is described by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism's Henry Williams as " one of the more secretive firms within the corporate investigations world " and as "a retirement home for ex-MI6 [British foreign intelligence] officers, but it now also recruits from the worlds of management consultancy and banking " ..."
"... I do not believe that it is a mere coincidence that Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, was the one credited by the FBI for launching the investigation into George Papadopolous : It was Downer who told the FBI of Papodopoulos' comments, which became one of the "driving factors that led the FBI to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia's attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump's associates conspired," The Times reported. ..."
"... Downer, a long-time Aussie chum of Bill and Hillary Clinton, had been on Hakluyt's advisory board since 2008. Officially, he had to resign his Hakluyt role in 2014, but his informal connections continued uninterrupted, the News Corp. Australian Network reported in a January 2016 exclusive: ..."
"... I'm curious why they went after minor characters in the Trump campaign and not Jared or one of Trump's sons? From what I've read of Hoover, it seems he was constantly building "dossiers" of the powerful and those he considered "subversives" so that he would remain preeminent. Then there was the Church Committee investigation. Is this qualitatively different? Can we ever expect that law enforcement & intelligence with so much secretive power are not the 4th branch of government? ..."
"... Also involved - and I think Judge Ellis was very well aware of this - is a fundamental distinction relating to what law enforcement authorities are trying to achieve. If Mueller was honestly - even of perhaps misguidedly - trying to get witnesses to 'sing', that is hardly a mortal sin. If he was trying to get them to 'compose', then the question becomes whether he should be under indictment for subversion of the Constitution. ..."
"... Why aren't the MSM having a hissy fit about the real, documented election interference by the British Commonwealth/5 Eyes spooks in the 2016 campaign (and before)? The hoax of projecting onto Putin what they themselves have done must be exposed before the country move forward on any front. ..."
"... So, was Skripal one of Steele's so-called Kremlin insiders? I see Pablo Miller is connected to both Porton Down and Steele via the ironically titled II's media pods. And Miller is certainly connected to Skripal. ..."
May 08, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Do not focus on July 2016 as the so-called start of the counter intelligence investigation of Donald Trump. That is a lie. We know, thanks to the work of Judicial Watch, that the FBI had signed up Christopher Steele as a Confidential Human Source (aka CHS) by February of 2016. It is incumbent on Attorney General Barr to examine the contact reports filed by Steele's FBI handler (those reports are known as FD-1023s). He also, as I have noted in a previous post, needs to look at the FD-1023s for Felix Sater and Henry Greenberg. But these will only tell a small part of the story. There is a massive intelligence side to this story.

The CIA, with the knowledge of the Director of National Intelligence, worked with British counterparts starting in the summer of 2015 to collect intelligence on Republican and at least one Democrat candidate. John Brennan was probably hoping that his proactive steps to help the Hillary Clinton campaign would ensure him taking over as DNI in the new Clinton Administration. Regardless of motives, the CIA enlisted the British intelligence community to start gathering intelligence on most major Republican candidates and on Bernie Sanders. This initial phase of intelligence gathering goes beyond opposition research. The information being gathered identified the key personnel in each campaign and identified the people outside the United States receiving their calls, texts and emails. This information was turned into intelligence reports that then were passed back to the United States intel community as "liaison reporting." This was not put into normal classified channels. This intelligence was put into a SAP, i.e. a Special Access Program.

One person who needs to be called on the carpet and asked some hard questions is current CIA Director Gina Haspel. She was CIA Chief of Station in London at the time and was a regular attendee at the meeting of the Brit's Joint Intelligence Committee aka the JIC. I suppose it is possible she was cut out of the process, but I believe that is unlikely.

This initial phase of intelligence collection produced a great volume of intelligence that allowed analysts to identify key personnel and the people they were communicating with overseas. You don't have to have access to intelligence information to understand this. For example, you simply have to ask the question, "how did George Papadopoulos get on the radar." I am confident that a survey of NSA and CIA liaison reporting will show that George Papadopoulos was identified as a possible target by the fall of 2015. Initially, his name was "masked." But we now know that many people on the Trump campaign had their names "unmasked." You cannot unmask someone unless their name is in an intelligence report. We also know that Felix Sater, a longtime business associate of Donald Trump and an FBI informant since December 1998 (he was signed up by Andrew Weismann), initiated the proposal to do a Trump Tower in Moscow. Don't take my word for it, that's what Robert Mueller reported:

In the late summer of 2015, the Trump Organization received a new inquiry about pursuing a Trump Tower project in Moscow. In approximately September 2015, Felix Sater . . . contacted Cohen (i.e., Michael Cohen) on behalf of I.C. Expert Investment Company (I.C. Expert), a Russian real-estate development corporation controlled by Andrei Vladimirovich Rozov. Sater had known Rozov since approximately 2007 and, in 2014, had served as an agent on behalf of Rozov during Rozov's purchase of a building in New York City. Sater later contacted Rozov and proposed that I.C. Expert pursue a Trump Tower Moscow project in which I.C. Expert would license the name and brand from the Trump Organization but construct the building on its own. Sater worked on the deal with Rozov and another employee of I.C. Expert. (see page 69 of the Mueller Report).

Sater's communication with Rozov were intercepted by western intelligence agencies -- GCHQ and NSA. I do not know which agency put it into an intel report, but it was put into the system. The Sater FD-1023 will tell us whether or not Sater did this at the direction of the FBI or acted on his own initiative. The key point is that the "bait" to do something with the Russians came from a registered FBI informant.

By December of 2015, the Hillary Campaign decided to use the Russian angle on Donald Trump. Thanks to Wikileaks we have Campaign Manager John Podesta's email exchange in December 2015 with Democratic operative Brent Budowsky:

" That's good, sooner it's clarified the better, and the stronger the better, " Budowski replies, later adding: " Best approach is to slaughter Donald for his bromance with Putin , but not go too far betting on Putin re Syria ."

The program to slaughter Donald Trump using Russia as the hatchet was already underway. This was more the opposition research. This was the weaponization of law enforcement and intelligence assets to attack political opponents. Hillary had covered the opposition research angle in London by hiring a firm comprised of former MI6 assets-- Hakluyt: there was a second, even more powerful and mysterious opposition research and intelligence firm lurking about with significant political and financial links to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her 2016 campaign for president against Donald Trump.

Meet London-based Hakluyt & Co. , founded by three former British intelligence operatives in 1995 to provide the kind of otherwise inaccessible research for which select governments and Fortune 500 corporations pay huge sums. . . .

Hakluyt is described by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism's Henry Williams as " one of the more secretive firms within the corporate investigations world " and as "a retirement home for ex-MI6 [British foreign intelligence] officers, but it now also recruits from the worlds of management consultancy and banking "

I do not believe that it is a mere coincidence that Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, was the one credited by the FBI for launching the investigation into George Papadopolous : It was Downer who told the FBI of Papodopoulos' comments, which became one of the "driving factors that led the FBI to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia's attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump's associates conspired," The Times reported.

Downer, a long-time Aussie chum of Bill and Hillary Clinton, had been on Hakluyt's advisory board since 2008. Officially, he had to resign his Hakluyt role in 2014, but his informal connections continued uninterrupted, the News Corp. Australian Network reported in a January 2016 exclusive:

But it can be revealed Mr. Downer has still been attending client conferences and gatherings of the group, including a client cocktail soirée at the Orangery at Kensington Palace a few months ago.

His attendance at that event is understood to have come days after he also attended a two-day country retreat at the invitation of the group, which has been involved in a number of corporate spy scandals in recent times.

Much remains to be uncovered in this plot. But this much is certain--there is an extensive documentary record, including TOP SECRET intelligence reports (SIGINT and HUMINT) and emails and phone calls that will show there was a concerted covert action operation mounted against Donald Trump and his campaign. Those documents will tell the story. This cannot be allowed to happen again.

Posted at 05:33 AM in Larry Johnson , Russiagate | Permalink | Comments (9)


turcopolier , 07 May 2019 at 09:53 AM

Having watched interviews of Papadopoulos on TeeVee I would say that this creature would be easy to manipulate. His ego is so enormous that a minimal effort would be required.
blue peacock said in reply to turcopolier ... , 07 May 2019 at 11:19 AM
Col. Lang

I'm curious why they went after minor characters in the Trump campaign and not Jared or one of Trump's sons? From what I've read of Hoover, it seems he was constantly building "dossiers" of the powerful and those he considered "subversives" so that he would remain preeminent. Then there was the Church Committee investigation. Is this qualitatively different? Can we ever expect that law enforcement & intelligence with so much secretive power are not the 4th branch of government?

David Habakkuk -> blue peacock... , 07 May 2019 at 01:31 PM
bp,

The guts of the matter was well expressed by Judge T.S. Ellis when he made the distinction between different results which can be expected from exerting pressures on witnesses: they may 'sing' - which is, commonly, in the interests of justice - but, there again, they may 'compose', which is not.

Also involved - and I think Judge Ellis was very well aware of this - is a fundamental distinction relating to what law enforcement authorities are trying to achieve. If Mueller was honestly - even of perhaps misguidedly - trying to get witnesses to 'sing', that is hardly a mortal sin. If he was trying to get them to 'compose', then the question becomes whether he should be under indictment for subversion of the Constitution.

Alcatraz, perhaps?

blue peacock said in reply to David Habakkuk ... , 08 May 2019 at 12:17 AM
David,

Yes, indeed, many a composition have been elicited by prosecutors in criminal cases. The issue is there is no penalty for prosecutorial misconduct while the advancement points ratchet up with each conviction. The incentives are aligned perfectly for the "institution" to run rough shod on ordinary Americans. Only those wealthy enough to fight the unlimited funds of the government have a chance. But of course in matters relating to national security there is the added twist of state secrets that protects government malfeasance.

I don't know how the national security state we continue to build ever gets rolled back. A small victory would be for Trump to declassify all documents and communications relating to the multifaceted spying on his campaign and as Larry so eloquently writes to frame him as a Manchurian Candidate. At least the public will learn about what their grandchildren are paying for. But it seems that Trump prefers tweeting to taking any kind of action. Not that it would matter much as half the country will still believe that Trump deserves it until the tables are turned on their team. While most Americans will say to use Ben Hunt's phrasing Yay! Constitution. Yay! Liberty. they sure don't care as the state oligarchy tighten their chokehold.

https://www.epsilontheory.com/things-fall-apart-pt-1/

akaPatience -> turcopolier ... , 07 May 2019 at 05:27 PM
Yes, he seems young and ambitious enough to be easy (and willing) prey. Having been involved in some local political campaigns though, I've observed that more and more than before, young people like him are hyper-concerned with networking. Papadopoulos' ego aside, of course he and many people who sign on hope to make self-serving connections. Not only that, it's also been my observation that casual sexual hook-ups go with the territory, and not only among young, single guys like him. I have to say I've been shocked a few times by how risky and cavalier some liaisons have been that've come to my attention, considering "public figures" are involved. No doubt that's why a "honeypot" was dispatched to try to help entrap Papadopoulos.
Rick Merlotti , 07 May 2019 at 12:14 PM
Why aren't the MSM having a hissy fit about the real, documented election interference by the British Commonwealth/5 Eyes spooks in the 2016 campaign (and before)? The hoax of projecting onto Putin what they themselves have done must be exposed before the country move forward on any front.
O'Shawnessey , 07 May 2019 at 02:44 PM
So, was Skripal one of Steele's so-called Kremlin insiders? I see Pablo Miller is connected to both Porton Down and Steele via the ironically titled II's media pods. And Miller is certainly connected to Skripal.
sandra adie , 07 May 2019 at 03:01 PM
Papadopolos was very young hence the nativity getting sucked in. The ego helped for sure. Probably exciting to be part of something important probably for the first time since he started working for Trump campaign
akaPatience , 07 May 2019 at 03:01 PM
One thing that's always concerned me about Larry's informative and insightful essays on these matters is how can we be assured that the IC documentation mentioned has been filled out honestly and accurately -- or that the forms even still exist and haven't been conveniently "lost" or surreptitiously destroyed?

[May 08, 2019] Huawei Hypocrisy by Craig Murray

Notable quotes:
"... I don't think the US government should use operating systems made in China for the same reason that most governments shouldn't use operating systems made in the US and in fact we just got proof since Microsoft is now known to be telling the NSA about bugs in Windows before it fixes them. ..."
"... All the major western tech companies cooperate with the western security services. In Murder in Samarkand I gave the first public revelation that the government can and does listen through your mobile phone microphone even when the phone is ostensibly switched off, a fact that got almost no traction until Edward Snowden released documents confirming it six years later. China is full of western devices with backdoors that are exploited by western intelligence. That the tables turn as Chinese technology advances is scarcely surprising. ..."
May 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Craig Murray,

Theresa May almost certainly sacked Gavin Williamson not just on the basis of a telephone billing record showing he had a phone call with a Telegraph journalist, but on the basis of a recording of the conversation itself.

It astonishes me that still, after Snowden and his PRISM revelations, after Wikileaks Vault 7 releases , and after numerous other sources including my own humble contribution, people still manage to avoid the cognitive dissonance that goes with really understanding how much we are surveilled and listened to. Even Cabinet Ministers manage to pretend to themselves it is not happening.

The budget of the NSA, which does nothing else but communications intercept, is US $14.2 billion this year. Think about that enormous sum, devoted to just communications surveillance, and what it can achieve. The budget of the UK equivalent, GCHQ, is £1.2 billion, of which about 10% is paid by the NSA. Domestic surveillance in the UK has been vastly expanded and many taboos broken. But the bedrock of the system with regard to domestic intercepts is still that legal restrictions are dodged, as the USA's NSA spies on UK citizens while the UK's GCHQ spies on US citizens, and then the information is swapped. It was thus probably the NSA that harvested Williamson's phone call, passing the details on. Given official US opposition to the UK employing Huawei technology, Williamson's call would have been a "legitimate" NSA target.

Mass surveillance works on electronic harvesting. Targeted phone numbers apart, millions of essentially random calls are listened to electronically using voice recognition technology and certain key words trigger an escalation of the call. Williamson's call discussing Huawei, China, the intelligence services, and backdoors would certainly have triggered recording and been marked up to a human listener, even if his phone was not specifically targeted by the Americans – which it almost certainly was.

Williamson of course is relying on the security services' secrecy about their methods to maintain his protests of innocence, secure in the knowledge that the recording of him would not be produced. The existence of the recording – of which I am extremely confident – is the only possible explanation for May's degree of certainty and swift action against one of her very few loyal allies.

All of which of course throws into stark relief the stunning hypocrisy of those who are worried that Huawei will be used for electronic eavesdropping, when they are up to their ears in electronic eavesdropping themselves. One of my heroes is the great Richard Stallman, who put it this way six years ago:

RMS: Well, it's perfectly reasonable suspicion to me. I don't think the US government should use operating systems made in China for the same reason that most governments shouldn't use operating systems made in the US and in fact we just got proof since Microsoft is now known to be telling the NSA about bugs in Windows before it fixes them.

RSS: I was just going to bring this up exactly, so I was saying that the NSA recently received notifications about the zero-day holes in advance and [incomprehensible] the NSA and the CIA to just crack PCs abroad for espionage purposes.

RMS: Now, [incomprehensible] that this proves my point, which is that you have to be nuts if you were some other country and using Windows on your computers. But, you know, given that Windows has a universal back door in it, Microsoft would hardly need to tell the NSA about any bugs, it can tell the NSA about the mal-feature of the universal back door and that would be enough for the NSA to attack any computer running Windows, which unfortunately is a large fraction of them.

All the major western tech companies cooperate with the western security services. In Murder in Samarkand I gave the first public revelation that the government can and does listen through your mobile phone microphone even when the phone is ostensibly switched off, a fact that got almost no traction until Edward Snowden released documents confirming it six years later. China is full of western devices with backdoors that are exploited by western intelligence. That the tables turn as Chinese technology advances is scarcely surprising.

Personally I do not want the Chinese, Americans, Russians or British eavesdropping on me, or on each other, and I wish that they would stop. The spy games will of course continue, as they make money for a lot of well-connected people. But for any side to claim moral superiority in all of this is just nonsense.

* * *

Subscriptions to keep Craig Murray's blog going, gratefully received .

[May 08, 2019] It is the ultimate irony that how the old Soviet Union's judiciary used to function is now becoming standing operating procedure in the United States

Notable quotes:
"... Why are Chalupa and Podesta not in prison? ..."
"... Our courts are totally corrupt. There's a prosecutor/FBI/judge cabal which convicts 98+% of its victims at trials. ..."
"... They lie to be promoted. ..."
"... "the FBI will be watching you." 'In America, FBI watch everyone.' ..."
May 08, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

gcjohns1971 , 8 months ago link

"It is the ultimate irony that how the old Soviet Union's judiciary used to function is now becoming standing operating procedure in the United States."

When you consider how many of today's Democrat luminaries were self described as dedicated Communists in the 60's, 70's, and 80's it is not surprising at all.

mc888 , 8 months ago link

Why are Chalupa and Podesta not in prison?

SergeA.Storms , 8 months ago link

If, the information in this article is true, I feel bad for this young lady getting hemmed up in international shenanigans.

If a person loves her country (her home), wants the opportunity for fellow citizens to be free with a right to bare arms, and seeks out the assistance of the USA both as a model for having the 2nd Amendment, and an organization that leads in advocating for personal firearms ownership, the NRA, how is she committing any crime? She should not be locked up for pursuing God given, inalienable rights for her fellow countrymen. She should be encouraged and sponsored by Pro2A groups and manufacturers. Again, if the information as presented is true.

dday1944 , 8 months ago link

Thank you DOJ. There's no need for guns in Russia. These people intoxicated by the alcohol and hard drugs will kill one another by the thousands. I feel for Masha Butina, but as far away she is from Russia, as better for this poor country. Luckily she is in US and even better in prison. Thank you Russophobes, warmongers and sheep that neocons will send to the slaughterhouse, you can not do any better.

Reaper , 8 months ago link

Our courts are totally corrupt. There's a prosecutor/FBI/judge cabal which convicts 98+% of its victims at trials. The excessive long sentences are used to convince the large majority unable to afford a slightly possible defense to bargain a plea. The Exceptional morons selected for juries think, why would the FBI lie. They lie to be promoted. What do you think happens to an agent whose testimony aids the defense?

Kangaroo courts would be more honest in their convictions.

ToSoft4Truth , 8 months ago link

"the FBI will be watching you." 'In America, FBI watch everyone.'

Herdee , 8 months ago link

The Russians are coming:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bReGtDxF1Oo

WW_II , 8 months ago link

"Why is Maria Butina in prison?"

https://garygindler.com/2018/08/05/why-is-maria-butina-in-prison

bh2 , 8 months ago link

"a plausible case for an indictment"

If a case is merely "plausible", that's not enough to indict.

Based on that thread-bare criterion, the FBI could probably come up with "plausible" cause to indict half the US population for something or other. Never mind Russians, all of whom might "plausibly" be suspected as secret agents for the Kremlin because they know other Russians.

This is absurd.

navy62802 , 8 months ago link

The true criminals are attempting to cover their tracks through diversion. The magnitude of the scheme they are executing now is commensurate with the magnitude of their own crimes against the United States.

IridiumRebel , 8 months ago link

I swear these stories are pushed for social media consumption so my faggy lib "friends" can bitch.

SergeA.Storms , 8 months ago link

I agree, it was much more scary in the 80's hiding under our desks at school and learning each week how many times one country could blow up the world, multiple times over. Now, so many people around the world call ********, not because MAD doesn't exist, but everyone realized no matter the quality of your bunker and fortitude of cement, those things only mean you die slower than those outside near the big flash. Hypersonic weapons seem like a step backwards in the whole 'my missile is bigger than your missile' game of Coldwar 2.0.

tmosley , 8 months ago link

Extremely important information there.

McCarthy did nothing wrong.

Yog Soggoth , 8 months ago link

Exactly, he was anti Bolshevik. There was an active campaign against a strong America.

MozartIII , 8 months ago link

McCarthy was right! I do my homework!! The fuckers are still in our government!!!

[May 07, 2019] The anger towards Silicon Valley is growing on the left and right simultaneously

They now call it Spy Valley
May 07, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

...The American wing of the movement sees big tech as an attractive target of attack; for them, Silicon Valley is a bizarre mix of greedy capitalists and "cultural Marxists", keen on indoctrinating their users into leftwing ideas while getting filthy rich off everyone's data.

Populists in the rest of the world, in contrast, see Silicon Valley's platforms as their best chance of escaping the intellectual hegemony of their own domestic "cultural Marxists", firmly ensconced in elite institutions, such as the media, the academia, and the Deep State.

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In an August 2018 interview with CNN, Steve Bannon called people leading "evil" Silicon Valley "complete narcissists" and "sociopaths"; the data grabbed by their companies, he insisted, should be "put in a public trust". He also predicted that big tech would be one of the main themes of the 2020 presidential election.

Given that the anger towards Silicon Valley is also growing on the left – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the latest sensation of American leftist politics, memorably attacked New York City's $3bn welcome package to Amazon – it seems like a reasonable prediction. Silicon Valley appears to be a perfect enemy for non-centrist forces in America, as bashing it helps to delegitimize the legacy of Obama and Clinton, seen as its primary enablers.

Others on the right endorse Bannon's opinions. Brad Parscale, the digital media director of Trump's 2016 campaign, has complained that "Big tech monsters like Google and Facebook have become nothing less than incubators for far-left [neo]liberal ideologies and are doing everything they can to eradicate conservative ideas and their proponents from the internet."

Recent bans on far-right and conservative personalities by social media and online fundraising platforms have only amplified such perceptions of Silicon Valley.

Even Donald Trump complained that Google was "suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good" – a "very serious situation" that, he promised, "will be addressed".

[May 06, 2019] Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive officer of Google, will head a new Pentagon advisory board aimed at bringing Silicon Valley innovation and best practices to the U.S. military, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Wednesday

May 06, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

LOL123 , 18 minutes ago link

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive officer of Google, will head a new Pentagon advisory board aimed at bringing Silicon Valley innovation and best practices to the U.S. military, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Wednesday.

Feb 12, 2019 · The plan depends on the Pentagon working closely with the tech industry to ... experts, chaired by Eric Schmidt, previously chairman and CEO of Google.

URL

https://www.wired.com/story/pentagon-doubles-down-ai-wants-help-big-tech/

Timing is everything- Barr is ready to throw the " hammer" on traitors of USA .... All allies of Eric Schmidt ( lynn Rothschild sings his praises at every interview with Chinas University )

Eric Schmidt List of colleagues

1-lynn Rothschild ( Hillarys 1000,000 plate fund raiser)

2- Obama- white house digital services

3- Sillicon Valley ( facebook- template for winning aka Hillary)

4- pentagon-

The JAIC was initially proposed in 2017 by the department's Defense Innovation Board of tech industry experts, chaired by Eric Schmidt, previously chairman and CEO of Google. It was structured in large part by Brendan McCord, previously head of machine learning at the Defense Innovation Unit, a kind of Silicon Valley embassy for the Pentagon. McCord is also the primary author of the department's AI strategy.

Lt. Gen. John "Jack" Shanahan, who leads the JAIC, said the unit will focus on rapidly deploying existing AI algorithms and tools, often contracted from technology companies, in military scenarios.

Remember- the axis of evil within our own Government who tried to over throw our sitting zpresident.... They don't give up easily.

They ( military propaganda and war machine ) just found a weak link and intend to weaponize it against the Trump administration. Venezula interference bad move except for military complex and who funds them??? Think two or three steps ahead... Don't get caught off guard... They are slimy littler fquers.

[May 04, 2019] The American intelligence community captures all the fiber optic communications of all people in America. This mass suspicionless surveillance is unlawful and unconstitutional

Notable quotes:
"... Former American spies have been complaining for years that capturing the keystrokes of all people in America 24/7 produces information overload -- too much data to sift through when searching for those trying to harm our way of life. ..."
May 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

But the American intelligence community should have known. It captures all the fiber optic communications of all people in America. This mass suspicionless surveillance is unlawful and unconstitutional, but the leadership of our 60,000-person strong domestic spying apparatus has persuaded every president since George H.W. Bush that all this spying keeps America safe. We now know that it doesn't. It didn't find a single Russian spy bent on influencing the election.

Former American spies have been complaining for years that capturing the keystrokes of all people in America 24/7 produces information overload -- too much data to sift through when searching for those trying to harm our way of life.

[Apr 29, 2019] How AI Systems Could Threaten Democracy naked capitalism

Apr 29, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

As my research shows , the advent of digital repression is profoundly affecting the relationship between citizen and state . New technologies are arming governments with unprecedented capabilities to monitor, track and surveil individual people. Even governments in democracies with strong traditions of rule of law find themselves tempted to abuse these new abilities .

... ... ...

Any time more information becomes available and analysis gets easier, governments are interested – and not just authoritarian ones. In the U.S., for instance, the 1970s saw revelations that government agencies – such as the FBI, CIA and NSA – had set up expansive domestic surveillance networks to monitor and harass civil rights protesters, political activists and Native American groups. These issues haven't gone away: Digital technology today has deepened the ability of even more agencies to conduct even more intrusive surveillance.

... ... ...

AI and Disinformation

In addition to providing surveillance capabilities that are both sweeping and fine-grained, AI can help repressive governments manipulate available information and spread disinformation. These campaigns can be automated or automation-assisted, and deploy hyper-personalized messages directed at – or against – specific people or groups.

AI also underpins the technology commonly called " deepfake ," in which algorithms create realistic video and audio forgeries .

Muddying the waters between truth and fiction may become useful in a tight election, when one candidate could create fake videos showing an opponent doing and saying things that never actually happened.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/cQ54GDm1eL0?wmode=transparent&start=0

An early deepfake video shows some of the dangers of advanced technology.

In my view, policymakers in democracies should think carefully about the risks of AI systems to their own societies and to people living under authoritarian regimes around the world. A critical question is how many countries will adopt China's model of digital surveillance. But it's not just authoritarian countries feeling the pull. And it's also not just Chinese companies spreading the technology: Many U.S. companies, Microsoft included, but IBM, Cisco and Thermo Fisher too, have provided sophisticated capabilities to nasty governments. The misuse of AI is not limited to autocratic states

Oregoncharles , April 29, 2019 at 1:23 pm

Hang onto your old mimeograph machines; we may need them.

Some amazing organizing was based on them, and other cheap, non-digital printing modes.

TG , April 29, 2019 at 8:18 pm

You can't kill what's already dead. Since when has public opinion mattered on anything of real substance?

[Apr 29, 2019] AP Exclusive Google tracks your movements, like it or not

Apr 29, 2019 | www.apnews.com

Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and has been used by police to determine the location of suspects -- such as a warrant that police in Raleigh, North Carolina, served on Google last year to find devices near a murder scene. So the company lets you "pause" a setting called Location History.

Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you've been. Google's support page on the subject states: "You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored."

That isn't true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking. (It's possible, although laborious, to delete it .)

For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app. Automatic daily weather updates on Android phones pinpoint roughly where you are. And some searches that have nothing to do with location, like "chocolate chip cookies," or "kids science kits," pinpoint your precise latitude and longitude -- accurate to the square foot -- and save it to your Google account.

The privacy issue affects some two billion users of devices that run Google's Android operating software and hundreds of millions of worldwide iPhone users who rely on Google for maps or search.

Storing location data in violation of a user's preferences is wrong, said Jonathan Mayer, a Princeton computer scientist and former chief technologist for the Federal Communications Commission's enforcement bureau. A researcher from Mayer's lab confirmed the AP's findings on multiple Android devices; the AP conducted its own tests on several iPhones that found the same behavior.

"If you're going to allow users to turn off something called 'Location History,' then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off," Mayer said. "That seems like a pretty straightforward position to have."

Google says it is being perfectly clear.

"There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people's experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services," a Google spokesperson said in a statement to the AP. "We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time."

Google's explanation did not convince several lawmakers.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia told the AP it is "frustratingly common" for technology companies "to have corporate practices that diverge wildly from the totally reasonable expectations of their users," and urged policies that would give users more control of their data. Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey called for "comprehensive consumer privacy and data security legislation" in the wake of the AP report.

To stop Google from saving these location markers, the company says, users can turn off another setting, one that does not specifically reference location information. Called "Web and App Activity" and enabled by default, that setting stores a variety of information from Google apps and websites to your Google account.

When paused, it will prevent activity on any device from being saved to your account. But leaving "Web & App Activity" on and turning "Location History" off only prevents Google from adding your movements to the "timeline," its visualization of your daily travels. It does not stop Google's collection of other location markers.

You can delete these location markers by hand, but it's a painstaking process since you have to select them individually, unless you want to delete all of your stored activity.

You can see the stored location markers on a page in your Google account at myactivity.google.com, although they're typically scattered under several different headers, many of which are unrelated to location.

To demonstrate how powerful these other markers can be, the AP created a visual map of the movements of Princeton postdoctoral researcher Gunes Acar, who carried an Android phone with Location history off, and shared a record of his Google account.

The map includes Acar's train commute on two trips to New York and visits to The High Line park, Chelsea Market, Hell's Kitchen, Central Park and Harlem. To protect his privacy, The AP didn't plot the most telling and frequent marker -- his home address.

Huge tech companies are under increasing scrutiny over their data practices, following a series of privacy scandals at Facebook and new data-privacy rules recently adopted by the European Union. Last year, the business news site Quartz found that Google was tracking Android users by collecting the addresses of nearby cellphone towers even if all location services were off. Google changed the practice and insisted it never recorded the data anyway.

Critics say Google's insistence on tracking its users' locations stems from its drive to boost advertising revenue.

"They build advertising information out of data," said Peter Lenz, the senior geospatial analyst at Dstillery, a rival advertising technology company. "More data for them presumably means more profit."

The AP learned of the issue from K. Shankari, a graduate researcher at UC Berkeley who studies the commuting patterns of volunteers in order to help urban planners. She noticed that her Android phone prompted her to rate a shopping trip to Kohl's, even though she had turned Location History off.

"So how did Google Maps know where I was?" she asked in a blog post .

The AP wasn't able to recreate Shankari's experience exactly. But its attempts to do so revealed Google's tracking. The findings disturbed her.

"I am not opposed to background location tracking in principle," she said. "It just really bothers me that it is not explicitly stated."

Google offers a more accurate description of how Location History actually works in a place you'd only see if you turn it off -- a popup that appears when you "pause" Location History on your Google account webpage . There the company notes that "some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps."

Google offers additional information in a popup that appears if you re-activate the "Web & App Activity" setting -- an uncommon action for many users, since this setting is on by default. That popup states that, when active, the setting "saves the things you do on Google sites, apps, and services ... and associated information, like location."

[Apr 28, 2019] New York opens probe into Facebook's hoarding of 1.5 million users email address book

Notable quotes:
"... It is time Facebook is held accountable for how it handles consumers' personal information ," James said in a statement , claiming the social media company " has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of respect for consumers' information while at the same time profiting from mining that data ." ..."
"... Facebook admitted last week that it " unintentionally uploaded " 1.5 million new users' email address books since 2016, potentially slurping up hundreds of millions of people's contact information – including non-Facebook users ..."
"... That investigation continues, while the Federal Trade Commission, which opened its own probe following the Cambridge Analytica revelations alleging violation of a 2011 " consent decree ," is reportedly negotiating a settlement with Facebook. According to the company's first-quarter earnings report, Facebook expects to pay $3 to $5 billion in penalties – the largest FTC settlement ever for a tech company. ..."
Apr 26, 2019 | www.rt.com

New York Attorney General Letitia James is opening an investigation into Facebook's "unintentional" upload of up to 1.5 million users' contact lists, vowing to hold it accountable for its cavalier attitude toward user privacy. "

It is time Facebook is held accountable for how it handles consumers' personal information ," James said in a statement , claiming the social media company " has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of respect for consumers' information while at the same time profiting from mining that data ."

Also on rt.com Want a new Facebook account? Just hand over your private email password

Facebook admitted last week that it " unintentionally uploaded " 1.5 million new users' email address books since 2016, potentially slurping up hundreds of millions of people's contact information – including non-Facebook users – which was then used for targeted advertising and to suggest potential " friends " based on email connections. The platform gained access to the contacts by asking users for their email passwords after they clicked on a link to verify their account, but did not ask the users before hoovering up their contact lists.

Facebook claims it is deleting the offending address book data and says it has notified people who had their contacts copied. It says the contacts were not shared with anyone.

New York is one of several states currently investigating Facebook based on the March 2018 revelations that Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data scraped from millions of users without their consent to assist the Donald Trump presidential campaign. That investigation continues, while the Federal Trade Commission, which opened its own probe following the Cambridge Analytica revelations alleging violation of a 2011 " consent decree ," is reportedly negotiating a settlement with Facebook. According to the company's first-quarter earnings report, Facebook expects to pay $3 to $5 billion in penalties – the largest FTC settlement ever for a tech company.

Also on rt.com Facebook expects record $5 BILLION fine from FTC over privacy violations

The company has been plagued with non-stop scandals since Cambridge Analytica, with users learning last month hundreds of millions of passwords had sat, unencrypted, on an internal server for the past seven years and reports from ex-employee whistleblowers accusing the site of " de-boosting " conservative political content. Facebook has responded to users' worries about privacy by hiring one of the authors of the notorious USA PATRIOT Act as its new general counsel.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

[Apr 28, 2019] Julian Assange is a vilified human being.

Notable quotes:
"... Now, conflating any individual with Russia, will always immediately result in that person becoming, in the US, in the U.K. and in other US-kept vassal nations totally tarred with all sorts of nefarious and always unexamined assumptions. ..."
"... Mark Twain once suggested that the deity created war that USians might learn geography. Clearly, it is a laborious process and has failed to create much global geographical awareness among the millions, most of whom are content to think whatever nation is correctly being ministered to or in the sights of "everything is on the table" as simply being, vaguely, "over there". ..."
"... Thanks to the intelligence community, the political elite, notably in the Democratic "wing" of the War Party, but with the support of the Republican wing of that party, and certain individual players aligned with the US policy "Full Spectrum Dominance" which, of course, is compassionate goodness and not to be confused with the vile aims of Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and a whole host of other "bad guy" nations or amorphous groups known as "terrorists. ..."
"... Clearly, the consensus opinion is shaped, not inside the minds of millions of people, all projecting their very worst fears or even their own worst proclivities on individuals like Putin or whoever is the "Hitler" of the convenient moment, but rather on the efforts of, let us call them "entities" who plan to benefit from a populous aroused to anxiety or even fear itself. ..."
"... The list of beneficiaries includes the financial elites who always profit from war and "confusion", the political elites who serve those monied interests, the media, academia, the military, intelligence, weapons manufacturers, energy producers, military contractors and so on. ..."
Apr 28, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

DW Bartoo , April 22, 2019 at 08:16

Julian Assange is a vilified human being.

When vilification occurs a very necessary question that critical thought must ponder is who benefits from such scapegoating?

However, for the moment, let us ponder, again in service to actual critical thought, why aligning Assange with Russia is expected by those who will and intend to benefit from that association. Why is suggesting that Assange is "a Russian agent" expected to convince millions of USians that Assange is "a bad person"?

Why would millions accept that assertion without questioning it at all?

Caitlin suggest that those millions are "herd animals", implying that they are led into believing two things. The first is that Russia and the Russian people are "bad", we have even recently had a much trusted official suggest that Russians are "genetically" predisposed to badness with a malignant tendency to single out the innocent, and one indispensable nation, the United States for the most nefarious of Russian "interventions", amounting, according to a famous Hollywood actor, who occasionally portrays a certain deity in the movies, to "an attack".

In the meager interest of context and history, stretching back a bit more than a century, some USians who are aware of that history, recognize that the US, under President Woodrow Wilson sent US military troops into Russia in order to end the rise of the Bolshevik rebellion/revolution.

Thus began the official demonization of Russia. A demonization very convenient to the necessity of having an implacable enemy always ready to pounce on the good, moral, humanitarian, and freely enterprising United States.

Now, conflating any individual with Russia, will always immediately result in that person becoming, in the US, in the U.K. and in other US-kept vassal nations totally tarred with all sorts of nefarious and always unexamined assumptions.

Mark Twain once suggested that the deity created war that USians might learn geography. Clearly, it is a laborious process and has failed to create much global geographical awareness among the millions, most of whom are content to think whatever nation is correctly being ministered to or in the sights of "everything is on the table" as simply being, vaguely, "over there".

That is why the US must strike "them" "over there" so as to avoid the frightening thought of having "them" have to be dealt with "here" in the "Homeland" of "the free and the brave".

This suggests that the "herd" has to be led to certain conclusions.

Unlike horses, the herd HAS to drink.

If the herd does not consume the elixir, then it may not be willing to joyfully send the "flower of its youth" off to become cannon fodder should the Table of Everything so demand.

I grew up in the nineteen fifties when the first Cold War was in full blossom. We school students were told and taught that Russia hated us, wanted to attack and kill us all, intended to rule the world with an iron hand and ruthless godlessness.

Thanks to the intelligence community, the political elite, notably in the Democratic "wing" of the War Party, but with the support of the Republican wing of that party, and certain individual players aligned with the US policy "Full Spectrum Dominance" which, of course, is compassionate goodness and not to be confused with the vile aims of Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and a whole host of other "bad guy" nations or amorphous groups known as "terrorists.

Now, by tying Assange to that hodge-podge of baddies, the many may rest assured that he has been put in his proper place.

Clearly, the consensus opinion is shaped, not inside the minds of millions of people, all projecting their very worst fears or even their own worst proclivities on individuals like Putin or whoever is the "Hitler" of the convenient moment, but rather on the efforts of, let us call them "entities" who plan to benefit from a populous aroused to anxiety or even fear itself.

The list of beneficiaries includes the financial elites who always profit from war and "confusion", the political elites who serve those monied interests, the media, academia, the military, intelligence, weapons manufacturers, energy producers, military contractors and so on.

Assange, to his great and everlasting credit, exposed a very large amount of this including, with the invaluable efforts
of Chelsea Manning, actual war crimes perpetrated by the US, even beyond beginning wars based on lies.

Fortunately, the media, having overplayed it hand in the manipulation has exposed itself to many as being but a propaganda industry.

A very real question for those concerned with engaging critical thought processes is just how many humans are still being led, rather easily, around by the fallacious and very dangerous concoctions of the opinion "shapers" in think tanks, media echo chambers, corporate boardrooms, and academic snake pits?

Perhaps there comes a time for humanity, if it is not to trot along in the footsteps of the dodo bird to look not where the fingers of deceit are pointing, but at those to whom the fingers are attached?

AnneR , April 22, 2019 at 09:33

DWB – as a USian of English birth (of about the same age, I would imagine) I am amazed at the fear the US had of the USSR back in the 1950s. When my husband told me, in the 1980s, about how he and his schoolmates had had nuclear air raid attack drills (sheltering under desks and so on!) I'm sure that I gawped, fly-catchingly. What??? Nowt remotely similar occurred in the UK during the 1950s in schools or elsewhere.

It was only since I began studying history (late in life) that I learnt that the British ruling elites have hated the Russians for well over a hundred years. Still not quite sure why, nor yet why whatever the Russians did (Crimean War in the 1850s?) that pissed them off so royally should have any bearing on Russia-UK relations nowadays. But that could be because I'm dim. And because I've no hatred, dislike, fear of Russians (or Chinese or Iranians) at all. My fears revolve around the hubris-arrogance and determination to retain economic and more general world domination by the US and its poodles in the UK-FR-NATO and Israel (though their status as dog or leash is debatable). These are the countries to be afraid of.

Sam F , April 22, 2019 at 20:34

Yes, the remarkably unprovoked hatred of Russia among the UK aristocracy, regardless of era or government there, is a great wonder. They did not even have eras of invasion threats, colonial competition, or competing navies, as with France, Spain, and Portugal. Britain's 19th century invasions of Afghanistan were apparently provoked by nothing but fear, and their several lost wars there apparently did not even engage Russians. Even complete transitions of Russian government from monarchy to communism to capitalism failed to affect UK's fears. If the cause were mere cultural difference, they would have feared the orient.

Perhaps their aristocracy was not polite enough, or those backwards Ns, upside down Rs, and Pi symbols terrified the British.

geeyp , April 22, 2019 at 23:49

Anne R. – For more on your second paragraph, visit Larouchepac.org The late Lyndon Larouche's site has a lot of info on this.

Zhu , April 23, 2019 at 00:50

Britain & Russia were rivals for empire. Both were expanding in Asia – The Great Game. Russia got Turkestan, Britain got India, both wanted China. Hence the elite's hatred, although now it's probably traditional and automatic.

Keep studying history – it's ales ts enlightening!

AnneR , April 23, 2019 at 09:22

Yes Zhu – I do continue with history, although of course no historian and thus history is ever free (as with all scholars) of their personal worldview. And yes I realize that the UK, when an imperial power, viewed the world pretty much as the US does now: its domain. So obviously any and all contenders were up for vitriolic loathing and war. But it still doesn't explain the particularly vicious attitude toward Russia on the part of the British ruling elites. After all the Brits also had France, Holland and Germany (earlier Spain and Portugal) as competitors, admittedly at different time periods, and no they weren't "liked" and were often at war with each other. But there was never the same bitterness toward western European rivals as there was and continues to be toward Russia.

That the USSR provoked deep, undying hatred among the aristos and their hangers' on does not surprise: can't have anything remotely similar happening in our cushy backyard, can't have the unwashed, ignorant, prole herd actually learning any lessons from the Soviets.

Yet even so – no nuclear air raid drills in schools or anywhere during red-baiting season. Nothing kindred.

O Society , April 22, 2019 at 08:07

The truth is Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, Rachel Maddow, and the rest if the Scooby Doo gang handed Agent Orange the victimhood script he needs to feed his Trumpets to win the 2020 election.

They've also guaranteed no matter what heinous gangster scam shit he has done in the past or will do in the future, none of it will stick because he'll play the falsely accused card.

For the idiot Americans watching White House reality TV at home, this means celebrity Trump now has immunity and can't be voted off the island this season or next.

https://opensociet.org/2019/04/20/chomsky-by-focusing-on-russia-democrats-handed-trump-a-huge-gift-possibly-the-2020-election/

Jay Barney , April 22, 2019 at 08:04

You are kidding, right?

Assange publishes hacks from Snowden, Manning, and Russia. Do they publish anything on Russia?

Nope.

Assange and you are tools of Russia. Obvious to anyone

Skip Scott , April 22, 2019 at 12:01

Ah yes, the evil Rooskies.

From the article you obviously didn't read:

In fact, WikiLeaks has published hundreds of thousands of documents pertaining to Russia, has made critical comments about the Russian government and defended dissident Russian activists, and in 2017 published an entire trove called the Spy Files Russia exposing Russian surveillance practices.

wikileaks russia files:
https://wikileaks.org/spyfiles/russia/

I think we can tell who the "tool" is.

OlyaPola , April 22, 2019 at 03:23

"The only people claiming that Assange is a Russian agent are those who are unhappy with the things that WikiLeaks publications have exposed, whether that be U.S. war crimes or the corrupt manipulations of Democratic Party leaders."

Perhaps fuller understanding would be gained by considering the following pathway.

People who who think that "Assange is a Russian agent" is a plausible belief are the audience encouraged in the view that "Assange is a Russian agent".

Much of this notion of plausible belief is founded on the creation of holograms consisting in large part of projections of the believer's expectations/experiences of the evaluation criteria used in choosing agents to recruit (for the public largely projected from their experience of creating resumes and attending job interviews) , what motivates an agent to be recruited, how such motivation can facilitate the purpose of the recruiter of the agent, what are the potential dangers of recruiting the agent, and most importantly what is the purpose of and reasons why the recruiter considers recruiting an agent to achieve her/his purpose.

On projection catalysing plausible belief you will be aware that some encourage the belief that Mr. Putin is the richest man on the planet since in all societies there are assumptions/expectations on motivations.

However in the presently self-designated "The United States of America" as functions of "exceptionalism", "we the people hold these truths to be self-evident" and lack of direct experience of foreign cultures by many, the population are particulrly prone to projection giving rise to the paradox of "exceptionalists" engaging in the them/us conflation.

[Apr 25, 2019] Ecuador President Lenin Moreno on revoking Julian Assange's asylum

No commnets...
Apr 11, 2019 | www.youtube.com

"I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behaviour of Julian Assange...has led to the situation where asylum is unsustainable and no longer viable"

[Apr 24, 2019] The Amazon That You Don t Know

Images removed
Jan 02, 2019 | viableopposition.blogspot.com
While all of this may seem relatively mundane, one has to keep in mind that Amazon/Bezos has a connection to the U.S. government intelligence network. In 2013, Amazon signed a $600 million, ten year contract with the Central Intelligence Agency to develop a computing cloud service that would service all seventeen agencies that comprise the American intelligence community. In November 2017, Amazon Web Services made the following announcement :

The AWS Secret Region has the ability to work with and store government/intelligence data that is classified up to the Secret level. According to Amazon, AWS Secret Region is "readily available to the U.S. Intelligence Community through the intelligence community's Commercial Cloud Services contract with AWS". AWS touts itself as the first and only commercial cloud provider to offer regions to serve government data classified as Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret and Top Secret. Given that Amazon is a dominant cloud infrastructure vendor through AWS, it is highly likely that it will bid on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure or JEDI Cloud, a $10 billion contract to develop a cloud infrastructure for the Department of Defense as shown here :

... ... ...

Bruce Wilds January 5, 2019 at 11:34 AM

Amazon is rotten to the core. Already no stranger to sweetheart deals, Amazon which has lined the pockets of its CEO Jeff Bezos at taxpayer expense is quietly moving in a direction that is destined to create even more controversy. Amazon through its lobbying efforts is on the verge of winning a multibillion-dollar advantage over rivals by taking over large swaths of federal procurement.

When you couple the voice of the Washington Post with a company so deeply involved with discovering and archiving detailed files and information about individuals and politicians across America you command a great deal of muscle and clout. The article below delves into why it is time to face the fact Amazon needs to be curtailed.

http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2018/09/amazon-is-threat-to-our-democracy-and.html

[Apr 24, 2019] The HUGE lie that Russia was somehow hacking the DNC was the Insurance Policy

Notable quotes:
"... While I wholeheartedly agree with you that Obama and Clinton are criminals, the far less convincing part of your argument is that Trump is not now beholden to the same MIC interests. Bolton, Abrahams, Pompeo, Pence his relationship with Netanyahu, the overthrow of Madura are all glaring examples that contradict the Rights narrative that he is some type of hero. Trump may not have colluded with Russia, but he does seem to be colluding with Saudia Arabia, Israel, Big Oil and the MIC. ..."
"... In short, without Donald Trump in the Oval Office, the Democrat Party has no platform. They need him there as a target, because Mike Pence would be impossible for them to beat. They are under orders, according to various writers who've addressed the Clinton campaign, to block Bernie Sanders and his platform at all costs; and they will allow the country to crash and burn before they disobey those orders. That means keeping Donald Trump right where he is through next November. ..."
"... I totally agree with you, and in fact believe that this whole 22month expensive and mind numbing circus has been played out JUST to keep the public from knowing what the emails actually said. Can you imagine Madcow focusing with such ferocity on John Pedesta as she has on Putin, by discussing what he wrote during a presidential campaign to "influence the election" ? We'd be a different country now, not fighting our way thru the McCarthite Swamp she helped create. ..."
"... Thus began the official demonization of Russia. A demonization very convenient to the necessity of having an implacable enemy always ready to pounce on the good, moral, humanitarian, and freely enterprising United States. ..."
"... Now, conflating any individual with Russia, will always immediately result in that person becoming, in the US, in the U.K. and in other US-kept vassal nations totally tarred with all sorts of nefarious and always unexamined assumptions. ..."
"... Thanks to the intelligence community, the political elite, notably in the Democratic "wing" of the War Party, but with the support of the Republican wing of that party, and certain individual players aligned with the US policy "Full Spectrum Dominance" which, of course, is compassionate goodness and not to be confused with the vile aims of Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and a whole host of other "bad guy" nations or amorphous groups known as "terrorists. ..."
"... Clearly, the consensus opinion is shaped, not inside the minds of millions of people, all projecting their very worst fears or even their own worst proclivities on individuals like Putin or whoever is the "Hitler" of the convenient moment, but rather on the efforts of, let us call them "entities" who plan to benefit from a populous aroused to anxiety or even fear itself. ..."
"... the British ruling elites have hated the Russians for well over a hundred years. ..."
"... The truth is Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, Rachel Maddow, and the rest if the Scooby Doo gang handed Agent Orange the victimhood script he needs to feed his Trumpets to win the 2020 election. ..."
"... They've also guaranteed no matter what heinous gangster scam shit he has done in the past or will do in the future, none of it will stick because he'll play the falsely accused card. ..."
"... There is an inability to accept the fact that people in DC and NYC and Boston and San Francisco and other Financial/ MIC-driven areas were doing well relative to the bulk of Americans and life was wonderful until the 2016 Election. For these people "America Has Never Stopped Being Great!" (Similar to the "I've got mine, Jack! " attitude of Great Britain, as their labor unions lost unity with rest of the working class.) ..."
Apr 24, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

CWG , April 22, 2019 at 17:15

Here's my take on the 'Russian Collusion Deep State LIE.

There was NO Russian Collusion at all to get Trump in the White House. Most probably, Putin would have favored Clinton, since she could be bought. Trump can't.

What did happen was illegal spying on the Trump campaign. That started late 2015, WITHOUT a FISA warrant. They only obtained that in 2016, through lying to the FISA Court. The basis for that first warrant was the Fusion GPS Steele Dossier.

Ever since Trump won the election, they real conspirators knew they had a problem. That was apparent ever after Devin Nunes did the right thing by informing Trump they were spying on him.

Since they obtained those FISA warrant through lying to the FISA Court (which is treason) they needed to cover that up as quickly as possible.

So what did they do? Instead of admitting they lied to the FISA Court they kept on lying till this very day. The same lie through which they obtained the FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign was being pushed openly.

The lie is and was 'Trump colluded with the Russians in order to win the Presidential Election'.

They knew from day one Trump didn't do anything wrong. They did know they spied on Trump through lying to the FISA Court, which again, is treason. According to the Constitution, lying to the FISA court= Treason.

In order to avoid being indicted and prosecuted, they somehow needed to 'take down' the Attorney General. At all costs, they needed to try and hide what really happened.

So there they went. 'Trump colluded with the Russians. Not just Trump, but the entire Trump campaign!'.

'Sessions should recuse himself', the propaganda MSM said in unison. 'Recuse, recuse'.

Sessions, naively recused himself. Back then, even he probably didn't know the entire story. It was only later on that Sarah Carter and Jon Solomon found out it had been Hillary who ordered and paid the Steele Dossier.

The real conspirators hoped that through the Special Counsel rat Mueller they might be able to achieve three main objectives.

1: Convince the American people Russia indeed was meddling in the Presidential Election.

2: Find any sort of dirt on Trump and/or people who helped him win the Election in order to 'take them down'.

Many people were indicted, some were prosecuted. Yet NONE of them were convicted for a crime that had ANYTHING to with with the elections. NONE.

They stretched it out as long as possible. 'The longer you repeat a lie, the more people are willing to believe the lie'.

So that is what they did. They still do it. Mueller took TWO years to brainwash as many people as possible. 'Russian Collusion, Russian Collusion. Russia. Russia. Russia. Russia. Rusiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh ..

Why did they want to make sure they could keep telling that lie as long as possible?

Because they FEAR people will learn the truth. There was NEVER any Russian Collusion with the Trump campaign.

There was spying on the Trump campaign by Obama in order to try and make Hillary win the Presidential Election.

That is the actual COLLUSION between the Clinton Campaign and a weaponized Obama regime!!

So what did 'Herr Mueller' do?

He took YEARS to come up with the conclusion that the Trump campaign did NOT collude with Russia.

The MSM tried to make us all believe it was about that. Yet it was NOT.

His conclusive report is all about the question 'did or didn't the Trump campaign collude with the Russians'.

Trump exonerated, and the MSM only talks about that. Trump, Trump, Trump.

They still want us all to believe that was what the Mueller 'investigation' was all about. Yet it was not.

The most important objective of the Mueller 'investigation' was not to 'investigate'.

It was to 'instigate' that HUGE lie.

The same lie which they used to obtain the FISA warrant on the Trump campaign.

"Russia'.

So what has 'Herr Mueller' done?

A: He finds ZERO evidence at all which proves the Trump campaign colluded with ANY Russians.

And now the huge lie, which after all was the main objective right from the get go. (A was only a distraction)

B: Russians hacked the DNC.

That is what they wants us all to believe. That Russia somehow did bad stuff.

Now it was not Russia who did bad stuff.

It was Obama working together with the Clinton campaign. Obama weaponized his entire regime in order to let Clinton win the Presidency.

That is the REAL collusion. The real CRIME. Treason!

In order to create a 'cover up' Mueller NEEDED to instigate that Russia somehow did bad things.

That's what the Mueller Dossier is ALL about. They now have 'black on white' 'evidence' that Russia somehow did bad things.

Because if Russia didn't do anything like that, it would make us all ask the fair question 'why did Obama spy on the Trump Campaign'.

Let's go a bit deeper still.

Here's a trap Mueller created. What if Trump would openly doubt the LIE they still push? The HUGE lie that Russia did bad things?

After all, they NEED that LIE in order to COVER UP their own crime.

If Trump would say 'I do not believe Russia did anything to influence the elections, I think Mueller wrote that to COVER UP the real crime', what would happen?

They would say 'GOTCHA now, see Trump is colluding with Russia? He even refuses to accept Russia hacked the DNC, this ultimately proofs Trump indeed is a Russian asset'.

They believe that trap will work. They needed that trap, since if Russia wasn't doing anything wrong, it would show us all THEY were the criminals.

They NEED that lie, in order to COVER UP.

That is the 'Insurance Policy' Stzrok and Page texted about. Even Sarah Carter and Jon Solomon still don't seem to see all that.

They should have attacked the HUGE lie that Russia was somehow hacking the DNC. That is simply not true. It's a Mueller created LIE. That LIE = the Insurance Policy.

What did they need an Insurance Policy for? They want us all to believe that was about preventing Trump from being elected.

Although true, that is only A.

They NEEDED an Insurance Policy in the unlikely case Trump would become President and would find out they were illegally spying on him!

The REAL crime is Obama weaponized the American Government to spy on even a duly elected President.

What's the punishment for Treason?

About Assange and Seth Rich.

Days after Mueller finishes his 'mission' (Establish the LIE Russia did bad things) which seems to be succesfull, the Deep State arrest the ONLY source who could undermine that lie.

Assange Since he knows who is (Seth Rich?) and who isn't (Russia) the source.

If Assange could testify under oath the emails did not come from Russia, the LIE would be exposed.

No coincidences here. I fear Assange will never testify under oath. I actually fear for his life.


Deniz , April 23, 2019 at 13:48

While I wholeheartedly agree with you that Obama and Clinton are criminals, the far less convincing part of your argument is that Trump is not now beholden to the same MIC interests. Bolton, Abrahams, Pompeo, Pence his relationship with Netanyahu, the overthrow of Madura are all glaring examples that contradict the Rights narrative that he is some type of hero. Trump may not have colluded with Russia, but he does seem to be colluding with Saudia Arabia, Israel, Big Oil and the MIC.

Whether one is on the Right or Left, the house is still made of glass.

Elizabeth K. Burton , April 23, 2019 at 12:50

It's not enough that Trump is clearly a classic narcissist whose behavior will continue to deteriorate the more his actions and statements are attacked and countered? You know what happens when narcissists are driven into a corner by people tearing them down? They get weapons and start killing people.

There is already more than ample evidence to remove Donald Trump from office, not the least being he's clearly mentally unfit. Yet the Democrats, some of whom ran for office on a promise to impeach, are suddenly reticent to act without "more investigation". Nancy Pelosi stated on the record prior to release of the Mueller report impeachment wasn't on the agenda "for now". She's now making noises in the opposite direction, but that's all they are: noise.

The bottom line is the Clintonite New Democrats currently running the party have only one issue to run on next year: getting rid of Donald Trump. They still operate under the delusion they will be able to use him to draw off moderate Republican voters, the same ones they were positive would come out for Hillary Clinton in '16. Their multitude of candidates pay lip service to progressive policy then carefully walk back to the standard centrist positions once the donations start coming, but the common underlying theme was and continues to be "Donald Trump is evil, and we need to elect a Democrat."

In short, without Donald Trump in the Oval Office, the Democrat Party has no platform. They need him there as a target, because Mike Pence would be impossible for them to beat. They are under orders, according to various writers who've addressed the Clinton campaign, to block Bernie Sanders and his platform at all costs; and they will allow the country to crash and burn before they disobey those orders. That means keeping Donald Trump right where he is through next November.

Dump Pelousy , April 23, 2019 at 13:21

I totally agree with you, and in fact believe that this whole 22month expensive and mind numbing circus has been played out JUST to keep the public from knowing what the emails actually said. Can you imagine Madcow focusing with such ferocity on John Pedesta as she has on Putin, by discussing what he wrote during a presidential campaign to "influence the election" ? We'd be a different country now, not fighting our way thru the McCarthite Swamp she helped create.

Jeff Harrison , April 22, 2019 at 10:50

Thank you, Three Names. The so-called "most qualified presidential candidate ever" who's only actual qualifications are the destruction of what had formerly been a peaceful, secular state into a failed state riven with religious rivalry and racking up a billion frequent flyer miles has left us with a Gordian knot of misinformation, disinformation, and outright lies that will bedevil the country and our relations with other countries for some time to come.

There's a special place in hell for people like you.

Charron , April 22, 2019 at 10:04

I see that the very liberal Noam Chomsky has recently stated that he was sure the Russians did not to do the hacking of the DNC emails and that accusing Trump of being a party to this was only going to help him in the 2020 elations because it wasn't true.

AnneR , April 22, 2019 at 09:20

Thank you Caitlin for providing a most necessary corrective to the incessant drone that I – unwillingly but have no other radio station available (and it is, however nauseating and rant inducing, necessary to know what propaganda the corporate-capitalist-imperialist state media are disseminating) – hear on both the BBC World Service and NPR. (We refused to pay to watch television and I have continued that partnership tradition since my husband died. So thankfully I've not seen the Maddow money raking insanity.)

And thank you for suggesting some clear ways to counter the Kool Aid infected codswallop. It amazes just how much even the highly educated have completely accepted the corporate-capitalist-imperialist propaganda, just as I am amazed that the same people (friends of my husband, though what he'd think about their swallowing it all ) really seem to be completely unconcerned about what the US has done and is doing to other peoples in other countries (you know, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine – ah yes that coup – Yemen and so on and on). And they clearly are more afraid of Russia than of their (our) own military-deep state-police

DW Bartoo , April 22, 2019 at 08:16

Julian Assange is a vilified human being.

When vilification occurs a very necessary question that critical thought must ponder is who benefits from such scapegoating?

However, for the moment, let us ponder, again in service to actual critical thought, why aligning Assange with Russia is expected by those who will and intend to benefit from that association. Why is suggesting that Assange is "a Russian agent" expected to convince millions of USians that Assange is "a bad person"?

Why would millions accept that assertion without questioning it at all?

Caitlin suggest that those millions are "herd animals", implying that they are led into believing two things. The first is that Russia and the Russian people are "bad", we have even recently had a much trusted official suggest that Russians are "genetically" predisposed to badness with a malignant tendency to single out the innocent, and one indispensable nation, the United States for the most nefarious of Russian "interventions", amounting, according to a famous Hollywood actor, who occasionally portrays a certain deity in the movies, to "an attack".

In the meager interest of context and history, stretching back a bit more than a century, some USians who are aware of that history, recognize that the US, under President Woodrow Wilson sent US military troops into Russia in order to end the rise of the Bolshevik rebellion/revolution.

Thus began the official demonization of Russia. A demonization very convenient to the necessity of having an implacable enemy always ready to pounce on the good, moral, humanitarian, and freely enterprising United States.

Now, conflating any individual with Russia, will always immediately result in that person becoming, in the US, in the U.K. and in other US-kept vassal nations totally tarred with all sorts of nefarious and always unexamined assumptions.

Mark Twain once suggested that the deity created war that USians might learn geography. Clearly, it is a laborious process and has failed to create much global geographical awareness among the millions, most of whom are content to think whatever nation is correctly being ministered to or in the sights of "everything is on the table" as simply being, vaguely, "over there".

That is why the US must strike "them" "over there" so as to avoid the frightening thought of having "them" have to be dealt with "here" in the "Homeland" of "the free and the brave".

This suggests that the "herd" has to be led to certain conclusions.

Unlike horses, the herd HAS to drink.

If the herd does not consume the elixir, then it may not be willing to joyfully send the "flower of its youth" off to become cannon fodder should the Table of Everything so demand.

I grew up in the nineteen fifties when the first Cold War was in full blossom. We school students were told and taught that Russia hated us, wanted to attack and kill us all, intended to rule the world with an iron hand and ruthless godlessness.

Thanks to the intelligence community, the political elite, notably in the Democratic "wing" of the War Party, but with the support of the Republican wing of that party, and certain individual players aligned with the US policy "Full Spectrum Dominance" which, of course, is compassionate goodness and not to be confused with the vile aims of Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and a whole host of other "bad guy" nations or amorphous groups known as "terrorists.

Now, by tying Assange to that hodge-podge of baddies, the many may rest assured that he has been put in his proper place.

Clearly, the consensus opinion is shaped, not inside the minds of millions of people, all projecting their very worst fears or even their own worst proclivities on individuals like Putin or whoever is the "Hitler" of the convenient moment, but rather on the efforts of, let us call them "entities" who plan to benefit from a populous aroused to anxiety or even fear itself.

The list of beneficiaries includes the financial elites who always profit from war and "confusion", the political elites who serve those monied interests, the media, academia, the military, intelligence, weapons manufacturers, energy producers, military contractors and so on.

Assange, to his great and everlasting credit, exposed a very large amount of this including, with the invaluable efforts
of Chelsea Manning, actual war crimes perpetrated by the US, even beyond beginning wars based on lies.

Fortunately, the media, having overplayed it hand in the manipulation has exposed itself to many as being but a propaganda industry.

A very real question for those concerned with engaging critical thought processes is just how many humans are still being led, rather easily, around by the fallacious and very dangerous concoctions of the opinion "shapers" in think tanks, media echo chambers, corporate boardrooms, and academic snake pits?

Perhaps there comes a time for humanity, if it is not to trot along in the footsteps of the dodo bird to look not where the fingers of deceit are pointing, but at those to whom the fingers are attached?

AnneR , April 22, 2019 at 09:33

DWB – as a USian of English birth (of about the same age, I would imagine) I am amazed at the fear the US had of the USSR back in the 1950s. When my husband told me, in the 1980s, about how he and his schoolmates had had nuclear air raid attack drills (sheltering under desks and so on!) I'm sure that I gawped, fly-catchingly. What??? Nowt remotely similar occurred in the UK during the 1950s in schools or elsewhere.

It was only since I began studying history (late in life) that I learnt that the British ruling elites have hated the Russians for well over a hundred years. Still not quite sure why, nor yet why whatever the Russians did (Crimean War in the 1850s?) that pissed them off so royally should have any bearing on Russia-UK relations nowadays. But that could be because I'm dim. And because I've no hatred, dislike, fear of Russians (or Chinese or Iranians) at all. My fears revolve around the hubris-arrogance and determination to retain economic and more general world domination by the US and its poodles in the UK-FR-NATO and Israel (though their status as dog or leash is debatable). These are the countries to be afraid of.

Sam F , April 22, 2019 at 20:34

Yes, the remarkably unprovoked hatred of Russia among the UK aristocracy, regardless of era or government there, is a great wonder. They did not even have eras of invasion threats, colonial competition, or competing navies, as with France, Spain, and Portugal. Britain's 19th century invasions of Afghanistan were apparently provoked by nothing but fear, and their several lost wars there apparently did not even engage Russians. Even complete transitions of Russian government from monarchy to communism to capitalism failed to affect UK's fears. If the cause were mere cultural difference, they would have feared the orient.

Perhaps their aristocracy was not polite enough, or those backwards Ns, upside down Rs, and Pi symbols terrified the British.

geeyp , April 22, 2019 at 23:49

Anne R. – For more on your second paragraph, visit Larouchepac.org The late Lyndon Larouche's site has a lot of info on this.

Zhu , April 23, 2019 at 00:50

Britain & Russia were rivals for empire. Both were expanding in Asia – The Great Game. Russia got Turkestan, Britain got India, both wanted China. Hence the elite's hatred, although now it's probably traditional and automatic.

Keep studying history – it's ales ts enlightening!

AnneR , April 23, 2019 at 09:22

Yes Zhu – I do continue with history, although of course no historian and thus history is ever free (as with all scholars) of their personal worldview. And yes I realize that the UK, when an imperial power, viewed the world pretty much as the US does now: its domain. So obviously any and all contenders were up for vitriolic loathing and war. But it still doesn't explain the particularly vicious attitude toward Russia on the part of the British ruling elites. After all the Brits also had France, Holland and Germany (earlier Spain and Portugal) as competitors, admittedly at different time periods, and no they weren't "liked" and were often at war with each other. But there was never the same bitterness toward western European rivals as there was and continues to be toward Russia.

That the USSR provoked deep, undying hatred among the aristos and their hangers' on does not surprise: can't have anything remotely similar happening in our cushy backyard, can't have the unwashed, ignorant, prole herd actually learning any lessons from the Soviets.

Yet even so – no nuclear air raid drills in schools or anywhere during red-baiting season. Nothing kindred.

O Society , April 22, 2019 at 08:07

The truth is Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, Rachel Maddow, and the rest if the Scooby Doo gang handed Agent Orange the victimhood script he needs to feed his Trumpets to win the 2020 election.

They've also guaranteed no matter what heinous gangster scam shit he has done in the past or will do in the future, none of it will stick because he'll play the falsely accused card.

For the idiot Americans watching White House reality TV at home, this means celebrity Trump now has immunity and can't be voted off the island this season or next.

https://opensociet.org/2019/04/20/chomsky-by-focusing-on-russia-democrats-handed-trump-a-huge-gift-possibly-the-2020-election/

Skip Scott , April 22, 2019 at 12:01

Ah yes, the evil Rooskies. From the article you obviously didn't read: In fact, WikiLeaks has published hundreds of thousands of documents pertaining to Russia, has made critical comments about the Russian government and defended dissident Russian activists, and in 2017 published an entire trove called the Spy Files Russia exposing Russian surveillance practices. wikileaks russia files: https://wikileaks.org/spyfiles/russia/

I think we can tell who the "tool" is.

AnneR , April 22, 2019 at 12:30

Did you not actually read Caitlin's article? And other similar ones? YES Wikileaks has published thousands of documents regarding Russian secret activities – and the Russian government has not been at all happy about it. However, unlike the USian government it hasn't trampled all over people's rights under international law to persecute Assange.

Frankly – if the USian government and its "comrades" in the UK don't like their filthy linen being revealed for what it is – perhaps they should stop creating it in the first place.

Red Douglas , April 22, 2019 at 16:08

>>> " Do they publish anything on Russia?"

Yes, as you and all of the many, many others who ignorantly and endlessly repeat this question would know, if you had ever bothered to review WikiLeaks' work. In this case, you would know if you had even bothered to read the article above your comment.

WikiLeaks: The Spy Files Russia
https://wikileaks.org/spyfiles/russia/

Zhu , April 23, 2019 at 00:57

Likewise, the sky is green, the grass is blue and the sun rises in the West

michael , April 22, 2019 at 07:06

"People take this repetition as a substitute for proof due to a glitch in human psychology known as the illusory truth effect, a phenomenon which causes our brains to tend to interpret things we've heard before as known truths." I think it is a deeper phenomenon than repetition of lies (which have been legal since 2014 with the 'modernization' of Smith-Mundt, our anti-propaganda law).

The #resistence seems to fulfill people who have never accepted any religions whole-heartedly; there is something in the human psyche which demands an intuitive evidence-free, faith-based acceptance of beliefs which go beyond facts and evidence. This is a powerful dream world where their illusions are more powerful than reality.

There is an inability to accept the fact that people in DC and NYC and Boston and San Francisco and other Financial/ MIC-driven areas were doing well relative to the bulk of Americans and life was wonderful until the 2016 Election. For these people "America Has Never Stopped Being Great!" (Similar to the "I've got mine, Jack! " attitude of Great Britain, as their labor unions lost unity with rest of the working class.)

Their comments have moved away from ad hominem "You are a Putin stooge!" arguments to appeals to Authority fallacies: "All our Intelligence Agencies Know that Assange worked with Russians to embarrass Hillary and cost her the Election". Religiosity is largely Authority-driven, and avoids the angst of critical thinking and putting facts together that (thanks to our Intelligence Agencies!) don't fit together.

OlyaPola , April 22, 2019 at 03:23

"The only people claiming that Assange is a Russian agent are those who are unhappy with the things that WikiLeaks publications have exposed, whether that be U.S. war crimes or the corrupt manipulations of Democratic Party leaders."

Perhaps fuller understanding would be gained by considering the following pathway.

People who who think that "Assange is a Russian agent" is a plausible belief are the audience encouraged in the view that "Assange is a Russian agent".

Much of this notion of plausible belief is founded on the creation of holograms consisting in large part of projections of the believer's expectations/experiences of the evaluation criteria used in choosing agents to recruit (for the public largely projected from their experience of creating resumes and attending job interviews) , what motivates an agent to be recruited, how such motivation can facilitate the purpose of the recruiter of the agent, what are the potential dangers of recruiting the agent, and most importantly what is the purpose of and reasons why the recruiter considers recruiting an agent to achieve her/his purpose.

On projection catalysing plausible belief you will be aware that some encourage the belief that Mr. Putin is the richest man on the planet since in all societies there are assumptions/expectations on motivations.

However in the presently self-designated "The United States of America" as functions of "exceptionalism", "we the people hold these truths to be self-evident" and lack of direct experience of foreign cultures by many, the population are particulrly prone to projection giving rise to the paradox of "exceptionalists" engaging in the them/us conflation.

[Apr 24, 2019] Viable Opposition

Apr 24, 2019 | viableopposition.blogspot.com

Monday, April 15, 2019 Facebook and Its Close Links to Washington With Facebook taking a very strong stance against so-called fake news and foreign interference in what passes for democracy in the United States and particularly given its recent association with the Atlantic Council and its Digital Forensic Research Lab. I would be remiss if I didn't thank Matt Agorist at the Free Thought Project, one of the entities that was purged by Facebook in October 2018, for inspiring this posting
In no particular order, let's look at some of Facebook's key personnel and their relationship to Washington:
1.) Katie Harbath : Ms. Harbath is currently Director of Global Politics and Government Outreach at Facebook as shown here:

...and has very close links to the Republican Party (a relative rarity among Facebook key personnel) including Deputy eCampaign Director for Rudy Giuliani's run at the Oval Office both before and during her tenure at Facebook as shown here:

It was Ms. Harbath who announced Facebook's "exciting new partnership" with the Atlantic Council on May 17, 2018:
" Today, we're excited to launch a new partnership with the Atlantic Council, which has a stellar reputation looking at innovative solutions to hard problems. Experts from their Digital Forensic Research Lab will work closely with our security, policy and product teams to get Facebook real-time insights and updates on emerging threats and disinformation campaigns from around the world. This will help increase the number of "eyes and ears" we have working to spot potential abuse on our service -- enabling us to more effectively identify gaps in our systems, preempt obstacles, and ensure that Facebook plays a positive role during elections all around the world ."
2.) Nathaniel Gleicher : Mr. Gleicher is Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook as shown here:

...and was former Director for Cybersecurity Policy for the National Security Council at the White House, Senior Counsel for Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section at the United States Department of Justice and a Law Clerk for Senator Patrick Leahy as shown here:

Just so you can get a sense of Mr. Gleicher's belief system, here is what he said in a blog posting on January 17, 2019 entitled " Removing Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour from Russia ":
" Today we removed 364 Facebook Pages and accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior as part of a network that originated in Russia and operated in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Central and Eastern European countries. The Page administrators and account owners primarily represented themselves as independent news Pages or general interest Pages on topics like weather, travel, sports, economics, or politicians in Romania, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan. Despite their misrepresentations of their identities, we found that these Pages and accounts were linked to employees of Sputnik, a news agency based in Moscow, and that some of the Pages frequently posted about topics like anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption. " (my bolds)
Yes, imagine being anti-NATO and anti-corruption! That's totally unAmerican not to mention totally without merit !
3.) David Recordon : Mr. Recordon lists himself as a "doer" on his Linkedin page as shown here:

...however, his "real position" is Engineering Director for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a company founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan which has the goal of "advancing human potential and promoting equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research and energy".
Between March 2015 and January 2017, Mr. Recordon was the Special Assistant to the President and Director of White House IT and a consultant for the U.S. Digital Service at the White House as you can see here:

Please note that prior to his tenure with the federal government, Mr. Recordon was Engineering Director at Facebook.
4.) Aneesh Raman : Mr. Raman is currently the Head of Economic and Social Impact at Facebook as you can see here:

...and was the former speechwriter to President Obama and worked in Strategic Communications at the Pentagon as shown here:

5.) Meredith Carden : Ms. Carden is currently working on Facebook's News Integrity Partnerships as shown here:

..and spent two years working in the Office of First Lady Michelle Obama and spent seven months as a Press Intern for Obama For America as shown here:

6.) Joel Benenson: Mr. Benenson, founder of Benenson Strategy Group , is conducting research for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as shown here:

...and was a former senior strategist to Hillary Clinton during her most recent run for the Oval Office as well as doing research and polling programs for President Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns and working on President Bill Clinton's campaign during the 1996 election as shown here :

Let's close with this. Remembering that Facebook is now tied to the Atlantic Council who functions as its censor, here is a screen capture that shows the close links between Washington and the Atlantic Council when it comes to leadership:


...and funding:


While I'm quite certain that there are other examples of the very close links between Washington and Facebook, I believe that you have enough information from this posting to come to the conclusion that Facebook is far from a benign, private entity. Facebook put in place an inordinate number of men and women who hail from the federal government and, as such, one might almost conclude that the publicly traded Facebook functions as an extension of the federal government and, more pointedly, the Democratic Party. Perhaps that's why Facebook has had its proverbial "panties in a knot" about Russian-sourced fake news since Hillary Clinton lost the election that was supposed to be hers.

[Apr 24, 2019] Viable Opposition Iran and the CIA's Worst Nightmare

Apr 24, 2019 | viableopposition.blogspot.com

Monday, April 22, 2019 Iran and the CIA's Worst Nightmare While the world was distracted by all things Mueller, there was a significant news event that took place in Iran.
Here is the news item as reported by Iran's Presstv:

Note that the news item refers to a November 2018 report on Yahoo which you can find here :

Let's look at some some key details from Yahoo's lengthy article:
"From around 2009 to 2013, the U.S. intelligence community experienced crippling intelligence failures related to the secret internet-based communications system, a key means for remote messaging between CIA officers and their sources on the ground worldwide. The previously unreported global problem originated in Iran and spiderwebbed to other countries, and was left unrepaired -- despite warnings about what was happening -- until more than two dozen sources died in China in 2011 and 2012 as a result, according to 11 former intelligence and national security officials.
The disaster ensnared every corner of the national security bureaucracy -- from multiple intelligence agencies, congressional intelligence committees and independent contractors to internal government watchdogs -- forcing a slow-moving, complex government machine to grapple with the deadly dangers of emerging technologies....
A former senior intelligence official with direct knowledge of the compromise said it had global implications for the CIA. "You start thinking twice about people, from China to Russia to Iran to North Korea," said the former official. The CIA was worried about its network "totally unwinding worldwide."
Yahoo News' reporting on this global communications failure is based on conversations with eleven former U.S. intelligence and government officials directly familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive operations. Multiple former intelligence officials said that the damage from the potential global compromise was serious -- even catastrophic -- and will persist for years.
More than just a question of a single failure, the fiasco illustrates a breakdown that was never properly addressed. The government's inability to address the communication system's insecurities until after sources were rolled up in China was disastrous. "We're still dealing with the fallout," said one former national security official. "Dozens of people around the world were killed because of this." " (my bolds)
In September 2009, the Obama Administration announced that Iran had a secret underground nuclear enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom. This facility was located in an underground tunnel complex on the grounds of an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps base and was slated to enrich uranium in 2874 centrifuges . Here is how the Guardian reported the news:

The letter from Iran stated that the facility would not enrich uranium beyond the 5 percent level. On the eve of a showdown meeting with Iran, Barack Obama demanded that the IAEA be given access to the plant, stating that Iran was breaking the rules and not living up to its international responsibilities.
This breach of secrecy resulted in the Iranians looking for foreign spies that may have passed the information to the West. Unfortunately for the CIA, the communication system being used to communicate with its agents was flawed and was easily breached by the sophisticated counterintelligence technology being used by other nations. As a result of this negligence, Iran was able to identify and dismantle a CIA network in Iran, arresting a significant number of intelligence officers and CIA assets in May and November 2011 as shown here :

....and here :

According to two former U.S. intelligences officials, the Iranians recruited a double agent who led them to the CIA communications system. This system allowed CIA officers to communicate remotely in dangerous operational environments like Iran where person-to-person meetings are risky. Interestingly, it is believed that the Iranians used Google to identify the website that the CIA was using to communicate with its agents. From there, Iran's intelligence services searched the internet for other websites with similar components, eventually allowing them to locate other secret CIA websites. From there, Iran was able to track who was visiting these websites, allowing them to unravel the CIA's network.
What is ironic about this (and particularly so given the intelligence community issues that were raised after the September 11, 2001 attacks) is that John Reidy, a contractor at the CIA, advised his employer in 2009 - 2010 that there were potential serious security weaknesses in the CIA's communications network. For this, he was punished by being fired, resulting in his appeal to the intelligence community inspector general as shown here :


Ultimately, this breach of security discovered by the Iranians led to the execution and imprisonment of some of the CIA's informants and forced the CIA to exfiltrate others.
Let's close by looking at one last quote from the Presstv's coverage of the most recent revelations about the CIA's global intelligence network:
' Iran's intelligence minister specifically highlighted a quote from American national security analyst Irvin McCullough, who described the major American intelligence setback as "one of the most catastrophic intelligence failures" since the September 11 attacks in 2001. Alavi said that further details of the operations would be publicized soon, adding that a similar successful counter-espionage operation had been carried out against Britain's MI6 intelligence service.
The Iranian minister added that the breakthrough comes as his ministry has shifted from focusing on defensive operations to conducting offensive counter-intelligence operations, some of which had even "expanded deep" into Israel.
Iran has been successful in protecting itself from the spillover of terrorism and foreign-backed conflict -- constant features of life in a number of regional countries -- due to high vigilance by its intelligence and security forces." (my bolds)
It is unfortunate that the Central Intelligence Agency seems incapable of learning from its past mistakes.
Posted by A Political Junkie at 8:30 AM Labels: CIA , Iran , United States 1 comment:

  1. jrkrideau April 22, 2019 at 5:14 PM

    Why would the Obama administration announce that Iran had a secret underground nuclear enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom without at least extracting any agents involved?

    This is a horrible level of incompetence. Has no one in the CIA ever read about Enigma and how it was used in WWII? Added to by not totally killing the system immediately.

[Apr 23, 2019] Groupthink at the CIA by Philip Giraldi

Looks like tail wags the dog -- CIA controls the US foreign policy and in the last elections also played active role in promoting Hillary. A the level of top brass we have several people mentioned by Giraldi who are probably as dangerous as Allen Dulles was. Brennan is one example.
The parade of rogues that Philip describes is really alarming. Each with agenda that directly harms the USA as a country promoting the interest of military-industrial complex and neocon faction within the government...
Notable quotes:
"... Indeed, one can start with Tenet if one wants to create a roster of recent CIA Directors who have lied to permit the White House to engage in a war crime. Tenet and his staff knew better than anyone that the case against Saddam did not hold water, but President George W. Bush wanted his war and, by gum, he was going to get it if the CIA had any say in the matter. ..."
"... Back then as now, international Islamic terrorism was the name of the game. It kept the money flowing to the national security establishment in the false belief that America was somehow being made "safe." But today the terror narrative has been somewhat supplanted by Russia, which is headed by a contemporary Saddam Hussein in the form of Vladimir Putin. If one believes the media and a majority of congressmen, evil manifest lurks in the gilded halls of the Kremlin. Russia has recently been sanctioned (again) for crimes that are more alleged than demonstrated and President Putin has been selected by the Establishment as the wedge issue that will be used to end President Donald Trump's defiance of the Deep State and all that pertains to it. The intelligence community at its top level would appear to be fully on board with that effort. ..."
"... Remarkably, he also said that there is only "minimal evidence" that Russia is even fighting ISIS. The statement is astonishing as Moscow has most definitely been seriously and directly engaged in support of the Syrian Arab Army. Is it possible that the head of the CIA is unaware of that? It just might be that Pompeo is disparaging the effort because the Russians and Syrians have also been fighting against the U.S. backed "moderate rebels." That the moderate rebels are hardly moderate has been known for years and they are also renowned for their ineffectiveness combined with a tendency to defect to more radical groups taking their U.S. provided weapons with them, a combination of factors which led to their being denied any further American support by a presidential decision that was revealed in the press two weeks ago. ..."
"... Pompeo's predecessor John Brennan is, however, my favorite Agency leader in the category of totally bereft of his senses. ..."
"... Brennan is certainly loyal to his cause, whatever that might be. At the same Aspen meeting attended by Pompeo, he told Wolf Blitzer that if Trump were to fire special counsel Robert Mueller government officials should "refuse to carry out" his orders. In other words, they should begin a coup, admittedly non-violent (one presumes), but nevertheless including federal employees uniting to shut the government down. ..."
"... And finally, there is Michael Morell, also a former Acting Director, who was closely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign, apparently driven by ambition to become Director in her administration. Morell currently provides commentary for CBS television and is a frequent guest on the Charlie Rose show. Morell considerably raised the ante on Brennan's pre-electoral speculation that there had been some Russian recruitment of Trump people. He observed in August that Putin, a wily ex-career intelligence officer, "trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them [did exactly that] early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation." ..."
"... Nothing new. In the '50s CIA was making foreign wars and cultivating chaos at home, and blaming all of it on Russia. In the '80s CIA was cultivating anti-nuke groups to undermine Reagan, and blaming it on Russia. CIA has been the primary wellspring of evil for a long time. ..."
"... Yes you read that right and they are going to the rotten core of this coup against the United States by presenting a report stating that the DNC was "Leaked" not hacked. The real hacking came from President Obama's weaponizing of our intelligence agencies against Russia. ..."
"... The CIA is the USA's secret army, it is not comparable to a real intelligence organization like the British MI5. The CIA is more like WWII SOE, designed to set fire to Europe, Churchill's words. ..."
"... As has been the case for decades the Deep State allows Presidents and legislators to make minor decisions in our government as long as those decisions do not in any way interfere with the Deep State's goals of total world hegemony and increase in overwhelming power and wealth. Those who make the important decisions in this country are not elected. The elected 'officials' are sycophants of the Deep State. ..."
"... The term is appropriated from the use to describe the mutually loyal corps of Ataturkians in the Turkish military and intelligence services who were united in service to uphold the ideal of Ataturkian secular modernisation. The term implies no public accountability or publicity unnecessary to its purposes. ..."
"... The CIA's source, its birth, is from British secret service. Brit spying. And Brit secret service, long before the official founding of MI5, did exactly the kinds of things you note the CIA has done. ..."
"... The Mossad is another direct fruit of Brit secret service, as is the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency. ..."
"... While there can be no doubt about the crackpots in high positions of the most powerful bureaucracies, it seems to me that the CIA loonies are merely shock troops for an even worse bunch of evil psychos, the bankster mafiosi. ..."
"... I am a retired CIA operations officer (something none of the men mentioned by Giraldi are – Brennan was a failed wanna be, couldn't cut it as an ops officer). He is spot on in his comments. The majority of people in the CIA, the ones who do the heavy lifting, are patriotic Americans who are proud of serving their country. I am sure that most voted for Trump as they all know too well the truth about the Clintons and Obama. ..."
"... Giraldi is not the only one to notice the upward progress of the most incompetent yes-men in the Agency. A close look at most of them reveals a track record of little or no operational success balanced by excellent sucking up skills. These characters quickly figured out how to get ahead and doing your job in the field is not it. Of course, most are ego maniacs so they are totally oblivious to their own uselessness. ..."
"... How "Russiagate" began: After the primaries, both Hillary and Donald faced divided political parties even though they had won the nomination. These divisions were worse than the normal situation after contested primaries. On the Democratic side, Hillay had just subverted the will of the voters of her party, who seemed to favor Bernie Sanders over her. Hillay had won with corrupt collusion and rigging amongst the DNC, the higher ranks of the Democratic Party, and major media such as the NYT and CNN. ..."
"... Then, a leak of emails from the DNC HQ publicized her interference in the democratic processes of the Democratic Party. This threatened to ene the Hillary for President campaign right then and there. If the majority of Democrats who'd favored Bernie refused to support Hillary because of her corruption and collusion in denying democracy within the party, she was a sure loser in the fall election. The Hillary camp then immediately started blaming Russia for the exposure of her corruption and rigging of the Democratic process. And that's how "Russiagate" began. ..."
"... Take that bunch of mediocre thinkers, and then make most of them obsessed with their own career advancement above all else. The most dangerous place for a career-obsessed individual is outside the group consensus. ..."
"... So, for instance, Trump should veto the act of war known as the recent sanctions bill. Who cares if it gets overridden? Then he goes back to the voters, who are clearly sick of endless war and who for obvious reasons don't want a nuclear war, and he says this is where I stand. Support me by electing Fill-In-The-Blank to Congress. With the nuclear Doomsday Clock pushing ever closer to midnight, he might just win that fight over the big money and media opposition he's sure to face. ..."
"... Not only has Trump failed to even try to fight the Deep State, but he's also failing to set himself up for success in the next elections. ..."
"... What we are seeing now is The Donald's role in the serial Zionist THEATER. Think deeper about the motive behind Mr. Giraldi's choice to use the Orwellian word "Groupthink" in characterizing the CIA zeitgeist? In the classic work "1984," one observes Big Brother as the catalyst in control of the proles' thought pattern & subsequent action. ..."
"... To rise & FALL as a POTUS is a matter of theater and the American proles are entertained by the political for either 4 or 8 years and the Zionists get their next Chosen actor/actress dramatically sworn in on a bible. ..."
Aug 01, 2017 | www.unz.com

Long ago, when I was a spear carrying middle ranker at CIA, a colleague took me aside and said that he had something to tell me "as a friend," that was very important. He told me that his wife had worked for years in the Agency's Administrative Directorate, as it was then called, where she had noticed that some new officers coming out of the Career Trainee program had red tags on their personnel files. She eventually learned from her boss that the tags represented assessments that those officers had exceptional potential as senior managers. He added, however, that the reverse appeared to be true in practice as they were generally speaking serial failures as they ascended the bureaucratic ladder, even though their careers continued to be onward and upward on paper. My friend's wife concluded, not unreasonably, that only genuine a-holes had what it took to get promoted to the most senior ranks.

I was admittedly skeptical but some recent activity by former and current Directors and Acting Directors of CIA has me wondering if something like my friend's wife's observation about senior management might indeed be true. But it would have to be something other than tagging files, as many of the directors and their deputies did not come up through the ranks and there seems to be a similar strain of lunacy at other U.S. government intelligence agencies. It might be time to check the water supply in the Washington area as there is very definitely something in the kool-aid that is producing odd behavior.

Now I should pause for a moment and accept that the role of intelligence services is to identify potential threats before they become active, so a certain level of acute paranoia goes with the job. But at the same time, one would expect a level of professionalism which would mandate accuracy rather than emotion in assessments coupled with an eschewing of any involvement in the politics of foreign and national security policy formulation. The enthusiasm with which a number of senior CIA personnel have waded into the Trump swamp and have staked out positions that contradict genuine national interests suggests that little has been learned since CIA Director George Tenet sat behind Secretary of State Colin Powell in the UN and nodded sagaciously as Saddam Hussein's high crimes and misdemeanors were falsely enumerated.

Indeed, one can start with Tenet if one wants to create a roster of recent CIA Directors who have lied to permit the White House to engage in a war crime. Tenet and his staff knew better than anyone that the case against Saddam did not hold water, but President George W. Bush wanted his war and, by gum, he was going to get it if the CIA had any say in the matter.

Back then as now, international Islamic terrorism was the name of the game. It kept the money flowing to the national security establishment in the false belief that America was somehow being made "safe." But today the terror narrative has been somewhat supplanted by Russia, which is headed by a contemporary Saddam Hussein in the form of Vladimir Putin. If one believes the media and a majority of congressmen, evil manifest lurks in the gilded halls of the Kremlin. Russia has recently been sanctioned (again) for crimes that are more alleged than demonstrated and President Putin has been selected by the Establishment as the wedge issue that will be used to end President Donald Trump's defiance of the Deep State and all that pertains to it. The intelligence community at its top level would appear to be fully on board with that effort.

The most recent inexplicable comments come from the current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, speaking at the Aspen Institute Security Forum. He began by asserting that Russia had interfered in the U.S. election before saying that the logic behind Russia's Middle Eastern strategy is to stay in place in Syria so Moscow can "stick it to America." He didn't define the "it" so one must assume that "it" stands for any utensil available, ranging from cruise missiles to dinner forks. He then elaborated, somewhat obscurely, that "I think they find anyplace that they can make our lives more difficult, I think they find that something that's useful."

Remarkably, he also said that there is only "minimal evidence" that Russia is even fighting ISIS. The statement is astonishing as Moscow has most definitely been seriously and directly engaged in support of the Syrian Arab Army. Is it possible that the head of the CIA is unaware of that? It just might be that Pompeo is disparaging the effort because the Russians and Syrians have also been fighting against the U.S. backed "moderate rebels." That the moderate rebels are hardly moderate has been known for years and they are also renowned for their ineffectiveness combined with a tendency to defect to more radical groups taking their U.S. provided weapons with them, a combination of factors which led to their being denied any further American support by a presidential decision that was revealed in the press two weeks ago.

Pompeo's predecessor John Brennan is, however, my favorite Agency leader in the category of totally bereft of his senses. In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee back in May, he suggested that some Trump associates might have been recruited by the Russian intelligence service. He testified that "I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. It raised questions in my mind whether or not Russia was able to gain the co-operation of those individuals."

In his testimony, Brennan apparently forgot to mention that the CIA is not supposed to keep tabs on American citizens. Nor did he explain how he had come upon the information in the first place as it had been handed over by foreign intelligence services, including the British, Dutch and Estonians, and at least some of it had been sought or possibly inspired by Brennan unofficially in the first place. Brennan then used that information to request an FBI investigation into a possible Russian operation directed against potential key advisers if Trump were to somehow get nominated and elected, which admittedly was a longshot at the time. That is how Russiagate started.

Brennan is certainly loyal to his cause, whatever that might be. At the same Aspen meeting attended by Pompeo, he told Wolf Blitzer that if Trump were to fire special counsel Robert Mueller government officials should "refuse to carry out" his orders. In other words, they should begin a coup, admittedly non-violent (one presumes), but nevertheless including federal employees uniting to shut the government down.

A lesser known former CIA senior official is John McLaughlin, who briefly served as acting Director in 2004. McLaughlin was particularly outraged by Trump's recent speech to the Boy Scouts, which he described as having the feel "of a third world authoritarian's youth rally." He added that "It gave me the creeps it was like watching the late Venezuelan [President Hugo] Chavez."

And finally, there is Michael Morell, also a former Acting Director, who was closely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign, apparently driven by ambition to become Director in her administration. Morell currently provides commentary for CBS television and is a frequent guest on the Charlie Rose show. Morell considerably raised the ante on Brennan's pre-electoral speculation that there had been some Russian recruitment of Trump people. He observed in August that Putin, a wily ex-career intelligence officer, "trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them [did exactly that] early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump's vulnerabilities In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."

I and others noted at the time that Putin and Trump had never met, not even through proxies, while we also wondered how one could be both unwitting and a recruited agent as intelligence recruitment implies control and taking direction. Morell was non-plussed, unflinching and just a tad sanctimonious in affirming that his own intelligence training (as an analyst who never recruited a spy in his life) meant that "[I] call it as I see it."

One could also cite Michael Hayden and James Clapper, though the latter was not CIA They all basically hew to the same line about Russia, often in more-or-less the same words, even though no actual evidence has been produced to support their claims. That unanimity of thinking is what is peculiar while academics like Stephen Cohen, Stephen Walt, Andrew Bacevich, and John Mearsheimer, who have studied Russia in some depth and understand the country and its leadership far better than a senior CIA officer, detect considerable nuance in what is taking place. They all believe that the hardline policies current in Washington are based on an eagerness to go with the flow on the comforting inside-the- beltway narrative that paints Russia as a threat to vital interests. That unanimity of viewpoint should surprise no one as this is more of less the same government with many of the same people that led the U.S. into Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. They all have a vested interested in the health and well-being of a fully funded national security state.

And the other groupthink that seems to prevail among the senior managers except Pompeo is that they all hate Donald Trump and have done so since long before he won the election. That is somewhat odd, but it perhaps reflects a fear that Trump would interfere with the richly rewarding establishment politics that had enabled their careers. But it does not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of CIA employees. Though it is admittedly unscientific analysis on my part, I know a lot of former and some current CIA employees but do not know a single one who voted for Hillary Clinton. Nearly all voted for Trump.

Beyond that exhibition of tunnel vision and sheer ignorance, the involvement of former senior intelligence officials in politics is itself deplorable and is perhaps symptomatic of the breakdown in the comfortable bipartisan national security consensus that has characterized the past fifty years. Once upon time former CIA officers would retire to the Blue Ridge mountains and raise Labradors, but we are now into something much more dangerous if the intelligence community, which has been responsible for most of the recent leaks, begins to feel free to assert itself from behind the scenes. As Senator Chuck Schumer recently warned "Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community -- they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you."

exiled off mainstreet, August 1, 2017 at 5:06 am GMT

In jumping this fascist nihilist shark, the groupthinkers have closed themselves off from the logical conclusion to their viewpoint, which is final annihilation.

Dan Hayes, August 1, 2017 at 5:47 am GMT

Schumer's statement is true (and probably the only such one in his political career!).

annamaria, August 1, 2017 at 6:03 am GMT

Brennan, Morell, and Pompeo should better find ways to justify their salaries: the U.S. has suffered the greatest breach in cybersecurity on their watch:

" an enormous breach of the United States Security Apparatus by as many as 80 Democrat members of Congress (past and present). We rail on about the Russians and Trump, but t he media avoids providing nightly updates about these 5 spies that have compromised Congress ."

http://investmentwatchblog.com/the-awan-brothers-compromised-at-least-80-congregational-computers-and-got-paid-5-million-to-do-it-we-may-never-know-the-extent-of-the-breach/

"In total, Imran's firm was employed by 31 Democrats in Congress, some of whom held extremely sensitive positions on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Foreign Affair s."

polistra, August 1, 2017 at 6:17 am GMT

Nothing new. In the '50s CIA was making foreign wars and cultivating chaos at home, and blaming all of it on Russia. In the '80s CIA was cultivating anti-nuke groups to undermine Reagan, and blaming it on Russia. CIA has been the primary wellspring of evil for a long time.

Bruce Marshall, August 1, 2017 at 6:39 am GMT

And back to reality we have VIPS Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Yes you read that right and they are going to the rotten core of this coup against the United States by presenting a report stating that the DNC was "Leaked" not hacked. The real hacking came from President Obama's weaponizing of our intelligence agencies against Russia.

That is war, World War Three and it would seem now that Congress is marching that way, but the report below hold the key to fighting back.

http://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2017/2017_30-39/2017-30/pdf/37-41_4430.pdf

One of the VIPS is William Binney fomer NSA Technical Director, an important expert. leading the group is Ray McGovern with some whit and grace, well yes how about some sanity, to which humor is important to the insight and to stay in the sights of what is clever thievery and worse. Much worse, and there is a twinkle in the eye when realize that it is straight forward.

And Congress could stop it tout sweet, but well old habits but they have taken an Oath of Office, so, so what, yeah they did go after Bernie, so will you challenge your elected officials, either do their sworn duty or resign, for what this sanctions bill against Russia and Iran is a declaration of war, not only against Russia and Iran, but a declaration of war against the United States. for there is no reason to do this against Russia when indeed there are great opportunities to get along, but war is the insanity as it is sedition and treason. Tell them that,

https://larouchepac.com/20170731/breaking-lyndon-larouche-crush-british-coup-against-president

Priss Factor, • Website August 1, 2017 at 7:01 am GMT

Moderate Rebels = Toothfairy Rebels

jilles dykstra, August 1, 2017 at 7:21 am GMT

I wonder if groupthink exists. In any organisation people know quite well why the organisation exists, what the threats are to its existence. If they think about this, I wonder.

The CIA is the USA's secret army, it is not comparable to a real intelligence organization like the British MI5. The CIA is more like WWII SOE, designed to set fire to Europe, Churchill's words. If indeed Trump changes USA foreign policy, no longer trying to control the world, the CIA is obsolete, as obsolete as NATO.

animalogic, August 1, 2017 at 7:44 am GMT

" but President George W. Bush wanted his war and, by gum, he was going to get it if the CIA had any say in the matter."

Not to defend the CIA, but didn't Rumsfeld, doubt the enthusiasm of the CIA for providing the slanted, bogus, "sexed up" intelligence the Executive required to make its "destroy Iraq now" case ? So Rumsfeld therefore set up an independent intelligence agency within the Defence Dept to provide/create the required "intelligence" ?

The Alarmist, August 1, 2017 at 7:45 am GMT

I think they find anyplace that they can make our lives more difficult, I think they find that something that's useful."

Yeah, because that's what resource-constrained countries with limited ability to tap the global capital markets do. Methinks Mr. Pompeo is projecting his and the neocons' fantasies on the Russians.

Realist, August 1, 2017 at 10:14 am GMT

As has been the case for decades the Deep State allows Presidents and legislators to make minor decisions in our government as long as those decisions do not in any way interfere with the Deep State's goals of total world hegemony and increase in overwhelming power and wealth. Those who make the important decisions in this country are not elected. The elected 'officials' are sycophants of the Deep State.

CalDre, August 1, 2017 at 10:43 am GMT

If only Trump would really clean the swamp – particularly the neo-cons and other traitors and globalists. One can dream .

Wizard of Oz, August 1, 2017 at 11:04 am GMT

Being resistant to jargon and catch phrases it is only slowly that I have accepted that "Deep State" is not entirely pretentious waffle when used to describe aspects of the US. However I may not be your only reader PG who would appreciate a clear explanatory description of the American Deep State and how it works.

Here are some suggested parameters.

The term is appropriated from the use to describe the mutually loyal corps of Ataturkians in the Turkish military and intelligence services who were united in service to uphold the ideal of Ataturkian secular modernisation. The term implies no public accountability or publicity unnecessary to its purposes.
And its origins imply that it is not just one in a number of major influences ln government or those who vote for it.

So one has to acknowledge that in the US the Deep State has to be different in the important respect that levers of power are observably wielded by lobbies for the aged, gun owners and sellers, Israel, Wall Street, bio fuels, sugar and other ag, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, the arms industry, Disney and other Hollywood and media, health insurers and the medical profession, and I could go on.

These are all relevant to legal events like votes on impeachment or to hold up appointments. The CIA and FBI together completely united (and note how disunited 9/11 showed them to be) wouldn't remotely approach the old Turkish Deep State's ability to stage a coup. Are all of the putative elements of the Deep State together today as powerful as J.Edgar Hoover with his dirt files on everyone? (A contrast and compare exercise of today's presumed Deep State configuration and modus operandi with the simpler Hoover days might shine some light on who does what and how today. And how effectively).

To avoid lack of focus can a convincing account of the US Deep State be best given in terms of a plausible scenario for

  1. getting rid of Trump as President and/or
  2. maintaining the lunacy and hubris which has the US wasting its substance on totally unnecessary antagonistic relations with China and Russia and interference in the ME?

I would read such accounts with great interest. (Handwavers need not apply).

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 11:26 am GMT

Of course the US Deep State must hate Russia. First, Jews have a very long history of hating Russia and Russians. That never changed. The USSR was not Russia; the USSR was Marxism replacing Russia. Jews tended to love that. Rich Jews from across the world, from the US and the UK of most interest to us, sent money to support the Bolshevik Revolution.

Russia managed to survive the USSR and is slowly coming back around to Russian common sense from the Christian perspective. Neither Jews nor their WASP BFFs can ever forgive that. They want Russia to act now to commit cultural and genetic suicide, like Western Europe and the entire Anglosphere are doing.

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 11:32 am GMT

@polistra The CIA's source, its birth, is from British secret service. Brit spying. And Brit secret service, long before the official founding of MI5, did exactly the kinds of things you note the CIA has done.

The Mossad is another direct fruit of Brit secret service, as is the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency.

jacques sheete, August 1, 2017 at 11:36 am GMT

While there can be no doubt about the crackpots in high positions of the most powerful bureaucracies, it seems to me that the CIA loonies are merely shock troops for an even worse bunch of evil psychos, the bankster mafiosi.

We should always keep that in mind.

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 11:37 am GMT

@CalDre If only

But doing so would mean a voluntary end to playing the role of Sauron, determined to find and wear the One Ring to Rule Them All. The average Elite WASP, and his Jewish BFF, definitely would prefer to destroy the world, at least outside their gated compounds of endless luxury, than to step down from that level of global domination.

Philip Giraldi, August 1, 2017 at 12:02 pm GMT

@Wizard of Oz Wiz – Here is an article I did on the Deep State two years ago. It was one of the first in the US media looking at the issue. It would have to be updated now in light of Trump, but much of what it states is still more-or-less correct.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/deep-state-america/

Jake, August 1, 2017 at 12:09 pm GMT

@jacques sheete Yes, indeed.

But we need to make certain that your use of the word 'mafiosi' does not lead anyone to assume that group has more than a handful of Italians. Jews, WASPs, and continental Germanics each will outnumber Italians by at least 30 to 1.

Chris Bridges, August 1, 2017 at 12:46 pm GMT

I am a retired CIA operations officer (something none of the men mentioned by Giraldi are – Brennan was a failed wanna be, couldn't cut it as an ops officer). He is spot on in his comments. The majority of people in the CIA, the ones who do the heavy lifting, are patriotic Americans who are proud of serving their country. I am sure that most voted for Trump as they all know too well the truth about the Clintons and Obama.

Giraldi is not the only one to notice the upward progress of the most incompetent yes-men in the Agency. A close look at most of them reveals a track record of little or no operational success balanced by excellent sucking up skills. These characters quickly figured out how to get ahead and doing your job in the field is not it. Of course, most are ego maniacs so they are totally oblivious to their own uselessness.

Well before he was elected I had a letter delivered to President Trump in which I outlined in detail what would happen to him if he did not immediately purge the CIA of these assholes. I know that at least some people on his staff read it but, of course, my advice was ignored. Trump has paid dearly for not listening to an ordinary CIA guy who wanted to give him a reality brief on those vicious snakes.

Proud_Srbin, August 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm GMT

Historical facts teach humanity that Anglo-Saxon group of Nations was built on slavery, thuggery and theft of other peace loving Civilizations. We Slavs are the New "niggers", hate is the glue that holds you "toGether".
People of color have been successfully conditioned and practice it as well.
Time will tell how well it holds when balloon bursts and 99% gets called to serve as cannon fodder.
Terrorizing UNARMED and WEAKER is not true test of "superiority" and "exceptionalism".
Tiny, extremely tiny minority of Anglo-Saxons and Satraps understand this.

Bernie voter, August 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm GMT

How "Russiagate" began: After the primaries, both Hillary and Donald faced divided political parties even though they had won the nomination. These divisions were worse than the normal situation after contested primaries. On the Democratic side, Hillay had just subverted the will of the voters of her party, who seemed to favor Bernie Sanders over her. Hillay had won with corrupt collusion and rigging amongst the DNC, the higher ranks of the Democratic Party, and major media such as the NYT and CNN.

Then, a leak of emails from the DNC HQ publicized her interference in the democratic processes of the Democratic Party. This threatened to ene the Hillary for President campaign right then and there. If the majority of Democrats who'd favored Bernie refused to support Hillary because of her corruption and collusion in denying democracy within the party, she was a sure loser in the fall election. The Hillary camp then immediately started blaming Russia for the exposure of her corruption and rigging of the Democratic process. And that's how "Russiagate" began.

Beauracratic Mind, August 1, 2017 at 1:42 pm GMT

@jacques sheete

I wonder if groupthink exists.

It probably does as do group psychoses and group fantasies.. Anyone who's ever served in a beuaracracy knows that groupthink exists.

Take a bunch of mediocre minds. And, they do exist, as Garrison Keiler once famously made a joke out of with his line Welcome to Lake Woebegone, where all the children are above average.

Take that bunch of mediocre thinkers, and then make most of them obsessed with their own career advancement above all else. The most dangerous place for a career-obsessed individual is outside the group consensus. If everyone is wrong, then there is safety in the group. After all, if they are wrong, so was everyone else in the organization. Thus they are immune to attack and censure for being wrong. But if someone takes a position outside of the group consensus, that can be a career-ending move if they are wrong, as now everyone else will be in the I-told-U-So camp. And even if they are correct, they will still be hated and shunned just for being the person who pointed out to the group that they are wrong.

So, you take your typical average mind, and not only do they not have any great insights of their own, but they tend to stick to the group out of sheer survival and then when you take a mass of these mediocre minds you have 'groupthink'.

Eticon, August 1, 2017 at 2:00 pm GMT

@CalDre

If only Trump would really clean the swamp - particularly the neo-cons and other traitors and globalists. One can dream ....

What we've learned from Trump is that 'Draining the Swamp' will take more than an individual. It will take a political movement.

One sees this on the fringes of politics. Someone gets the idea of running for President, and they point out all that is wrong. But, they focus only on their own campaign, their own goal, and they thus gloss over the fact that they'll be outnumbered and powerless even if they win.

Seen this often on the Left. The most recent example is Bernie Sanders. Likewise, had Bernie been elected President, he too would face an entrenched establishment and media with only a small fraction of the Congress supporting him.

Change has to be built from the bottom up. There are no shortcuts. Electing a Trump, or a Nader or a Bernie does not lead to real change. Step one is to build the political movement such that it has real voting block power and which has already won voting majorities in the legislature before the movement achieves the election of a President.

What Trump has needed to be doing for this first two years is to form clear divisions that he could then take to his voters in the mid-term elections. He's needed to lay out his own agenda. So what if he loses votes in Congress? He then takes that agenda back to the voters in 2018 with a nationwide slate of Congressional candidates who support that agenda and runs a midterm campaign asking the voters to help him drain that swamp.

So, for instance, Trump should veto the act of war known as the recent sanctions bill. Who cares if it gets overridden? Then he goes back to the voters, who are clearly sick of endless war and who for obvious reasons don't want a nuclear war, and he says this is where I stand. Support me by electing Fill-In-The-Blank to Congress. With the nuclear Doomsday Clock pushing ever closer to midnight, he might just win that fight over the big money and media opposition he's sure to face.

Not only has Trump failed to even try to fight the Deep State, but he's also failing to set himself up for success in the next elections.

ChuckOrloski, August 1, 2017 at 2:19 pm GMT

@Jake Hey Jake,

It is a serious error to consider President Trump "naive."

What we are seeing now is The Donald's role in the serial Zionist THEATER. Think deeper about the motive behind Mr. Giraldi's choice to use the Orwellian word "Groupthink" in characterizing the CIA zeitgeist? In the classic work "1984," one observes Big Brother as the catalyst in control of the proles' thought pattern & subsequent action.

To rise & FALL as a POTUS is a matter of theater and the American proles are entertained by the political for either 4 or 8 years and the Zionists get their next Chosen actor/actress dramatically sworn in on a bible.

Mr. Trump is neither naive nor stupid. Sheldon Adelson would not donate $millioms to any POTUS wannabe who could not effectively lead the American Groupthink tradition. Subsequently, the political horror show is brought to you in the understandable form of the perpetually elusive Deep State which gets annual Academy Award.

Beware the fake, Jake!,

[Apr 22, 2019] John Helmer The Julian Assange Case Now Puts the US on Trial in a British Court Is There a Get-Out-of-Jail Card for Assange

Apr 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

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In War the First Victim is the Truth , April 22, 2019 at 3:45 am

Since the US war machine agencies sees Assange as their enemy, this is a case that should be understood in the context of the three-letter agencies machinations, e.g. Six-Eyes. In relation to these, UK is just a puppet and a poodle. UK has always been the first to jump on the bombing wagon when US so has ordered them.

The cases about Russian fraudsters are not good cases, since the UK-Russian relations have been strained to say the least. Not extraditing the Russian fraudsters is just to slap Russian authorities in the face, not a proof of independence.

Moreover, her husband James Arbuthnot served as Chairman of the Defence Select Committee (oversees the operations of the Ministry of Defence and its associated public bodies, including the armed forces) from 2005 to 2014

Oh , April 22, 2019 at 11:07 am

I too, am not convinced that Judge Arbuthnot will rule in favor of Assange. The anti Russian posture of the UK along with the Puppy Dog mentality will probably result in his being extradited. The fact that the Ecuador government was swayed by a large loan is already a sign of the Empire's reach.

Doggrotter , April 22, 2019 at 4:09 am

Thanks for that. Shedding some light where there is precious little

Laws for Me and Laws for You , April 22, 2019 at 4:36 am

Also, after having had to learn new-speak about just about everything at least since the Saddam and WMD I think the cued message "no one is above the law" gives it all away: Assange will get absolutely zero protection by the law.

Pavel , April 22, 2019 at 6:46 am

And giving us some hope where there is precious little thank you.

Let's pray that Julian is at least getting some much-needed medical care whilst in the UK prison but who knows how they are treating him?

Clive , April 22, 2019 at 6:56 am

Not especially well, most likely. Not only is prisoners' mental health poorly monitored, there isn't even serious measures in place to start monitoring it.

The only saving grace is as a cause célèbre, he will get the best legal representation possible.

Winston Smith , April 22, 2019 at 7:31 am

I suppose the swedish case is of no importance in realtion to US wishess then?

Harrold , April 22, 2019 at 10:42 am

I believe that the women who were involved with Julian have tried to end the case several times.

Empire of Pain , April 22, 2019 at 12:14 pm

Sweden is a far cry from safe haven. They have extradited people before on the demand from US, straight to the torture chambers

https://www.hrw.org/news/2006/11/09/sweden-violated-torture-ban-cia-rendition

The Rev Kev , April 22, 2019 at 9:28 am

I can imagine the any good defense counsel will turn the court into a Roman holiday by putting both the Swedish and US legal systems under scrutiny. The Swedes were screwing with their own laws to get Assange and refused year after year to interview Assange so they may have to justify their conduct here. The Swedish Ministry of Justice may find it very awkward answering for their conduct for all those years on the stand under oath.
With the US it may get more intense as the defense may argue against sending Assange to the US as it is a torture state. Remember, a torturer has been made head of the CIA. They may also bring up the treatment of Chelsea Manning and Maria Butina. The United Nations defines as torture putting people into solitary for more than 15 days and both those people have spent a considerable more length of time than that. Add in other facts and that court room may get rather heated.
Even if Assange gets off, where can he go? If he tried to fly out of the UK the US would send fighters up to force it to land at a US base. They did that with the Bolivian president's plane because they thought that Snowden may have been aboard. And don't forget that extraordinary rendition is still a thing. I am not even sure that a Sander's presidency would make any difference here. I doubt that Justice Arbuthnot is the sort of person to order Assange taken from Court and sent to the nearest airport for a flight to the US so I expect this to be drawn out over years.

Heliopause , April 22, 2019 at 2:14 pm

Assange would certainly be a target for more extreme elements in the US deep state (smarter ones would realize, moral considerations aside, that killing or rendering him would be bad PR). So I've been thinking for a while that if he were to be set free there wouldn't be a truly safe place for him anywhere on the planet. I doubt that Russia or China want anything to do with him, and even if they took him he'd be subject to the whims of the government (as with Ecuador). I was thinking maybe Kim Dotcom's estate in New Zealand (assuming that Dotcom himself isn't extradited to the US), where he'd be with a like-minded benefactor and under heavy security, but that too would be subject to the whims of the government.

Matthew G. Saroff , April 22, 2019 at 9:28 am

How will the case change if Brexit is completed, which might mean that the European human rights convention being rendered moot?

Clive , April 22, 2019 at 11:25 am

The European Convention on Human Rights , to which I think you are referring, is not an EU treaty.

But it is, like so much else, bound up in matters Brexit and the most rabidly anti-Europe rabble rousers want to leave that, too.

The U.K. can't leave the Convention while it is an EU member State. But if/when it isn't, it can. That's a separate process, however.

juliania , April 22, 2019 at 10:33 am

Thanks for this. The attention being paid to this case is well warranted, since it has to do with historical matters from the conduct of the Iraq war onward. The British courts have the opportunity to address issues that have lain festering with respect to freedom of the press in a manner which has potentially the power of accountability few such occasions have proven themselves able to accomplish heretofore. World attention will be focused, not merely on the person of Julian Assange, but on the activities of governments in the present era.

We should all rise above our immediate concerns and pay attention. The world and our younger generations especially are watching. This is for them.

Listner2 , April 22, 2019 at 11:23 am

The issues here, my perspective, are "Wikileaks is a terrorist organization" (U.S. Attorneys demanding extradition) Wikileaks, "I love Wikileaks" (Donald Trump, supposed leader of the U.S.on film no less) The message is this; You can distribute damaging information about the U.S. government under the guise of a journalist. You may NOT steal that information either through electronic means or any other method. After careful thought, I think we should steal the Mueller report, distribute the good parts, then head to Ecuador and do some haggling about a spot in the embassy, no ? That's a joke friends. We really DO need humor now !

Susan the other` , April 22, 2019 at 3:28 pm

for the US Gov to maintain a legal position in this day and age of zero privacy for you and twist it around so that it is illegal to "steal" information is too rich for my blood. The US Gov has all the info it ever wanted on everyone and everything. Yet somehow it is illegal to have reciprocal information. So that's one big bad. Another is the very concept of illegal. Illegal is only illegal if it is caught in most cases. In government affairs however, it should not be so. The government is answerable to us and we need to go back to square one and establish that fact. Julian Assange was in the process of doing that in his own way, as are most journalists, but he hit a very raw nerve and now they are going to make him pay for it. It is a travesty of both justice and "government".

Susan the other` , April 22, 2019 at 3:42 pm

And there are all the usual sneaky sleaze balls lined up to get Assange. From the infuriated democrats to the terrified republicans. Look at the mix. Brett Kavanaugh, Wm. Barr, to Nancy Pelosi; John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, – there isn't one familiar face standing up for Assange. Even Bernie doesn't go overboard. The stakes are so high that we are now in a nasty trade war with the EU to see who can rat out the other faster. And it is a good cover for Nancy Pelosi to act like she is defending our "sacred institutions" (please spare me Nancy) and go to London and give a speech that the UK "cannot count on a trade deal with the US" when it goes full Brexit. She's acting like she's a friend of Ireland. But this is the first I ever heard of it. I think what Nancy is saying is that if the UK doesn't toe the line with Assange the US won't do a trade deal at all. I've never seen Nancy expose her inner Nancy so emphatically. And recently Bolton told the ICC to just fuck straight off – they would never have jurisdiction over our leaders (primarily it is the Bushes is who we are talking about here). It's a showdown. Chickens coming home in a big clucking rush.

dearieme , April 22, 2019 at 11:38 am

If I were Arbuthnot I think I might decree "This bloody man has already been locked up for seven years. He should now go free. Meantime I urge Her Majesty's Government to attempt to obtain financial redress from the Swedish government for the cost of this nonsense."

Big Tap , April 22, 2019 at 1:36 pm

Australia should ask the U.K. for extradition of Assange. Probably not going to happen.

Heliopause , April 22, 2019 at 2:17 pm

If Assange is extradited the game might not be up even then. I assume he still has cards to play in terms of making a deal, as with the Vault 7 releases.

[Apr 22, 2019] The US regime of total surveillance and Assange

Notable quotes:
"... I assume he still has cards to play in terms of making a deal, as with the Vault 7 releases. ..."
Apr 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The relase of Valut 7 files is probably the biggerst achivement of Asssanege. It really shows how nasty the govermnet can behave and how vulnerable are consumer systems; essentially transperat for eacdropping.

It also stimulated drive for offf-line storage of sensitive information, such as tax returns and such and usage of a separate computer for financial transactions.


Susan the other` , April 22, 2019 at 3:28 pm

for the US Gov to maintain a legal position in this day and age of zero privacy for you and twist it around so that it is illegal to "steal" information is too rich for my blood. The US Gov has all the info it ever wanted on everyone and everything.

Yet somehow it is illegal to have reciprocal information. So that's one big bad.

Another is the very concept of illegal. Illegal is only illegal if it is caught in most cases.

In government affairs however, it should not be so. The government is answerable to us and we need to go back to square one and establish that fact.

Julian Assange was in the process of doing that in his own way, as are most journalists, but he hit a very raw nerve and now they are going to make him pay for it. It is a travesty of both justice and "government".

Susan the other` , April 22, 2019 at 3:42 pm

And there are all the usual sneaky sleaze balls lined up to get Assange. From the infuriated democrats to the terrified republicans. Look at the mix. Brett Kavanaugh, Wm. Barr, to Nancy Pelosi; John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, – there isn't one familiar face standing up for Assange. Even Bernie doesn't go overboard. The stakes are so high that we are now in a nasty trade war with the EU to see who can rat out the other faster.

And it is a good cover for Nancy Pelosi to act like she is defending our "sacred institutions" (please spare me Nancy) and go to London and give a speech that the UK "cannot count on a trade deal with the US" when it goes full Brexit. She's acting like she's a friend of Ireland. But this is the first I ever heard of it. I think what Nancy is saying is that if the UK doesn't toe the line with Assange the US won't do a trade deal at all. I've never seen Nancy expose her inner Nancy so emphatically. And recently Bolton told the ICC to just fuck straight off – they would never have jurisdiction over our leaders (primarily it is the Bushes is who we are talking about here). It's a showdown. Chickens coming home in a big clucking rush.

Heliopause , April 22, 2019 at 2:17 pm

If Assange is extradited the game might not be up even then. I assume he still has cards to play in terms of making a deal, as with the Vault 7 releases.

[Apr 21, 2019] Escobar The Deep State Vs. WikiLeaks by Pepe Escobar

Notable quotes:
"... John Pilger, among few others, has already stressed how a plan to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was laid out as far back as 2008 – at the tail end of the Cheney regime – concocted by the Pentagon's shady Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch. ..."
"... But it was only in 2017, in the Trump era, that the Deep State went totally ballistic; that's when WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files – detailing the CIA's vast hacking/cyber espionage repertoire. ..."
"... This was the CIA as a Naked Emperor like never before – including the dodgy overseeing ops of the Center for Cyber Intelligence, an ultra-secret NSA counterpart. ..."
"... The monolithic narrative by the Deep State faction aligned with the Clinton machine was that "the Russians" hacked the DNC servers. Assange was always adamant; that was not the work of a state actor – and he could prove it technically. ..."
"... The DoJ wanted a deal – and they did make an offer to WikiLeaks. But then FBI director James Comey killed it. The question is why. ..."
"... Some theoretically sound reconstructions of Comey's move are available. But the key fact is Comey already knew – via his close connections to the top of the DNC – that this was not a hack; it was a leak. ..."
"... Ambassador Craig Murray has stressed, over and over again (see here ) how the DNC/Podesta files published by WikiLeaks came from two different US sources; one from within the DNC and the other from within US intel. ..."
"... he release by WikiLeaks in April 2017 of the malware mechanisms inbuilt in "Grasshopper" and the "Marble Framework" were indeed a bombshell. This is how the CIA inserts foreign language strings in source code to disguise them as originating from Russia, from Iran, or from China. The inestimable Ray McGovern, a VIPS member, stressed how Marble Framework "destroys this story about Russian hacking." ..."
"... No wonder then CIA director Mike Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of being a "non-state hostile intelligence agency" ..."
"... Joshua Schulte, the alleged leaker of Vault 7, has not faced a US court yet. There's no question he will be offered a deal by the USG if he aggress to testify against Julian Assange. ..."
"... George Galloway has a guest who explains it all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VvPFMyPvHM&t=8s ..."
"... Escobar is brain dead if he can't figure out that Trumpenstein is totally on board with destroying Assange. As if bringing on pukes like PompAss, BoltON, and Abrams doesn't scream it. ..."
Apr 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Made-by-FBI indictment of Julian Assange does look like a dead man walking. No evidence. No documents. No surefire testimony. Just a crossfire of conditionals...

But never underestimate the legalese contortionism of US government (USG) functionaries. As much as Assange may not be characterized as a journalist and publisher, the thrust of the affidavit is to accuse him of conspiring to commit espionage.

In fact the charge is not even that Assange hacked a USG computer and obtained classified information; it's that he may have discussed it with Chelsea Manning and may have had the intention to go for a hack. Orwellian-style thought crime charges don't get any better than that. Now the only thing missing is an AI software to detect them.

https://www.rt.com/shows/going-underground/456414-assange-wkileaks-asylum-london/video/5cb1c797dda4c822558b463f

Assange legal adviser Geoffrey Robertson – who also happens to represent another stellar political prisoner, Brazil's Lula – cut straight to the chase (at 19:22 minutes);

"The justice he is facing is justice, or injustice, in America I would hope the British judges would have enough belief in freedom of information to throw out the extradition request."

That's far from a done deal. Thus the inevitable consequence; Assange's legal team is getting ready to prove, no holds barred, in a British court, that this USG indictment for conspiracy to commit computer hacking is just an hors d'oeuvre for subsequent espionage charges, in case Assange is extradited to US soil.

All about Vault 7

John Pilger, among few others, has already stressed how a plan to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was laid out as far back as 2008 – at the tail end of the Cheney regime – concocted by the Pentagon's shady Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch.

It was all about criminalizing WikiLeaks and personally smearing Assange, using "shock troops enlisted in the media -- those who are meant to keep the record straight and tell us the truth."

This plan remains more than active – considering how Assange's arrest has been covered by the bulk of US/UK mainstream media.

By 2012, already in the Obama era, WikiLeaks detailed the astonishing "scale of the US Grand Jury Investigation" of itself. The USG always denied such a grand jury existed.

"The US Government has stood up and coordinated a joint interagency criminal investigation of Wikileaks comprised of a partnership between the Department of Defense (DOD) including: CENTCOM; SOUTHCOM; the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA); Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA); US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) for USFI (US Forces Iraq) and 1st Armored Division (AD); US Army Computer Crimes Investigative Unit (CCIU); 2nd Army (US Army Cyber Command); Within that or in addition, three military intelligence investigations were conducted. Department of Justice (DOJ) Grand Jury and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of State (DOS) and Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). In addition, Wikileaks has been investigated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Office of the National CounterIntelligence Executive (ONCIX), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); the House Oversight Committee; the National Security Staff Interagency Committee, and the PIAB (President's Intelligence Advisory Board)."

But it was only in 2017, in the Trump era, that the Deep State went totally ballistic; that's when WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files – detailing the CIA's vast hacking/cyber espionage repertoire.

This was the CIA as a Naked Emperor like never before – including the dodgy overseeing ops of the Center for Cyber Intelligence, an ultra-secret NSA counterpart.

WikiLeaks got Vault 7 in early 2017. At the time WikiLeaks had already published the DNC files – which the unimpeachable Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) systematically proved was a leak, not a hack.

The monolithic narrative by the Deep State faction aligned with the Clinton machine was that "the Russians" hacked the DNC servers. Assange was always adamant; that was not the work of a state actor – and he could prove it technically.

There was some movement towards a deal, brokered by one of Assange's lawyers; WikiLeaks would not publish the most damning Vault 7 information in exchange for Assange's safe passage to be interviewed by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

The DoJ wanted a deal – and they did make an offer to WikiLeaks. But then FBI director James Comey killed it. The question is why.

It's a leak, not a hack

Some theoretically sound reconstructions of Comey's move are available. But the key fact is Comey already knew – via his close connections to the top of the DNC – that this was not a hack; it was a leak.

Ambassador Craig Murray has stressed, over and over again (see here ) how the DNC/Podesta files published by WikiLeaks came from two different US sources; one from within the DNC and the other from within US intel.

There was nothing for Comey to "investigate". Or there would have, if Comey had ordered the FBI to examine the DNC servers. So why talk to Julian Assange?

T he release by WikiLeaks in April 2017 of the malware mechanisms inbuilt in "Grasshopper" and the "Marble Framework" were indeed a bombshell. This is how the CIA inserts foreign language strings in source code to disguise them as originating from Russia, from Iran, or from China. The inestimable Ray McGovern, a VIPS member, stressed how Marble Framework "destroys this story about Russian hacking."

No wonder then CIA director Mike Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of being a "non-state hostile intelligence agency", usually manipulated by Russia.

Joshua Schulte, the alleged leaker of Vault 7, has not faced a US court yet. There's no question he will be offered a deal by the USG if he aggress to testify against Julian Assange.

It's a long and winding road, to be traversed in at least two years, if Julian Assange is ever to be extradited to the US. Two things for the moment are already crystal clear. The USG is obsessed to shut down WikiLeaks once and for all. And because of that, Julian Assange will never get a fair trial in the "so-called 'Espionage Court'" of the Eastern District of Virginia, as detailed by former CIA counterterrorism officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou.

Meanwhile, the non-stop demonization of Julian Assange will proceed unabated, faithful to guidelines established over a decade ago. Assange is even accused of being a US intel op, and WikiLeaks a splinter Deep State deep cover op.

Maybe President Trump will maneuver the hegemonic Deep State into having Assange testify against the corruption of the DNC; or maybe Trump caved in completely to "hostile intelligence agency" Pompeo and his CIA gang baying for blood. It's all ultra-high-stakes shadow play – and the show has not even begun.


JailBanksters , 40 minutes ago link

Not to mention the Pentagram has silenced 100,000 whistleblower complaints by Intimidation, threats, money or accidents over 5 years . A Whistleblower only does this when know there is something seriously wrong. Just Imagine how many knew something was wrong but looked the other way.

ExPat2018 , 47 minutes ago link

George Galloway has a guest who explains it all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VvPFMyPvHM&t=8s

Betrayed , 2 hours ago link

Maybe President Trump will maneuver the hegemonic Deep State into having Assange testify against the corruption of the DNC; or maybe Trump caved in completely to "hostile intelligence agency" Pompeo and his CIA gang baying for blood.

Escobar is brain dead if he can't figure out that Trumpenstein is totally on board with destroying Assange. As if bringing on pukes like PompAss, BoltON, and Abrams doesn't scream it.

besnook , 2 hours ago link

assange and wikileaks are the real criminals despite being crimeless. the **** is a sanctioned criminal, allowed to be criminal with the system because the rest of the sanctioned criminals would be exposed if she was investigated.

this is not the rule of laws. this is the law of rulers.

_triplesix_ , 2 hours ago link

Anyone seen Imran Awan lately?

Four chan , 34 minutes ago link

yeah those ***** go free because they got everything on the stupid dems and they are muslim.

assange exposes the podesta dws and clinton fraud against bernie voters+++ and hes the bad guy. yeah right

hillary clinton murdered seth rich sure as **** too.

[Apr 21, 2019] Is the CIA Reformable by Melvin A. Goodman

Notable quotes:
"... The debate over whether Snowden was a traitor is fatuous. As a result of Snowden's revelations, we learned that the National Security Agency logged domestic phone calls and emails for years, recorded the metadata of correspondence between Americans, and, in some cases, exploited the content of emails. The case against Private Manning was similarly fatuous. Manning provided evidence of the US cover-up of torture by our Iraqi allies; a US Army helicopter opening fire on a group of civilians, including two Reuters journalists; and the use of an air strike to cover up the execution of civilians. Some of these acts were war crimes. ..."
"... According to US law, the term "whistleblower" applies to anyone who "reasonably believes" he or she is disclosing a violation of law or gross mismanagement, gross waste, or abuse of authority. My testimony documented for the first time the intentional distortion of intelligence by CIA director William Casey and Deputy Director Gates in order to serve the agenda of Ronald Reagan and his administration. ..."
"... Being a contrarian was easy and natural for me. In fact, no one should think about entering the intelligence profession without good contrarian instincts. Such instincts would include an innate skepticism, the doubting of conventional wisdom and a willingness to challenge authority, which translates to an ability to tell truth to power. These contrarian instincts are essential to the success of any intelligence organization. As Rogers and Hammerstein would have it, it was "doing what comes naturally!" ..."
"... My book The Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA was the first insider account from an intelligence analyst regarding the skewed and politicized assessments of the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence -- the Agency's analytic arm. I also exposed the strategic failure of covert actions that were never intended to be a part of President Harry Truman's CIA ..."
"... The political pliancy of these directors fully compromised the intelligence mission of the CIA, and it was political pliancy that made directors such as Gates and Tenet so attractive to Presidents Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. ..."
"... In December 1963, less than a month after the assassination of President Kennedy, Truman wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post to document the wrongs of the CIA He concluded that his efforts to "create the quiet intelligence arm of the Presidency" had been subverted by a "sinister" and "mysterious" agency that was conducting far too many clandestine activities in peacetime. I lectured at the Truman Library in the summer of 2014, and found a note in Truman's hand that stated the CIA was not designed to "initiate policy or to act as a spy organization. That was never the intention when it was organized." ..."
"... In The Failure of Intelligence , I documented the CIA's resistance to reform and the corruption in both the analytical and operational directorates. I made a case for starting over at the CIA, not dissimilar from the case made by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan 25 years ago as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Not every agency or department of government can be reformed, and it is possible that the intricate web of habits, procedures, and culture places the CIA in the non-reformable category. Once the political culture of an institution such as the CIA has been broken, it is extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- to rebuild or repair it. ..."
Jul 21, 2017 | www.truth-out.org

The CIA's mission has gone dangerously and lethally astray, argues Melvin A. Goodman, former CIA intelligence analyst.

Whistleblower at the CIA tells the story of the corruption Melvin A. Goodman observed within the intelligence agency and what he did to expose it. NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake says this book "serves in the public interest as a warning and wake-up call for what's at stake and why we cannot trust the CIA or the intelligence establishment to do the right thing." Click here to order a copy today by making a donation to Truthout!

In this excerpt, , former CIA intelligence analyst Melvin A. Goodman ponders the meanings of the words whistleblower, dissident and contrarian, how they apply to himself and others, and whether the CIA can ever be repaired or rebuilt.

Whistleblowers. Dissidents. Contrarians.

The terms are used synonymously by pundits and the public, and I've been all three at one time or another in order to expose improprieties and illegalities in the secret government, and to inform the American public of policies that compromise the freedom and security of US citizens and weaken US standing in the global community.

I have never liked the terms contrarian or dissident. I've always believed that my criticism should be conventional wisdom. The term whistleblower is more complex because it often raises questions of patriotism or sedition. Chelsea Manning received commutation from her 35-year prison sentence for revealing so-called secrets that documented the terror and violence of the baseless US war in Iraq. Members of the Bush administration who launched the invasion of Iraq in 2003 are considered honorable members of our society, although their acts involved the corruption of intelligence; caused the death of thousands of US soldiers and foreign civilians; terrorized civilian populations; perpetrated the criminal use of torture and abuse; sanctioned use of secret prisons and extraordinary rendition; and caused the destabilization of the region that has set the stage for strategic advances by Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Edward Snowden, if he had remained in the United States, would have faced an even longer prison sentence because he revealed the massive NSA surveillance program that was illegal and immoral, and that violated the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal seizures and searches. Manning and Snowden admit to breaking US laws, but their actions were never as serious as the law-breaking, including massive violations of privacy, that they exposed.

The debate over whether Snowden was a traitor is fatuous. As a result of Snowden's revelations, we learned that the National Security Agency logged domestic phone calls and emails for years, recorded the metadata of correspondence between Americans, and, in some cases, exploited the content of emails. The case against Private Manning was similarly fatuous. Manning provided evidence of the US cover-up of torture by our Iraqi allies; a US Army helicopter opening fire on a group of civilians, including two Reuters journalists; and the use of an air strike to cover up the execution of civilians. Some of these acts were war crimes.

There is no more compelling evidence of the unconscionable behavior of US personnel in Iraq than the callous dialogue between the crew members of the helicopter regarding the civilian deaths and particularly the firing on those Iraqis who came to recover the dead bodies of Iraqi civilians. Manning's documents exposed this behavior, but her efforts were ridiculed by former secretary of defense Robert Gates, who described it as examining war by "looking through a straw."

To make matters worse, American journalists have criticized their colleagues (Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and Glenn Greenwald [then of The Guardian]) who brought the Snowden-Manning revelations to the attention of the public. David Gregory, then host of the venerable "Meet the Press" on NBC, asked Greenwald "to the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden ... why shouldn't you ... be charged with a crime?"

Jeffrey Toobin, a lawyer who labors for CNN and The New Yorker, called Snowden a "grandiose narcissist who belongs in prison" and referred to Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, who was detained by British authorities for nine hours under anti-terror laws, the equivalent of a "drug mule."

The king of calumny is Michael Grunwald, a senior correspondent for Time, who wrote on Twitter that he couldn't "wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange." The New York Times also targeted Assange, although the paper cooperated with WikiLeaks in 2010 in publishing reams of information from Private Manning's revelations. Of course, if Time or the New York Times had broken these stories, they would have built new shelves to hold their Pulitzer Prizes.

Their hypocrisy was exposed by David Carr of the New York Times, who expressed shock at finding Assange and Greenwald "under attack, not just from a government bent on keeping its secrets, but from friendly fire by fellow journalists."

I didn't reveal abuses as great as those revealed by Manning and Snowden or Daniel Ellsberg, but I do claim status as a whistleblower because of my revelations before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during confirmation hearings for Bob Gates, who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 to be director of central intelligence.

According to US law, the term "whistleblower" applies to anyone who "reasonably believes" he or she is disclosing a violation of law or gross mismanagement, gross waste, or abuse of authority. My testimony documented for the first time the intentional distortion of intelligence by CIA director William Casey and Deputy Director Gates in order to serve the agenda of Ronald Reagan and his administration.

Bob Gates was an old friend, but the friendship ended when he routinely distorted intelligence throughout the 1980s as deputy director for intelligence and deputy director of the CIA In destroying the political culture of the CIA, he created a toxic and corrupt environment at the Agency, and the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA detention and torture reminds us that the Agency hasn't recovered.

Being a contrarian was easy and natural for me. In fact, no one should think about entering the intelligence profession without good contrarian instincts. Such instincts would include an innate skepticism, the doubting of conventional wisdom and a willingness to challenge authority, which translates to an ability to tell truth to power. These contrarian instincts are essential to the success of any intelligence organization. As Rogers and Hammerstein would have it, it was "doing what comes naturally!"

My book The Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA was the first insider account from an intelligence analyst regarding the skewed and politicized assessments of the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence -- the Agency's analytic arm. I also exposed the strategic failure of covert actions that were never intended to be a part of President Harry Truman's CIA

I wrote the book for many reasons, including the need to describe the inability of journalists to take into account, let alone understand, the dangers of politicization and the actions of CIA directors such as Casey, Gates, and more recently Goss and Tenet. The political pliancy of these directors fully compromised the intelligence mission of the CIA, and it was political pliancy that made directors such as Gates and Tenet so attractive to Presidents Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II.

Truthout Progressive Pick
Whistleblower at the CIA: An Insider's Account of the Politics of Intelligence

"Urgent, timely, and deeply recommended." -- Daniel Ellsberg. Click here now to get the book!


For the past quarter century, my testimony and writings have exposed the failure to honor President Truman's purpose in creating a CIA to provide policymakers with accurate, unbiased accounts of international developments, and have highlighted the CIA's readiness to cater to the White House. This view is not original with me; in fact, it was President Truman who first acknowledged that the CIA he created in 1947 had gotten off the tracks under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy in the 1950s and early 1960s.

In December 1963, less than a month after the assassination of President Kennedy, Truman wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post to document the wrongs of the CIA He concluded that his efforts to "create the quiet intelligence arm of the Presidency" had been subverted by a "sinister" and "mysterious" agency that was conducting far too many clandestine activities in peacetime. I lectured at the Truman Library in the summer of 2014, and found a note in Truman's hand that stated the CIA was not designed to "initiate policy or to act as a spy organization. That was never the intention when it was organized."

In The Failure of Intelligence , I documented the CIA's resistance to reform and the corruption in both the analytical and operational directorates. I made a case for starting over at the CIA, not dissimilar from the case made by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan 25 years ago as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Not every agency or department of government can be reformed, and it is possible that the intricate web of habits, procedures, and culture places the CIA in the non-reformable category. Once the political culture of an institution such as the CIA has been broken, it is extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- to rebuild or repair it.

Copyright (2017) by Melvin A. Goodman. Not be reprinted without permission of the publisher, City Lights Books. Melvin A. Goodman Melvin A. Goodman served as a senior analyst and Division Chief at the CIA from 1966 to 1990. An expert on US relations with Russia, his writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper's and many others. He is author of six books on US intelligence and international security. Related Stories CIA Asked to Release Documents Related to Massacre in El Salvador By Carmen Rodriguez, CIP Americas Program | Report CIA Watchdog "Mistakenly" Destroys Its Sole Copy of Senate Torture Report By Sarah Lazare, AlterNet | News Analysis CIA Cables Detail Its New Deputy Director's Role in Torture By Raymond Bonner, ProPublica | Report

[Apr 21, 2019] Whenever someone inconveniences the neoliberal oligarchy, the entire neoliberal MSM mafia tells us 24 x7 how evil and disgusting that person is. It's true of the leader of every nation which rejects neoliberal globalization as well as for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Highly recommended!
Apr 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Have you ever noticed how whenever someone inconveniences the dominant western power structure, the entire political/media class rapidly becomes very, very interested in letting us know how evil and disgusting that person is? It's true of the leader of every nation which refuses to allow itself to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized power alliance, it's true of anti-establishment political candidates, and it's true of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Corrupt and unaccountable power uses its political and media influence to smear Assange because, as far as the interests of corrupt and unaccountable power are concerned, killing his reputation is as good as killing him. If everyone can be paced into viewing him with hatred and revulsion, they'll be far less likely to take WikiLeaks publications seriously, and they'll be far more likely to consent to Assange's imprisonment, thereby establishing a precedent for the future prosecution of leak-publishing journalists around the world. Someone can be speaking 100 percent truth to you, but if you're suspicious of him you won't believe anything he's saying. If they can manufacture that suspicion with total or near-total credence, then as far as our rulers are concerned it's as good as putting a bullet in his head.

Those of us who value truth and light need to fight this smear campaign in order to keep our fellow man from signing off on a major leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia, and a big part of that means being able to argue against those smears and disinformation wherever they appear. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any kind of centralized source of information which comprehensively debunks all the smears in a thorough and engaging way, so with the help of hundreds of tips from my readers and social media followers I'm going to attempt to make one here. What follows is my attempt at creating a tool kit people can use to fight against Assange smears wherever they encounter them, by refuting the disinformation with truth and solid argumentation.

This article is an ongoing project which will be updated regularly where it appears on Medium and caitlinjohnstone.com as new information comes in and new smears spring up in need of refutation.

[Apr 20, 2019] Did Assange lied about Seth Rich?

Assange actually undermined the key pre-condition of the Deep state existence -- secrecy.
Notable quotes:
"... Robert Mueller, who helped the Bush administration deceive the world about WMD in Iraq, has claimed that the GRU was the source of WikiLeaks' 2016 drops, and claimed in his report that WikiLeaks deceived its audience by implying that its source was the murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich. ..."
"... The smear is that Assange knew his source was actually the Russian government, and he implied it was Seth Rich to throw people off the scent. Mueller asserted that something happened, and it's interpreted as hard fact instead of assertion. There's no evidence for any of this, and there's no reason to go believing the WMD guy on faith about a narrative which incriminates yet another government which refuses to obey the dictates of the US empire. ..."
"... HItchen's Razor: "what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." ..."
Apr 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

I'm just going to toss this one here at the end because I'm seeing it go around a lot in the wake of the Mueller report.

Robert Mueller, who helped the Bush administration deceive the world about WMD in Iraq, has claimed that the GRU was the source of WikiLeaks' 2016 drops, and claimed in his report that WikiLeaks deceived its audience by implying that its source was the murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich.

This claim is unsubstantiated because, as we discussed in Smear 4, the public has not seen a shred of evidence proving who was or was not WikiLeaks' source, so there's no way to know there was any deception happening there. We've never seen any hard proof, nor indeed anything besides official narrative, connecting the Russian government to Guccifer 2.0 and Guccifer 2.0 to WikiLeaks, and Daniel Lazare for Consortium News documents that there are in fact some major plot holes in Mueller's timeline. Longtime Assange friend and WikiLeaks ally Craig Murray maintains that he knows the source of the DNC Leaks and Podesta Emails were two different Americans, not Russians, and hints that one of them was a DNC insider. There is exactly as much publicly available evidence for Murray's claim as there is for Mueller's.

Mainstream media has been blaring day after day for years that it is an absolute known fact that the Russian government was WikiLeaks' source, and the only reason people scoff and roll their eyes at anyone who makes the indisputably factual claim that we've seen no evidence for this is because the illusory truth effect causes the human brain to mistake repetition for fact.

The smear is that Assange knew his source was actually the Russian government, and he implied it was Seth Rich to throw people off the scent. Mueller asserted that something happened, and it's interpreted as hard fact instead of assertion. There's no evidence for any of this, and there's no reason to go believing the WMD guy on faith about a narrative which incriminates yet another government which refuses to obey the dictates of the US empire.

And I guess that's it for now. Again, this article is an ongoing project, so I'll be updating it and adding to it regularly as new information comes in and new smears need refutation. If I missed something or got something wrong, or even if you spotted a typo, please email me at admin@caitlinjohnstone.com and let me know. I'm trying to create the best possible tool for people to refute Assange smears, so I'll keep sharpening this baby to make sure it cuts like a razor. Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone who helped! Phew! That was long.


motherjones , 52 minutes ago link

We don't have to like Julian Assange, but the release of the "Collateral Damage" video alone is enough to justify defending Assange and the freedom of the press.

Ozymandiasssss , 1 hour ago link

She really didn't debunk the thing about Seth Rich very well. Basically just said that whatever Mueller said wasn't true, which doesn't go very far for me. He definitely did imply that he got at least some of his info from Rich so if there is some sort of proof of that, it needs to be supplied; otherwise Mueller's story is the only one.

bh2 , 1 hour ago link

HItchen's Razor: "what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

beemasters , 2 hours ago link

I have recently seen a political cartoon with Dotard then saying: "I love Wikileaks" + " I will throw her in jail" and now saying: "I know nothing about Wikileaks" + "I will throw him in jail"

It summed up perfectly that swine's lack of integrity.

Downtoolong , 2 hours ago link

It's so simple. Assan