|Contents||Bulletin||Scripting in shell and Perl||Network troubleshooting||History||Humor|
“Plunderers of the world, when nothing remains on the lands to which they have laid waste by wanton thievery, they search out across the seas. The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”
|News||Corporatism||Recommended Links||Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism||Neo-fashism||Nation under attack meme|
|Inverted Totalitarism||Lewis Powell Memo||The Deep State||Mystery of Building 7 Collapse||Reconciling Human Rights With Total Surveillance|
|Total Surveillance||Media-Military-Industrial Complex||The Grand Chessboard||Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite||Two Party System as Polyarchy||The Iron Law of Oligarchy|
|Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State||Facebook as Giant Database about Users||Social Sites as intelligence collection tools||Systematic Breach of Vienna Convention||Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism||Corporate Media: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few|
|American Exceptionalism||New American Militarism||Machiavellism||Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ?||Humor||Etc|
"The greatest threat is that we shall become like those who seek to destroy us"
the legendary US diplomat George Kennan warned in 1947
“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”
Books have been written about President Eisenhower’s famous farewell warning in 1961 about the “military-industrial complex,” and what he described as its “unwarranted influence.” But an even greater leviathan today, one that the public knows little about, is the “intelligence-industrial complex.”
Michael Hirsh in
If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
- James Madison
The National Security State is an ideology and practice of the USA elite, closely connected with the idea of the rule of the Media-Military-Industrial Complex, and especially three-letter agencies ("Trumanites" because of our 33rd president's role in founding the CIA, the modern Defense Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Agency). It is somewhat different from national socialist idea as it is married to neoliberalism and does not included the decisive influence of the state in economic sphere.
Under neoliberalism society has become increasingly militarized, meaning that as most aspects of the social-democratic state (New Deal state) are eliminated, a police state is rising in its place. All problems that in the past were seen as social problems, and hence required social solutions, now acquire police solutions. Heavily militarized police became praetorian guard of 0.1% that is in power.
In economic sphere deregulation (economic liberalism or neoliberalism) produce social conflict, which at some point can not be masked by neoliberal demagogy ("shareholder value", "stakeholder participation" and other neoliberal crap). As the state now represents interest only of the top 0.1% population, economic and political spheres became merged under authoritarian rule of financial oligarchy, not unlike the USSR under bolshevism with the only difference that "nomenklatura" was nore aligned with the interests of the society then financial oligarchy, Tax laws, inheritance rules, status to trade unions, "revolving door" regulations (which highly correlates with the degree of corruption of the society) became political decisions and requre constant brainwashing of the population and instilling fear using external threat. Terrorism is used for this purpose not unlike permanent war between Oceania and Eurasia in the Orwell's famous novel 1984, It is clear that the war with terrorism is quintessential "permanent war for permanent peace".
In this social system US intelligence apparatus and military establishment are raised to the level above and beyond civilian control and become a somewhat autonomous system, a hidden government of the USA. Deep state as it is now called. Which, as a minimum, assume the role of king maker for the most top positions in the USA government. And, if necessary, can act as a king remover (JFS assassination is a nice example here; CIA fingerprints are all over thee place, but nobody from CIA went to jail for this "accomplishment": mission accomplished).
The colossal budget with juicy cost-plus contracts of affiliated private companies gives those agencies not only power but also vested ideological and financial interests. There no real overseeing of three letter agencies from neither executive branch, not from the Congress, nor from the Supreme Court. But the reverse is not true. In a way they can serve as a surrogate king. In other words, instead of the servant of the state intelligence agencies became the master. This phenomenon is not limited to the USA. The same hijacking of executive, parliamentarian and judicial braches of govern happen in other countries. A very interesting example provides the USSR: it was actually betrayal of KGB brass, who switched side and decided to privatize the country, that among other things doomed the USSR.
The key "three letter agencies" (CIA, DOD, NSA, FBI) were established by the National Security Act of 1947, signed in September 18, 1947 by President Harry S. Truman. This year can be considered as the year when National Security State was born and probably should be celebrated accordingly instead of old-fashioned Independence Day. Very little was preserved from the "old republic" after this transformation of the USA.
It is prudent to view National Security State as a modern form of corporatism, closely related to concepts of neo-fascism and Inverted Totalitarism. As ellatynemouth noted in the comment to the Guardian article Internet privacy as important as human rights, says UN's Navi Pillay (Dec 26, 2013):
The surveillance state is the ruling class's key hole through which they monitor us and our potential dissent. It's now an integral part of capitalism and can't be removed.
The game has changed. It's now about convincing us as much as possible that they will stop snooping on us. They won't though. It will just become more heavily hidden.
Surveillance state was made possible with the advent of computers, Internet and wireless communication. In some features it is close to neo-fascism and Latin-American far right authoritarian regimes, but there are important difference. Instead of organized violence against opponents it achieved its goals without relentless physical repression/elimination of opponents. It's key feature is mass surveillance, discreditation and blackmailing of opponents (like in German Democratic Republic there are dossier for every member of society and skeleton from the closet can be revealed for any politician or activist) as well as control and manipulation of media, not mass repression of opponents. Like neo-fascist regines(Pinochet in Chile) and authoritarian "communist" regimes of the past it make organized opposition to the government virtually impossible. Of the 20 characteristic traits of neo-fascist regimes probably around the half are applicable to the national security state.
After 9/11, Bush government's behavior and especially appeals to public clearly resonate with the proto-fascist "... uber alles" ideas. As an amazing example of doublespeak Bushists managed to integrate American exceptionalism into the framework of globalist neoliberal regime (as the command-and-control center for neoliberal world empire, no less). Bush government inspired post-9/11 paranoia doesn’t come cheaply, though. Cost were staggering: the military ($682 billion), Homeland Security (about $60 billion), and 15 intelligence agencies (official figure of combined budget is perhaps $75 billion; but in reality in many times more then that). The total is probably over a trillion.
Nothing changed under President Obama, which suggests that he is just a figurehead and the "deep state" is actually in charge. In most area Obama administration was more like Bush II administration , then "change we can believe in". In this sense this was the most blatant "bait and switch" in the recent political history of the USA. This is the view of Professor Michel Greenon, who in his book advocated the view that tradition troika of powers in the USA became by and large ceremonial and that real actors, at least in area of national security are not non-elected executives of super-powerful and well financed three-letter agencies (he called them Trumenitesm as it was President Truman who signed into law National Security Act of 1947 which created major three letter agencies (CIA, DOD, FBI and NSA)) . Here is a brief exposition of his point of view taken from review published by Reason (National Security State - Reason.com)
Though Glennon doesn't describe his thesis in terms of public choice theory, it echoes that discipline's insight that institutions are run for the benefit of the people who run the institutions. For the Trumanites, Glennon explains, "benefits take the form of enlarged budgets, personnel, missions; costs take the form of retrenchments in each." Witness the vast archipelago of intelligence facilities-nearly three Pentagons' worth of office space-that have been erected in greater Washington, D.C., since 9/11.
The national security state is becoming an autonomous, self-perpetuating entity, Glennon warns. It sets the table for elected officials' choices and increasingly dictates terms to them. The permanent bureaucracy basks in the "glow" of Madisonian institutions, drawing legitimacy from the illusion that elected officials are in charge. But while the buck may stop with the president, the real power resides with the Trumanites.This explanation is strongest in the realm of state surveillance, which serves as Glennon's central case study. Recall the embarrassing revelation, in the summer of 2013, that the NSA was tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone. What did the president know, and when did he know it? If you believe top administration officials, Obama was almost as surprised as Merkel. Glennon quotes Secretary of State John Kerry to the effect that the Merkel wiretap, like a lot of NSA programs, occurred "on autopilot."
On one hand, that's what you'd expect them to say. On the other hand, the claim is entirely plausible, and it is consistent with the earlier history of NSA abuses uncovered by the Church Committee in the 1970s. Under Project SHAMROCK, for example, the NSA collected the content of virtually all cable traffic entering or leaving the United States for three decades-150,000 messages a month at its height. It was, the committee's final report concluded, "probably the largest governmental interception program affecting Americans ever undertaken." And yet it's not clear that any president ordered, approved, or was even aware of SHAMROCK. When the program's existence was exposed in the mid-'70s, Louis Tordella, longtime deputy director of the NSA, admitted that he didn't know whether any president or attorney general had ever been briefed on it.
The picture grows somewhat more complicated when we look at the modern practice of presidential war making. From the Truman administration onward, the president has accumulated enormous unchecked authority, despite James Madison's conviction that, since the executive department was "most distinguished by its propensity to war," it is "the practice of all states, in proportion as they are free, to disarm this propensity of its influence."
When it comes to picking the wars we wage, it's not clear that the Trumanites are fully in charge. Take four major war-powers decisions during the Obama administration: the Afghan surge, the escalation of drone attacks, the Libya intervention, and the current war against ISIS. I put the Trumanite win-loss record at roughly .500 here. The military and national security bureaucracy fought hard for the surge and the drone escalation, and got them. They generally opposed the Libyan action, and some prominent Trumanites-such as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs -appear to have been reluctant to endorse our latest war in the Middle East.
In the case of this most recent war, domestic politics seems a better explanation: The president yielded to the near-irresistible demand that he "do something" about the beheading of Americans and the implosion of the Iraqi state. Bombing ISIS is something, so we're doing it.
The Obama experience suggests we get the wars the Trumanites want -- and also some they don't. But this is hardly fatal to Glennon's thesis. He stresses that "a good theory of institutional behavior can predict, at best, only tendency over time"; his "predicts only that national security policy will change little from one administration to the next." So far, that theory is holding up rather well.
Even so, I've always been partial to one version of the "government politics" explanation. A few years ago, I wrote a book arguing that "Americans' unconfined conception of presidential responsibility is the source of much of our political woe and some of the gravest threats to our liberties." If the political reality is such that the president will be held personally accountable for any domestic terror attack, don't be surprised when he seeks powers nearly as vast as the expectations put upon him.
Glennon acknowledges it's not either-or; "explanations overlap," he writes. Dumb wars and security-state overreach are the result of political choices and the bureaucratic imperative. Policy continuity is depressingly overdetermined.
Real-time histories of key national security decisions in the Obama years tend to underscore this point. In Kill or Capture, reporter Daniel Klaidman describes the enormous political pressure the Obama administration was under after the failed "underwear bomber" attack on December 25, 2009. "For the White House," Klaidman writes, "the psychic toll of Christmas Day was profound. Obama realized that if a failed terror attempt could suck up so much political oxygen, a successful attack would absolutely devastate his presidency. And much as he liked to talk about returning to first principles, Obama also had a powerful instinct for self-correction-as well as self-preservation."
The psychic aftershock of Christmas 2009 helped shape a lot of what followed: from body scanners at airports to ramped-up drone strikes to the lethal targeting of an American citizen.
But to Glennon's point, the administration was under pressure from the Trumanites well before that. In the 2012 book, The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power, James Mann describes a concerted effort by then-CIA director Michael Hayden and other senior intelligence officials to preserve business as usual by scaring the hell out of the incoming Obama team. Their private name for this scheme was the "Aw, Shit! Campaign."
The scare tactics worked. Klaidman reports that both Harold Koh, legal advisor at the State Department, and Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's general counsel, used the same metaphor to describe the military pressure for more targeted killings: a runaway train. It was like "a massive freight train hurling down the tracks" Koh said. "You would have to throw yourself on the tracks to try to stop it," said Johnson.
All this helps shed light on Obama's strange and disorienting May 2013 "drone speech" at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., in which the president seemed to be speaking not as commander in chief, but as his own loyal opposition.
In the speech, Obama said things like "Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don't need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers." And: "The very precision of drone strikesâ€¦can also lead a president and his team to view [them] as a cure-all for terrorism." I remember thinking: "A president"? Which one? Anyone in particular? Who's in charge here, anyway?
National Security and Double Government suggests that the answer to that last question isn't quite so obvious, that the "most powerful man in the world" isn't nearly as powerful as he might appear.
It remains the case that Obama had the formal authority to say no to mass surveillance and perpetual war. But saying no would require resisting enormous bureaucratic and political pressure. And anybody willing to do what it takes to become president is unlikely to transform himself into a self-denying Cincinnatus once in office. Political survivors don't jump in front of trains.
While US government spent around $3.67 trillion in 2013, the revenue was just $2.77 trillion. Of that amount over one trillion went to three-letter agencies and DOD. Now you understand to whom real power belongs. Moreover the government has to borrow about $900 billion in order to maintain national security state programs intact. And there are 5 million (yes million) people in the USA with security clearance and around 3 million with top security clearance. In other words "Welcome to the USSR." or even Third Reich (actually republican senators opposed Truman initiative due to fear that he replicated institution of the Third Reich in the USA and only support of powerful Democrats allowed the president to push the act through the Congress.
But even if it was close to the Third Reich in political effects and its essence, this type of political structure is different because it does not rely on mass mobilization. Instead it relied on the power of "deep state" and mass surveillance.
As Paxton describes it (Tracking Fascism) fascism is in in many features just hypertrophied and misguided nationalism, a specific flavor of far right nationalism. The central emotions in fascism and nationalism are identical. In other words at the core of fascist emotional mobilization always lies far right nationalism and that is important distinction with national security state and neoliberalism which are globalist and "imperial" and does not stress particular nationality as long of the person/group serves empire interests:
...Feelings propel fascism more than thought does. We might call them mobilizing passions, since they function in fascist movements to recruit followers and in fascist regimes to "weld" the fascist "tribe" to its leader. The following mobilizing passions are present in fascisms, though they may sometimes be articulated only implicitly:
- The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.
- The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action against the group's enemies, internal as well as external.
- Dread of the group's decadence under the corrosive effect of individualistic and cosmopolitan liberalism.
- Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood (fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.
- An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.
- Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.
- The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group's success in a Darwinian struggle.
Post 9/11 "passions" in the USA were definitely skillfully used by Bush administration to push the nation into the Iraq war and the attacks on dissenters that occurred during it were pretty vicious, really in traditions of Third Reich ("you are either with us, or with our enemies"). But public was not really central in this whole issue. Americans were extras at best, patsies at worst, Essentially all major decisions were made "behind the curtain" by deep state structures and public was just brainwashed into approval of those action. That's an important different between national security state and classical fascist regimes. In classic fascist state the leading fascist party would be central to unleashing such a war. Here it was bust a bunch of highly placed bureaucrats in Bush II administration (so called neocons, which is an ideological group but not an organized party as such).
Here is a more extended treatment of this issue (cited from Rush, Newspeak and Fascism An exegesis IV Tracking Fascism):
1. [Group primacy]: See, again, the Bush Doctrine. An extension of this sentiment is at play among those jingoes who argue that Americans may need to sacrifice some of their civil rights -- say, free speech -- during wartime.
2. [Victim mentality]: This meme is clearly present in all the appeals to the victims of Sept. 11 as justifications for the war. It is present at nearly all levels of the debate: from the White House, from the media, even from the jingoist entertainment industry (see, e.g., the lyric of Darryl Worley's extraordinarily popular country-western hit, "Have You Forgotten?": "Some say this country's just out looking for a fight / Well after 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right.").
3. [Dread of liberal decadence]: This meme has been stock in trade of the talk-radio crowd since at least 1994 -- at one time it focused primarily on the person of Bill Clinton -- and has reached ferocious levels during the runup to the war and after it, during which antiwar leftists have regularly and remorselessly been accused of treason.
4. [Group integration] and 5. [Group identity as personal validation] are, of course, among the primary purposes of the campaign to demonize liberals -- to simultaneously build a cohesive brotherhood of like-minded "conservatives" who might not agree on the details but are united in their loathing of all things liberal. It plays out in such localized manifestations as the KVI Radio 570th On-Air Cavalry, which has made a habit of deliberately invading antiwar protests with the express purpose of disrupting them and breaking them up. Sometimes, as they did recently in Bellingham, this is done with caravans of big trucks blaring their horns; and they are also accompanied by threatening rhetoric and acts of physical intimidation. They haven't yet bonded in violence -- someone did phone in a threat to sniper-shoot protesters -- but they are rapidly headed in that direction.
6. [Authority of leaders]: This needs hardly any further explanation, except to note that George W. Bush is actually surprisingly uncharismatic for someone who inspires as much rabid loyalty as he does. But then, that is part of the purpose of Bush's PR campaign stressing that he receives "divine guidance" -- it assures in his supporters' mind the notion that he is carrying out God's destiny for the nation, and for the conservative movement in particular.
7. [An aesthetic of violence]: One again needs only turn to the voluminous jingoes of Fox News or the jubilant warbloggers to find abundant examples of celebrations of the virtues -- many of them evidently aesthetic -- of the evidently just-completed war.
I would like to stress that similar processes occurred in different states after WWII as well (Latin America military dictatorships are one example). And with new force and on new level after the dissolution of the USSR in Russia. Of course the USSR was a National Security Surveillance State even before WWII, being one of the "pioneers" of this form of state along with Italy and Germany. But it was "primitive" form of national security state in a sense that it did not rely on computers, collecting "envelope" of all Internet communication, emails, SMS, etc as well interception of wireless communication and financial operations via computerized banking (especially credit card transactions) for surveillance.
Mickey Edwards, who served in Congress from 1977 to 1993, and is the author of “The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans.” published a very penetrating review of the book in The Boston Globe. In which he stated:
It has long been the province of conspiracy theorists to claim that the real power of government is not wielded by the obvious practitioners of statecraft — presidents, members of Congress, the judiciary — but by secret or semi-secret entities, real wizards whose hidden machinations send us to war, sell us out to enemies, siphon public treasure into private hands. Depending on your talk show or paranoia of choice, these are the bankers, oil barons, one-worlders, war profiteers, Bilderbergers, Masons, Catholics, Jews, or Trilateralists. Our formal institutions, in this scenario, are stage sets, Potemkin villages; our officials are puppets; we are an unsuspecting audience.
Michael Glennon, a respected academic (Tufts’s FLETCHER SCHOOL) and author of a book brought to us by an equally respected publisher (Oxford University Press), is hardly the sort to indulge in such fantasies. And that makes the picture he paints in “National Security and Double Government” all the more arresting. Considering Barack Obama’s harsh pre-election criticisms of his predecessor’s surveillance policies, for example, Glennon notes that many of those same policies — and more of the same kind — were continued after Obama took office. “Why,” he asks, “does national security policy remain constant even when one President is replaced by another, who as a candidate repeatedly, forcefully, and eloquently promised fundamental changes in that policy?”
The answer Glennon places before us is not reassuring: “a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of US national security policy.” The result, he writes, is a system of dual institutions that have evolved “toward greater centralization, less accountability, and emergent autocracy.”
If this were a movie, it would soon become clear that some evil force, bent on consolidating power and undermining democratic governance, has surreptitiously tunneled into the under-structure of the nation. Not so. In fact, Glennon observes, this hyper-secret and difficult-to-control network arose in part as an attempt to head off just such an outcome. In the aftermath of World War II, with the Soviet Union a serious threat from abroad and a growing domestic concern about weakened civilian control over the military (in 1949, the Hoover Commission had warned that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had become “virtually a law unto themselves”), President Truman set out to create a separate national security structure.
By 2011, according to The Washington Post, there were 46 separate federal departments and agencies and 2,000 private companies engaged in classified national security operations with millions of employees and spending of roughly a trillion dollars a year. As Glennon points out, presidents get to name fewer than 250 political appointees among the Defense Department’s nearly 700,000 civilian employees, with hundreds more drawn from a national security bureaucracy that comprise “America’s Trumanite network” — in effect, on matters of national security, a second government.
Glennon’s book is not a breezy read: It’s thick with fact and not unappreciative of conundrum (“The government is seen increasingly by elements of the public as hiding what they ought to know, criminalizing what they ought to be able to do, and spying upon what ought to be private. The people are seen increasingly by the government as unable to comprehend the gravity of security threats.”). Nor is he glib with proposed solutions: to adequately respond to the threats posed by a below-the-radar second government will require “a general public possessed of civic virtue,” which prompts Glennon to cite retired Supreme Court justice David Souter’s bemoaning of a “pervasive civic ignorance.” Not all of the problem can be laid at Truman’s feet. And if we ourselves are part of the zeitgeist that allows invisible governments to flourish, repair will be difficult. As Glennon puts it, “the term Orwellian will have little meaning to a people who have never known anything different, who have scant knowledge of history, civics, or public affairs, and who in any event have never heard of George Orwell.”
This is no secret conspiracy nor a plot to deprive Americans of their civil liberties. It is the unintended consequence of a thoughtful attempt to head off the very threats that those attempts have inadvertently created. But if Glennon’s book is enlightening it is also scary. And it’s not fiction.
There are multiple reasons such as to instill fear, and to demonstrate competence (Big Brother’s Liberal Friends — Crooked Timber)
Dr. Hilarius, 10.27.14 at 11:44 pmAn excellent analysis and summation.
Any defense of the national security state requires the proponent to show, at a minimum, that the present apparatus is competent at its task. Having lived through Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention many smaller governmental adventures) I see no evidence of competence. Instead, it’s repetitive failures of analysis and imagination no matter how much raw intelligence is gathered.
Nor is there any evidence that existing oversight mechanisms function as intended. Recent revelations about the CIA spying on the Senate should be enough to dispel the idea that leakers have no role to play.
Kinsley is particularly loathsome. His position is little more than “your betters know best” and that the state’s critics are guttersnipes needing to be kicked to the curb. Kinsley doesn’t need a coherent position, his goal is to be a spokesman for the better sorts, nothing more
Tremendous push (or acceleration of pre-existing tendencies) toward National Security State occurred after 9/11 under the banner of fighting terrorism. At the point technological capabilities of mass surveillance using computers and the ability to have a dossier for everybody were in place, while mass deployment of PC, credit cards and cell phones provides constant stream of information to those dossiers, not that different from "gum shoes" reports. On November, 2001 the phone records of most Americans begin flowing to the N.S.A. After 9/11, President Bush authorizes the N.S.A. to collect phone and Internet content and metadata without a warrant. Within weeks, under the so-called President’s Surveillance Program (P.S.P.), the major telephone companies voluntarily hand over the data. The N.S.A. creates a twenty-four-hour “Metadata Analysis Center” (MAC) to search the phone records. In October 26, 2001: The Patriot Act is passed. Section 215 allows the government to seize “any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”
At this point the process started with adoption of Truman doctrine came to a logiacl end: national survellance state became a reality. Formally Truman Doctrine was created "to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." but in reality their function was more questionable and after 9/11 (some people date this event as early as 1963 -- JFK assassination) those activities created what is called "The State Within a State" similar to the USSR KGB role (see The State Within a State by Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick). Here is one review of the book:
passionate albeit muddled, August 24, 1999
I have problems with the author's obvious hatred of the Russian Revolution and Stalin and the way she claims there is an unbroken chain of horror going all the way back to 1917. Obviously things are better today -- hence her book! She says 66.7 million people died under "Chekist" rule since the Russian Revolution -- and then cites the Guiness Book of Records as her source!? No one could ever prove such a figure, I think its one of things that's repeated 'til it becomes fact.
I also find the author's lack of knowledge about our own CIA kind of disheartening. This fine organization has spread as much death and terror in the Third World (Indonesia, Guatemala,Chile, Argentina, Brazil etc. etc. ) as the KGB ever did anywhere, yet she seems to make them out to be benevolent compared to the KGB (which if you read this book are responsible for everything wrong with the world today).
After reading this book I still don't understand why she thinks the KGB or its incarnations are as bad today as they were at the height of the Terror in 1937. Its not really explained in the book. I still am not convinced that the KGB was the NKVD, and definitely convinced that either was the SS. Research I have done casually has never come up with hard, convincing figures for a Nazi style genocide in the USSR, and this anecdotal, unconvincing book didn't change my historical views.
See Michael J. Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998; which "explains the transformative process that ended in the ultimate demise of the New Deal state with its emphasis on social spending and ushered in the militarist National Security State." From Amazon review:
Hogan, a specialist in American diplomatic and national security studies, has written a complex but interesting work on the emergence of the national security state. To create this state, it was necessary to merge the armed forces, the Defense Department, and scientists into a single unit to enhance the military's capabilities. To a large extent, this unification was accomplished in the 1950s. The driving forces were James Forrestal, Dean Acheson, and powerful members of Congress such as Carl Vinson (D-GA), who chaired the Committee on Naval Affairs, along with presidents Truman and Eisenhower.
Hogan presents a compelling case but overemphasizes the importance of Truman and Eisenhower while downplaying the role of Vinson and others in the security state's creation. In fact, both Truman and Eisenhower often seemed opposed to it but succumbed to pressure from Congress and key figures like Acheson. This extremely complex study, which deals with a subject few other books handle, is designed for scholars and informed lay readers interested in the creation of the "military-industrial complex." by Richard P. Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., KY
Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti in his book "Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History" noted:
"As I pointed out in the preface to The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence in 1974, democratic governments fighting totalitarian enemies run the risk of imitating their methods and thereby destroying democracy. By suppressing historical fact, and by manufacturing historical fiction, the CIA, with its obsessive secrecy and its vast resources, has posed a particular threat to the right of Americans to be informed for the present and future by an objective knowledge of the past.
As long as the CIA continues to manipulate history, historians of its activities must be Revisionist if we are to know the truth about the agency's activities, past and present."
Attempts to curtain the surveillance proved to by fruitless. Church Committee was probably the most important "after JFK assassination" attempt to somewhat tame three latter agencies and especially CIA, but it ended in nothing.
Later NSA overtook CIA in many areas of intelligence gathering activities. Which create internal frictions between two agencies. State Deartment also "infringed" in CIA role in foreign countries and, for example, in organization of neliberal color revolutions in oil rich or strategically important countries it is difficult to tell when clandestine actions of State Department ends and clandestine actions of CIA stars and vice versa.
In is interesting to note that even Senators feel threatened by this total surveillance system. In December 14, 2005 Senators Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Richard Durbin, and several colleagues sign a letter warning that Section 215 “would allow the government to obtain library, medical and gun records and other sensitive personal information” that “would allow government fishing expeditions targeting innocent Americans.” They demand that the records requested should “have some connection to a suspected terrorist or spy,” a requirement that would
protect innocent Americans from unnecessary surveillance and ensure that government scrutiny is based on individualized suspicion, a fundamental principle of our legal system.
In March, 2006, the Patriot Act is reauthorized without the changes sought by Obama and others.
In his October 19, 2012 review of the book Saman Mohammadi (The Excavator) wrote:
The case could be made that the creation of the CIA and the National Security State in 1947 was necessary. But after sixty years of human rights abuses, systematic attacks on the constitution, false flag terror events, assassinations of political reformers, and other horrible crimes against humanity, should not the CIA be reformed?
Let's put the question of morality aside. What are the "national security" reasons that legitimize the existence of the CIA? Once you learn that Al-Qaeda is a CIA creation and proxy insurgent army and that 9/11 was a massive false flag operation, you come to the natural conclusion that the CIA does not perform a national security role.
The CIA plays a much dirtier role: engineering the American mind. It is not denied that the shadow CIA has major influence in the mainstream media, especially amongst top newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Michael S. Rozeff speculates that the New York Times is entirely run by the CIA.
We can't know for certain if that is true because of the lack of historical documentation in the public domain, but there is a mountain of observable evidence that proves the CIA has many of its spooks working for the New York Times. Go here for just one example.
Until the American people demand that the U.S. government commit to radical transparency and the principles enshrined in the U.S. constitution, the shadow CIA and the mainstream media can twist history and manage public perceptions of reality as much as they like.
The shadow CIA's greatest power comes from its command of the American public mind as well as its ability to create a fictional version of history. The false flag September 11 events was the shadow CIA's biggest media operation to date. It was their Mona Lisa. They painted the canvas of reality with the brush of myth, and worked day and night to shape the collective memory of the American people while the horror of the tragic attacks was still fresh in the nation's mind.
Although the shadow CIA doesn't have a total command of the American mind and of history, as proven by the rise of the global 9/11 truth and justice movement, it possesses enough media power to mold world public opinion and dictate government policy for the United States with ease. There is no question that its power is totalitarian in nature and its aims are evil. It does not serve the interests of the American people; that much is clear.
How can there be freedom when CIA officials in television studios, newspaper offices, and publishing companies drive the public conversation and form the national narrative on every issue of significance. The global alternative media is the only global civil society actor that is putting limits on the CIA's power to make up history and suppress the truth about historical events like 9/11 and the occult sacrifice of JFK.
In the past, the shadow CIA was presented with roadblocks in the Congress. But 9/11 fixed that problem. The laws and the politics changed. In "The Big Chill," author Dan Froomkin says the absence of Congressional leadership in the post-9/11 political universe has strengthened executive power. Here is an excerpt his article:After past periods of executive excess, the Fourth Estate was certainly more robust and arguably more persistent, but it also found natural allies in the other branches of government—particularly Congress. By contrast, over the summer of 2012, the publication of a minimal amount of new information regarding drones, cyberwarfare and targeted killings incited bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill—not to conduct hearings into what had been revealed, but to demand criminal investigations into the leaking.Since the Congress is not willing to stand up for the rights of the American people, the truth, human rights, and the U.S. Constitution, then the American people and global civil society must stand up. Congress has no real power. According to a recent Rasmussen survey, Congress only has an eight percent approval rating. There are underground, neo-Nazi groups in Europe that are more popular than the Congress.
That's how Congress has been ever since the terrorist attacks 11 years ago. "We never got our post 9/11 Church Committee," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists's Project on Government Secrecy, referring to a special investigative Senate committee that held hearings on widespread intelligence abuses after the Watergate scandal. "What we've got instead is the intelligence oversight committee drafting legislation to penalize leaks."
The mainstream media is no better. It is content with its role as a propaganda arm of the shadow CIA, and that is a tragedy. American newspapers have the power to improve their nation and change the world for the better, but instead they choose to cover up independent investigations of shady events like 9/11 that shed light on how the U.S. government really operates.
Alternative media outlets like Infowars.com, Veterans Today, Lew Rockwell.com, Washington's Blog, The Corbett Report, and countless others are doing the best they can to educate the American people and wake up humanity.
The last thing the shadow CIA wants to see is an informed and awakened America. It is waging a silent war on human consciousness because it is scared of an enlightened world. A world that is awake and aware of its crimes against humanity is its greatest nightmare.
If the shadow CIA has its way, it will continue inventing stories and passing it off as history with total immunity. But the global alternative media is telling the shadow CIA: Enough is enough, stop lying to the American people and the world.
The CIA's reckless disregard of U.S. traditions and laws made former President Harry Truman rethink his decision to create the CIA in the first place. On December 22, 1963, Truman wrote in The Washington Post:
On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA about this agency (Wikipedia):
For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas. I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations.
In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.
If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.
I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.
In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer argues that the Bush I war in Iraq (as well as Bush II invasion and occupation of the country) was an action of the military industrial complex usurping the "peace dividend". Iraq was attractive target as it has oil and far enough away to prove a good vehicle for eating up contract cash. He views the rise of the National Security Defense State as a consequence of "the threat of peace" for military industrial complex and identifies seven characteristics of a such a state:
Compare that definition of the National Security State with the definition of Inverted Totalitarism. Most countries now have features of both.
The debate about National Security State reemerged in June 2008 due to revelations make about existence of the Prism program and similar program by British security services. For example, Jacob Augstein used the term "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism" in his article Europe Must Stand Up to American Cyber-Snooping published by SPIEGEL.
Here is an interesting comment of user MelFarrellSr in The Guardian discussion of the article NSA analysts 'wilfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):
Here's the thing about the NSA, the GCHQ, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, et al...
We all have to stop commenting as if the NSA and the GCHQ are in this thing on their own; the reality is that no one was supposed to know one iota about any of these programs; the NSA and the GCHQ began and put in place the structure that would allow all internet service providers, and indeed all corporations using the net, the ability to track and profile each and every user on the planet, whether they be using the net, texting, cell, and landline.
We all now know that Google, Yahoo, and the rest, likely including major retailers, and perhaps not so major retailers, are all getting paid by the United States government, hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, our money, to profile 24/7 each and every one of us..., they know how we think, our desires, our sexual preferences, our religious persuasion, what we spend, etc.; make no mistake about it, they know it all, and what they don’t currently have, they will very soon…
These agencies and indeed all those who are paid by them, will be engaged over the next few weeks in a unified program of "perception management" meaning that they will together come up with an all-encompassing plan that will include the release of all manner of statements attesting to the enforcement of several different disciplinary actions against whomever for "illegal" breaches of policy...
They may even bring criminal actions against a few poor unfortunate souls who had no idea they would be sacrificed as one part of the "perception management" game.
Has anyone wondered why, to date, no one in power has really come out and suggested that the program must be curtailed to limit its application to terrorism and terrorist types?
Here’s why; I was fortunate recently to have given an education on how networks such as Prism, really work, aside from the rudimentary details given in many publications. They cannot, and will not, stop monitoring even one individuals activity, because to do so will eventually cause loss of the ability to effectively monitor as many as 2.5 Million individuals.
Remember the “Two to Three Hop” scenario, which the idiot in one of the hearings inadvertently spoke of; therein lies the answer. If the average person called 40 unique people, three-hop analysis would allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans Do the math; Internet usage in the United States as of June 30, 2012 reached a total of over 245,000,000 million…
The following link shows how connected the world is… http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm
We should never forget how the Internet began, and who developed it, the United States Armed Forces; initially it was known as Arpanet, see excerpt and link below…
"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation." - Supreme Court Judge statement on considering first amendment rights for Internet users.
"On a cold war kind of day, in swinging 1969, work began on the ARPAnet, grandfather to the Internet. Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol).”
There is no government anywhere on the planet that will give up any part of the program…, not without one hell of a fight...
Incidentally, they do hope and believe that everyone will come to the same conclusion; they will keep all of us at bay for however long it takes; they have the money, they have the time, and they economically control all of us...
Pretty good bet they win...
The book American Exceptionalism and Human Rights (edited by Ignatieff) raised an important and probably the most controversial question in world politics: whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it.
Following are based on the article by Laurence W. Britt published in Free Inquiry magazine
To a secular humanist, the principles of international law seems logical, right, and crucial. Yet, there is one archetypal political philosophy that is anathema to almost all of these principles. It is fascism. And fascism’s principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading as something else, challenging everything we stand for. The cliché that people and nations learn from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history, or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.
We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated by protofascist regimes at various times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities.
Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of these fascist and protofascist regimes reveals the absolutely striking convergence of their modus operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation to the informed political observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective to restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current circumstances.
The following regimes can be studies in this respect: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. They constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history. But they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible. Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.One can wonder how many of those are applicable to Bush/McCain. What do you think ?
Propaganda of nationalism and Exceptionalism ("shining city on the hill", beckon of democracy, etc). Prominent displays of flags and ubiquitous lapel pins. The fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy. Pride in the military, and demands for unity are way of expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a level of suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia (French fries - Freedom fries).
Disdain for the importance of human rights. Despite "freedom rhetorics" the party views human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious and truth about gulags is out, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.
Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the parties would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, such as Muslims, communists/socialists/liberals, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Opponents of these party were inevitably labeled as terrorists stooges and dealt with accordingly.
The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites identified closely with the military. A disproportionate share of national budget is allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an ultimate expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.
Sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, the party covertly views women as second-class citizens. Often are both anti-abortion and homophobic with the cover of religious values. For propaganda reasons those attitudes were masterfully blended into strong support of the fundamentalist religious sects, thus lending the party some legitimacy to cover for its abuses.
A controlled mass media. The mass media could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Control can be indirect and subtle with formal adoption of slogan about "free media". Methods included the control of licensing, access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders and owners of the mass media are part of the power elite. The result is rampant brainwashing, which usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the party's excesses.
Obsession with national security. A national security apparatus is bend to come under direct control of the ruling elite. It is used to bypass laws as a direct instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.
Abuse of religion. The party attaches itself to the dominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of religious values. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with those values is swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents are “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the party is tantamount to an attack on religion.
Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.
Power of organized labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Being poor was considered akin to a vice.
Disdain and suppression of intellectuals. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these party. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities professors come under close scrutiny; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or scientific theories, especially economic, are strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed.
Obsession with crime and punishment. Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police is often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. Criminal charges sometimes are used against political opponents. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.
Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.
Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of two candidates representing the same power elite are usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, suppressing responsibilities for legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.
Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.
The most recent debate was sparked by Edward Snowden revelations. The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about National Security State modus operandi that should send a chill up your spine...
www.zerohedge.comSubmitted by Brandon Smith of Alt Market
The Essential Rules Of Tyranny
As we look back on the horrors of the dictatorships and autocracies of the past, one particular question consistently arises; how was it possible for the common men of these eras to NOT notice what was happening around them? How could they have stood as statues unaware or uncaring as their cultures were overrun by fascism, communism, collectivism, and elitism? Of course, we have the advantage of hindsight, and are able to research and examine the misdeeds of the past at our leisure. Unfortunately, such hindsight does not necessarily shield us from the long cast shadow of tyranny in our own day. For that, the increasingly uncommon gift of foresight is required…
At bottom, the success of despotic governments and Big Brother societies hinges upon a certain number of political, financial, and cultural developments. The first of which is an unwillingness in the general populace to secure and defend their own freedoms, making them completely reliant on corrupt establishment leadership. For totalitarianism to take hold, the masses must not only neglect the plight of their country, and the plight of others, but also be completely uninformed of the inherent indirect threats to their personal safety. They must abandon all responsibility for their destinies, and lose all respect for their own humanity. They must, indeed, become domesticated and mindless herd animals without regard for anything except their fleeting momentary desires for entertainment and short term survival. For a lumbering bloodthirsty behemoth to actually sneak up on you, you have to be pretty damnably oblivious.
The prevalence of apathy and ignorance sets the stage for the slow and highly deliberate process of centralization. Once dishonest governments accomplish an atmosphere of inaction and condition a sense of frailty within the citizenry, the sky is truly the limit. However, a murderous power-monger's day is never quite done. In my recent article 'The Essential Rules of Liberty' we explored the fundamentally unassailable actions and mental preparations required to ensure the continuance of a free society. In this article, let's examine the frequently wielded tools of tyrants in their invariably insane quests for total control…
Rule #1: Keep Them Afraid
People who are easily frightened are easily dominated. This is not just a law of political will, but a law of nature. Many wrongly assume that a tyrant's power comes purely from the application of force. In fact, despotic regimes that rely solely on extreme violence are often very unsuccessful, and easily overthrown. Brute strength is calculable. It can be analyzed, and thus, eventually confronted and defeated.
Thriving tyrants instead utilize not just harm, but the imminent THREAT of harm. They instill apprehension in the public; a fear of the unknown, or a fear of the possible consequences for standing against the state. They let our imaginations run wild until we see death around every corner, whether it's actually there or not. When the masses are so blinded by the fear of reprisal that they forget their fear of slavery, and take no action whatsoever to undo it, then they have been sufficiently culled.
In other cases, our fear is evoked and directed towards engineered enemies. Another race, another religion, another political ideology, a "hidden" and ominous villain created out of thin air. Autocrats assert that we "need them" in order to remain safe and secure from these illusory monsters bent on our destruction. As always, this development is followed by the claim that all steps taken, even those that dissolve our freedoms, are "for the greater good". Frightened people tend to shirk their sense of independence and run towards the comfort of the collective, even if that collective is built on immoral and unconscionable foundations. Once a society takes on a hive-mind mentality almost any evil can be rationalized, and any injustice against the individual is simply overlooked for the sake of the group.
Rule #2: Keep Them Isolated
In the past, elitist governments would often legislate and enforce severe penalties for public gatherings, because defusing the ability of the citizenry to organize or to communicate was paramount to control. In our technological era, such isolation is still used, but in far more advanced forms. The bread and circus lifestyle of the average westerner alone is enough to distract us from connecting with each other in any meaningful fashion, but people still sometimes find ways to seek out organized forms of activism.
Through co-option, modern day tyrant's can direct and manipulate opposition movements. By creating and administrating groups which oppose each other, elites can then micromanage all aspects of a nation on the verge of revolution. These "false paradigms" give us the illusion of proactive organization, and the false hope of changing the system, while at the same time preventing us from seeking understanding in one another. All our energies are then muted and dispersed into meaningless battles over "left and right", or "Democrat versus Republican", for example. Only movements that cast aside such empty labels and concern themselves with the ultimate truth of their country, regardless of what that truth might reveal, are able to enact real solutions to the disasters wrought by tyranny.
In more advanced forms of despotism, even fake organizations are disbanded. Curfews are enforced. Normal communications are diminished or monitored. Compulsory paperwork is required. Checkpoints are instituted. Free speech is punished. Existing groups are influenced to distrust each other or to disintegrate entirely out of dread of being discovered. All of these measures are taken by tyrants primarily to prevent ANY citizens from gathering and finding mutual support. People who work together and organize of their own volition are unpredictable, and therefore, a potential risk to the state.
Rule #3: Keep Them Desperate
You'll find in nearly every instance of cultural descent into autocracy, the offending government gained favor after the onset of economic collapse. Make the necessities of root survival an uncertainty, and people without knowledge of self sustainability and without solid core principles will gladly hand over their freedom, even for mere scraps from the tables of the same men who unleashed famine upon them. Financial calamities are not dangerous because of the poverty they leave in their wake; they are dangerous because of the doors to malevolence that they leave open.
Destitution leads not just to hunger, but also to crime (private and government). Crime leads to anger, hatred, and fear. Fear leads to desperation. Desperation leads to the acceptance of anything resembling a solution, even despotism.
Autocracies pretend to cut through the dilemmas of economic dysfunction (usually while demanding liberties be relinquished), however, behind the scenes they actually seek to maintain a proscribed level of indigence and deprivation. The constant peril of homelessness and starvation keeps the masses thoroughly distracted from such things as protest or dissent, while simultaneously chaining them to the idea that their only chance is to cling to the very government out to end them.
Rule #4: Send Out The Jackboots
This is the main symptom often associated with totalitarianism. So much so that our preconceived notions of what a fascist government looks like prevent us from seeing other forms of tyranny right under our noses. Some Americans believe that if the jackbooted thugs are not knocking on every door, then we MUST still live in a free country. Obviously, this is a rather naïve position. Admittedly, though, goon squads and secret police do eventually become prominent in every failed nation, usually while the public is mesmerized by visions of war, depression, hyperinflation, terrorism, etc.
When law enforcement officials are no longer servants of the people, but agents of a government concerned only with its own supremacy, serious crises emerge. Checks and balances are removed. The guidelines that once reigned in police disappear, and suddenly, a philosophy of superiority emerges; an arrogant exclusivity that breeds separation between law enforcement and the rest of the public. Finally, police no longer see themselves as protectors of citizens, but prison guards out to keep us subdued and docile.
As tyranny grows, this behavior is encouraged. Good men are filtered out of the system, and small (minded and hearted) men are promoted.
At its pinnacle, a police state will hide the identities of most of its agents and officers, behind masks or behind red tape, because their crimes in the name of the state become so numerous and so sadistic that personal vengeance on the part of their victims will become a daily concern.
Rule #5: Blame Everything On The Truth Seekers
Tyrants are generally men who have squelched their own consciences. They have no reservations in using any means at their disposal to wipe out opposition. But, in the early stages of their ascent to power, they must give the populace a reason for their ruthlessness, or risk being exposed, and instigating even more dissent. The propaganda machine thus goes into overdrive, and any person or group that dares to question the authority or the validity of the state is demonized in the minds of the masses.
All disasters, all violent crimes, all the ills of the world, are hoisted upon the shoulders of activist groups and political rivals. They are falsely associated with fringe elements already disliked by society (racists, terrorists, etc). A bogus consensus is created through puppet media in an attempt to make the public believe that "everyone else" must have the same exact views, and those who express contrary positions must be "crazy", or "extremist". Events are even engineered by the corrupt system and pinned on those demanding transparency and liberty. The goal is to drive anti-totalitarian organizations into self censorship. That is to say, instead of silencing them directly, the state causes activists to silence themselves.
Tyrannical power structures cannot function without scapegoats. There must always be an elusive boogie man under the bed of every citizen, otherwise, those citizens may turn their attention, and their anger, towards the real culprit behind their troubles. By scapegoating stewards of the truth, such governments are able to kill two birds with one stone.
Rule #6: Encourage Citizen Spies
Ultimately, the life of a totalitarian government is not prolonged by the government itself, but by the very people it subjugates. Citizen spies are the glue of any police state, and our propensity for sticking our noses into other peoples business is highly valued by Big Brother bureaucracies around the globe.
There are a number of reasons why people participate in this repulsive activity. Some are addicted to the feeling of being a part of the collective, and "service" to this collective, sadly, is the only way they are able to give their pathetic lives meaning. Some are vindictive, cold, and soulless, and actually get enjoyment from ruining others. And still, like elites, some long for power, even petty power, and are willing to do anything to fulfill their vile need to dictate the destinies of perfect strangers.
Citizen spying is almost always branded as a civic duty; an act of heroism and bravery. Citizen spies are offered accolades and awards, and showered with praise from the upper echelons of their communities. People who lean towards citizen spying are often outwardly and inwardly unimpressive; physically and mentally inept. For the average moral and emotional weakling with persistent feelings of inadequacy, the allure of finally being given fifteen minutes of fame and a hero's status (even if that status is based on a lie) is simply too much to resist. They begin to see "extremists" and "terrorists" everywhere. Soon, people afraid of open ears everywhere start to watch what they say at the supermarket, in their own backyards, or even to family members. Free speech is effectively neutralized.
Rule #7: Make Them Accept The Unacceptable
In the end, it is not enough for a government fueled by the putrid sludge of iniquity to lord over us. At some point, it must also influence us to forsake our most valued principles. Tyrannies are less concerned with dominating how we live, so much as dominating how we think. If they can mold our very morality, they can exist unopposed indefinitely. Of course, the elements of conscience are inborn, and not subject to environmental duress as long as a man is self aware. However, conscience can be manipulated if a person has no sense of identity, and has never put in the effort to explore his own strengths and failings. There are many people like this in America today.
Lies become "necessary" in protecting the safety of the state. War becomes a tool for "peace". Torture becomes an ugly but "useful" method for gleaning important information. Police brutality is sold as a "natural reaction" to increased crime. Rendition becomes normal, but only for those labeled as "terrorists". Assassination is justified as a means for "saving lives". Genocide is done discretely, but most everyone knows it is taking place. They simply don't discuss it.
All tyrannical systems depend on the apathy and moral relativism of the inhabitants within their borders. Without the cooperation of the public, these systems cannot function. The real question is, how many of the above steps will be taken before we finally refuse to conform? At what point will each man and woman decide to break free from the dark path blazed before us and take measures to ensure their independence? Who will have the courage to develop their own communities, their own alternative economies, their own organizations for mutual defense outside of establishment constructs, and who will break under the pressure to bow like cowards? How many will hold the line, and how many will flee?
For every American, for every human being across the planet who chooses to stand immovable in the face of the very worst in mankind, we come that much closer to breathing life once again into the very best in us all.
Feb 28, 2014 | The American Conservative
Steve Sailer links to this unsettling essay by former career Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren, who says the "deep state" - the Washington-Wall-Street-Silicon-Valley Establishment - is a far greater threat to liberty than you think. The partisan rancor and gridlock in Washington conceals a more fundamental and pervasive agreement.Excerpts:
These are not isolated instances of a contradiction; they have been so pervasive that they tend to be disregarded as background noise. During the time in 2011 when political warfare over the debt ceiling was beginning to paralyze the business of governance in Washington, the United States government somehow summoned the resources to overthrow Muammar Ghaddafi's regime in Libya, and, when the instability created by that coup spilled over into Mali, provide overt and covert assistance to French intervention there. At a time when there was heated debate about continuing meat inspections and civilian air traffic control because of the budget crisis, our government was somehow able to commit $115 million to keeping a civil war going in Syria and to pay at least £100m to the United Kingdom's Government Communications Headquarters to buy influence over and access to that country's intelligence. Since 2007, two bridges carrying interstate highways have collapsed due to inadequate maintenance of infrastructure, one killing 13 people. During that same period of time, the government spent $1.7 billion constructing a building in Utah that is the size of 17 football fields. This mammoth structure is intended to allow the National Security Agency to store a yottabyte of information, the largest numerical designator computer scientists have coined. A yottabyte is equal to 500 quintillion pages of text. They need that much storage to archive every single trace of your electronic life.
Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an "establishment." All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State's protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude.
Washington is the most important node of the Deep State that has taken over America, but it is not the only one. Invisible threads of money and ambition connect the town to other nodes. One is Wall Street, which supplies the cash that keeps the political machine quiescent and operating as a diversionary marionette theater. Should the politicians forget their lines and threaten the status quo, Wall Street floods the town with cash and lawyers to help the hired hands remember their own best interests. The executives of the financial giants even have de facto criminal immunity. On March 6, 2013, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder stated the following: "I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy." This, from the chief law enforcement officer of a justice system that has practically abolished the constitutional right to trial for poorer defendants charged with certain crimes. It is not too much to say that Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State and its strategies, if for no other reason than that it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career that is lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice - certainly beyond the dreams of a salaried government employee. 
The corridor between Manhattan and Washington is a well trodden highway for the personalities we have all gotten to know in the period since the massive deregulation of Wall Street: Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner and many others. Not all the traffic involves persons connected with the purely financial operations of the government: In 2013, General David Petraeus joined KKR (formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) of 9 West 57th Street, New York, a private equity firm with $62.3 billion in assets. KKR specializes in management buyouts and leveraged finance. General Petraeus' expertise in these areas is unclear. His ability to peddle influence, however, is a known and valued commodity. Unlike Cincinnatus, the military commanders of the Deep State do not take up the plow once they lay down the sword. Petraeus also obtained a sinecure as a non-resident senior fellow at theBelfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. The Ivy League is, of course, the preferred bleaching tub and charm school of the American oligarchy.
Lofgren goes on to say that Silicon Valley is a node of the Deep State too, and that despite the protestations of its chieftains against NSA spying, it's a vital part of the Deep State's apparatus. More:
The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction. Washington is the headquarters of the Deep State, and its time in the sun as a rival to Rome, Constantinople or London may be term-limited by its overweening sense of self-importance and its habit, as Winwood Reade said of Rome, to "live upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face."
Read the whole thing.... I would love to see a study comparing the press coverage from 9/11 leading up to the Iraq War with press coverage of the gay marriage issue from about 2006 till today. Specifically, I'd be curious to know about how thoroughly the media covered the cases against the policies that the Deep State and the Shallow State decided should prevail. I'm not suggesting a conspiracy here, not at all. I'm only thinking back to how it seemed so obvious to me in 2002 that we should go to war with Iraq, so perfectly clear that the only people who opposed it were fools or villains. The same consensus has emerged around same-sex marriage. I know how overwhelmingly the news media have believed this for some time, such that many American journalists simply cannot conceive that anyone against same-sex marriage is anything other than a fool or a villain. Again, this isn't a conspiracy; it's in the nature of the thing. Lofgren:
Cultural assimilation is partly a matter of what psychologist Irving L. Janis called "groupthink," the chameleon-like ability of people to adopt the views of their superiors and peers. This syndrome is endemic to Washington: The town is characterized by sudden fads, be it negotiating biennial budgeting, making grand bargains or invading countries. Then, after a while, all the town's cool kids drop those ideas as if they were radioactive. As in the military, everybody has to get on board with the mission, and questioning it is not a career-enhancing move. The universe of people who will critically examine the goings-on at the institutions they work for is always going to be a small one. As Upton Sinclair said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
A more elusive aspect of cultural assimilation is the sheer dead weight of the ordinariness of it all once you have planted yourself in your office chair for the 10,000th time. Government life is typically not some vignette from an Allen Drury novel about intrigue under the Capitol dome. Sitting and staring at the clock on the off-white office wall when it's 11:00 in the evening and you are vowing never, ever to eat another piece of takeout pizza in your life is not an experience that summons the higher literary instincts of a would-be memoirist. After a while, a functionary of the state begins to hear things that, in another context, would be quite remarkable, or at least noteworthy, and yet that simply bounce off one's consciousness like pebbles off steel plate: "You mean the number of terrorist groups we are fighting is classified?" No wonder so few people are whistle-blowers, quite apart from the vicious retaliation whistle-blowing often provokes: Unless one is blessed with imagination and a fine sense of irony, growing immune to the curiousness of one's surroundings is easy. To paraphrase the inimitable Donald Rumsfeld, I didn't know all that I knew, at least until I had had a couple of years away from the government to reflect upon it.
When all you know is the people who surround you in your professional class bubble and your social circles, you can think the whole world agrees with you, or should. It's probably not a coincidence that the American media elite live, work, and socialize in New York and Washington, the two cities that were attacked on 9/11, and whose elites - political, military, financial - were so genuinely traumatized by the events.
Anyway, that's just a small part of it, about how the elite media manufacture consent. Here's a final quote, one from the Moyers interview with Lofgren:
BILL MOYERS: If, as you write, the ideology of the Deep State is not democrat or republican, not left or right, what is it?
MIKE LOFGREN: It's an ideology. I just don't think we've named it. It's a kind of corporatism. Now, the actors in this drama tend to steer clear of social issues. They pretend to be merrily neutral servants of the state, giving the best advice possible on national security or financial matters. But they hold a very deep ideology of the Washington consensus at home, which is deregulation, outsourcing, de-industrialization and financialization. And they believe in American exceptionalism abroad, which is boots on the ground everywhere, it's our right to meddle everywhere in the world. And the result of that is perpetual war.
This can't last. We'd better hope it can't last. And we'd better hope it unwinds peacefully.
Oct 13, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.comJim Haygood October 13, 2016 at 3:32 pmFred October 13, 2016 at 3:44 pm
Just as cops take more money from people with civil forfeiture than burglars do, they arrest more people for cannabis than for all violent crimes combined:
Law enforcement agencies made 574,641 arrests last year for small quantities of the drug intended for personal use, according to the report, which was released Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch. The marijuana arrests were about 13.6 percent more than the 505,681 arrests made for all violent crimes, including murder, rape and serious assaults.
To state it differently, more people are arrested for victimless crimes (where the only complainant is a law enforcement officer) than for crimes in which someone actually suffered harm.Jim Haygood October 13, 2016 at 4:00 pm
Of course there were a heck of a lot more victims of violent crime than dope crime:
Perhaps we should put some of those responsible for that mass black on black violent crime in prison rather than drug offenders. Why doesn't Obama direct his DOJ to do just that?Fiver October 13, 2016 at 4:35 pm
Probably the order of magnitude difference in stats relates to "victimizations" vs "arrests."
Lots of crime reports never result in an arrest.JohnnyGL October 13, 2016 at 5:02 pm
'Perhaps we should put some of those responsible for that mass black on black violent crime in prison rather than drug offenders. Why doesn't Obama direct his DOJ to do just that?'
Or maybe the US should finally face up to the fact it has never done more than the least it could possibly get away with when it comes to dealing with deeply entrenched systemic racism/poverty.
That's pretty damning on its face. The drug war is the primary function of the police in the USA. Violent stuff is secondary.
"Tess Borden, a fellow at Human Rights Watch and the A.C.L.U., who wrote the report, found that despite the steep decline in crime rates over the last two decades - including a 36 percent drop in violent crime arrests from 1995 to 2015 - the number of arrests for all drug possessions, including marijuana, increased 13 percent.
The emphasis on making marijuana arrests is worrisome, Ms. Borden said."
You bet it is!!!
Oct 12, 2016 | crookedtimber.org
Lupita 10.11.16 at 6:54 pm 73This election also can be seen in a more general, global context of how forces have been accommodating to the end of the cold war. Perhaps a detour into the history of some 3rd world banana republics, those that many Americans deem as deplorable as a Trump supporter, can shed some light.
Starting in the 50's, and with the expressed goal of modernizing their countries (meaning an accelerated capitalist development with the US as its model and as the only possible model) military and terror regimes took over South America (Paraguay: 1954-1991, Chile: 1973-1990, Argentina: 1976-1982, Uruguay: 1966- 1985). For the most part, before being forced out of power, these military regimes declared amnesty for themselves. Enter truth commissions, whose purpose is to investigate the causes of violence and human rights violations and to establish judicial responsibility.
Back in the US, those responsible for human rights violations around the world, such as torture, extra-judicial assassinations, and renditions, have never been brought to justice and the mere mention of Clinton (a politician!) facing jail for a very minor infraction is considered in undemocratic bad taste.
Conclusion: perhaps more than a special prosecutor, a commission of truth is in order, but not at the moment, after the US crumbles as the USSR did. Only then can 3rd worlders hope to see Kissinger, Bush, Blair, Aznar, Obama, and all their enablers brought to justice.
For the moment, we have to put up with the spectacle of some Americans, in an intent at preemptive amnesty, outraged at the mere thought that their presumptive tin-pot, global Caesar is not above suspicion and that they themselves are better than 3rd worlders.
Oct 09, 2016 | www.zerohedge.com
poeg -> junction: Oct 8, 2016 2:30 PM
You cats haven't had end to end encryption for more than 5 years and while not at all difficult to accomplish, the resistance to using such code has amazed all in the ITSEC community not feeding at the .gov trough. All your ISP's have been carrying NSA gear within their infrastructure for how long now? Juniper's back door in their gear wasn't to push firmware updates. The whole system has been left open for a number of reasons, none of which would be capitalism, free markets or satisfied consumers.
Kirk2NCC1701 -> junction •Oct 8, 2016 2:59 PM
Well, if you use Yahoo, Outlook or Google mail, then you're the Village Idiot, if you use those free services for anything other than harmless, boring stuff. You know, Yoga and Cooking recipes -- like Hillary.
IF you're serious about email privacy, use an email service that is OUTSIDE the US.
As you know, I use Hushmail.me for my Kirk2NCC1701 handle and ZH friends. Hushmail is in Canada and after speaking with them in person, I am confident that they take their customer's Privacy seriously, especially for their paying customers. Now, I may have used a Yahoo alt-persona account, but only for "Trumping". I also may have used Google and Outlook for "vanilla" stuff, and I may have used other offshore emails for "secure" purposes where lawful business and personal privacy matters were involved (but No illegal activities, as I'm not an "illegal" type. Devious, curious, inquiring, opinionated? Hell yes. Illegal? No.)
"Trunping" (copyright 2016, Kirk2NCC1701) -- behaving Trump-like: bombastic, pleasure-seeking, pussy-seeking, pussy-pleasuring
Dugald -> Kirk2NCC1701 •Oct 8, 2016 5:35 PM
Been using Pidgeon and Forked stick for years for private stuff.....
as for my Gmail account, I don't give a shit.....
Parrotile -> Kirk2NCC1701 •Oct 8, 2016 8:46 PM
I very rarely need to send anything particularly confidential. My employers expect me to use the systems they provide for all "Medical in Confidence" stuff, and so since that requirement is part of my Contract, they are entirely liable for any failures, not me.
EMail - Outlook. It works and again nothing of "interest" is ever sent. If I DO need to send information that's "Sensitive", I have one of these: -
- Which works very well, and the cartridges are easily available. Person-to-Person, or Recorded Delivery mail. Works just fine and of course NO "electronic paper trail" . . . .
Oct 08, 2016 | www.counterpunch.orgby Dave Lindorff
Word that Yahoo! last year, at the urging of the National Security Agency, secretly developed a program that monitored the mail of all 280 million of its customers and turned over to the NSA all mail from those who used any of the agency's thousands of keywords, shows that the US has become a total police state in terms of trying to monitor every person in the country (and outside too).
With the courts, especially at the appellate and Supreme Court level, rolling over and supporting this massive evisceration of basic freedoms, including the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech and the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure and invasion of privacy, perhaps the best way for us to fight back is to overload the spy system. How to do this? Just copy and paste random fragments of the following list (a bit dated, but useable), provided courtesy of the publication Business Insider, and include them in every communication - email, social media, etc. - that you send out.
The secret Yahoo! assault (reported on here by Alfredo Lopez in yesterday's article ), works by searching users' emails for keywords on an NSA list of suspected words that might be used by alleged terrorists or anti-government activists, and then those suspect communications are forwarded to the NSA, where humans eventually have to separate the wheat from the chaff. Too much chaff (and they surely have too much chaff anyhow!) and they will be buried with work and unable to read anything.
In fact, critics of the government's metastasizing universal surveillance program, including former FBI agents and other experts, have long criticized the effort to turn the US into a replica of East Germany with its Stazi secret police, cannot work and is actually counter-productive, because with spy agencies' limited manpower looking at all the false leads provided by keyword monitoring, they are bound to miss the real dangerous messages. In fact, this was also the argument used against the FBI's program of monitoring mosques and suspecting every Muslim American who expressed criticism of the US. Most are just people saying what a lot of us say: that the US wars in the Middle East are wrong or even criminal, but they are just citizens or immigrants exercising their free speech when they do this, not terrorists, and spying on them is and has been a huge waste or time and resources.
... ... ...a sample of the NSA's keyword list:
Waihopai, INFOSEC, Information Security, Information Warfare, IW, IS, Priavacy, Information Terrorism, Terrorism Defensive Information, Defense Information Warfare, Offensive Information, Offensive Information Warfare, National Information Infrastructure, InfoSec, Reno, Compsec, Computer Terrorism, Firewalls, Secure Internet Connections, ISS, Passwords, DefCon V, Hackers, Encryption, Espionage, USDOJ, NSA, CIA, S/Key, SSL, FBI, Secert Service, USSS, Defcon, Military, White House, Undercover, NCCS, Mayfly, PGP, PEM, RSA, Perl-RSA, MSNBC, bet, AOL, AOL TOS, CIS, CBOT, AIMSX, STARLAN, 3B2, BITNET, COSMOS, DATTA, E911, FCIC, HTCIA, IACIS, UT/RUS, JANET, JICC, ReMOB, LEETAC, UTU, VNET, BRLO, BZ, CANSLO, CBNRC, CIDA, JAVA, Active X, Compsec 97, LLC, DERA, Mavricks, Meta-hackers, ^?, Steve Case, Tools, Telex, Military Intelligence, Scully, Flame, Infowar, Bubba, Freeh, Archives, Sundevil, jack, Investigation, ISACA, NCSA, spook words, Verisign, Secure, ASIO, Lebed, ICE, NRO, Lexis-Nexis, NSCT, SCIF, FLiR, Lacrosse, Flashbangs, HRT, DIA, USCOI, CID, BOP, FINCEN, FLETC, NIJ, ACC, AFSPC, BMDO, NAVWAN, NRL, RL, NAVWCWPNS, NSWC, USAFA, AHPCRC, ARPA, LABLINK, USACIL, USCG, NRC, ~, CDC, DOE, FMS, HPCC, NTIS, SEL, USCODE, CISE, SIRC, CIM, ISN, DJC, SGC, UNCPCJ, CFC, DREO, CDA, DRA, SHAPE, SACLANT, BECCA, DCJFTF, HALO, HAHO, FKS, 868, GCHQ, DITSA, SORT, AMEMB, NSG, HIC, EDI, SAS, SBS, UDT, GOE, DOE, GEO, Masuda, Forte, AT, GIGN, Exon Shell, CQB, CONUS, CTU, RCMP, GRU, SASR, GSG-9, 22nd SAS, GEOS, EADA, BBE, STEP, Echelon, Dictionary, MD2, MD4, MDA, MYK, 747,777, 767, MI5, 737, MI6, 757, Kh-11, Shayet-13, SADMS, Spetznaz, Recce, 707, CIO, NOCS, Halcon, Duress, RAID, Psyops, grom, D-11, SERT, VIP, ARC, S.E.T. Team, MP5k, DREC, DEVGRP, DF, DSD, FDM, GRU, LRTS, SIGDEV, NACSI, PSAC, PTT, RFI, SIGDASYS, TDM. SUKLO, SUSLO, TELINT, TEXTA. ELF, LF, MF, VHF, UHF, SHF, SASP, WANK, Colonel, domestic disruption, smuggle, 15kg, nitrate, Pretoria, M-14, enigma, Bletchley Park, Clandestine, nkvd, argus, afsatcom, CQB, NVD, Counter Terrorism Security, Rapid Reaction, Corporate Security, Police, sniper, PPS, ASIS, ASLET, TSCM, Security Consulting, High Security, Security Evaluation, Electronic Surveillance, MI-17, Counterterrorism, spies, eavesdropping, debugging, interception, COCOT, rhost, rhosts, SETA, Amherst, Broadside, Capricorn, Gamma, Gorizont, Guppy, Ionosphere, Mole, Keyhole, Kilderkin, Artichoke, Badger, Cornflower, Daisy, Egret, Iris, Hollyhock, Jasmine, Juile, Vinnell, B.D.M.,Sphinx, Stephanie, Reflection, Spoke, Talent, Trump, FX, FXR, IMF, POCSAG, Covert Video, Intiso, r00t, lock picking, Beyond Hope, csystems, passwd, 2600 Magazine, Competitor, EO, Chan, Alouette,executive, Event Security, Mace, Cap-Stun, stakeout, ninja, ASIS, ISA, EOD, Oscor, Merlin, NTT, SL-1, Rolm, TIE, Tie-fighter, PBX, SLI, NTT, MSCJ, MIT, 69, RIT, Time, MSEE, Cable & Wireless, CSE, Embassy, ETA, Porno, Fax, finks, Fax encryption, white noise, pink noise, CRA, M.P.R.I., top secret, Mossberg, 50BMG, Macintosh Security, Macintosh Internet Security, Macintosh Firewalls, Unix Security, VIP Protection, SIG, sweep, Medco, TRD, TDR, sweeping, TELINT, Audiotel, Harvard, 1080H, SWS, Asset, Satellite imagery, force, Cypherpunks, Coderpunks, TRW, remailers, replay, redheads, RX-7, explicit, FLAME, Pornstars, AVN, Playboy, Anonymous, Sex, chaining, codes, Nuclear, 20, subversives, SLIP, toad, fish, data havens, unix, c, a, b, d, the, Elvis, quiche, DES, 1*, NATIA, NATOA, sneakers, counterintelligence, industrial espionage, PI, TSCI, industrial intelligence, H.N.P., Juiliett Class Submarine, Locks, loch, Ingram Mac-10, sigvoice, ssa, E.O.D., SEMTEX, penrep, racal, OTP, OSS, Blowpipe, CCS, GSA, Kilo Class, squib, primacord, RSP, Becker, Nerd, fangs, Austin, Comirex, GPMG, Speakeasy, humint, GEODSS, SORO, M5, ANC, zone, SBI, DSS, S.A.I.C., Minox, Keyhole, SAR, Rand Corporation, Wackenhutt, EO, Wackendude, mol, Hillal, GGL, CTU, botux, Virii, CCC, Blacklisted 411, Internet Underground, XS4ALL, Retinal Fetish, Fetish, Yobie, CTP, CATO, Phon-e, Chicago Posse, l0ck, spook keywords, PLA, TDYC, W3, CUD, CdC, Weekly World News, Zen, World Domination, Dead, GRU, M72750, Salsa, 7, Blowfish, Gorelick, Glock, Ft. Meade, press-release, Indigo, wire transfer, e-cash, Bubba the Love Sponge, Digicash, zip, SWAT, Ortega, PPP, crypto-anarchy, AT&T, SGI, SUN, MCI, Blacknet, Middleman, KLM, Blackbird, plutonium, Texas, jihad, SDI, Uzi, Fort Meade, supercomputer, bullion, 3, Blackmednet, Propaganda, ABC, Satellite phones, Planet-1, cryptanalysis, nuclear, FBI, Panama, fissionable, Sears Tower, NORAD, Delta Force, SEAL, virtual, Dolch, secure shell, screws, Black-Ops, Area51, SABC, basement, data-haven, black-bag, TEMPSET, Goodwin, rebels, ID, MD5, IDEA, garbage, market, beef, Stego, unclassified, utopia, orthodox, Alica, SHA, Global, gorilla, Bob, Pseudonyms, MITM, Gray Data, VLSI, mega, Leitrim, Yakima, Sugar Grove, Cowboy, Gist, 8182, Gatt, Platform, 1911, Geraldton, UKUSA, veggie, 3848, Morwenstow, Consul, Oratory, Pine Gap, Menwith, Mantis, DSD, BVD, 1984, Flintlock, cybercash, government, hate, speedbump, illuminati, president, freedom, cocaine, $, Roswell, ESN, COS, E.T., credit card, b9, fraud, assasinate, virus, anarchy, rogue, mailbomb, 888, Chelsea, 1997, Whitewater, MOD, York, plutonium, William Gates, clone, BATF, SGDN, Nike, Atlas, Delta, TWA, Kiwi, PGP 2.6.2., PGP 5.0i, PGP 5.1, siliconpimp, Lynch, 414, Face, Pixar, IRIDF, eternity server, Skytel, Yukon, Templeton, LUK, Cohiba, Soros, Standford, niche, 51, H&K, USP, ^, sardine, bank, EUB, USP, PCS, NRO, Red Cell, Glock 26, snuffle, Patel, package, ISI, INR, INS, IRS, GRU, RUOP, GSS, NSP, SRI, Ronco, Armani, BOSS, Chobetsu, FBIS, BND, SISDE, FSB, BfV, IB, froglegs, JITEM, SADF, advise, TUSA, HoHoCon, SISMI, FIS, MSW, Spyderco, UOP, SSCI, NIMA, MOIS, SVR, SIN, advisors, SAP, OAU, PFS, Aladdin, chameleon man, Hutsul, CESID, Bess, rail gun, Peering, 17, 312, NB, CBM, CTP, Sardine, SBIRS, SGDN, ADIU, DEADBEEF, IDP, IDF, Halibut, SONANGOL, Flu, &, Loin, PGP 5.53, EG&G, AIEWS, AMW, WORM, MP5K-SD, 1071, WINGS, cdi, DynCorp, UXO, Ti, THAAD, package, chosen, PRIME, SURVIAC
Oct 07, 2016 | news.antiwar.com
Software Could've Given NSA Much More Access Than Just EmailsFormer employees of Yahoo have corroborated this week's stories about the company scanning all emails coming into their servers on behalf of the NSA, saying that the "email scanner" software was not Yahoo-built, but actually made and installed by the US government .
The employees, including at least one on Yahoo's own internal security team, reported finding the software on the email server and believing they were begin hacked, before executives informed them the government had done it. They described the software as a broader "rootkit" that could give the NSA access to much more than just emails.
To make matters worse, the employees say the government's software was "buggy" and poorly-designed , meaning it could've given other hackers who discovered it the same access to the Yahoo server, adding to the danger it posed to customers' privacy.
Yahoo itself has been mostly mum on the matter, issuing a statement claiming the initial reports were "misleading" but not elaborating at all. The NSA denied the claim outright, though they have been repeatedly caught lying about similar programs in the past.
Oct 04, 2016 | crookedtimber.org
LFC 10.02.16 at 5:00 pm 330@s. johnsonstevenjohnson 10.02.16 at 7:10 pm
The recent leak that Clinton is against nuclear armed cruise missiles and isn't committed to Obama's trillion dollar nuclear weapons upgrade appears to suggest she's not quite on board with plans for general war. (Yes, the purpose of this program is to prepare for general nuclear war, or at minimum, plausible threat of imminent general nuclear war.) It is unclear whether this was leaked to make her look good to the public, or to discredit her with the military's higher ups. (It is likely dissident military played a role in the leak, either way.)
I had not heard about this (perhaps an indication of how closely or not I'm following the election news). If HRC is indeed has some doubts about the wisdom of nuclear 'modernization', that's all to the good. Mainstream Democratic-leaning think tanks, at least one that I'm aware of, have questioned the modernization necessity and expense, e.g. in a report co-authored by Lawrence Korb, a former Reagan admin defense official.
Will refrain from further comment except to say that I disagree w the notion that the pt of nuclear 'modernization' is to make plausible the threat of "imminent general nuclear war." If U.S. military planners took hallucinogenic drugs and went nuts, they could "plausibly" threaten "imminent general nuclear war" right now with the US nuclear arsenal as currently configured. They don't need to upgrade the weapons to do that. The program is prob more the result of rigid, unimaginative thinking at top levels of Pentagon and influence of outside companies (e.g. Boeing etc) that work on the upgrades.One aspect of the upgrade is about improving the feasibility of using tactical nukes.
Oct 01, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
Fred C. Dobbs : September 30, 2016 at 06:02 AM (Is this anything?)
Why It's Safe to Scrap America's ICBMs http://nyti.ms/2d0ynlO
NYT - William Perry - Sep 30
In recent years, Russia and the United States have started rebuilding their Cold War nuclear arsenals, putting the world on the threshold of a dangerous new arms race. But we don't have to repeat the perilous drama of the 20th century. We can maintain our country's strength and security and still do away with the worst of the Cold War weapons.
The American plan to rebuild and maintain our nuclear force is needlessly oversize and expensive, expected to cost about $1 trillion over the next three decades. This would crowd out the funding needed to sustain the competitive edge of our conventional forces and to build the capacities needed to deal with terrorism and cyberattacks.
The good news is that the United States can downsize its plans, save tens of billions of dollars, and still maintain a robust nuclear arsenal.
First and foremost, the United States can safely phase out its land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) force, a key facet of Cold War nuclear policy. Retiring the ICBMs would save considerable costs, but it isn't only budgets that would benefit. These missiles are some of the most dangerous weapons in the world. They could even trigger an accidental nuclear war.
If our sensors indicate that enemy missiles are en route to the United States, the president would have to consider launching ICBMs before the enemy missiles could destroy them; once they are launched, they cannot be recalled. The president would have less than 30 minutes to make that terrible decision.
This is not an academic concern. While the probability of an accidental launch is low, human and machine errors do occur. I experienced a false alarm nearly 40 years ago, when I was under secretary of defense for research and engineering. I was awakened in the middle of the night and told that some Defense Department computers were showing 200 ICBMs on the way from the Soviet Union. For one horrifying moment I thought it was the end of civilization. Then the general on the phone explained that it was a false alarm. He was calling to see if I could help him determine what had gone wrong with the computer.
During the Cold War, the United States relied on ICBMs because they provided accuracy that was not then achievable by submarine-launched missiles or bombers. They also provided an insurance policy in case America's nuclear submarine force was disabled. That's not necessary anymore. Today, the United States' submarine and bomber forces are highly accurate, and we have enough confidence in their security that we do not need an additional insurance policy - especially one that is so expensive and open to error.
As part of the updates to America's nuclear arsenal, the government is also planning to replace nuclear-armed submarines and bombers. If we assume that the Defense Department is critically analyzing the number of systems needed, this makes far more sense than replacing ICBMs. The submarine force alone is sufficient to deter our enemies and will be for the foreseeable future. But as technology advances, we have to recognize the possibility of new threats to submarines, especially cyberattack and detection by swarms of drones. The new submarine program should put a special emphasis on improvements to deal with these potential threats, assuring the survivability of the fleet for decades to come.
The new stealth bomber will provide a backup to submarines. This is not likely to be necessary, but the bomber force is a good insurance policy. The new bomber would be capable of carrying out either conventional or nuclear missions. But the development of new air-launched nuclear cruise missiles, which has been proposed, is unnecessary and destabilizing. We can maintain an effective bomber force without a nuclear cruise missile.
Instead of overinvesting in nuclear weapons and encouraging a new arms race, the United States should build only the levels needed for deterrence. We should encourage Russia to do the same. But even if it does not, our levels of nuclear forces should be determined by what we actually need, not by a misguided desire to match Moscow missile for missile. If Russia decides to build more than it needs, its economy will suffer, just as during the Cold War. ...
(William J. Perry was secretary of defense from 1994 to 1997.)
Oct 01, 2016 | therealnews.com... ... ...
HORNE: Well if you look at this US presidential election from 30,000 feet, it does not reflect very well upon the US system. On the one hand, you have Hillary Rodham Clinton who was the chief architect of the disastrous overthrow of the Libya regime in 2011 who voted in favor of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 which shows she is not a person who is learning the lessons from her mistakes. ...
... ... ....JAY: And what about in the swing states?
HORNE: Well that's hearts of a different color. I would urge and encourage the voters in the swing states to study the polls very carefully. For example, I may vote in North Carolina this year, where I've voted in the past 2 decades and I'm going to study the polls almost up to election day to determine whether or not it is a worthwhile vote to vote against the two party system, the duopoly, that has brought us this disaster and catastrophe.
... ... ...JAY: So that's what I want to dig into on the foreign policy side. Because there's been a lot of debate about who's really more dangerous on the foreign policy side. Frankly I think you could make the argument both ways. Clinton has a terrible history of hawkishness. Help destroy Libya, help destroy Syria, and help destroy Iraq. And has played certainly a leading role in destroying Libya.
On the other hand, she does and I think in my mind this might be the deciding factor is that she does defend the agreement with Iran even though I don't know how enthusiastic she was in the beginning and even though she tells lies about the Iranian nuclear program. She does defend the Iranian agreement and Trump has said he will tear it up and is surrounding himself, including his vice president and others, most of his advisors, who also want to tear it up and he has made nice-nice with Sheldon Adelson who is apparently giving him 25 million bucks.So on that Iran deal, does that sort of deciding factor why one might think Clinton's foreign policy could be at least less disastrous than Trump?
HORNE: Well I think that's a fair point. Keep in mind not only is Donald Trump hostile to the Iranian nuclear deal. He's told the voters of South Florida he'll break away from President Obama's [en tant] with Cuba. The fact that in the first few moments of the debate last night, he tore and tore to China is not reassuring. His hostility towards Mexico bids fair to ratchet up tension and pressure and hostility toward the Mexican-American and Latino population. So I whole-ly and totally understand the fear and fright on the left with regard to a Trump presidency. At the same time there's more than one way to try to defeat Donald Trump and the way that is now being suggested which is witling down the Green vote from 3% to 1.5%, it seems to me that's almost like a waste of time.
JAY: Why do you think progressive forces and such have so little influence amongst that section of the working class that supports Trump? Although I have to add my barber, his father he was telling me, 33 years in the military supported Sanders and now supports Trump. It's a complicated mix of why people are supporting Trump.HORNE: Well it's very complicated. We'd have to take a stroll down memory lane. We'd have to go into the corners of US history and talk about the United States was formed as a slave holder's republic despite the propaganda to the contrary and there was a kind of [falstry] [embargins] between the Euro-American poor and working class and the Euro-American ruling elite to loot and plunder the Native Americans and then stock the Native America's former land with Africans and that kind of trend has continued down to this very day. Facilitating [falstry] [embargins] and corrupt bargains between the ruling elite and the working class. The fact that some supported Sanders and now support Trump, only suggest to me a kind of political illiteracy. That is to say I guess what they're suggesting is they want a disruptive factor which is why they voted for Sanders then Trump.
... ... ...JAY: But that's highly unlikely isn't it? Especially given the preponderance of the elites seem to be supporting Clinton including much of the Republican elites.
HORNE: You are correct. As a matter of fact, you've hit on a very important point which I think might be helping to push working class voters toward Trump. Which is the fact that the mainstream press, the New York Times, the Washington Post in particular, are bitterly hostile to Donald J. Trump. I would say even to the point of distorting what is thought to be or what was thought to be straight ahead news coverage.I think because the elite press has taken such a turn, such a partisan turn, the working class constituency which knows that the elite press does not have their best interest at heart, might be turning reflexively to Donald J. Trump. To your main point I do think it is unlikely that the electoral college would overturn the results of the November vote. At the same time, the strange political times, I don't think we could rule anything out.
JAY: Now the 1930's when capitalism was deep in crisis, there was a significant support for outright fascism in Europe and of course in Italy and Germany and eventually took over much of Europe. Direct fascism was the answer to the crisis. In the United States, there was a real battle over what was the answer for the crisis in the United States. There were certainly those that loved Adolf Hitler in the United States including Henry Ford and a whole section of the American elite. But the New Deal won out.The idea of a compromise with the working class and trying to create the conditions for a revival of the economy based on state intervention, Keynesian kind of expansion of stimulus and so on and so on. More or less trying to forestall deeper radicalization of the American working class and not impose a direct kind of police state militarism and so on. Do you think the conditions are different now in the sense that there are more of the elites willing to go down that kind of road, which I think is representative not so much by Trump's rhetoric but by his alliance?
HORNE: Well first of all the 1930's needs to be distinguished from today. Insofar as in the 1930's you had a surging labor movement, particularly in the steel workers' union, the autoworkers union, the rubbers workers' union in Akron, Ohio. You had left wing political parties with membership in the double digits in terms of the thousands.
Today we're facing the industrialization today one of the strongest basis for Trump's support rest in coal mining country in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia.
So I'm not sure if we can be reassured by the fact that in the 1930's the United States was able to escape a unique form of neo fascism. I think the danger is actually greater in 2016 than it was in 1936 for example.
Sep 26, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
temporal September 25, 2016 at 9:08 amPavel September 25, 2016 at 2:27 pm
Scan and go.
Swapping standing in line at the check-out for the line at the exit. And when there is an issue then the greeter calls in the check-out police thereby pissing off the customer. Brilliant.
While Apple fanboys are willing to work for their iPhone's company for free by doing their own check-out I doubt that is likely for people going to Sam's Club. As well many customers, even if they have a smartphone, will not enjoy using up their data plan as they try to check and process the details online.
All these smartphone apps have one major goal, besides collecting credit fees. Reduce store overhead by getting customers to do more of the work while eliminating employees. The winners are not the customers or people looking for a way to make ends meet.
Another goal of course is to track even further every single purchase - what, and where, and when. And then sell the consumption data to the insurers perhaps… a packet of cigs per day? Or too many bottles of booze?
Of course they are already doing that with the store "fidelity cards", but the mobile apps will be more precise and less optional.
www.truth-out.orgHenry Giroux: FDR once said, "A nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself." This is happening in the United States in the most literal sense, given that our political and economic system are wedded to a market-driven system willing to destroy the planet, while relentlessly undermining those institutions that make a democracy possible. What this suggests and the book takes up in multiple ways is that the United States is at war with its own idealism, democratic institutions, the working and middle classes, minority youth, Muslims, immigrants and all of those populations considered disposable.
War has taken on an existential quality in that we are not simply at war; rather, as Étienne Balibar insists, "we are in war," inhabiting a war culture that touches every aspect of society. War is no longer an instrument to be used by political powers, but a form of rule, a general condition of the social order itself -- a permanent social relation and organizing principle that affects all aspects of the social order. In fact, the US has moved from a welfare state in the last forty years to a warfare state, and war has now become the foundation for politics, wedded to a misguided war on terror, the militarization of everyday life, and a culture of fear, which have become its most important regulative functions. Politics has become a comprehensive war machine that aggressively assaults anything that does not comply with its underlying economic, religious, educative and political fundamentalisms.
As a comprehensive war machine, the United States operates in the service of a police state, violates civil liberties and has given rise to a military-industrial-surveillance complex that President Eisenhower could never have imagined. For instance, the largest part of the federal budget -- 600 billion dollars -- goes to the military. The US rings the earth with military bases, and the US military budget is larger than those of all other advanced industrial countries combined. And that doesn't count the money spent on the National Surveillance State and intelligence agencies.
... ... ...
What's interesting about the war metaphor is that it produces a language that celebrates what the US should be ashamed of, including the national surveillance state, the military-industrial complex, the war on whistleblowers, the never-ending spectacle of violence in popular culture and endless wars abroad. The vocabulary of war has become normalized and mobilizes certain desires, not only related to violence and social combat, but also in the creation of agents who act in the service of violence.
Violence is not only normalized as the ultimate measure for solving problems, but also as a form of pleasure, especially with regard to the production of violent video games, films and even the saturation of violence in daily mainstream news. Violence saturates American life, as it has become cool to be cruel to people, to bully people and to be indifferent to the suffering of others. The ultimate act of pleasure is now served up in cinematically produced acts of extreme violence, produced both to numb the conscience and to up the pleasure quotient.
This retreat into barbarism is amplified by the neoliberal value of celebrating self-interest over attention to the needs of others. It gets worse. As Hannah Arendt once observed, war culture is part of a species of thoughtlessness that legitimates certain desires, values and identities that make people insensitive to the violence they see around them in everyday life. One can't have a democracy that organizes itself around war because war is the language of injustice -- it admits no compassion and revels in a culture of cruelty.
How does the reduction of life to quantitative data -- testing in schools, mandatory minimums in sentencing, return on investment -- feed into the cultural apparatuses producing a nation at war with itself?
This is the language of instrumental rationality gone berserk, one that strips communication of those issues, values and questions that cannot be resolved empirically. This national obsession with data is symbolic of the retreat from social and moral responsibility. A one-dimensional use of data erases the questions that matter the most: What gives life meaning? What is justice? What constitutes happiness? These things are all immeasurable by a retreat into the discourse of quantification. This type of positivism encourages a form of thoughtlessness, undermines critical agency, makes people more susceptible to violence and emotion rather than reason. Reducing everything to quantitative data creates a form of civic illiteracy, undercuts the ethical imagination, kills empathy and mutilates politics.
The obsession with data becomes a convenient tool for abdicating that which cannot be measured, thus removing from the public sphere those issues that raise serious questions that demand debate, informed judgment and thoughtfulness while taking seriously matters of historical consciousness, memory and context. Empiricism has always been comfortable with authoritarian societies, and has worked to reduce civic courage and agency to an instrumental logic that depoliticizes people by removing matters of social and political responsibility from ethical and political considerations.
America's obsession with metrics and quantitative data is a symptom of its pedagogy of oppression. Numerical values now drive teaching, reduce culture in the broadest sense to the culture of business and teach children that schools exist largely to produce conformity and kill the imagination. Leon Wieseltier is right in arguing that the unchecked celebration of metrics erases the distinction "between knowledge and information" and substitutes quantification for wisdom.
This is not to say that all data is worthless or that data gathering is entirely on the side of repression. However, the dominant celebration of data, metrics and quantification flattens the human experience, outsources judgement and distorts the complexity of the real world. The idolatry of the metric paradigm is politically and ethically enervating and cripples the human spirit.
As you have written and said often, the right takes the pedagogical function of the major cultural apparatuses seriously, while the left not so much. What do progressive forces lose when they abandon the field?
In ignoring the power of the pedagogical function of mainstream cultural apparatuses, many on the left have lost their ability to understand how domination and resistance work at the level of everyday life. The left has relied for too long on defining domination in strictly structural terms, especially with regard to economic structures. Many people on the left assume that the only form of domination is economic. What they ignore is that the crises of economics, history, politics and agency have not been matched by a crisis of ideas. They don't understand how much work is required to change consciousness or how central the issue of identification is to any viable notion of politics. People only respond to a politics that speaks to their condition. What the left has neglected is how matters of identification and the centrality of judgment, belief and persuasion are crucial to politics itself. The left underestimates the dimensions of struggle when it gives up on education as central to the very meaning of politics.
The left appears to have little interest in addressing education as central to how people think and see things. Education can enable people to recognize that the problems they face in everyday life need a new language that speaks to those problems. What is particularly crucial here is the need to develop a politics in which pedagogy becomes central to enabling people to understand and translate how everyday troubles connect to wider structures.
What do you want people to take away from the book?
Certainly, it is crucial to educate people to recognize that American democracy is in crisis and that the forces that threaten it are powerful and must be made visible. In this case, we are talking about the merging of neoliberalism, institutionalized racism, militarization, racism, poverty, inequities in wealth and power and other issues that undermine democracy.
We no longer live in a democracy. The myth of democracy has to be dismantled. To understand that, we need to connect the dots and make often isolated forms of domination visible -- extending from the war on terror and the existence of massive inequalities in wealth and power to the rise of the mass incarceration state and the destruction of public and higher education. We have to make clear that decisions made by the state and corporations are not in the general interest. We must connect the war on Black youth to the war on workers and the war on the middle class, while exposing the workings of a system that extorts money, uses prison as a default welfare program and militarizes the police as a force for repression and domestic terrorism. We must learn how to translate individual problems into larger social issues, create a comprehensive politics and a third party with the aim not of reforming the system, but restructuring it. As Martin Luther King recognized at end of his life, the war at home and the war abroad cannot be separated. Such linkages remain crucial to the democratic project.
Sep 26, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
HBE September 25, 2016 at 11:58 amtgs September 25, 2016 at 12:37 pm
Just watched Samantha Powers speak at the emergency UN security counsel meeting on Syria, how she managed to keep a straight face is completely beyond me.
Basically Russia needs to take responsibility for its actions in Syria and the war would be over if those damn Russians would GTFO and quit disrupting the US and GCC regime change operations.
It appears everything would be going swimmingly if Russia would just leave the "rebels" alone and let the US turn Syria into Libya, I mean is that so much to ask for? /SOpenThePodBayDoorsHAL September 25, 2016 at 2:53 pm
The people Obama has chosen to represent him are almost all fanatics. Samantha Power and Ash Carter stand out as true psychopaths. Carter actually openly defied Obama on the Syria ceasefire.
Robert Parry has an excellent piece out today on the rush to judgment about the attack on the humanitarian convoy.
It has been particularly infuriating to see the Chanel-suited Berkeley types be the ones to embrace imperial fascist war-making with such glee.
I happened to recognize Susan Rice travelling sans bodyguard with her girlfriend at the airport in Chiang Mai Thailand and had a delicious time giving her a full piece of my mind. Unedited truth to power with nowhere to hide, she reacted with a glaze that said "you are just an idiot peon" but I could see she was shaken.
ReutersA U.S. investigation into a leak of hacking tools used by the National Security Agency is focusing on a theory that one of its operatives carelessly left them available on a remote computer and Russian hackers found them, four people with direct knowledge of the probe told Reuters.
The tools, which enable hackers to exploit software flaws in computer and communications systems from vendors such as Cisco Systems and Fortinet Inc, were dumped onto public websites last month by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers.
The public release of the tools coincided with U.S. officials saying they had concluded that Russia or its proxies were responsible for hacking political party organizations in the run-up to the Nov. 8 presidential election. On Thursday, lawmakers accused Russia of being responsible
... ... ...
But officials heading the FBI-led investigation now discount both of those scenarios, the people said in separate interviews. NSA officials have told investigators that an employee or contractor made the mistake about three years ago during an operation that used the tools, the people said.
That person acknowledged the error shortly afterward, they said. But the NSA did not inform the companies of the danger when it first discovered the exposure of the tools, the sources said. Since the public release of the tools, the companies involved have issued patches in the systems to protect them.
Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that the former NSA person, who has since departed the agency for other reasons, left the tools exposed deliberately. Another possibility, two of the sources said, is that more than one person at the headquarters or a remote location made similar mistakes or compounded each other's missteps.
Representatives of the NSA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the office of the Director of National Intelligence all declined to comment.
After the discovery, the NSA tuned its sensors to detect use of any of the tools by other parties, especially foreign adversaries with strong cyber espionage operations, such as China and Russia.
That could have helped identify rival powers' hacking targets, potentially leading them to be defended better. It might also have allowed U.S officials to see deeper into rival hacking operations while enabling the NSA itself to continue using the tools for its own operations.
Because the sensors did not detect foreign spies or criminals using the tools on U.S. or allied targets, the NSA did not feel obligated to immediately warn the U.S. manufacturers, an official and one other person familiar with the matter said.
In this case, as in more commonplace discoveries of security flaws, U.S. officials weigh what intelligence they could gather by keeping the flaws secret against the risk to U.S. companies and individuals if adversaries find the same flaws.
The Chilcot report went further than many expected in condemning Tony Blair's role in the invasion of Iraq. As Judith Orr says, it also reinforced the need to be vigilant against all warmongers.
It took 12 days for the Chilcot report on the Iraq war to be read aloud non-stop at the Edinburgh Festival event last month. The 2.6 million words of the report were not the whitewash some had feared. In fact they were a confirmation of what so many of those who protested against the war at the time said.
There were no lawyers on the Chilcot panel; this inquiry was never going to call for charges against chief British warmonger Tony Blair. But families of soldiers killed in the war are using the evidence brought forward in the report to pursue a legal case against him. Because, although he didn't take a line on the legality of the war, Chilcot criticised the process Blair drove through to declare that invasion was legal: "We have, however, concluded that the circumstances in which it was decided that there was a legal basis for UK military action were far from satisfactory."
As human rights lawyer Philippe Sands pointed out, "'Far from satisfactory' is a career-ending phrase in mandarin-speak, a large boot put in with considerable force."
Though while bereaved families are forced to crowd fund to bring Blair to court, any legal defence mounted by the multimillionaire will come from the public purse. They have raised over £160,000 to date so the story is not yet over.
Yet Blair has no shame and remains belligerent. On the day the Chilcot Inquiry report was published he declared he would do the same again. Later that day veteran anti-war campaigner and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called a press conference to apologise on behalf of Labour for the war. Such a move is central to why Corbyn has won such an enthusiastic mass following after first standing for and winning the Labour leadership in the summer of 2015.
The seeds of the deep bitterness about mainstream politicians and the establishment were sown in 2003. When Britain joined the US assault on Iraq despite the opposition of the majority of the population it politicised millions. The 2 million strong demonstration organised by the Stop the War Coalition in February 2003 was Britain's biggest ever. But Chilcot proved that Blair had already promised US president George W Bush that Britain would be with him "whatever".
The warmongers' contempt for the electorate, let alone the people of Iraq and region, is staggering.
... ... ...
Sep 18, 2016 | theintercept.com
Richard Tynan, a technologist with Privacy International, told The Intercept that the " manuals released today offer the most up-to-date view on the operation of" Stingrays and similar cellular surveillance devices, with powerful capabilities that threaten civil liberties, communications infrastructure, and potentially national security. He noted that the documents show the "Stingray II" device can impersonate four cellular communications towers at once, monitoring up to four cellular provider networks simultaneously, and with an add-on can operate on so-called 2G, 3G, and 4G networks simultaneously.
Oct 08, 2015 | Zero Hedge reprinted from TrueActivist.com
Submitted by Sophie McAdam via TrueActivist.com,
In an interview with the BBC's 'Panorama' which aired in Britain last week, Edward Snowden spoke in detail about the spying capabilities of the UK intelligence agency GCHQ. He disclosed that government spies can legally hack into any citizen's phone to listen in to what's happening in the room, view files, messages and photos, pinpoint exactly where a person is (to a much more sophisticated level than a normal GPS system), and monitor a person's every move and every conversation, even when the phone is turned off. These technologies are named after Smurfs, those little blue cartoon characters who had a recent Hollywood makeover. But despite the cute name, these technologies are very disturbing; each one is built to spy on you in a different way:
- "Dreamy Smurf": lets the phone be powered on and off
- "Nosey Smurf": lets spies turn the microphone on and listen in on users, even if the phone itself is turned off
- "Tracker Smurf":a geo-location tool which allows [GCHQ] to follow you with a greater precision than you would get from the typical triangulation of cellphone towers.
- "Paranoid Smurf": hides the fact that it has taken control of the phone. The tool will stop people from recognizing that the phone has been tampered with if it is taken in for a service, for instance.
Snowden says: "They want to own your phone instead of you." It sounds very much like he means we are being purposefully encouraged to buy our own tracking devices. That kinda saved the government some money, didn't it?
His revelations should worry anyone who cares about human rights, especially in an era where the threat of terrorism is used to justify all sorts of governmental crimes against civil liberties. We have willingly given up our freedoms in the name of security; as a result we have neither. We seem to have forgotten that to live as a free person is a basic human right: we are essentially free beings. We are born naked and without certification; we do not belong to any government nor monarchy nor individual, we don't even belong to any nation or culture or religion- these are all social constructs. We belong only to the universe that created us, or whatever your equivalent belief. It is therefore a natural human right not to be not be under secret surveillance by your own government, those corruptible liars who are supposedly elected by and therefore accountable to the people.
The danger for law-abiding citizens who say they have nothing to fear because they are not terrorists, beware: many peaceful British protesters have been arrested under the Prevention Of Terrorism Act since its introduction in 2005. Edward Snowden's disclosure confirms just how far the attack on civil liberties has gone since 9/11 and the London bombings. Both events have allowed governments the legal right to essentially wage war on their own people, through the Patriot Act in the USA and the Prevention Of Terrorism Act in the UK. In Britain, as in the USA, terrorism and activism seem to have morphed into one entity, while nobody really knows who the real terrorists are any more. A sad but absolutely realistic fact of life in 2015: if you went to a peaceful protest at weekend and got detained, you're probably getting hacked right now.
It's one more reason to conclude that smartphones suck. And as much as we convince ourselves how cool they are, it's hard to deny their invention has resulted in a tendency for humans to behave like zombies, encouraged child labor, made us more lonely than ever, turned some of us into narcissistic selfie–addicts, and prevented us from communicating with those who really matter (the ones in the same room at the same time). Now, Snowden has given us yet another reason to believe that smartphones might be the dumbest thing we could have ever inflicted on ourselves.
Sep 16, 2016 | it.slashdot.org(arstechnica.com) 23 Posted by manishs on Tuesday September 06, 2016 @02:00PM from the security-woes dept. Sean Gallagher, writing for ArsTechnica: Another major site breach from four years ago has resurfaced. Today, LeakedSource revealed that it had received a copy of a February 2012 dump of the user database of Rambler.ru , a Russian search, news, and e-mail portal site that closely mirrors the functionality of Yahoo. The dump included usernames, passwords, and ICQ instant messaging accounts for over 98 million users. And while previous breaches uncovered by LeakedSource this year had at least some encryption of passwords, the Rambler.ru database stored user passwords in plain text -- meaning that whoever breached the database instantly had access to the e-mail accounts of all of Rambler.ru's users. The breach is the latest in a series of "mega-breaches" that LeakedSource says it is processing for release. Rambler isn't the only Russian site that has been caught storing unencrpyted passwords by hackers. In June, a hacker offered for sale the entire user database of the Russian-language social networking site VK.com (formerly VKontakte) from a breach that took place in late 2012 or early 2013; that database also included unencrypted user passwords, as ZDNet's Zach Whittaker reported.
Sep 16, 2016 | yro.slashdot.org(theintercept.com) 94 Posted by manishs on Monday September 12, 2016 @04:00PM from the truth-is-out-there dept. The Intercept has today published 200-page documents revealing details about Harris Corp's Stingray surveillance device , which has been one of the closely guarded secrets in law enforcement for more than 15 years. The firm, in collaboration with police clients across the U.S. have "fought" to keep information about the mobile phone-monitoring boxes from the public against which they are used. The publication reports that the surveillance equipment carries a price tag in the "low six figures." From the report: The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department alone has snooped via Stingray, sans warrant, over 300 times. Richard Tynan, a technologist with Privacy International, told The Intercept that the "manuals released today offer the most up-to-date view on the operation of " Stingrays and similar cellular surveillance devices, with powerful capabilities that threaten civil liberties, communications infrastructure, and potentially national security. He noted that the documents show the "Stingray II" device can impersonate four cellular communications towers at once, monitoring up to four cellular provider networks simultaneously, and with an add-on can operate on so-called 2G, 3G, and 4G networks simultaneously.
May 27, 2014 | The World Financial Review
World capitalism is experiencing the worst crisis in its 500 year history. Global capitalism is a qualitatively new stage in the open ended evolution of capitalism characterised by the rise of transnational capital, a transnational capitalist class, and a transnational state. Below, William I. Robinson argues that the global crisis is structural and threatens to become systemic, raising the specter of collapse and a global police state in the face of ecological holocaust, concentration of the means of violence, displacement of billions, limits to extensive expansion and crises of state legitimacy, and suggests that a massive redistribution of wealth and power downward to the poor majority of humanity is the only viable solution.
The New Global Capitalism and the 21st Century Crisis
The world capitalist system is arguably experiencing the worst crisis in its 500 year history. World capitalism has experienced a profound restructuring through globalisation over the past few decades and has been transformed in ways that make it fundamentally distinct from its earlier incarnations. Similarly, the current crisis exhibits features that set it apart from earlier crises of the system and raise the stakes for humanity. If we are to avert disastrous outcomes we must understand both the nature of the new global capitalism and the nature of its crisis. Analysis of capitalist globalisation provides a template for probing a wide range of social, political, cultural and ideological processes in this 21st century. Following Marx, we want to focus on the internal dynamics of capitalism to understand crisis. And following the global capitalism perspective, we want to see how capitalism has qualitatively evolved in recent decades.
The system-wide crisis we face is not a repeat of earlier such episodes such as that of the the 1930s or the 1970s precisely because capitalism is fundamentally different in the 21st century. Globalisation constitutes a qualitatively new epoch in the ongoing and open-ended evolution of world capitalism, marked by a number of qualitative shifts in the capitalist system and by novel articulations of social power. I highlight four aspects unique to this epoch.1
First is the rise of truly transnational capital and a new global production and financial system into which all nations and much of humanity has been integrated, either directly or indirectly. We have gone from a world economy, in which countries and regions were linked to each other via trade and financial flows in an integrated international market, to a global economy, in which nations are linked to each more organically through the transnationalisation of the production process, of finance, and of the circuits of capital accumulation. No single nation-state can remain insulated from the global economy or prevent the penetration of the social, political, and cultural superstructure of global capitalism. Second is the rise of a Transnational Capitalist Class (TCC), a class group that has drawn in contingents from most countries around the world, North and South, and has attempted to position itself as a global ruling class. This TCC is the hegemonic fraction of capital on a world scale. Third is the rise of Transnational State (TNS) apparatuses. The TNS is constituted as a loose network made up of trans-, and supranational organisations together with national states. It functions to organise the conditions for transnational accumulation. The TCC attempts to organise and institutionally exercise its class power through TNS apparatuses. Fourth are novel relations of inequality, domination and exploitation in global society, including an increasing importance of transnational social and class inequalities relative to North-South inequalities.
Cyclical, Structural, and Systemic Crises
Most commentators on the contemporary crisis refer to the "Great Recession" of 2008 and its aftermath. Yet the causal origins of global crisis are to be found in over-accumulation and also in contradictions of state power, or in what Marxists call the internal contradictions of the capitalist system. Moreover, because the system is now global, crisis in any one place tends to represent crisis for the system as a whole. The system cannot expand because the marginalisation of a significant portion of humanity from direct productive participation, the downward pressure on wages and popular consumption worldwide, and the polarisation of income, has reduced the ability of the world market to absorb world output. At the same time, given the particular configuration of social and class forces and the correlation of these forces worldwide, national states are hard-pressed to regulate transnational circuits of accumulation and offset the explosive contradictions built into the system.
Is this crisis cyclical, structural, or systemic? Cyclical crises are recurrent to capitalism about once every 10 years and involve recessions that act as self-correcting mechanisms without any major restructuring of the system. The recessions of the early 1980s, the early 1990s, and of 2001 were cyclical crises. In contrast, the 2008 crisis signaled the slide into astructural crisis. Structural crises reflect deeper contradictions that can only be resolved by a major restructuring of the system. The structural crisis of the 1970s was resolved through capitalist globalisation. Prior to that, the structural crisis of the 1930s was resolved through the creation of a new model of redistributive capitalism, and prior to that the structural crisis of the 1870s resulted in the development of corporate capitalism. A systemic crisis involves the replacement of a system by an entirely new system or by an outright collapse. A structural crisis opens up the possibility for a systemic crisis. But if it actually snowballs into a systemic crisis – in this case, if it gives way either to capitalism being superseded or to a breakdown of global civilisation – is not predetermined and depends entirely on the response of social and political forces to the crisis and on historical contingencies that are not easy to forecast. This is an historic moment of extreme uncertainty, in which collective responses from distinct social and class forces to the crisis are in great flux.
Hence my concept of global crisis is broader than financial. There are multiple and mutually constitutive dimensions – economic, social, political, cultural, ideological and ecological, not to mention the existential crisis of our consciousness, values and very being. There is a crisis of social polarisation, that is, of social reproduction. The system cannot meet the needs or assure the survival of millions of people, perhaps a majority of humanity. There are crises of state legitimacy and political authority, or of hegemony and domination. National states face spiraling crises of legitimacy as they fail to meet the social grievances of local working and popular classes experiencing downward mobility, unemployment, heightened insecurity and greater hardships. The legitimacy of the system has increasingly been called into question by millions, perhaps even billions, of people around the world, and is facing expanded counter-hegemonic challenges. Global elites have been unable counter this erosion of the system's authority in the face of worldwide pressures for a global moral economy. And a canopy that envelops all these dimensions is a crisis of sustainability rooted in an ecological holocaust that has already begun, expressed in climate change and the impending collapse of centralised agricultural systems in several regions of the world, among other indicators.
By a crisis of humanity I mean a crisis that is approaching systemic proportions, threatening the ability of billions of people to survive, and raising the specter of a collapse of world civilisation and degeneration into a new "Dark Ages."2Global capitalism now couples human and natural history in such a way as to threaten to bring about what would be the sixth mass extinction in the known history of life on earth.
This crisis of humanity shares a number of aspects with earlier structural crises but there are also several features unique to the present:
- The system is fast reaching the ecological limits of its reproduction. Global capitalism now couples human and natural history in such a way as to threaten to bring about what would be the sixth mass extinction in the known history of life on earth.3 This mass extinction would be caused not by a natural catastrophe such as a meteor impact or by evolutionary changes such as the end of an ice age but by purposive human activity. According to leading environmental scientists there are nine "planetary boundaries" crucial to maintaining an earth system environment in which humans can exist, four of which are experiencing at this time the onset of irreversible environmental degradation and three of which (climate change, the nitrogen cycle, and biodiversity loss) are at "tipping points," meaning that these processes have already crossed their planetary boundaries.
- The magnitude of the means of violence and social control is unprecedented, as is the concentration of the means of global communication and symbolic production and circulation in the hands of a very few powerful groups. Computerised wars, drones, bunker-buster bombs, star wars, and so forth, have changed the face of warfare. Warfare has become normalised and sanitised for those not directly at the receiving end of armed aggression. At the same time we have arrived at the panoptical surveillance society and the age of thought control by those who control global flows of communication, images and symbolic production. The world of Edward Snowden is the world of George Orwell; 1984 has arrived;
- Capitalism is reaching apparent limits to its extensive expansion. There are no longer any new territories of significance that can be integrated into world capitalism, de-ruralisation is now well advanced, and the commodification of the countryside and of pre- and non-capitalist spaces has intensified, that is, converted in hot-house fashion into spaces of capital, so that intensive expansion is reaching depths never before seen. Capitalism must continually expand or collapse. How or where will it now expand?
- There is the rise of a vast surplus population inhabiting a "planet of slums,"4 alienated from the productive economy, thrown into the margins, and subject to sophisticated systems of social control and to destruction – to a mortal cycle of dispossession-exploitation-exclusion. This includes prison-industrial and immigrant-detention complexes, omnipresent policing, militarised gentrification, and so on;
- There is a disjuncture between a globalising economy and a nation-state based system of political authority. Transnational state apparatuses are incipient and have not been able to play the role of what social scientists refer to as a "hegemon," or a leading nation-state that has enough power and authority to organise and stabilise the system. The spread of weapons of mass destruction and the unprecedented militarisation of social life and conflict across the globe makes it hard to imagine that the system can come under any stable political authority that assures its reproduction.
Global Police State
How have social and political forces worldwide responded to crisis? The crisis has resulted in a rapid political polarisation in global society. Both right and left-wing forces are ascendant. Three responses seem to be in dispute.
One is what we could call "reformism from above." This elite reformism is aimed at stabilising the system, at saving the system from itself and from more radical responses from below. Nonetheless, in the years following the 2008 collapse of the global financial system it seems these reformers are unable (or unwilling) to prevail over the power of transnational financial capital. A second response is popular, grassroots and leftist resistance from below. As social and political conflict escalates around the world there appears to be a mounting global revolt. While such resistance appears insurgent in the wake of 2008 it is spread very unevenly across countries and regions and facing many problems and challenges.
Yet another response is that I term 21stcentury fascism.5 The ultra-right is an insurgent force in many countries. In broad strokes, this project seeks to fuse reactionary political power with transnational capital and to organise a mass base among historically privileged sectors of the global working class – such as white workers in the North and middle layers in the South – that are now experiencing heightened insecurity and the specter of downward mobility. It involves militarism, extreme masculinisation, homophobia, racism and racist mobilisations, including the search for scapegoats, such as immigrant workers and, in the West, Muslims. Twenty-first century fascism evokes mystifying ideologies, often involving race/culture supremacy and xenophobia, embracing an idealised and mythical past. Neo-fascist culture normalises and glamorises warfare and social violence, indeed, generates a fascination with domination that is portrayed even as heroic.
The need for dominant groups around the world to secure widespread, organised mass social control of the world's surplus population and rebellious forces from below gives a powerful impulse to projects of 21st century fascism. Simply put, the immense structural inequalities of the global political economy cannot easily be contained through consensual mechanisms of social control. We have been witnessing transitions from social welfare to social control states around the world. We have entered a period of great upheavals, momentous changes and uncertainties. The only viable solution to the crisis of global capitalism is a massive redistribution of wealth and power downward towards the poor majority of humanity along the lines of a 21st century democratic socialism, in which humanity is no longer at war with itself and with nature.
About the Author
William I. Robinson is professor of sociology, global and international studies, and Latin American studies, at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Among his many books are Promoting Polyarchy (1996), Transnational Conflicts (2003), A Theory of Global Capitalism (2004), Latin America and Global Capitalism (2008), and Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity (2014).
www.chomsky.infoAMY GOODMAN: Our guest is Noam Chomsky, world-renowned dissident, author of more than 100 books, speaking to us from Boston. Noam, you wrote a piece after the midterm elections called Outrage Misguided. I want to read for you now what Sarah Palin tweeted Ð the former Alaskan governor, of course, and Republication vice presidential nominee. This is what she tweeted about WikiLeaks. Rather, she put it on Facebook. She said, "First and foremost, what steps were taken to stop WikiLeaks' director Julian Assange from distributing this highly-sensitive classified material, especially after he had already published material not once but twice in the previous months? Assange is not a journalist any more than the editor of the Al Qaeda's new English-language magazine ÒInspire,Ó is a journalist. He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands. His past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders? Noam Chomsky, your response?
NOAM CHOMSKY: That's pretty much what I would expect Sarah Palin to say. I don't know how much she understands, but I think we should pay attention to what we learn from the leaks. What we learned, for example, is kinds of things I've said. Perhaps the most dramatic revelation, or mention, is the bitter hatred of democracy that is revealed both by the U.S. Government -- Hillary Clinton, others -- and also by the diplomatic service.
To tell the world well, they're talking to each other -- to pretend to each other that the Arab world regards Iran as the major threat and wants the U.S. to bomb Iran, is extremely revealing, when they know that approximately 80% of Arab opinion regards the U.S. and Israel as the major threat, 10% regard Iran as the major threat, and a majority, 57%, think the region would be better off with Iranian nuclear weapons as a kind of deterrent. That is does not even enter. All that enters is what they claim has been said by Arab dictators -- brutal Arab dictators. That is what counts.
How representative this is of what they say, we don't know, because we do not know what the filtering is. But that's a minor point. But the major point is that the population is irrelevant. All that matters is the opinions of the dictators that we support. If they were to back us, that is the Arab world. That is a very revealing picture of the mentality of U.S. political leadership and, presumably, the lead opinion, judging by the commentary that's appeared here, that's the way it has been presented in the press as well. It does not matter with the Arabs believe.
AMY GOODMAN: Your piece, Outrage Misguided. Back to the midterm elections and what we're going to see now. Can you talk about the tea party movement?
NOAM CHOMSKY: The Tea Party movement itself is, maybe 15% or 20% of the electorate. It's relatively affluent, white, nativist, you know, it has rather traditional nativist streaks to it. But what is much more important, I think, is the outrage. Over half the population says they more or less supported it, or support its message. What people are thinking is extremely interesting. I mean, overwhelmingly polls reveal that people are extremely bitter, angry, hostile, opposed to everything.
The primary cause undoubtedly is the economic disaster. It's not just the financial catastrophe, it's an economic disaster. I mean, in the manufacturing industry, for example, unemployment levels are at the level of the Great Depression. And unlike the Great Depression, those jobs are not coming back. U.S. owners and managers have long ago made the decision that they can make more profit with complicated financial deals than by production. So finance -- this goes back to the 1970s, mainly Reagan escalated it, and onward -- Clinton, too. The economy has been financialized.
Financial institutions have grown enormously in their share of corporate profits. It may be something like a third, or something like that today. At the same time, correspondingly, production has been exported. So you buy some electronic device from China. China is an assembly plant for a Northeast Asian production center. The parts and components come from the more advanced countries and from the United States, and the technology . So yes, that's a cheap place to assemble things and sell them back here. Rather similar in Mexico, now Vietnam, and so on. That is the way to make profits.
It destroys the society here, but that's not the concern of the ownership class and the managerial class. Their concern is profit. That is what drives the economy. The rest of it is a fallout. People are extremely bitter about it, but don't seem to understand it. So the same people who are a majority, who say that Wall Street is to blame for the current crisis, are voting Republican. Both parties are deep in the pockets of Wall Street, but the Republicans much more so than the Democrats.
The same is true on issue after issue. The antagonism to everyone is extremely high -- actually antagonism -- the population doesn't like Democrats, but they hate Republicans even more. They're against big business. They're against government. They're against Congress. They're against science
Apr 07, 2016 | The American Conservative
Andrew Bacevich has written an excellent article on the need to end our ongoing "war for the Greater Middle East." This part jumped out at me in connection with the debate over the Libyan war:
A particular campaign that goes awry [bold mine-DL] like Somalia or Iraq or Libya may attract passing attention, but never the context in which that campaign was undertaken [bold mine-DL]. We can be certain that the election of 2016 will be no different.
It is almost never mentioned now, so it is easy to forget that many Libyan war supporters initially argued for intervention in order to save the "Arab Spring." Their idea was that the U.S. and its allies could discourage other regimes from forcibly putting down protests by siding with the opposition in Libya, and that if the U.S. didn't do this it would "signal" dictators that they could crush protests with impunity. This never made sense at the time. Other regimes would have to believe that the U.S. would consistently side with their opponents, and there was never any chance of that happening. If it sent any message to them, the intervention in Libya sent other regimes a very different message: don't let yourself be internationally isolated like Gaddafi, and you won't suffer his fate. Another argument for the intervention was that it would change the way the U.S. was perceived in the region for the better. That didn't make sense, either, since Western intervention in Libya wasn't popular in most countries there, and even if it had been it wouldn't change the fact that the U.S. was pursuing many other policies hated by people throughout the region. It was on the foundation of shoddy arguments such as these that the case for war in Libya was built.
Bacevich is right that many critics fault specific interventions for their failings without questioning the larger assumptions about the U.S. role in the region that led to those wars. Liberal hawks will complain that the Iraq war was run incompetently (and it was), but they don't give up on the idea of preventive war or the belief that the U.S. is entitled to attack other states more or less at will in the name of "leadership." Neoconservatives will fault Obama for not doing more in Libya after the regime was overthrown, but it would never occur to them that toppling foreign governments by force is wrong or undesirable. There remains a broad consensus that the U.S. "leads" the world and in order to exercise that "leadership" it is free to destabilize and attack other states as it sees fit. The justifications change from country to country, but the assumptions behind them are always the same: we have the right to interfere in the affairs of other nations, our interference is benevolent and beneficial (and any bad results cannot be tied to our interference), and "failure" to interfere constitutes abdication of "leadership."
To make matters worse, every intervention always has a die-hard group of dead-enders that will defend the rightness and success of their war no matter what results it produces. They don't think the war they supported every really went "awry" except when it was ended "too soon." Everyone is familiar with Iraq war dead-enders, who continue to claim to this day that the war had been "won" by the end of Bush's second term and that it was only by withdrawing that the U.S. frittered away its "victory." The defense of the Libyan war is somewhat different, but at its core it shares the same ideological refusal to own up to failure. In Libya, the mistake was not in taking sides in a civil war in which the U.S. had nothing at stake, but in failing to commit to an open-ended mission to stabilize the country after the regime was overthrown. Libyan war supporters don't accept that their preferred policy backfired and harmed the country it was supposedly trying to help. That would not only require them to acknowledge that they got one of the more important foreign policy questions of the last decade badly wrong, but it would contradict one of their core assumptions about the U.S. role in the world. As far as they're concerned, Libya is still the "model" and "good" intervention that they claimed it was five years ago, and nothing that has happened in Libya can ever prove otherwise.
That might not matter too much, but unfortunately pro-war dead-enders continue to have considerable influence in shaping our foreign policy debates on other issues. They bring the same bankrupt assumptions to debates over what the U.S. should be doing in Syria, Ukraine, Iran, and elsewhere, and they apply the same faulty judgment that led them to think regime change and taking sides in foreign civil wars was smart. They still haven't learned anything from the failures of previous interventions (because they don't accept that they were failures), and so keep making many of the same mistakes of analysis and prescription that they made in the past.
Remember when Larry Lindsey was fired as Bush's economic advisor when he suggested
that the costs could be as high as $200 billion?
Good times, but at this point the Dems own it as much as the GOP.
Are we assuming that the Pentagon, DoD, etc… are just going to accept new guidance from the top? (That sounds like wishful thinking to me.)
And if they (Pentagon, DoD, etc…) resist new guidance, what is going to be done about it? Currently more Americans trust the military than any institution or politician. I highly doubt anyone could swing public opinion against the Deep State at this point in time.JTMcPhee
It seems to me like the major sovereignty-violating actions of the US Gov't happen with the approval of the executive branch. The military and intelligence services generally don't speak out or publicly act against the president's policies. They do leak a bunch of shit everywhere (the mysterious "high-ranking anonymous Obama official" who seems to pop up whenever the president's policies need to be opposed), but that you can live with.
It is a real problem, one that makes me nervous. We know exactly where corporations go when their iron grip on democracy loosens: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_PlotVatch
Any Agent of Actual Change has to fear the "bowstring…"
JKF? I didn't know that the historian John King Fairbank was assassinated.
Then I guess you have solid evidence to account for the actions of Allen Dulles, David Atlee Phillips, William Harvey, David Morales, E. Howard Hunt, Richard Helms, James Angleton and other CIA personnel and assets who had
- perhaps the strongest motives to murder Kennedy
- the means to carry out the crime, namely, their executive action (assassination) capability and blackmail the government into aiding their cover up and
- the opportunity to carry out such a plan given their complete lack of accountability to the rest of the government and their unmatched expertise in lying, deceit, secrecy, fraud.
Because if you actually took the time to research or at least read about their actions in this matter instead of just spouting bald assertions that you decline to back up with any facts you would find their behavior nearly impossible to explain other than having at, the very least, guilty knowledge of the crime.
Donald Trump could be the only presidential candidate talking sense about for the American military's budget. That should scare everyone.
"I'm gonna build a military that's gonna be much stronger than it is right now," the real- estate-mogul-turned-tautological-demagogue said on Meet the Press. "It's gonna be so strong, nobody's gonna mess with us. But you know what? We can do it for a lot less."
U.S. military spending is out of control. The Defense Department budget for 2016 is $573 billion. President Barack Obama's 2017 proposal ups it to $582 billion. By comparison, China spent around $145 billion and Russia around $40 billion in 2015. Moscow would have spent more, but the falling price of oil, sanctions and the ensuing economic crisis stayed its hand
As Trump has pointed out many times, Washington can build and maintain an amazing military arsenal for a fraction of what it's paying now. He's also right about one of the causes of the bloated budget: expensive prestige weapons systems such as the Littoral Combat Ship and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The much-maligned F-35 will cost at least $1.5 trillion during the 55 years that its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, expects it to be flying. That number is up $500 billion from the original high estimate. But with a long list of problems plaguing the stealth fighter, that price will most likely grow.
"I hear stories," Trump said in a speech before the New Hampshire primary, "like they're ordering missiles they don't want because of politics, because of special interests, because the company that makes the missiles is a contributor."
America's defense is crucial. But something is wrong when Washington is spending almost five times as much as its rivals and throwing away billions on untested weapon systems. Most of the other presidential hopefuls agree. "We can't just pour vast sums back into the Pentagon," Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said during a campaign stop in South Carolina.
Cruz promised to rein in the military, audit the Pentagon and figure out why it's spending so much cash. Then he promised to add 125,000 troops to the Army, 177 ships to the Navy and expand the Air Force by 20 percent.
Cruz wouldn't put a price tag on these additions. But his plan would likely up the annual defense budget by tens of billions of dollars – if not hundreds of billions. One military expert, Benjamin Friedman of the CATO Institute, estimated that the Cruz plan would cost roughly $2.6 trillion over the next eight years.
Ballistic-missile-launching submarines aren't cheap, for example, and Cruz wants 12 of them. "If you think it's too expensive to defend this nation," Cruz said, "try not defending it."
He's not alone. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wants to revitalize the Navy, double down on the troubled F-35 and develop a new amphibious assault vehicle. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, like Cruz, wanted to reform military spending while increasing the Pentagon budget by $1 trillion over the next 10 years.
Ohio Governor John Kasich might be expected to have a more reasonable stance. After all, he sat on the House Armed Services Committee for almost 18 years, where he slashed budgets and challenged wasteful Pentagon projects.
But that past is a liability for him. The Super PAC that backed Bush funded a string of attack ads accusing Kasich of going soft on defense. Not wanting to appear weak, the governor now talks about increasing defense spending by $102 billion a year.
Even the Democrats are in on the game. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has yet to propose a military budget, but she has long pledged strong support for the troops. Meanwhile, she is calling for an independent commissioner to audit the Pentagon for waste, fraud and abuse – the usual suspects.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is one candidate who has a clear record in terms of the Pentagon budget. He wants to reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal and has long supported a 50 percent cut in defense spending.
At the same time, however, Sanders seems to tolerate the $1.5-trillion albatross, the F-35. Which makes sense if you consider that Vermont could lose a lot of jobs if the F-35 disappeared. Sanders persuaded the jet's manufacturer to put a research center in Vermont and bring 18 jets to the state National Guard.
Sanders has a history of protecting military contractors - if they bring jobs to his state. When he was mayor of Burlington in the 1980s, he pushed its police force to arrest nonviolent protesters at a local General Electric plant. The factory produced Gatling guns and also was one of the largest employers in the area.
Yet, Sanders ideological beliefs can sometimes color his views. He was chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in 2014 as scandal swept the Department of Veterans Affairs. Even as many VA supporters called for reforms, Sanders defended the hospital system because he felt conservatives were attacking a major government social-welfare agency.
He still defends his stewardship of the committee. "When I was chairman, what we did is pass a $15-billion piece of legislation," Sanders said during a recent debate with Clinton. "We went further than any time in recent history in improving the healthcare of the men and women in this country who put their lives on the line to defend us."
In the age of terrorism and Islamic State bombers, the prevailing political wisdom holds that appearing soft on defense can lose a candidate the general election. For many of the 2016 presidential candidates, looking strong means spending a ton of cash. Even if you're from the party that holds fiscal responsibility as its cornerstone.
But Trump doesn't care about any of that. In speech after speech, he has called out politicians and defense contractors for colluding to build costly weapons systems at the price of national security.
During a radio program last October, for example, Trump called out the trouble-ridden F-35. "[Test pilots are] saying it doesn't perform as well as our existing equipment, which is much less expensive," Trump said. "So when I hear that, immediately I say we have to do something, because you know, they're spending billions."
Like so many Trump plans, the specifics are hazy. But on this issue, he's got the right idea.
In a political climate full of fear of foreign threats and gung-ho about the military, it could take a populist strongman like Trump to deliver the harsh truth: When it comes to the military, the United States can do so much more with so much less.
From: Labor Day Lament: America's Workforce Smells Like India's A Half-Century Ago by Paul Craig Roberts
Labor Day - what is it? Perhaps not many Americans any longer know, so here is my explanation. In my time Labor Day was the unofficial end of summer, because school began after Labor Day.
Today school begins almost a month before. When I was in school that would not have been possible, especially in the South. The schools were not air-conditioned. If school had started in August no one would have showed up. It was difficult enough getting through May before school was out in June.
As most Americans probably thought of Labor Day as the last summer holiday, now that Labor Day has lost that role, what is Labor Day? The holiday originated as an apology capitalists tossed to labor to defuse a standoff.
Workers understood that labor was the backbone of the economy, not Wall Street moguls or bankers in their fine offices. Workers wanted a holiday that recognized labor, thus elevating labor in public policy to a standing with capital. Some states created labor day holidays, but it wasn't until 1894 that Labor Day was made a federal holiday.
Congress created the federal holiday in response to the murder of strikers by US Army troops and federal marshalls during the Pullman strike of 1894. The factory workers who built Pullman railway cars lived in the company town of Pullman. George Pullman provoked a strike by lowering wages but not the rents charged in the company town.
President Grover Cleveland relied on Attorney General Richard Olney to restore capitalist control. Olney, a former railway attorney, sent in the federal violance to break up the strike. Olney still received a retainer from his railway company that was larger than his salary as US Attorney General. So we know whose side he was on. The presstitute media portrayed the beaten down strikers as unpatriotic foreigners, and the strike leader, Eugene Debs, was sentenced to federal prison. The experience radicalized Debs and turned him into a socialist.
The obvious injustice created more sympathy for labor than capitalists could stomach, so Congress defused the situation by creating Labor Day. President Cleveland washed his hands of the blood on them by signing the legislation.
Officially what we are celebrating on the first Monday of September is American labor, but what is really being celebrated is the success of capitalists again flummoxing the people and avoiding a real social revolution.
The labor movement, which gave us Labor Day, is no longer with us. The American labor movement died about ten years after the death of its most famous leader, George Meany of the AFL-CIO. Meany, born in 1894, died in 1980.
I remember when labor was at the center of politics and policy. There was even a field of economics called "labor economics." The political influence of labor ended with the offshoring of US industrial and manufacturing jobs. For years US capitalists tried to avoid a fair shake for labor by locating their facilities in Southern states that had right to work laws. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the change in attitude of India and China toward foreign capital, capitalists learned that they could increase profits by using foreign labor offshore to produce the goods and services that they sold to Americans. The difference in labor costs flowed directly into profits, executive bonuses, and shareholder capital gains.
Free market economists, who live in a make-believe world, pretend that the lower labor costs flow into lower US consumer prices and that consumers beneift despite the loss of well-paying jobs. The problem with free market economics is that a priori reasoning takes precedence over empirical fact. For free market economists, the way the world should be prevails over the way that the world actually is.
As a consequence of jobs offshoring, industrial and manufacturing cities became semi-ghost towns with declining populations. Municipal and state governments, deprived of tax base, found themselves under duress to make pension payments. To avoid immediate bankruptcy, cities such as Chicago sold off public assets such as 75 years of parking meter revenues for a one time payment.
The Democratic Party, which had been the countervailing power against the Republican business party, was deprived of union funding as the jobs that paid union dues were no longer in America. By moving production offshore, capitalists turned the Democrats into a second capitalist political party dependent on funding from the business sector.
Today we have one party with two heads. The competition between the parties is about which party gets to be the whore for the capitalists for the next political term. As Democrats and Republicans swap the whore function back and forth, neither party has an incentive to do anything different.
The offshoring of high productivity, high value-added US jobs has destroyed the labor movement. How much luck will labor leaders have organizing people who hold part-time jobs as waitresses, bartenders, hospital orderlies, and retail clerks? As I have pointed out for years in my reports on the monthly payroll jobs reports, the United States now has the labor profile of a Third World country. The absence of jobs that can support an independent existence and family life is the reason that more Americans aged 24-34 live at home with parents than live independently. The absence of jobs is the reason the labor force participation rate has declined for years. The absence of jobs that pay sufficiently to provide discretionary income is the reason the economy cannot grow.
Looking at last Friday's BLS payroll report, the jobs are in the lowly paid, part-time service sector. The goods producing sector of the economy lost 24,000 jobs. The jobs are in retail trade, health care and social assistance, waitresses and bartenders, and government which is tax supported employment.
Whether Washington policymakers realize it or not, the American work force smells like India's of a half century ago. Whatever deranged Hillary and her neoconservatives claim, there is no evidence in the compositon of the US labor force that the US is a superpower. Indeed, what the employment statistics show is that the United States is a third world country, a country whose leaders are so out of their minds that they are picking fights with first world countries-Russia and China.
The United States of America is on its last legs. As there is no willingness to recognize this, nothing can be done about it. America's last function is to cause World War 3 in which all of us will expire.
East Indian •Sep 5, 2016 1:47 PM
The whole world celebrates May 1st as the International Labour Day, to commemorate the 1886 Chicago Haymarket incident. Why cant the working class Americans - which is almost 99% now - start celebrating it, and leave this 0.1% ordained "labour' day? That will be a good start...
Son of Captain Nemo •Sep 5, 2016 1:27 PM
Smells like "India 50 years ago"???...
PCR has a lot wishful pride in that statement considering the lack of savings of better than 90% of the Country and $23 Trillion not counting the "unfunded stuff" proudly sitting in back of it!!!
He had hedged his statement with "fifty years ago" ! But the condition of Indian labour has worsened in these fifty years, if you compare their rights.
Hubbs •Sep 5, 2016 1:44 PM
Labor day? How about Labor Memorial Day?
Catullus •Sep 5, 2016 2:05 PM
The Labor Movement only ever had violence as their main argument. Instead of shaking down their employers, they just tax the union employees with dues that go directly to the DNC coffers. It was morally and economically bankrupt from beginning to hopefully an ignoble end.
Hopefully someone does away with fascist Wagner Act while they're at it, but we are to be spared nothing these days.
Korprit_Phlunkie •Sep 5, 2016 2:05 PM
Labor has worked themselves right out of the market by being too successful in their protection of union jobs. It is almost impossible to get rid of even the most unskilled useless union employee in any industry, especially government work. The unions protect them to the max and liberal arbitrators will give them their job back eventually no matter how bad the transgression.
The non union white collar workers are the employees who need a union these days. Management screws over the salaried employees now since they can't do anything to the union thugs. Makes them feel like they are still in charge.
Aug 31, 2016 | www.theamericanconservative.comHillary Clinton's speech to the American Legion in Cincinnati didn't contain anything new or surprising. It was billed as an endorsement of "American exceptionalism" defined as support for activist foreign policy and global "leadership," and that is what Clinton delivered. One thing that struck me while listening to it was the muted response from the audience. Despite Clinton's fairly heavy-handed efforts to present herself as a friend of veterans and champion of the military, the crowd didn't seem very impressed. The delivery of the speech was typically wooden, but then no one expects stirring oratory from Clinton. Either the audience wasn't interested in what they were hearing, or they found Clinton to be a poor messenger, or both.
The substance was mostly boilerplate cheerleading for the status quo in foreign policy, but a few particularly jarring lines stood out. Near the start of the speech, Clinton said, "We are an exceptional nation because we are an indispensable nation. In fact, we are the indispensable nation." That isn't true, but Clinton's acceptance of this claim confirms that she understands "American exceptionalism" in a particularly warped way that justifies interfering all over the globe. That is what Albright's "indispensable nation" rhetoric meant twenty years ago, and it's what Clinton's rhetoric means today.
Clinton thought that she was dinging Trump when she said, "We can't cozy up to dictators." That would be all right if it were true, but it is hard to take seriously from a committed supporter of U.S. "leadership." Cozying up to authoritarian rulers has been and continues to be a significant part of U.S. "leadership," and if you are in favor of the latter you are going to be stuck with the former. This rhetoric is especially absurd coming from someone who has repeatedly stressed the importance of supporting U.S. clients in the Gulf. Clinton has made a point of promising that the U.S. will stay quite cozy with our despotic clients when she is president, and it is likely that the U.S. will probably get even cozier still if she has anything to say about it.
Overall, Clinton's speech could have been given by a conventional Republican hawk, and some of the lines could have been lifted from the speeches of some of this year's Republican presidential contenders. There were brief nods to the nuclear deal with Iran and New START that a Republican wouldn't have made, but they were only mentioned in passing. Clinton insisted that "America must lead" and conjured up a vision of the vacuums that would be created if the U.S. did not do this. This is a standard hawkish line that implies that the U.S. always has to be involved in conflict and crises no matter how little the U.S. has at stake in them.
At one point, Clinton asserted, "Defending American exceptionalism should always be above politics." That amounts to saying that our foreign policy debates should always be narrowly circumscribed and most of our current policies should always remain beyond challenge or major revision. That's not healthy for the quality of our foreign policy debates or our foreign policy as a whole, and it shows the degree to which Clinton is out of touch with much of the country that she thinks this is a credible thing to say.
otto, August 31, 2016 at 2:50 pmShe is opting for the neo-cons. Smart moveViriato , August 31, 2016 at 2:53 pm"At one point, Clinton asserted, 'Defending American exceptionalism should always be above politics.' That amounts to saying that our foreign policy debates should always be narrowly circumscribed and most of our current policies should always remain beyond challenge or major revision."Myles , August 31, 2016 at 3:01 pm
That's exactly what Clinton believes, unfortunately. When she unveiled her "stronger together" slogan, one of the points she made was that we should have "a bipartisan, even non-partisan foreign policy." She is basically a Scoop Jackson Democrat.
Broad consensus is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I'd argue that some degree of consensus is necessary in order for a democratic system to function. But any such consensus should emerge from vigorous debate, which does not exist in Washington or in the mainstream media. It should not be simply imposed on the country by an unchallenged, ossified elite that is either stuck in the Cold War past or has a vested interest in renewing the Cold War.Bill Kristol used to call himself a Scoop Jackson Democrat, too. Maybe he will again. Hillary must be the only person left who actually thinks embracing the neocons is a way to win votes. But if that were true, Rubio would be the GOP nominee, rather than the guy who, for all his many faults, didn't pander to them.Captain P , August 31, 2016 at 3:40 pmCozying up to dictators is bad, unless they donate large amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation. In that case, you're not "cozying up" to the dictators - you're "reassuring allies" and "protecting America's credibility."Joseph M. , August 31, 2016 at 3:44 pmWould the mushroom cloud campaign ad that obliterated the Goldwater candidacy have the same effect today upon a neocon candidate? Is the ad even copyrighted or otherwise available?SF, August 31, 2016 at 4:05 pmHas the American Legion given any Democrat running for president a warm response? Muted sounds about right to me. Clinton was speaking to many more people than the audience in front of her. She won't get very many votes from those in the military. No Democrat ever does.Old World Order , August 31, 2016 at 4:32 pm
Undecided voters (all 2 or 3% of them), especially Republicans are her real target audience. She looks to sound suitably strong more important, calm and measured. A safe if not perfect choice for President.She has learned nothing. Nothing at all. Indeed, she just doubled down on permanent war. Not surprising, but deeply depressing all the same.Chris Chuba , August 31, 2016 at 5:02 pm
Here's hoping that someone – anyone, really – keeps this loathsome throwback to the worst aspects of US foreign policy of the past 20 years out of the White House.If our foreign policy wasn't so obviously failed, I wouldn't mind bipartisan consensus but since it is FUBAR, I want something new. I just wish I had the ear of any of my fellow Republicans who consider themselves Religious Conservatives. I just can't get over their blind faith in U.S. hegemony, especially when they screech at the thought of U.S. politicians doing something as benign as running a Transportation Fund. Yet they have no problem inflicting these imbeciles with life and death decisions on the rest of the world.Simon94022 , August 31, 2016 at 5:08 pm
When I see Ted Cruz or a Rubio gaze into the camera about how vital it is for the U.S. to suppress Russia and China and run the M.E. (they use different words), it astounds me since it contradicts the Protestant tradition so much where one should be suspicious of human nature.
Do these people believe that corrupt politicians in the U.S. are suddenly anointed by God and transformed into world leaders in a sudden act of Grace? Sorry for the rant but I would seriously love to ask someone this question. This is not a troll at all. I have pondered this many times. How would Huckabee respond to this? He wrote a lucid essay on Iran about 10yrs ago before he went full Neocon.What a choice we face in November – give full executive authority to either:Smart Aleck Power , August 31, 2016 at 5:08 pm
1. The volatile vulgarian who is smart enough to reject the tired nation-building, Democracy Evangelization, Responsibility-to-Protect, and other dangerous establishment policies. But who doesn't think much at all about foreign policy and could even blunder into a big war out of personal pique.
2. The champion of mindless and discredited bellicosity. Who is - probably - smart enough to avoid a new large ground war or nuclear despite her dangerous anti-Russian rhetoric, but who will CERTAINLY initiate one or more new unnecessary, unjust and futile military interventions.
Pick your poison.Neal , August 31, 2016 at 5:26 pm"We are an exceptional nation because we are an indispensable nation. In fact, we are the indispensable nation."
Indispensable to what? Wholesale destabilization of the Middle East?I wish she would stop putting out this nonsense. I really don't want to skip my vote for president, but this sort of nonsense leaves me cold. I don't want Trump to win, but neither do I want Clinton to think she has a mandate for this kind of militarism. Sadly, when it comes foreign policy, it appears not to matter which party has the presidency anymore.Commenter Man , August 31, 2016 at 5:43 pmMeanwhile, over at the WaPo, neocon cheerleader Jennifer Rubin loves the same speech: Hillary Clinton is a responsible centrist .. .Chris Chuba , August 31, 2016 at 7:20 pmjk , August 31, 2016 at 9:09 pmWe are an Exceptional nation because we are an Indispensable nation
This is a tautology. You can swap the words exceptional and indispensable and have the exact same sentence.
Commenter Man, yet another example of how people will create their own reality. I am certain I will read the same tripe tomorrow when I peruse the links on 'realclearpolitics.com'. It is the only Neocon portal that I bother with.
If she gets elected I see a high probability of a hot war with Russia. She wouldn't start it intentionally, it would be the pinnacle of our foreign policy establishment living in their own reality. I actually have a scenario in mind, when I read Russian sourced sites it strengthens my convictions. To bad our 'Russian experts' use Ouija boards and entrails instead of actually studying the Russians.Don't be surprised if Clinton pushes Russia to the edge or the US gets mired in a proxy war with Russia. Everything is a Russian hack/conspiracy these days. They will find a reason to start something. Smells like yellow cake to me.cecelia, August 31, 2016 at 9:28 pmHilary should figure out that she is losing votes to Johnson and Stein and perhaps tone back the rhetoric. Granted she was probably trying to look all Commander in Chiefy but she is so tone deaf on this stuff.Anonne , September 2, 2016 at 12:07 amThe problem is that the cult that passes for Conservatives in this country values strength over all. Clinton cannot afford to come across as weak to these people. She is aiming exactly for the Jennifer Rubins of the world. In America, we do the strong thing, even if it is the wrong thing, because we will go to hell if we appear to be weak.Bowman , September 2, 2016 at 6:40 pm" She is aiming exactly for the Jennifer Rubins of the world"
… and one can but hope that her aim is true …
Sep 04, 2016 | crookedtimber.org
Cranky Observer 09.03.16 at 6:28 pmbruce wilder 09.03.16 at 7:47 pm
= = = I am actually honestly suggesting an intellectual exercise which, I think, might be worth your (extremely valuable) time. I propose you rewrite this post without using the word "neoliberalism" (or a synonym). = = =
It is fascinating that younger US neoliberals (e.g. Matthew Yglesias) are totally sold on the the positives of 'metrics', statistics, testing, etc, to the point where they ignore all the negatives of those approaches, but absolutely and utterly loathe being tracked, having the performance of their preferred policies and predictions analyzed, and called out on the failures thereof. Is sure seems to me that the campaign to quash the use of the US, Charles Peters version of neoliberal is part of the effort to avoid accountability for their actions.In the politics of antonyms, I suppose we are always going get ourselves confused.Rich Puchalsky 09.03.16 at 11:09 pm
Perhaps because of American usage of the root, liberal, to mean the mildly social democratic New Deal liberal Democrat, with its traces of American Populism and American Progressivism, we seem to want "liberal" to designate an ideology of the left, or at least, the centre-left. Maybe, it is the tendency of historical liberals to embrace idealistic high principles in their contest with reactionary claims for hereditary aristocracy and arbitrary authority.
If "conservative" is to be a third way to the opposition of "reactionary" and "revolutionary", the "liberals" are a species of conservative - like all conservatives, seeking to preserve the existing order as far as this is possible, but appealing to reason, reason's high principles, and a practical politics of incremental reform and "inevitable" progress. The liberals disguise their affection for social and political hierarchy as a preference for "meritocracy" and place their faith in the powers of Reason and Science to discover Truth.
All of that is by way of preface to a thumbnail history of modern political ideology different from the one presented by Will G-R.
Modern political ideology is a by-product of the Enlightenment and the resulting imperative to find a basis and purpose for political Authority in Reason, and apply Reason to the design of political and social institutions.
Liberalism doesn't so much defeat conservatism as invent conservatism as an alternative to purely reactionary politics. The notion of an "inevitable progress" allows liberals to reconcile both themselves and their reactionary opponents to practical reality with incremental reform. Political paranoia and rhetoric are turned toward thinking about constitutional design.
Mobilizing mass support and channeling popular discontents is a source of deep ambivalence and risk for liberals and liberalism. Popular democracy can quickly become noisy and vulgar, the proliferation of ideas and conflicting interests paralyzing. Inventing a conservatism that competes with the liberals, but also mobilizes mass support and channels popular discontent, puts bounds on "normal" politics.
Liberalism adopts nationalism as a vehicle for popular mobilization which conservatives can share and as an ideal of governance, the self-governing democratic nation-state with a liberal constitution.
I would put the challenges to liberalism from the left and right well behind in precedence the critical failures and near-failures of liberalism in actual governance.
Liberalism failed abjectly to bring about a constitutional monarchy in France during the first decade of the French Revolution, or a functioning deliberative assembly or religious toleration or even to resolve the problems of state finance and legal administration that destroyed the ancient regime. In the end, the solution was found in Napoleon Bonaparte, a precedent that would arguably inspire the fascism of dictators and vulgar nationalism, beginning with Napoleon's nephew fifty years later.
It wasn't Liberalism Triumphant that faced a challenge from fascism; it was the abject failures of Liberalism that created fascism. And, this was especially true in the wake of World War I, which many have argued persuasively was Liberalism's greatest and most catastrophic failure. T he Liberal projects to create liberal democratic nation-states ran aground in Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia between 1870 and 1910 and instead of gradual reform of the old order, Europe experienced catastrophic collapse, and Liberalism was ill-prepared to devise working governments and politics in the crisis that followed.
If liberals invented conservatism, it seems to me that would-be socialists were at pains to re-invent liberalism, and they did it several times going in radically different directions, but always from a base in the basic liberal idea of rationalizing authority. A significant thread in socialism adopted incremental progress and socialist ideas became liberal and conservative means for taming popular discontent in an increasingly urban society.
Where and when liberalism actually was triumphant, both the range of liberal views and the range of interests presenting a liberal front became too broad for a stable politics. Think about the Liberal Party landslide of 1906, which eventually gave rise to the Labour Party in its role of Left Party in the British two-party system. Or FDR's landslide in 1936, which played a pivotal role in the march of the Southern Democrats to the Right. Or the emergence of the Liberal Consensus in American politics in the late 1950s.
What is called neoliberalism in American politics has a lot to do with New Deal liberalism running out of steam and simply not having a program after 1970. Some of that is circumstantial in a way - the first Oil Crisis, the breakup of Bretton Woods - but even those circumstances were arguably results of the earlier program's success.
It is almost a rote reaction to talk about the Republican's Southern Strategy, but they didn't invent the crime wave that enveloped the country in the late 1960s or the riots that followed the enactment of Civil Rights legislation.
Will G-R's "As soon [as] liberalism feels it can plausibly claim to have . . .overcome the socialist and fascist challenges [liberals] are empowered to act as if liberalism's adaptive response to the socialist and fascist challenges was never necessary in the first place - bye bye welfare state, hello neoliberalism" doesn't seem to me to concede enough to Clinton and Blair entrepreneurially inventing a popular politics in response to Reagan and Thatcher, after the actual failures of an older model of social democratic programs and populist politics on its behalf.I write more about this over at my blog (in a somewhat different context).John Quiggin 09.04.16 at 6:57 amRW @113 I wrote a whole book using "market liberalism" instead of "neoliberalism", since I wanted a term more neutral and less pejorative. So, going back to "neoliberalism" was something I did advisedly. You saylikbez 09.04.16 at 4:18 pmThe word is abstract and has completely different meanings west and east of the Atlantic. In the USA it refers to weak tea center leftisms. In Europe to hard core liberalism.Well, yes. That's precisely why I've used the term, introduced the hard/soft distinction and explained the history. The core point is that, despite their differences soft (US meaning) and hard (European meaning) neoliberalism share crucial aspects of their history, theoretical foundations and policy implications.I would say that neoliberalism is closer to market fundamentalism, then market liberalism. See, for example:likbez 09.04.16 at 5:03 pm
=== quote ===
Neoliberalism is an ideology of market fundamentalism based on deception that promotes "markets" as a universal solution for all human problems in order to hide establishment of neo-fascist regime (pioneered by Pinochet in Chile), where militarized government functions are limited to external aggression and suppression of population within the country (often via establishing National Security State using "terrorists" threat) and corporations are the only "first class" political players. Like in classic corporatism, corporations are above the law and can rule the country as they see fit, using political parties for the legitimatization of the regime.
The key difference with classic fascism is that instead of political dominance of the corporations of particular nation, those corporations are now transnational and states, including the USA are just enforcers of the will of transnational corporations on the population. Economic or "soft" methods of enforcement such as debt slavery and control of employment are preferred to brute force enforcement. At the same time police is militarized and due to technological achievements the level of surveillance surpasses the level achieved in Eastern Germany.
Like with bolshevism in the USSR before, high, almost always hysterical, level of neoliberal propaganda and scapegoating of "enemies" as well as the concept of "permanent war for permanent peace" are used to suppress the protest against the wealth redistribution up (which is the key principle of neoliberalism) and to decimate organized labor.
Multiple definitions of neoliberalism were proposed. Three major attempts to define this social system were made:
- Definitions stemming from the concept of "casino capitalism"
- Definitions stemming from the concept of Washington consensus
- Definitions stemming from the idea that Neoliberalism is Trotskyism for the rich. This idea has two major variations:
- Definitions stemming from Professor Wendy Brown's concept of Neoliberal rationality which developed the concept of Inverted Totalitarism of Sheldon Wolin
- Definitions stemming Professor Sheldon Wolin's older concept of Inverted Totalitarism - "the heavy statism forging the novel fusions of economic with political power that he took to be poisoning democracy at its root." (Sheldon Wolin and Inverted Totalitarianism Common Dreams )
The first two are the most popular.
Thanks for your post. It contains several important ideas:
"It wasn't Liberalism Triumphant that faced a challenge from fascism; it was the abject failures of Liberalism that created fascism."
"What is called neoliberalism in American politics has a lot to do with New Deal liberalism running out of steam and simply not having a program after 1970. Some of that is circumstantial in a way - the first Oil Crisis, the breakup of Bretton Woods - but even those circumstances were arguably results of the earlier program's success."
Moreover as Will G-R noted:
"neoliberalism will be every bit the wellspring of fascism that old-school liberalism was."
Failure of neoliberalism revives neofascist, far right movements. That's what the rise of far right movements in Europe now demonstrates pretty vividly.
Aug 01, 2016 | understandingsociety.blogspot.com
Monday,nderstand the dynamics of far-right extremism without understanding far-right extremists? Probably not; it seems clear we need to have a much more "micro" understanding of the actors than we currently have if we are to understand these movements so antithetical to the values of liberal democracy. And yet there isn't much of a literature on this subject.
An important exception is a 2007 special issue of the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography , curated by Kathleen Blee ( link ). This volume brings together several ethnographic studies of extremist groups, and it makes for very interesting reading. Kathleen Blee is a pioneer in this field and is the author of Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement (2002). She writes in Inside Organized Racism :Intense, activist racism typically does not arise on its own; it is learned in racist groups . These groups promote ideas radically different from the racist attitudes held by many whites. They teach a complex and contradictory mix of hatred for enemies, belief in conspiracies, and allegiance to an imaginary unified race of "Aryans." (3)One of Blee's key contributions has been to highlight the increasingly important and independent role played by women in right-wing extremist movements in the United States and Europe.
The JCE issue includes valuable studies of right-wing extremist groups in India, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia. And each of the essays is well worth reading, including especially Blee's good introduction. Here is the table of contents:
Key questions concerning the mechanisms of mobilization arise in almost all the essays. What are the mechanisms through which new adherents are recruited? What psychological and emotional mechanisms are in play that keep loyalists involved in the movement? Contributors to this volume find a highly heterogeneous set of circumstances leading to extremist activism. Blee argues that an internalist approach is needed to allow us to have a more nuanced understanding of the social and personal dynamics of extremist movements. What she means by externalist here is the idea that there are societal forces and "risk factors" that contribute to the emergence of hate and racism within a population, and that these factors can be studied in a general way. An internalist approach, by contrast, aims at discovering the motives and causes of extremist engagement through study of the actors themselves, within specific social circumstances.But it is problematic to use data garnered in externalist studies to draw conclusions about micromobilization since it is not possible to infer the motivations of activists from the external conditions in which the group emerged. Because people are drawn to far-right movements for a variety of reasons that have little connection to political ideology (Blee 2002)-including a search for community, affirmation of masculinity, and personal loyalties- what motivates someone to join an anti-immigrant group, for example, might-or might not-be animus toward immigrants. (120)Based on interviews, participant-observation, and life-history methods, contributors find a mix of factors leading to the choice of extremist involvement: adolescent hyper-masculinity, a desire to belong, a history of bullying and abuse, as well as social exposure to adult hate activists. But this work is more difficult than many other kinds of ethnographic research because of the secrecy, suspiciousness, and danger associated with these kinds of activism:Close-up or "internalist" studies of far-right movements can provide a better understanding of the workings of far-right groups and the beliefs and motivations of their activists and supporters, but such studies are rare because data from interviews with members, observations of group activities, and internal documents are difficult to obtain.... Few scholars want to invest the considerable time or to establish the rapport necessary for close-up studies of those they regard as inexplicable and repugnant, in addition to dangerous and difficult. Yet, as the articles in this volume demonstrate, internalist studies of the far right can reveal otherwise obscured and important features of extreme rightist political mobilization. (121-122)A few snippets will give some flavor of the volume. Here is Michael Kimmel's description of some of the young men and boys attracted to the neo-Nazi movement in Sweden:Insecure and lonely at twelve years old, Edward started hanging out with skinheads because he "moved to a new town, knew nobody, and needed friends." Equally lonely and utterly alienated from his distant father, Pelle met an older skinhead who took him under his wing and became a sort of mentor. Pelle was a "street hooligan" hanging out in street gangs, brawling and drinking with other gangs. "My group actually looked down on the neo-Nazis," he says, because "they weren't real fighters." "All the guys had an insecure role as a man," says Robert. "They were all asking 'who am I?'" ...Here is Meera Sehgal's description of far-right Hindu nationalist training camps for young girls in India:
Already feeling marginalized and often targeted, the boys and men described themselves as "searchers" or "seekers," kids looking for a group with which to identify and where they would feel they belonged. "When you enter puberty, it's like you have to choose a branch," said one ex-Nazi. "You have to choose between being a Nazi, anti-Nazi, punk or hip- hopper-in today's society, you just can't choose to be neutral" (cited in Wahlstrom 2001, 13-14). ...
For others, it was a sense of alienation from family and especially the desire to rebel against their fathers. "Grown-ups often forget an important component of Swedish racism, the emotional conviction," says Jonas Hallen (2000). "If you have been beaten, threatened, and stolen from, you won't listen to facts and numbers."(209-210)The overall atmosphere of this camp and the Samiti's camps in general was rigid and authoritarian, with a strong emphasis on discipline. ... A number of girls fell ill with diarrhea, exhaustion, and heat stroke. Every day at least five to ten girls could be seen crying, wanting to go home. They pleaded with their city's local Samiti leaders, camp instructors, and organizers to be allowed to call their parents, but were not allowed to do so. ... Neither students nor instructors were allowed to get sufficient rest or decent food.And here is Fabian Virchow's description of the emotional power of music and spectacle at a neo-Nazi rally in Germany:
The training was at a frenetic pace in physically trying conditions. Participants were kept awake and physically and mentally engaged from dawn to late night. Approximately four hours a day were devoted to physical training; five hours to ideological indoctrination through lectures, group discussions, and rote memorization; and two hours to indoctrination through cultural programming like songs, stories, plays, jokes, and skits. Many girls and women were consequently soon physically exhausted, and yet were forced to continue. The systematic deprivation of adequate rest and food may have been a deliberate ploy of the camp organizers to reduce the chances of dissent since time, energy, initiative, and planning are needed to develop a collective sense of grievance.
Indoctrination, which was the Samiti's first priority, ranged from classroom lectures and small and large group discussions led by different instructors, to nightly cultural programs where skits, storytelling, songs, and chants were taught by the instructors and seasoned activists, based on the lives of various "Hindu" women, both mythical and historical. (170)Festivals are excellent opportunities for far-right groups to spread the word about their successes to like-minded activists and sympathizers, since visitors come from as far away as Italy to see White Power music bands. In the festival mentioned above, a folk-dance act in the afternoon attracted only some hundred spectators, but evening performances by the U.S. band Youngland drew a large crowd that pushed to the front of the stage, leaving only limited space for burly skinheads indulging in pogo dancing. The music created a ritual closeness and attachment among the audience, shaping the emotions and aggression of the like-minded crowd, initially in a playful way, but one that switched into brutality a few moments later.Each of these essays is based on first-hand observation and interaction, and they give some insight into the psychological forces playing on the participants as well as the mobilizational strategies used by the leaders of these kinds of movements. The articles published here offer a good cross-section of the ways in which ethnographic methods can be brought to bear on the phenomenon of extremist right-wing activism. And because the studies are drawn from five quite different national contexts (Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, India, France), it is intriguing to see some of the same mechanisms and dynamics in play in creating and sustaining an extremist movement. The importance of performance and music in eliciting loyal participation from young adherents comes up in the articles about Germany, Sweden, and India. Likewise the importance of the emotional needs of boys as they approach manhood, and the hyper-masculine themes of violence and brutality in the neo-Nazi organizations that appeal to them, recurs in several of the essays.
The aggression of White Power music is evident in the messages of its songs, which are either confessing, demonstrating self-assertion against what is perceived as totally hostile surroundings, or requesting action (Meyer 1995). Using Heavy Metal or Oi Punk as its musical basis, White Power music not only attracts those who see themselves as part of the same political movement as the musicians, but also serves as one of the most important tools for recruiting new adherents to the politics of the far right (Dornbusch and Raabe 2002).
Since the festival I visited takes place only once a year, and because performances of White Power bands are organized clandestinely in most cases and are often disrupted by the police, the far-right movement needs additional events to shape and sustain its collective identity. As the far right and the NPD and neo-Nazi groupuscules in particular regard themselves as a "movement of action," it is no surprise that rallies play an important role in this effort. (151)
Along with KA Kreasap, Kathleen Blee is also the author of a 2010 review article on right-wing extremist movements in Annual Reviews of Sociology ( link ). These are the kinds of hate-based organizations and activists tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center ( link ), and that seem to be more visible than ever before during the current presidential campaign. The essay pays attention to the question of the motivations and "risk factors" that lead people to join right-wing movements. Blee and Kreasap argue that the motivations and circumstances of mobilization into right-wing organizations are substantially more heterogeneous than a simple story leading from racist attitudes to racist mobilization would suggest. They argue that antecedent racist ideology is indeed a factor, but that music, culture, social media, and continent social networks also play significant causal roles.
Aug 20, 2016 | understandingsociety.blogspot.com
Understanding SocietySeveral recent posts have commented on the rise of a nationalistic, nativist politics in numerous contemporary democracies around the world. The implications of this political process are deeply challenging to the values of liberal democracy. We need to try to understand these developments. (Peter Merkl's research on European right-wing extremism is very helpful here; Right-wing Extremism in the Twenty-first Century .)
One plausible approach to trying to understand the dynamics of this turn to the far right is to consider relevantly similar historical examples. A very interesting study on the history of Austria's right-wing extremism between the wars was published recently by Janek Wasserman, Black Vienna: The Radical Right in the Red City, 1918-1938 .
Wasserman emphasizes the importance of ideas and culture within the rise of Austrofascism, and he makes use of Gramsci's concept of hegemony as a way of understanding the link between philosophy and politics. The pro-fascist right held a dominant role within major Viennese cultural and educational institutions. Here is how Wasserman describes the content of ultra-conservative philosophy and ideology in inter-war Vienna:The ideas represented within its institutions ran a broad spectrum, yet its discourse centered on radical anti-Semitism, German nationalism, völkisch authoritarianism, anti-Enlightenment (and antimodernist) thinking, and corporatism. The potential for collaboration between Catholic conservatives and German nationalists has only in recent years begun to attract scholarly attention. (6)This climate was highly inhospitable towards ideas and values from progressive thinkers. Wasserman describes the intellectual and cultural climate of Vienna in these terms:At the turn of the century, Austria was one of the most culturally conservative nations in Europe. The advocacy of avant-garde scientific theories therefore put the First Vienna Circle- and its intellectual forbears- under pressure. Ultimately, it left them in marginal positions until several years after the Great War. In the wake of the Wahrmund affair, discussed in chapter 1, intellectuals advocating secularist, rationalist, or liberal views faced a hostile academic landscape.
Ernst Mach, for example, was an intellectual outsider at the University of Vienna from 1895 until his death in 1916. Always supportive of socialist causes, he left a portion of his estate to the Social Democrats in his last will and testament. His theories of sensationalism and radical empiricism were challenged on all sides, most notably by his successor Ludwig Boltzmann. His students, among them David Josef Bach and Friedrich Adler, either had to leave the country to find appointments or give up academics altogether. Unable to find positions in Vienna, Frank moved to Prague and Neurath to Heidelberg. Hahn did not receive a position until after the war. The First Vienna Circle disbanded because of a lack of opportunity at home. (110-111)
... ... ...
Sep 03, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.comPavel , September 3, 2016 at 8:11 am
I just found this via Hacker News… perhaps it was in yesterday's links and I missed it. Truly scary in the Orwellian sense and yet another reason not to use a smartphone. Chilling read.
SAN FRANCISCO - Want to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge? Gather their every keystroke, sound, message and location? That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. You can spy on more people if you would like - just check out the company's price list.
The NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user's location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device.
Since its founding six years ago, the NSO Group has kept a low profile. But last month, security researchers caught its spyware trying to gain access to the iPhone of a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates. They also discovered a second target, a Mexican journalist who wrote about corruption in the Mexican government.
Now, internal NSO Group emails, contracts and commercial proposals obtained by The New York Times offer insight into how companies in this secretive digital surveillance industry operate. The emails and documents were provided by two people who have had dealings with the NSO Group but would not be named for fear of reprisals.
–NY Times: How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone
There is interesting and expert commentary in the Hacker News forum: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12417938.
Pat , September 3, 2016 at 12:01 pmJeotsu , September 3, 2016 at 2:15 pm
I could be wrong, but the promos for Sixty Minutes on the local news make it seem they might be about this subject. Either way it is another scare you about what your cell phone can do story, possibly justified this time.
An anecdote which I cannot support with links or other evidence:
A friend of mine used to work for a (non USA) security intelligence service. I was bouncing ideas off him for a book I'm working on, specifically ideas about how monitoring/electronics/spying can be used to measure and manipulate societies. He was useful for telling if my ideas (for a Science Fiction novel) were plausible without ever getting into details. Always very careful to keep his replies in the "white" world of what any computer security person would know, without delving into anything classified.
One day we were way out in the back blocks, and I laid out one scenario for him to see if it would be plausible. All he did was small cryptically, and point at a cell phone lying on a table 10 meters away. He wouldn't say a word on the subject.
It wasn't his cellphone, and we were in a relatively remote region with no cell phone coverage.
It told me that my book idea was far too plausible. It also told me that every cellphone is likely recording everything all the time, for later upload when back in signal range. (Or at least there was the inescapable possibility that the cell phones were doing so, and that he had to assume foreign (or domestic?) agencies could be following him through monitoring of cell phones of friends and neighbors.)
It was a clarifying moment for me.
Every cellphone has a monumental amount of storage space (especially for audio files). Almost every cellphone only has a software "switch" for turning it off, not a hardware interlock where you can be sure off is off. So how can you ever really be sure it is "off"? Answer- you can't
Sobering thought. Especially when you consider the Bluffdale facility in the USA.
Sep 03, 2016 | www.nytimes.com
The New York Times
There are dozens of digital spying companies that can track everything a target does on a smartphone. Credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images
SAN FRANCISCO - Want to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge? Gather their every keystroke, sound, message and location? That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. You can spy on more people if you would like - just check out the company's price list.
The NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user's location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device.
Since its founding six years ago, the NSO Group has kept a low profile. But last month, security researchers caught its spyware trying to gain access to the iPhone of a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates. They also discovered a second target, a Mexican journalist who wrote about corruption in the Mexican government.
Now, internal NSO Group emails, contracts and commercial proposals obtained by The New York Times offer insight into how companies in this secretive digital surveillance industry operate. The emails and documents were provided by two people who have had dealings with the NSO Group but would not be named for fear of reprisals.
The company is one of dozens of digital spying outfits that track everything a target does on a smartphone. They aggressively market their services to governments and law enforcement agencies around the world. The industry argues that this spying is necessary to track terrorists, kidnappers and drug lords. The NSO Group's corporate mission statement is "Make the world a safe place."
Ten people familiar with the company's sales, who refused to be identified, said that the NSO Group has a strict internal vetting process to determine who it will sell to. An ethics committee made up of employees and external counsel vets potential customers based on human rights rankings set by the World Bank and other global bodies. And to date, these people all said, NSO has yet to be denied an export license.
But critics note that the company's spyware has also been used to track journalists and human rights activists.
"There's no check on this," said Bill Marczak, a senior fellow at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. "Once NSO's systems are sold, governments can essentially use them however they want. NSO can say they're trying to make the world a safer place, but they are also making the world a more surveilled place."
The NSO Group's capabilities are in higher demand now that companies like Apple, Facebook and Google are using stronger encryption to protect data in their systems, in the process making it harder for government agencies to track suspects.
The NSO Group's spyware finds ways around encryption by baiting targets to click unwittingly on texts containing malicious links or by exploiting previously undiscovered software flaws. It was taking advantage of three such flaws in Apple software - since fixed - when it was discovered by researchers last month.
The cyberarms industry typified by the NSO Group operates in a legal gray area, and it is often left to the companies to decide how far they are willing to dig into a target's personal life and what governments they will do business with. Israel has strict export controls for digital weaponry, but the country has never barred the sale of NSO Group technology.
Since it is privately held, not much is known about the NSO Group's finances, but its business is clearly growing. Two years ago, the NSO Group sold a controlling stake in its business to Francisco Partners, a private equity firm based in San Francisco, for $120 million. Nearly a year later, Francisco Partners was exploring a sale of the company for 10 times that amount, according to two people approached by the firm but forbidden to speak about the discussions.
The company's internal documents detail pitches to countries throughout Europe and multimillion-dollar contracts with Mexico, which paid the NSO Group more than $15 million for three projects over three years, according to internal NSO Group emails dated in 2013.
"Our intelligence systems are subject to Mexico's relevant legislation and have legal authorization," Ricardo Alday, a spokesman for the Mexican embassy in Washington, said in an emailed statement. "They are not used against journalists or activists. All contracts with the federal government are done in accordance with the law."
Zamir Dahbash, an NSO Group spokesman, said that the sale of its spyware was restricted to authorized governments and that it was used solely for criminal and terrorist investigations. He declined to comment on whether the company would cease selling to the U.A.E. and Mexico after last week's disclosures.
For the last six years, the NSO Group's main product, a tracking system called Pegasus, has been used by a growing number of government agencies to target a range of smartphones - including iPhones, Androids, and BlackBerry and Symbian systems - without leaving a trace.
Among the Pegasus system's capabilities, NSO Group contracts assert, are the abilities to extract text messages, contact lists, calendar records, emails, instant messages and GPS locations. One capability that the NSO Group calls "room tap" can gather sounds in and around the room, using the phone's own microphone.
Pegasus can use the camera to take snapshots or screen grabs. It can deny the phone access to certain websites and applications, and it can grab search histories or anything viewed with the phone's web browser. And all of the data can be sent back to the agency's server in real time.
In its commercial proposals, the NSO Group asserts that its tracking software and hardware can install itself in any number of ways, including "over the air stealth installation," tailored text messages and emails, through public Wi-Fi hot spots rigged to secretly install NSO Group software, or the old-fashioned way, by spies in person.
Much like a traditional software company, the NSO Group prices its surveillance tools by the number of targets, starting with a flat $500,000 installation fee. To spy on 10 iPhone users, NSO charges government agencies $650,000; $650,000 for 10 Android users; $500,000 for five BlackBerry users; or $300,000 for five Symbian users - on top of the setup fee, according to one commercial proposal.
You can pay for more targets. One hundred additional targets will cost $800,000, 50 extra targets cost $500,000, 20 extra will cost $250,000 and 10 extra costs $150,000, according to an NSO Group commercial proposal. There is an annual system maintenance fee of 17 percent of the total price every year thereafter.
What that gets you, NSO Group documents say, is "unlimited access to a target's mobile devices." In short, the company says: You can "remotely and covertly collect information about your target's relationships, location, phone calls, plans and activities - whenever and wherever they are."
And, its proposal adds, "It leaves no traces whatsoever."
Sep 02, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
"Commentary: Who is hacking U.S. election databases and why are they so difficult to identify?" [ Reuters ]. "This summer has been rife with news of election-related hacking. Last month it was the Democratic National Committee; this week, voter election databases in Illinois and Arizona…
The FBI has said that government-affiliated Russian hackers are responsible for both intrusions. Yet the hackers' motivation is unclear. We don't know whether the hackers were engaging in espionage, attempting to manipulate the election, or just harvesting low-hanging cyber-fruit for their own financial gain." Well, the FBI is totes apolitical, so that settles that. There are brave Russkis out there. Let's go kill them!
So much for keeping the military out of politics:
In a joint statement, two Four Star Generals, Bob Sennewald and David Maddox are endorsing Hillary Clinton for President. Sennewald is the former Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Command, and Maddox was formerly Commander in Chief, U.S. Army- Europe. Clinton spoke at the American Legion on Wednesday:
"Having each served over 34 years and retired as an Army 4- star general, we each have worked closely with America's strongest allies, both in NATO and throughout Asia. Our votes have always been private, and neither of us has ever previously lent his name or voice to a presidential candidate. Having studied what is at stake for this country and the alternatives we have now, we see only one viable leader, and will be voting this November for Secretary Hillary Clinton."
Aug 29, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
EMichael : August 28, 2016 at 11:14 AM"Transfer" has more than one meaning.
" If spying is the world's second oldest profession, the government of China has given it a new, modern-day twist, enlisting an army of spies not to steal military secrets but the trade secrets and intellectual property of American companies. It's being called "the great brain robbery of America."
The Justice Department says that the scale of China's corporate espionage is so vast it constitutes a national security emergency, with China targeting virtually every sector of the U.S. economy, and costing American companies hundreds of billions of dollars in losses -- and more than two million jobs.
John Carlin: They're targeting our private companies. And it's not a fair fight. A private company can't compete against the resources of the second largest economy in the world."
John Carlin: This is a serious threat to our national security. I mean, our economy depends on the ability to innovate. And if there's a dedicated nation state who's using its intelligence apparatus to steal day in and day out what we're trying to develop, that poses a serious threat to our country.
Lesley Stahl: What is their ultimate goal, the Chinese government's ultimate goal?
John Carlin: They want to develop certain segments of industry and instead of trying to out-innovate, out-research, out-develop, they're choosing to do it through theft.
All you have to do, he says, is look at the economic plans published periodically by the Chinese Politburo. They are, according to this recent report by the technology research firm INVNT/IP, in effect, blueprints of what industries and what companies will be targeted for theft."
cm -> EMichael, August 28, 2016 at 12:38 PMSome "American" companies and public research institutions are surely victims of espionage, but for the most part private industry has brought this on itself by building offshore offices and *actively* directing their workers to transfer the knowledge and "train their replacements", so that they can do the work instead of US workers who are let go (or not again hired) because their skills are now "irrelevant".Paine -> cm... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 02:02 PM
Likewise if a manufacturer outsources to an offshore supplier, they have to divulge some of their secret sauce and technical skill to their "partner" if they want the product to meet specs and quality metrics.
In "defense" or "national interest" related work, for the most part citizens of or even people originating from countries that are considered military or geopolitical adversaries are excluded from participation. This makes it much harder to infiltrate people in the US, as long as it is not offshored. But then the US govt and its contractors will pay higher rates for the product/service than US consumers who will have to do "more with less" (money).
Importantcm -> Paine... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 03:47 PM
We have a serious industry in dis info about chinaOh, China (public and private entities) surely engages in those things it is accused of, but this is by far outweighed by US business captains shoving the "free" know-how and innovation down their throats to enable the short term "cost savings" (which will in short order be compensated for by declining aggregate demand when the formerly well paid local staff can only buy the cheapest stuff, and retail adjusts and mostly orders the cheapest).cm -> Paine... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 03:54 PM
Likewise most "everybody else" also. I have a good number of colleagues from China and other Asian countries. Many of them take pride in coming up with their own solutions instead of copying stuff, like people everywhere.Paine -> cm... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 05:05 PM
"Stealing" of ideas is practiced everywhere. I know an anecdote from a "Western" company where a high level engineering manager suggested inviting another academic/research group on the pretext of exploring a collaboration, only to get enough of an idea of their approach, and then dump them. Several of the present staff balked at this and it didn't go anywhere. But it was instructive.
I'd suggest stolen " recipes " to use Paul Romers termPaine -> Paine... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 05:05 PM
Only encourage the parallel Han project
You can't really build something significantly novel
Simply out of specsClassic casecm -> Paine... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 05:43 PM
The soviet a bomb projectThere are two aspects of "stealing ideas":ilsm -> Paine... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 04:20 PM
(1) How is it done (because we don't know)
(2) Which approach has been proven to work (out of many that we would have to try)
The focus in discussing the topic is often on (1), and it is certainly an important aspect, perhaps the most important one if the adversary is in bootstrapping mode.
However once you are at a certain level, (2) becomes more important - the solution space is simply too large, and knowing what has already worked elsewhere can cut through a lot of failed experiments (including finding a better solution of course).
(2) also relates somewhat to "best practices" - don't try to innovate and create yet another proprietary thing that only the people who created it understand, do what everybody else is doing, then you can hire more people who "already know it", or if "others" improve or build on the existing solution, that immediately applies to your version as well.
The downside is that your solution is not "differentiated". But if it is cheaper it doesn't have to.To sell F-35 the US gives everything needed to manufacture parts of the aircraft to the buying country...cm -> EMichael... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 01:05 PM
To do that or any other kind of manufacturing the processes with all drawings and accurate parts lists are in the plant.........
If you can keep that stuff 'under wraps' you spend a lot, fill the plant with US personnel , endure inefficiencies, create bottlenecks....Then there was a story about this:cm -> cm... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 01:07 PM
where US electronic surveillance was allegedly involved in a business dispute. In this case there is no explicit claim about technology theft, but two companies were accusing each other of patent violations, and espionage techniques were used to "obtain evidence".
A German language article where this and other cases are mentioned: http://www.zeit.de/1998/28/199828.spionage.neu_.xml Nobody is squeaky clean in this game.cm -> cm... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 04:12 PM
BTW note the date - this kind of stuff was going on in the 90's. It is not a recent invention. BTW this here was mentioned, you may have heard of it, in any case it was a big deal in Germany where the US had several operational bases:Paine -> EMichael... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 02:00 PM
At the time I was working in a tech company there, and new security protocols were instituted, like not sending certain confidential information by email or fax. There was even an anecdote (unverified) of how a foreign service (not US in that case) was allegedly intercepting business documents/negotiations that were conducted by fax, and making the information available to "their" own companies bidding for the same project. Whether true or not, that's what the management was concerned about.
Pure propagandaPaine -> EMichael... , Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 02:04 PM
You have a embark able tolerance for manipulationTrump talk modulated by the manhattan elites
The same pokes that play the other end of the stick
That de industrialized the rust belt
Aug 27, 2016 | www.zerohedge.comAuthored by Llewllyn Rockwell via The Mises Institute,
The most definitive study on fascism written in these years was As We Go Marching by John T. Flynn. Flynn was a journalist and scholar of a liberal spirit who had written a number of best-selling books in the 1920s. It was the New Deal that changed him. His colleagues all followed FDR into fascism, while Flynn himself kept the old faith. That meant that he fought FDR every step of the way, and not only his domestic plans. Flynn was a leader of the America First movement that saw FDR's drive to war as nothing but an extension of the New Deal, which it certainly was.
As We Go Marching came out in 1944, just at the tail end of the war, and right in the midst of wartime economic controls the world over. It is a wonder that it ever got past the censors. It is a full-scale study of fascist theory and practice, and Flynn saw precisely where fascism ends: in militarism and war as the fulfillment of the stimulus spending agenda. When you run out of everything else to spend money on, you can always depend on nationalist fervor to back more military spending.
Flynn, like other members of the Old Right, was disgusted by the irony that what he saw, almost everyone else chose to ignore. After reviewing this long history, Flynn proceeds to sum up with a list of eight points he considers to be the main marks of the fascist state.
As I present them, I will also offer comments on the modern American central state.
Point 1. The government is totalitarian because it acknowledges no restraint on its powers.
If you become directly ensnared in the state's web, you will quickly discover that there are indeed no limits to what the state can do. This can happen boarding a flight, driving around in your hometown, or having your business run afoul of some government agency. In the end, you must obey or be caged like an animal or killed. In this way, no matter how much you may believe that you are free, all of us today are but one step away from Guantanamo.
No aspect of life is untouched by government intervention, and often it takes forms we do not readily see. All of healthcare is regulated, but so is every bit of our food, transportation, clothing, household products, and even private relationships. Mussolini himself put his principle this way: "All within the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State." I submit to you that this is the prevailing ideology in the United States today. This nation, conceived in liberty, has been kidnapped by the fascist state.
Point 2. Government is a de facto dictatorship based on the leadership principle.
I wouldn't say that we truly have a dictatorship of one man in this country, but we do have a form of dictatorship of one sector of government over the entire country. The executive branch has spread so dramatically over the last century that it has become a joke to speak of checks and balances.
The executive state is the state as we know it, all flowing from the White House down. The role of the courts is to enforce the will of the executive. The role of the legislature is to ratify the policy of the executive. This executive is not really about the person who seems to be in charge. The president is only the veneer, and the elections are only the tribal rituals we undergo to confer some legitimacy on the institution. In reality, the nation-state lives and thrives outside any "democratic mandate." Here we find the power to regulate all aspects of life and the wicked power to create the money necessary to fund this executive rule.
Point 3. Government administers a capitalist system with an immense bureaucracy.
The reality of bureaucratic administration has been with us at least since the New Deal, which was modeled on the planning bureaucracy that lived in World War I. The planned economy- whether in Mussolini's time or ours- requires bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is the heart, lungs, and veins of the planning state. And yet to regulate an economy as thoroughly as this one is today is to kill prosperity with a billion tiny cuts.
So where is our growth? Where is the peace dividend that was supposed to come after the end of the Cold War? Where are the fruits of the amazing gains in efficiency that technology has afforded? It has been eaten by the bureaucracy that manages our every move on this earth. The voracious and insatiable monster here is called the Federal Code that calls on thousands of agencies to exercise the police power to prevent us from living free lives.
It is as Bastiat said: the real cost of the state is the prosperity we do not see, the jobs that don't exist, the technologies to which we do not have access, the businesses that do not come into existence, and the bright future that is stolen from us. The state has looted us just as surely as a robber who enters our home at night and steals all that we love.
Point 4. Producers are organized into cartels in the way of syndicalism.
Syndicalist is not usually how we think of our current economic structure. But remember that syndicalism means economic control by the producers. Capitalism is different. It places by virtue of market structures all control in the hands of the consumers. The only question for syndicalists, then, is which producers are going to enjoy political privilege. It might be the workers, but it can also be the largest corporations.
In the case of the United States, in the last three years, we've seen giant banks, pharmaceutical firms, insurers, car companies, Wall Street banks and brokerage houses, and quasi-private mortgage companies enjoying vast privileges at our expense. They have all joined with the state in living a parasitical existence at our expense.
Point 5. Economic planning is based on the principle of autarky.
Autarky is the name given to the idea of economic self-sufficiency. Mostly this refers to the economic self determination of the nation-state. The nation-state must be geographically huge in order to support rapid economic growth for a large and growing population.
Look at the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. We would be supremely naive to believe that these wars were not motivated in part by the producer interests of the oil industry. It is true of the American empire generally, which supports dollar hegemony. It is the reason for the North American Union.
Point 6. Government sustains economic life through spending and borrowing.
This point requires no elaboration because it is no longer hidden. In the latest round, and with a prime-time speech, Obama mused about how is it that people are unemployed at a time when schools, bridges, and infrastructure need repairing. He ordered that supply and demand come together to match up needed work with jobs.
Hello? The schools, bridges, and infrastructure that Obama refers to are all built and maintained by the state. That's why they are falling apart. And the reason that people don't have jobs is because the state has made it too expensive to hire them. It's not complicated. To sit around and dream of other scenarios is no different from wishing that water flowed uphill or that rocks would float in the air. It amounts to a denial of reality.
As for the rest of this speech, Obama promised yet another long list of spending projects. But no government in the history of the world has spent as much, borrowed as much, and created as much fake money as the United States, all thanks to the power of the Fed to create money at will. If the United States doesn't qualify as a fascist state in this sense, no government ever has.
Point 7. Militarism is a mainstay of government spending.
Have you ever noticed that the military budget is never seriously discussed in policy debates? The United States spends more than most of the rest of the world combined. And yet to hear our leaders talk, the United States is just a tiny commercial republic that wants peace but is constantly under threat from the world. Where is the debate about this policy? Where is the discussion? It is not going on. It is just assumed by both parties that it is essential for the US way of life that the United States be the most deadly country on the planet, threatening everyone with nuclear extinction unless they obey.
Point 8. Military spending has imperialist aims.
We've had one war after another, wars waged by the United States against noncompliant countries, and the creation of even more client states and colonies. US military strength has led not to peace but the opposite. It has caused most people in the world to regard the United States as a threat, and it has led to unconscionable wars on many countries. Wars of aggression were defined at Nuremberg as crimes against humanity.
Obama was supposed to end this. He never promised to do so, but his supporters all believed that he would. Instead, he has done the opposite. He has increased troop levels, entrenched wars, and started new ones. In reality, he has presided over a warfare state just as vicious as any in history. The difference this time is that the Left is no longer criticizing the US role in the world. In that sense, Obama is the best thing ever to happen to the warmongers and the military-industrial complex.
I can think of no greater priority today than a serious and effective antifascist alliance. In many ways, one is already forming. It is not a formal alliance. It is made up of those who protest the Fed, those who refuse to go along with mainstream fascist politics, those who seek decentralization, those who demand lower taxes and free trade, those who seek the right to associate with anyone they want and buy and sell on terms of their own choosing, those who insist they can educate their children on their own, the investors and savers who make economic growth possible, those who do not want to be felt up at airports, and those who have become expatriates.
It is also made of the millions of independent entrepreneurs who are discovering that the number one threat to their ability to serve others through the commercial marketplace is the institution that claims to be our biggest benefactor: the government.
How many people fall into this category? It is more than we know. The movement is intellectual. It is political. It is cultural. It is technological. They come from all classes, races, countries, and professions. This is no longer a national movement. It is truly global.
And what does this movement want? Nothing more or less than sweet liberty. It does not ask that the liberty be granted or given. It only asks for the liberty that is promised by life itself and would otherwise exist were it not for the Leviathan state that robs us, badgers us, jails us, kills us.
This movement is not departing. We are daily surrounded by evidence that it is right and true. Every day, it is more and more obvious that the state contributes absolutely nothing to our wellbeing; it massively subtracts from it.
Back in the 1930s, and even up through the 1980s, the partisans of the state were overflowing with ideas. This is no longer true. Fascism has no new ideas, no big projects-and not even its partisans really believe it can accomplish what it sets out to do. The world created by the private sector is so much more useful and beautiful than anything the state has done that the fascists have themselves become demoralized and aware that their agenda has no real intellectual foundation.
It is ever more widely known that statism does not and cannot work. Statism is the great lie. Statism gives us the exact opposite of its promise. It promised security, prosperity, and peace; it has given us fear, poverty, war, and death. If we want a future, it is one that we have to build ourselves. The fascist state will not give it to us. On the contrary, it stands in the way.
In the end, this is the choice we face: the total state or total freedom. Which will we choose? If we choose the state, we will continue to sink further and further and eventually lose all that we treasure as a civilization. If we choose freedom, we can harness that remarkable power of human cooperation that will enable us to continue to make a better world.
In the fight against fascism, there is no reason to be despairing. We must continue to fight with every bit of confidence that the future belongs to us and not them.
Their world is falling apart. Ours is just being built.Their world is based on bankrupt ideologies. Ours is rooted in the truth about freedom and reality. Their world can only look back to the glory days. Ours looks forward to the future we are building for ourselves.
Their world is rooted in the corpse of the nation-state. Our world draws on the energies and creativity of all peoples in the world, united in the great and noble project of creating a prospering civilization through peaceful human cooperation. We possess the only weapon that is truly immortal: the right idea. It is this that will lead to victory.
Future Jim -> NidStyles Aug 27, 2016 9:15 PM"All of the leftists out themselves by stating Communists are Fascists."Handful of Dust LN Aug 27, 2016 8:21 PM
I have only heard leftists vehemently deny that communists are fascists. I have never heard a leftist say that communists are fascists. Do you have a link?
BTW, what could possibly be more fascist than re-education camps?
http://www.endofinnocence.com/2012/05/fascism-explained.htmlJohn T Flynn's entire book is online at the Mises Institute in pdf form:NidStyles d KickIce •Aug 27, 2016 8:45 PM
https://mises.org/system/tdf/As%20We%20Go%20Marching_2.pdf?file=1&type=d...The State is that which is controlled by the nation in question. A Government is not the state, nor is it the nation. A government is a secular organization emplaced to impose a set of rules that benefit one nation over all other under the same government.
The failure of the west is not that it allows any one given state to control the power, but that it allows secular governments dominante and forcibly submit all nations to it's demands by a foreign nation. The argument against the state is one that decries the European dominance in the US. It's an anti-European control in European created countries narrative.
The state that is allowed to exist and hold power within the US is not the state of her citizens or the nations they consist of. It is a foreign state claiming rightful sovereignty through both economic terrorist and threats of force and active persecution.
The US has been under the rule of a global criminal cartel for decades now. That cartel is a nation onto it's own, and it uses deception, propaganda and economic means to hide it's existence. It is successful because it controls the media, which is the largest propaganda outlet to have ever been devised. It can chose whom to promote and whom to deny the right to exist. We are at this very moment reading an article from one of it's propaganda arms on a site controlled by a different proganda arm that it also controls.
Aug 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.comDavid : , Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 11:05 PMDo I like Greg Mankiw's positions? No. But he and others of his ilk are at least sane and intelligent, and certainly not "white nationalists" (dog whistle: racists).likbez -> David ... August 26, 2016 at 08:42 PM , August 26, 2016 at 08:42 PM
There are some many progressive people here who perhaps aren't impressed with a lot of these economists or HRC.
First off, there is only one practical goal: push HRC to more progressive positions.
Second, elect and support progressives down the ballot.
Nihilism is an easy pose. Changing the world, a bit harder.It's not that simple.
Like in 20th neoliberalism created the fertile soil for far right.
So, in a way, those "sane and intelligent" neoliberals are enablers and supporters of far right. That means that Greg Mankiw can be legitimately viewed as an enabler of neofascism in the USA.
You just need to see how this played in Europe to see the writing on the wall. Boiling anger at neoliberal globalization, stagnation or dramatic decline of family income (over 50 and unemployed phenomena), growing debt, and loss of jobs (and perspectives) is a dangerous, explosive mix.
Externality if you like, that neoliberals did not took into account with all their rush to extract profits whenever they can (vampire squid behavior is a neoliberal paradigm).
As Matt Tabbi aptly said "The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." The problem is that this is a standard neoliberal behavior and in no way it is limited to GS.
Putting a large part of the US population against the wall of poverty (there is another country within the USA -- a third world county inhabited by Wall-Mart workers, single mothers and like) was deliberate, government supported, and a very destructive action. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service reported that as of September 2014, there were around 46.5 million individual food stamp recipients (22.7 million households).
Now they might need to pay the price.
Aug 19, 2016 | theintercept.comOn Monday, a hacking group calling itself the "ShadowBrokers" announced an auction for what it claimed were "cyber weapons" made by the NSA. Based on never-before-published documents provided by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Intercept can confirm that the arsenal contains authentic NSA software, part of a powerful constellation of tools used to covertly infect computers worldwide.
The provenance of the code has been a matter of heated debate this week among cybersecurity experts, and while it remains unclear how the software leaked, one thing is now beyond speculation: The malware is covered with the NSA's virtual fingerprints and clearly originates from the agency.
The evidence that ties the ShadowBrokers dump to the NSA comes in an agency manual for implanting malware, classified top secret, provided by Snowden, and not previously available to the public. The draft manual instructs NSA operators to track their use of one malware program using a specific 16-character string, "ace02468bdf13579." That exact same string appears throughout the ShadowBrokers leak in code associated with the same program, SECONDDATE.
SECONDDATE plays a specialized role inside a complex global system built by the U.S. government to infect and monitor what one document estimated to be millions of computers around the world. Its release by ShadowBrokers, alongside dozens of other malicious tools, marks the first time any full copies of the NSA's offensive software have been available to the public, providing a glimpse at how an elaborate system outlined in the Snowden documents looks when deployed in the real world, as well as concrete evidence that NSA hackers don't always have the last word when it comes to computer exploitation.
But malicious software of this sophistication doesn't just pose a threat to foreign governments, Johns Hopkins University cryptographer Matthew Green told The Intercept:
The danger of these exploits is that they can be used to target anyone who is using a vulnerable router. This is the equivalent of leaving lockpicking tools lying around a high school cafeteria. It's worse, in fact, because many of these exploits are not available through any other means, so they're just now coming to the attention of the firewall and router manufacturers that need to fix them, as well as the customers that are vulnerable.
So the risk is twofold: first, that the person or persons who stole this information might have used them against us. If this is indeed Russia, then one assumes that they probably have their own exploits, but there's no need to give them any more. And now that the exploits have been released, we run the risk that ordinary criminals will use them against corporate targets.
The NSA did not respond to questions concerning ShadowBrokers, the Snowden documents, or its malware.
A Memorable SECONDDATE
The offensive tools released by ShadowBrokers are organized under a litany of code names such as POLARSNEEZE and ELIGIBLE BOMBSHELL, and their exact purpose is still being assessed. But we do know more about one of the weapons: SECONDDATE.
SECONDDATE is a tool designed to intercept web requests and redirect browsers on target computers to an NSA web server. That server, in turn, is designed to infect them with malware. SECONDDATE's existence was first reported by The Intercept in 2014, as part of a look at a global computer exploitation effort code-named TURBINE. The malware server, known as FOXACID, has also been described in previously released Snowden documents.
Other documents released by The Intercept today not only tie SECONDDATE to the ShadowBrokers leak but also provide new detail on how it fits into the NSA's broader surveillance and infection network. They also show how SECONDDATE has been used, including to spy on Pakistan and a computer system in Lebanon.
The top-secret manual that authenticates the SECONDDATE found in the wild as the same one used within the NSA is a 31-page document titled "FOXACID SOP for Operational Management" and marked as a draft. It dates to no earlier than 2010. A section within the manual describes administrative tools for tracking how victims are funneled into FOXACID, including a set of tags used to catalogue servers. When such a tag is created in relation to a SECONDDATE-related infection, the document says, a certain distinctive identifier must be used:
The same SECONDDATE MSGID string appears in 14 different files throughout the ShadowBrokers leak, including in a file titled SecondDate-3021.exe. Viewed through a code-editing program (screenshot below), the NSA's secret number can be found hiding in plain sight:
All told, throughout many of the folders contained in the ShadowBrokers' package (screenshot below), there are 47 files with SECONDDATE-related names, including different versions of the raw code required to execute a SECONDDATE attack, instructions for how to use it, and other related files.
After viewing the code, Green told The Intercept the MSGID string's occurrence in both an NSA training document and this week's leak is "unlikely to be a coincidence." Computer security researcher Matt Suiche, founder of UAE-based cybersecurity startup Comae Technologies, who has been particularly vocal in his analysis of the ShadowBrokers this week, told The Intercept "there is no way" the MSGID string's appearance in both places is a coincidence.
Where SECONDDATE Fits In
This overview jibes with previously unpublished classified files provided by Snowden that illustrate how SECONDDATE is a component of BADDECISION, a broader NSA infiltration tool. SECONDDATE helps the NSA pull off a "man in the middle" attack against users on a wireless network, tricking them into thinking they're talking to a safe website when in reality they've been sent a malicious payload from an NSA server.
According to one December 2010 PowerPoint presentation titled "Introduction to BADDECISION," that tool is also designed to send users of a wireless network, sometimes referred to as an 802.11 network, to FOXACID malware servers. Or, as the presentation puts it, BADDECISION is an "802.11 CNE [computer network exploitation] tool that uses a true man-in-the-middle attack and a frame injection technique to redirect a target client to a FOXACID server." As another top-secret slide puts it, the attack homes in on "the greatest vulnerability to your computer: your web browser."
One slide points out that the attack works on users with an encrypted wireless connection to the internet.
That trick, it seems, often involves BADDECISION and SECONDDATE, with the latter described as a "component" for the former. A series of diagrams in the "Introduction to BADDECISION" presentation show how an NSA operator "uses SECONDDATE to inject a redirection payload at [a] Target Client," invisibly hijacking a user's web browser as the user attempts to visit a benign website (in the example given, it's CNN.com). Executed correctly, the file explains, a "Target Client continues normal webpage browsing, completely unaware," lands on a malware-filled NSA server, and becomes infected with as much of that malware as possible - or as the presentation puts it, the user will be left "WHACKED!" In the other top-secret presentations, it's put plainly: "How do we redirect the target to the FOXACID server without being noticed"? Simple: "Use NIGHTSTAND or BADDECISION."
The sheer number of interlocking tools available to crack a computer is dizzying. In the FOXACID manual, government hackers are told an NSA hacker ought to be familiar with using SECONDDATE along with similar man-in-the-middle wi-fi attacks code-named MAGIC SQUIRREL and MAGICBEAN. A top-secret presentation on FOXACID lists further ways to redirect targets to the malware server system.
To position themselves within range of a vulnerable wireless network, NSA operators can use a mobile antenna system running software code-named BLINDDATE, depicted in the field in what appears to be Kabul. The software can even be attached to a drone. BLINDDATE in turn can run BADDECISION, which allows for a SECONDDATE attack:
Elsewhere in these files, there are at least two documented cases of SECONDDATE being used to successfully infect computers overseas: An April 2013 presentation boasts of successful attacks against computer systems in both Pakistan and Lebanon. In the first, NSA hackers used SECONDDATE to breach "targets in Pakistan's National Telecommunications Corporation's (NTC) VIP Division," which contained documents pertaining to "the backbone of Pakistan's Green Line communications network" used by "civilian and military leadership."
In the latter, the NSA used SECONDDATE to pull off a man-in-the-middle attack in Lebanon "for the first time ever," infecting a Lebanese ISP to extract "100+ MB of Hizballah Unit 1800 data," a special subset of the terrorist group dedicated to aiding Palestinian militants.
SECONDDATE is just one method that the NSA uses to get its target's browser pointed at a FOXACID server. Other methods include sending spam that attempts to exploit bugs in popular web-based email providers or entices targets to click on malicious links that lead to a FOXACID server. One document, a newsletter for the NSA's Special Source Operations division, describes how NSA software other than SECONDDATE was used to repeatedly direct targets in Pakistan to FOXACID malware web servers, eventually infecting the targets' computers.
A Potentially Mundane Hack
Snowden, who worked for NSA contractors Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton, has offered some context and a relatively mundane possible explanation for the leak: that the NSA headquarters was not hacked, but rather one of the computers the agency uses to plan and execute attacks was compromised. In a series of tweets, he pointed out that the NSA often lurks on systems that are supposed to be controlled by others, and it's possible someone at the agency took control of a server and failed to clean up after themselves. A regime, hacker group, or intelligence agency could have seized the files and the opportunity to embarrass the agency.
Documents published with this story:
- NSA Central Security Service: FOXACID SOP for Operational Management of FOXACID Infrastructure (Draft)
- Wireless LAN / CNE Tool Training Course and Evaluation
- NSA: Expeditionary Access Operations: NSA's Close Access Network Exploitation Program ("CNO Course – EAO")
- NSA Remote Operations Center: FOXACID Overall Briefing
- NSA SIGINT Development (SIGDEV): SIGINT Development Support II Program Management Review, 24 April 2013 (select slides)
Aug 13, 2016 | Antiwar.comPerhaps former CIA acting director Michael Morell's shamefully provocative rhetoric toward Russia and Iran will prove too unhinged even for Hillary Clinton. It appears equally likely that it will succeed in earning him a senior job in a possible Clinton administration, so it behooves us to have a closer look at Morell's record.
My initial reaction of disbelief and anger was the same as that of my VIPS colleague, Larry Johnson, and the points Larry made about Morell's behavior in the Benghazi caper, Iran, Syria, needlessly baiting nuclear-armed Russia, and how to put a "scare" into Bashar al-Assad give ample support to Larry's characterization of Morell's comments as "reckless and vapid." What follows is an attempt to round out the picture on the ambitious 57-year-old Morell.
I suppose we need to start with Morell telling PBS/CBS interviewer Charlie Rose on Aug. 8 that he (Morell) wanted to "make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. … make the Russians pay a price in Syria."
Rose: "We make them pay the price by killing Russians?"
Rose: "And killing Iranians?"
Morell: "Yes … You don't tell the world about it. … But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran."
You might ask what excellent adventure earned Morell his latest appearance with Charlie Rose? It was a highly unusual Aug. 5 New York Times op-ed titled "I ran the C.I.A. Now I'm Endorsing Hillary Clinton."
Peabody award winner Rose – having made no secret of how much he admires the glib, smooth-talking Morell – performed true to form. Indeed, he has interviewed him every other month, on average, over the past two years, while Morell has been a national security analyst for CBS.
This interview, though, is a must for those interested in gauging the caliber of bureaucrats who have bubbled to the top of the CIA since the disastrous tenure of George Tenet (sorry, the interview goes on and on for 46 minutes).
A Heavy Duty
Such interviews are a burden for unreconstructed, fact-based analysts of the old school. In a word, they are required to watch them, just as they must plow through the turgid prose of "tell-it-all" memoirs. But due diligence can sometimes harvest an occasional grain of wheat among the chaff.
For example, George W. Bush's memoir, Decision Points, included a passage the former president seems to have written himself. Was Bush relieved to learn, just 15 months before he left office, the "high-confidence," unanimous judgment of the U.S. intelligence community that Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon in 2003 and had not resumed work on such weapons? No way!
In his memoir, he complains bitterly that this judgment in that key 2007 National Intelligence Estimate "tied my hands on the military side. … After the NIE, how could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?" No, I am not making this up. He wrote that.
In another sometimes inadvertently revealing memoir, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA, CIA Director George Tenet described Michael Morell, whom he picked to be CIA's briefer of President George W. Bush, in these terms: "Wiry, youthful looking, and extremely bright, Mike speaks in staccato-like bursts that get to the bottom line very quickly. He and George Bush hit it off almost immediately. Mike was the perfect guy for us to have by the commander-in-chief's side."
Wonder what Morell was telling Bush about those "weapons of mass destruction in Iraq" and the alleged ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Was Morell winking at Bush the same way Tenet winked at the head of British intelligence on July 20, 2002, telling him that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" of invading Iraq?
High on Morell
Not surprisingly, Tenet speaks well of his protégé and former executive assistant Morell. But he also reveals that Morell "coordinated the CIA review" of Secretary of State Colin Powell's infamous Feb. 5, 2003 speech to the United Nations – a dubious distinction if there ever was one.
So Morell reviewed the "intelligence" that went into Powell's thoroughly deceptive account of the Iraqi threat! Powell later called that dramatic speech, which wowed Washington's media and foreign policy elites and was used to browbeat the few remaining dissenters into silence, a "blot" on his record.
In Morell's own memoir, The Great War of Our Time, Morell apologized to former Secretary of State Powell for the bogus CIA intelligence that found its way into Powell's address. Morell told CBS: "I thought it important to do so because … he went out there and made this case, and we were wrong."
It is sad to have to remind folks almost 14 years later that the "intelligence" was not "mistaken;" it was fraudulent from the get-go. Announcing on June 5, 2008, the bipartisan conclusions from a five-year study by the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller described the intelligence conjured up to "justify" war on Iraq as "uncorroborated, contradicted, or even non-existent."
It strains credulity beyond the breaking point to think that Michael Morell was unaware of the fraudulent nature of the WMD propaganda campaign. Yet, like all too many others, he kept quiet and got promoted.
Out of Harm's Way
For services rendered, Tenet rescued Morell from the center of the storm, so to speak, sending him to a plum posting in London, leaving the hapless Stu Cohen holding the bag. Cohen had been acting director of the National Intelligence Council and nominal manager of the infamous Oct. 1, 2002 National Intelligence Estimate warning about Iraq's [nonexistent] WMD.
Cohen made a valiant attempt to defend the indefensible in late November 2003, and was still holding out some hope that WMD would be found. He noted, however, "If we eventually are proved wrong – that is, that there were no weapons of mass destruction and the WMD programs were dormant or abandoned – the American people will be told the truth …" And then Stu disappeared into the woodwork.
In October 2003, the 1,200-member "Iraq Survey Group" commissioned by Tenet to find those elusive WMD in Iraq had already reported that six months of intensive work had turned up no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. By then, the U.S.-sponsored search for WMD had already cost $300 million, with the final bill expected to top $1 billion.
In Morell's The Great War of Our Time, he writes, "In the summer of 2003 I became CIA's senior focal point for liaison with the analytic community in the United Kingdom." He notes that one of the "dominant" issues, until he left the U.K. in early 2006, was "Iraq, namely our failure to find weapons of mass destruction." (It was a PR problem; Prime Minister Tony Blair and Morell's opposite numbers in British intelligence were fully complicit in the "dodgy-dossier" type of intelligence.)
When the storm subsided, Morell came back from London to bigger and better things. He was appointed the CIA's first associate deputy director from 2006 to 2008, and then director for intelligence until moving up to become CIA's deputy director (and twice acting director) from 2010 until 2013.
Reading his book and watching him respond to those softball pitches from Charlie Rose on Monday, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that glibness, vacuousness and ambition can get you to the very top of US intelligence in the Twenty-first Century – and can also make you a devoted fan of whoever is likely to be the next President.
... ... ...
As for Morell's claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin is somehow controlling Donald Trump, well, even Charlie Rose had stomach problems with that and with Morell's "explanation." In the Times op-ed, Morell wrote: "In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."
Let the bizarreness of that claim sink in, since it is professionally impossible to recruit an agent who is unwitting of being an agent, since an agent is someone who follows instructions from a control officer.
However, since Morell apparently has no evidence that Trump was "recruited," which would make the Republican presidential nominee essentially a traitor, he throws in the caveat "unwitting." Such an ugly charge is on par with Trump's recent hyperbolic claim that President Obama was the "founder" of ISIS.
Looking back at Morell's record, it was not hard to see all this coming, as Morell rose higher and higher in a system that rewards deserving sycophants. I addressed this five years ago in an article titled "Rise of Another CIA Yes Man." That piece elicited many interesting comments from senior intelligence officers who knew Morell personally; some of those comments are tucked into the end of the article.Read more by Ray McGovern
- Will Hillary Clinton Get Favored Treatment? – June 6th, 2016
- Clinton's Imperious Brush-Off of Email Rules – May 26th, 2016
- Price for Witnessing Against War – May 8th, 2016
- A Need To Clear Up Clinton Questions – May 5th, 2016
- Hillary Clinton's Damning Emails – May 1st, 2016
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He is a 30-year veteran of the CIA and Army intelligence and co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). McGovern served for considerable periods in all four of CIA's main directorates.
This week we also published a terrific piece by John LaForge, which demolishes once and for one of America's most cherished lies: that the US simply had to drop two nuclear bombs on Japanese cities to end the war and save hundreds of thousands of US and Japanese lies. Even Curtis "Mad Bomber" LeMay knew this was bullshit. So did Ike, who sent word to Truman that he thought the plan was insane. You can see why the myth took root. What nation that sees itself a force of goodness and virtue and humanity could live with itself after incinerating two cities and unleashing nuclear terror upon the world?
It seems like I've known Nicholas Schou forever, though we just pressed flesh for the first time last year in the LBC. His ground-breaking reporting on the Contra-Cocaine network in southern California was crucial source material for a book that Cockburn and I wrote called Whiteout. Nick's own book on Gary Webb is excellent and it was turned into a fine movie, Kill the Messenger. Now Nick has published a new book, Spooked, a terrific and timely history of how the CIA manipulates the media and Hollywood (both useful idiots of the Agency). And, speaking of the devil, here Nick is telling us all about it in the latest installment of CounterPunch Radio with the indefatigable Eric Draitser.
Aug 4, 2016 | ReutersNational attention is focused on Russian eavesdroppers' possible targeting of U.S. presidential candidates and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Yet, leaked top-secret National Security Agency documents show that the Obama administration has long been involved in major bugging operations against the election campaigns -- and the presidents -- of even its closest allies.
The United States is, by far, the world's most aggressive nation when it comes to cyberspying and cyberwarfare. The National Security Agency has been eavesdropping on foreign cities, politicians, elections and entire countries since it first turned on its receivers in 1952. Just as other countries, including Russia, attempt to do to the United States. What is new is a country leaking the intercepts back to the public of the target nation through a middleperson.
There is a strange irony in this. Russia, if it is actually involved in the hacking of the computers of the Democratic National Committee, could be attempting to influence a U.S. election by leaking to the American public the falsehoods of its leaders. This is a tactic Washington used against the Soviet Union and other countries during the Cold War.
In the 1950s, for example, President Harry S Truman created the Campaign of Truth to reveal to the Russian people the "Big Lies" of their government. Washington had often discovered these lies through eavesdropping and other espionage.
Today, the United States has morphed from a Cold War, and in some cases a hot war, into a cyberwar, with computer coding replacing bullets and bombs. Yet the American public manages to be "shocked, shocked" that a foreign country would attempt to conduct cyberespionage on the United States.
NSA operations have, for example, recently delved into elections in Mexico, targeting its last presidential campaign. According to a top-secret PowerPoint presentation leaked by former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden, the operation involved a "surge effort against one of Mexico's leading presidential candidates, Enrique Peña Nieto, and nine of his close associates." Peña won that election and is now Mexico's president.
The NSA identified Peña's cellphone and those of his associates using advanced software that can filter out specific phones from the swarm around the candidate. These lines were then targeted. The technology, one NSA analyst noted, "might find a needle in a haystack." The analyst described it as "a repeatable and efficient" process.
The eavesdroppers also succeeded in intercepting 85,489 text messages, a Der Spiegel article noted.
Another NSA operation, begun in May 2010 and codenamed FLATLIQUID, targeted Pena's predecessor, President Felipe Calderon. The NSA, the documents revealed, was able "to gain first-ever access to President Felipe Calderon's public email account."
At the same time, members of a highly secret joint NSA/CIA organization, called the Special Collection Service, are based in the U.S. embassy in Mexico City and other U.S. embassies around the world. It targets local government communications, as well as foreign embassies nearby. For Mexico, additional eavesdropping, and much of the analysis, is conducted by NSA Texas, a large listening post in San Antonio that focuses on the Caribbean, Central America and South America.
Unlike the Defense Department's Pentagon, the headquarters of the cyberspies fills an entire secret city. Located in Fort Meade, Maryland, halfway between Washington and Baltimore, Maryland, NSA's headquarters consists of scores of heavily guarded buildings. The site even boasts its own police force and post office.
And it is about to grow considerably bigger, now that the NSA cyberspies have merged with the cyberwarriors of U.S. Cyber Command, which controls its own Cyber Army, Cyber Navy, Cyber Air Force and Cyber Marine Corps, all armed with state-of-the-art cyberweapons. In charge of it all is a four-star admiral, Michael S. Rogers.
Now under construction inside NSA's secret city, Cyber Command's new $3.2- billion headquarters is to include 14 buildings, 11 parking garages and an enormous cyberbrain - a 600,000-square-foot, $896.5-million supercomputer facility that will eat up an enormous amount of power, about 60 megawatts. This is enough electricity to power a city of more than 40,000 homes.
In 2014, for a cover story in Wired and a PBS documentary, I spent three days in Moscow with Snowden, whose last NSA job was as a contract cyberwarrior. I was also granted rare access to his archive of documents. "Cyber Command itself has always been branded in a sort of misleading way from its very inception," Snowden told me. "It's an attack agency. … It's all about computer-network attack and computer-network exploitation at Cyber Command."
The idea is to turn the Internet from a worldwide web of information into a global battlefield for war. "The next major conflict will start in cyberspace," says one of the secret NSA documents. One key phrase within Cyber Command documents is "Information Dominance."
The Cyber Navy, for example, calls itself the Information Dominance Corps. The Cyber Army is providing frontline troops with the option of requesting "cyberfire support" from Cyber Command, in much the same way it requests air and artillery support. And the Cyber Air Force is pledged to "dominate cyberspace" just as "today we dominate air and space."
Among the tools at their disposal is one called Passionatepolka, designed to "remotely brick network cards." "Bricking" a computer means destroying it – turning it into a brick.
One such situation took place in war-torn Syria in 2012, according to Snowden, when the NSA attempted to remotely and secretly install an "exploit," or bug, into the computer system of a major Internet provider. This was expected to provide access to email and other Internet traffic across much of Syria. But something went wrong. Instead, the computers were bricked. It took down the Internet across the country for a period of time.
While Cyber Command executes attacks, the National Security Agency seems more interested in tracking virtually everyone connected to the Internet, according to the documents.
One top-secret operation, code-named TreasureMap, is designed to have a "capability for building a near real-time interactive map of the global Internet. … Any device, anywhere, all the time." Another operation, codenamed Turbine, involves secretly placing "millions of implants" - malware - in computer systems worldwide for either spying or cyberattacks.
Yet, even as the U.S. government continues building robust eavesdropping and attack systems, it looks like there has been far less focus on security at home. One benefit of the cyber-theft of the Democratic National Committee emails might be that it helps open a public dialogue about the dangerous potential of cyberwarfare. This is long overdue. The possible security problems for the U.S. presidential election in November are already being discussed.
Yet there can never be a useful discussion on the topic if the Obama administration continues to point fingers at other countries without admitting that Washington is engaged heavily in cyberspying and cyberwarfare.
In fact, the United States is the only country ever to launch an actual cyberwar -- when the Obama administration used a cyberattack to destroy thousands of centrifuges, used for nuclear enrichment, in Iran. This was an illegal act of war, according to the Defense Department's own definition.
Given the news reports that many more DNC emails are waiting to be leaked as the presidential election draws closer, there will likely be many more reminders of the need for a public dialogue on cybersecurity and cyberwarfare before November.
(James Bamford is the author of The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA From 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America. He is a columnist for Foreign Policy magazine.)
sputniknews.com© Photo: Screenshot: Council of Europe News 21:57 06.08.2016 (updated 04:45 07.08.2016) Get short URL 31 62487 109 20
After posting a 64 character hex code that is believed to be an encryption key, the internet worries that the famed whistleblower may have been killed or captured resulting in the triggering of a dead man's switch and potentially the release of many more US national secrets.© AP Photo/ Christopher Lane Edward Snowden Not Dead: 'He's Fine' Says Glenn Greenwald After Mysterious Tweet On Friday night, famed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted out a 64 character code before quickly deleting the message along with a mysterious warning earlier this week that "It's Time" which had called on colleagues of the former contractor to contact him leaving the internet to speculate that the characters could be an encryption key for a major document leak, it may be a "dead man's switch" set to go in effect if the whistleblower were killed or captured, or potentially both.
A dead man's switch is a message set up to be automatically sent if the holder of an account does not perform a regular check-in. The whistleblower has acknowledged that he has distributed encrypted files to journalists and associates that have not yet been released so in Snowden's case, the dead man's switch could be an encryption key for those files.
As of this time, Edward Snowden's Twitter account has gone silent for over 24 hours which is far from unprecedented for the whistleblower but is curious at a time when public concern has been raised over his well-being. The 64 hex characters in the code do appear to rule out the initial theory that Edward Snowden, like so many of us, simply butt dialed his phone, but instead is a clearly a secure hash algorithm that can serve as a signature for a data file or as a password.
The timing shortly after the "It's Time" tweet also have caused concern for some Reddit theorists such as a user named stordoff who believes that the nascent Twitter post "was intended to set something in motion." The user postulates that it is an encrypted message, a signal, or a password.
Snowden's initial data release in 2013 exposed what many had feared about the NSA for years, that the agency had gone rogue and undertaken a massive scheme of domestic surveillance. However, it is also known that the information released was only part of the document cache he had acquired from government servers.© REUTERS/ Svein Ove Ekornesvaag/NTB Scanpix 'It's Time': Whistleblower Edward Snowden Tweets Mysterious Warning
It has been reported that additional government data was distributed in encrypted files to trusted journalists who were told to not release the information unless they received a signal urging them to – information that the whistleblower determined was too sensitive for release at the time.
The possibility also exists that Snowden has decided that after three years in hiding that additional information needed to be released to the public independent of some physical harm to himself, but the whistleblower's fans and privacy advocates across the world will continue to sit on the edge of their seats in worry until and unless he tweets to confirm that he is safe.
The Unz Review
The mass migration of apparently hundreds of nominally GOP neocon apparatchiks to the Hillary Clinton camp has moved Democratic Party foreign policy farther to the right, not that the presidential nominee herself needed much persuading. The Democratic convention platform is a template of the hardline foreign policy positions espoused by Clinton and the convention itself concluded with a prolonged bout of Russian bashing that could have been orchestrated by Hillary protégé Victoria Nuland.
The inside the beltway crowd has realized that when in doubt it is always a safe bet to blame Vladimir Putin based on the assumption that Russia is and always will be an enemy of the United States. Wikileaks recently published some thousands of emails that painted the Democratic National Committee, then headed by Hillary loyalist Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in a very bad light. Needing a scapegoat, Russia was blamed for the original hack that obtained the information, even though there is no hard evidence that Moscow had anything to do with it.
Those in the media and around Hillary who were baying the loudest about how outraged they were over the hack curiously appear to have no knowledge of the existence of the National Security Agency, located at Fort Meade Maryland, which routinely breaks into the government computers of friends and foes alike worldwide. Apparently what is fair game for American codebreakers is no longer seen so positively when there is any suggestion that the tables might have been turned.
Republican nominee Donald Trump noted that if the Russians were in truth behind the hack he would like them to search for the 30,000 emails that Hillary Clinton reportedly deleted from her home server. The comment, which to my mind was sarcastically making a point about Clinton's mendacity, brought down the wrath of the media, with the New York Times reporting that "foreign policy experts," also sometimes known as "carefully selected 'Trump haters,'" were shocked by The Donald. The paper quoted one William Inboden, allegedly a University of Texas professor who served on President George W. Bush's National Security Council. Inboden complained that the comments were "an assault on the Constitution" and "tantamount to treason." Now I have never heard of Inboden, which might be sheer ignorance on my part, but he really should refresh himself on what the Constitution actually says about treason, tantamount or otherwise. According to Article III of the Constitution of the United States one can only commit treason if there is a declared war going on and one is actively aiding an enemy, which as far as I know is not currently the case as applied to the U.S. relationship with Russia.
Another interesting aspect of the Russian scandal is the widespread assertion that Moscow is attempting to interfere in U.S. politics and is both clandestinely and openly supporting Donald Trump. This is presumably a bad thing, if true, because Putin would, according to the pundits, be able to steamroll "Manchurian Candidate" President Trump and subvert U.S. foreign policy in Russia's favor. Alternatively, as the narrative continues, the stalwart Hillary would presumably defend American values and the right to intervene militarily anywhere in the world at any time against all comers including Putin and those rascals in China and North Korea. Professor Inboden might no doubt be able to provide a reference to the part of the Constitution that grants Washington that right as he and his former boss George W. Bush were also partial to that interpretation.
And the alleged Russian involvement leads inevitably to some thoughts about interference by other governments in our electoral system. Israel and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did so in a rather heavy handed fashion in 2012 on behalf of candidate Mitt Romney but I don't recall even a squeak coming out of Hillary and her friends when that took place. That just might be due to the fact that Netanyahu owns Bill and Hillary, which leads inevitably to consideration of the other big winner now that the two conventions are concluded. The team that one sees doing the victory lap is the state of Israel, which dodged a bigtime bullet when it managed to exploit its bought and paid for friends to eliminate any criticism of its military occupation and settlements policies. Indeed, Israel emerged from the two party platforms as America's best friend and number one ally, a position it has occupied since its Lobby took control of the Congress, White House and the mainstream media around thirty years ago.
Donald Trump, who has perversely promised to be an honest broker in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, has also described himself as the best friend in the White House that Tel Aviv is ever likely to have. In addition to Trump speaking for himself, Israel was mentioned fourteen times in GOP convention speeches, always being described as the greatest ally and friend to the U.S., never as the pain in the ass and drain on the treasury that it actually represents.
No other foreign country was mentioned as often as Israel apart from Iran, which was regularly cited as an enemy of both the U.S. and – you guessed it – Israel. Indeed, the constant thumping of Iran is a reflection of the overweening affection for Netanyahu and his right wing government. Regarding Iran, the GOP foreign policy platform states "We consider the Administration's deal with Iran, to lift international sanctions and make hundreds of billions of dollars available to the Mullahs, a personal agreement between the President and his negotiating partners and non-binding on the next president. Without a two-thirds endorsement by the Senate, it does not have treaty status. Because of it, the defiant and emboldened regime in Tehran continues to sponsor terrorism across the region, develop a nuclear weapon, test-fire ballistic missiles inscribed with 'Death to Israel,' and abuse the basic human rights of its citizens."
The final written Republican platform for 2016 as relating to the Middle East, drawn up with the input of two Trump advisors Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman, rather supports the suggestion that Trump would be pro-Israel rather than the claim of impartiality. The plank entitled "Our Unequivocal Support of Israel and Jerusalem," promises to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, praises Israel in five different sections, eulogizing it as a "beacon of democracy and humanity" brimming over with freedom of speech and religion while concluding that "support for Israel is an expression of Americanism." It pledges "no daylight" between the two countries, denies that Israel is an "occupier," and slams the peaceful Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), which it describes as anti-Semitic and seeking to destroy Israel. It calls for legal action to "thwart" BDS. There is no mention of a Palestinian state or of any Palestinian rights to anything at all.
The Democratic plank on the Middle East gives lip service to a two state solution for Israel-Palestine but is mostly notable for what it chose to address. Two Bernie Sanders supporters on the platform drafting committee James Zogby and Cornel West wanted to remove any illegal under international law affirmation that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel and also sought to eliminated any condemnation of BDS. They failed on both issues and then tried to have included mild language criticizing Israel's occupation of the West Bank and its settlement building. They were outvoted by Hillary supporters on all the issues they considered important. Indeed, there is no language at all critical in any way of Israel, instead asserting that "a strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States because we share overarching strategic interests and the common values of democracy, equality, tolerance, and pluralism." That none of that was or is true apparently bothered no one in the Hillary camp.
The Democratic platform document explicitly condemns any support for BDS. Hillary Clinton, who has promised to take the relationship with Israel to a whole new level, has reportedly agreed to an anti-BDS pledge to appease her principal financial supporter Haim Saban, an Israeli-American film producer. Clinton also directly and personally intervened through her surrogate on the committee Wendy Sherman to make sure that the party platform would remain pro-Israel.
But many Democrats on the floor of the convention hall have, to their credit, promoted a somewhat different perspective, displaying signs and stickers while calling for support of Palestinian rights. One demonstrator outside the convention center burned an Israeli flag, producing a sharp response from Hillary's spokeswoman for Jewish outreach Sarah Bard, "Hillary Clinton has always stood against efforts to marginalize Israel and incitement, and she strongly condemns this kind of hatred. Burning the Israeli flag is a reckless act that undermines peace and our values." Bill meanwhile was seen in the hall wearing a Hillary button written in Hebrew. It was a full court press pander and one has to wonder how Hillary would have felt about someone burning a Russian flag or seeing Bill sport a button in Cyrillic.
Team Hillary also ignored chants from the convention floor demanding "No More War" and there are separate reports suggesting that one of her first priorities as president will be to initiate a "full review" of the "murderous" al-Assad regime in Syria with the intention of taking care of him once and for all. "No More War" coming from the Democratic base somehow became "More War Please" for the elites that run the party.
The Democratic platform also beats down on Iran, declaring only tepid support for the nuclear deal while focusing more on draconian enforcement, asserting that they would "not hesitate to take military action if Iran violates the agreement." It also cited Iran as "the leading state sponsor of terrorism" and claimed that Tehran "has its fingerprints on almost every conflict in the Middle East." For what it's worth, neither assertion about Iran's regional role is true and Tehran reportedly has complied completely with the multilateral nuclear agreement. It is the U.S. government that is failing to live up to its commitments by refusing to allow Iranian access to financial markets while the Congress has even blocked an Iranian bid to buy Made-in-the-U.S.A. civilian jetliners.
So those of us who had hoped for at least a partial abandonment of the hitherto dominant foreign policy consensus have to be disappointed as they in the pro-war crowd in their various guises as liberal interventionists or global supremacy warriors continue to control much of the discourse from left to right. Russia continues to be a popular target to vent Administration frustration over its inept posturing overseas, though there is some hope that Donald Trump might actually reverse that tendency. Iran serves as a useful punchline whenever a politician on the make runs out of other things to vilify. And then there is always Israel, ever the victim, perpetually the greatest ally and friend. And invariably needing some extra cash, a warplane or two or a little political protection in venues like the United Nations.
If you read through the two party platforms on foreign policy, admittedly a brutal and thankless task, you will rarely find any explanation of actual American interests at play in terms of the involvement of the U.S. in what are essentially other people's quarrels. That is as it should be as our political class has almost nothing to do with reality but instead is consumed with delusions linked solely to acquisition of power and money. That realization on the part of the public has driven both the Trump and Sanders movements and, even if they predictably flame out, there is always the hope that the dissidents will grow stronger with rejection and something might actually happen in 2020.
original.antiwar.comAugust 03, 2016 | Antiwar.com
Washington is preparing to increase US aid to Israel by billions of dollars, with a ten-year ironclad agreement that couldn't be altered by President Obama's successor. But that isn't good enough for Bibi Netanyahu. He wants more. Much more.
Unlike the case with other countries, the US engages in protracted and often difficult negotiations with Israel over how much free stuff they're going to get come budget time. This year, the talks are taking on a particularly urgent tone because of … you guessed it, Donald Trump. While Trump is fervently pro-Israel, he has said that the Israelis, like our NATO allies, are going to have to start paying for their own defense (although with him, you never know what his position is from one day to the next ). This uncertainty has the two parties racing to sign an agreement before President Obama's term is up in January. And it also has inspired the inclusion of a novel clause: a ten-year guarantee that aid will remain at the agreed level, with no possibility that the new President – whoever that may be – will lower it.
The Israelis currently receive over half the foreign aid doled out by Uncle Sam annually, most of it in military assistance with an extra added dollop for "refugee resettlement." That combined with loan guarantees comes to roughly $3.5 billion per year – with all the money handed to them up front, in the first weeks of the fiscal year, instead of being released over time like other countries.
So how much is this increase going to amount to? With negotiations still ongoing, the US isn't releasing any solid figures, although Bibi, we are told, is demanding $5 billion annually. The New York Times is reporting the final sum could "top $40 billion." What we do know is that the administration told Congress in a letter that they are prepared to offer Tel Aviv an aid package "that would constitute the largest pledge of military assistance to any country in US history." In addition, it would guarantee US aid for Israel's missile defense, taking it out of the annual appropriations song-and-dance, and immunizing it from any cuts.
Aside from the "haggling" – as the Times put it – over the amount, there is another issue: the Israeli exception to a rule that applies to all other recipients of American aid. Other countries must spend their welfare check in dollars – that is, they must buy American. Not the Israelis. They're allowed to spend up to 25% of their aid package at home: which means that US taxpayers have been subsidizing the Israeli military-industrial complex to the tune of multi-billions since the 1980s, when this special arrangement was legislated. However, in an era where "America First" is now a popular political slogan – popularized by You Know Who – the Obama administration is trying to end this exception to the rules. Naturally, the Israelis are resisting, but, according to Ha'aretz :
"The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said the White House was prepared to let Israel keep the arrangement for the first five years of the new MOU but it would be gradually phased out in the second five years, except for joint U.S.-Israeli military projects."
If the rabidly pro-Israel Hillary Clinton takes the White House, you can expect that this concession will be re-negotiated: in any case, the Israel lobby will wield its considerable resources to get Congress to pressure the White House.
In their letter to Congress, national security honcho Susan Rice and OMB chief Shaun Donovan evoke the Iran deal as justification for this new and sweeter aid package. Yet this argument undermines the administration's contention that the agreement with Iran doesn't endanger Israel – because if it doesn't, then why do the Israelis need billions more in aid in the first place?
What the letter tiptoes around is the fact that this aid package is extortion, pure and simple. It's a purely political attempt by the Obama White House to appease the Israelis, and mobilize the Israel lobby behind the Democrats in a crucial election year. It's important to keep Haim Saban happy.
As Glenn Greenwald points out in The Intercept , the Israelis have cradle-to-grave health care. Their life-expectancy is nearly a decade longer than ours. Their infant mortality rate is lower. By any meaningful measure, their standard of living is higher. They should be sending us aid: instead, the opposite is occurring.
What in the heck is going on here?
We made possible the Israeli Sparta : a state armed to the teeth which thrives on the misery and enslavement of its dispossessed Palestinian helots. Furthermore, our policy of unconditional support for Israel has encouraged the growth and development of a polity that is rapidly going fascist. And I don't use the "f"-word lightly. I've been chronicling Israel's slide toward a repulsive ethno-nationalism for years , and today – with the rise of ultra-rightist parties that openly call for the expulsio n of Arabs and the expansion of the Israeli state to its Biblically-ordained borders – my predictions are coming true.
The "special relationship" is a parasitic relationship: the Israelis have been feeding off US taxpayers since the Reagan era. This in spite of the numerous insults , slights, and outright sabotage they have directed our way. It's high time to put an end to it. To borrow a phrase from You Know Who: it's time to put America first.
What this means in practice is: 1) End aid to Israel, 2) Call out the Israelis for their shameful apartheid policies, and 3) end the power of the Israel lobby by enforcing the Foreign Agents Registration Act and compelling AIPAC and its allied organizations to register as foreign agents. Because that's just what they are.
www.truth-out.orgJuly 27, 2016 | truth-out.org
Across the globe, fascism and white supremacy in their diverse forms are on the rise. In Greece, France, Poland, Austria and Germany, among other nations, right-wing extremists have used the hateful discourse of racism, xenophobia and white nationalism to demonize immigrants and undermine democratic modes of rule and policies. As Chris Hedges observes, much of the right-wing, racist rhetoric coming out of these countries mimics what Trump and his followers are saying in the United States.
One consequence is that the public spheres that produce a critically engaged citizenry and make a democracy possible are under siege and in rapid retreat. Economic stagnation, massive inequality, the rise of religious fundamentalism and growing forms of ultra-nationalism now aim to put democratic nations to rest. Echoes of the right-wing movements in Europe have come home with a vengeance.
Demagogues wrapped in xenophobia, white supremacy and the false appeal to a lost past echo a brutally familiar fascism, with slogans similar to Donald Trump's call to "Make America Great Again" and "Make America Safe Again." These are barely coded messages that call for forms of racial and social cleansing. They are on the march, spewing hatred, embracing forms of anti-semitism and white supremacy, and showing a deep-seated disdain for any form of justice on the side of democracy. As Peter Foster points out in The Telegraph, "The toxic combination of the most prolonged period of economic stagnation and the worst refugee crisis since the end of the Second World War has seen the far-Right surging across the continent, from Athens to Amsterdam and many points in between."
State-manufactured lawlessness has become normalized and extends from the ongoing and often brutalizing and murderous police violence against Black people and other vulnerable groups to a criminogenic market-based system run by a financial elite that strips everyone but the upper 1% of a future, not only by stealing their possessions but also by condemning them to a life in which the only available option is to fall back on one's individual resources in order to barely survive. In addition, as Kathy Kelly points out, at the national level, lawlessness now drives a militarized foreign policy intent on assassinating alleged enemies rather than using traditional forms of interrogation, arrest and conviction. The killing of people abroad based on race is paralleled by (and connected with) the killing of Black people at home. Kelly correctly notes that the whole world has become a battlefield driven by racial profiling, where lethal violence replaces the protocols of serve and protect.
Fear is the reigning ideology and war its operative mode of action, pitting different groups against each other, shutting down the possibilities of shared responsibilities, and legitimating the growth of a paramilitary police force that kills Black people with impunity. State-manufactured fear offers up new forms of domestic terrorism embodied in the rise of a surveillance state while providing a powerful platform for militarizing many aspects of society. One consequence is that, as Charles Derber argues, America has become a warrior society whose "culture and institutions... program civilians for violence at home as well as abroad." And, as Zygmunt Bauman argues in his book Liquid Fear, in a society saturated in violence and hate, "human relations are a source of anxiety" and everyone is viewed with mistrust. Compassion gives way to suspicion and a celebration of fear and revulsion accorded to those others who allegedly have the potential to become monsters, criminals, or even worse, murderous terrorists. Under such circumstance, the bonds of trust dissolve, while hating the other becomes normalized and lawlessness is elevated to a matter of commonsense.
Politics is now a form of warfare creating and producing an expanding geography of combat zones that hold entire cities, such as Ferguson, Missouri, hostage to forms of extortion, violence lock downs and domestic terrorism -- something I have demonstrated in detail in my book America at War with Itself. These are cities where most of those targeted are Black. Within these zones of racial violence, Black people are often terrified by the presence of the police and subject to endless forms of domestic terrorism. Hannah Arendt once wrote that terror was the essence of totalitarianism. She was right and we are witnessing the dystopian visions of the new authoritarians who now trade in terror, fear, hatred, demonization, violence and racism. Trump and his neo-Nazi bulldogs are no longer on the fringe of political life and they have no interests in instilling values that will make America great. On the contrary, they are deeply concerned with creating expanding constellations of force and fear, while inculcating convictions that will destroy the ability to form critical capacities and modes of civic courage that offer a glimmer of resistance and justice.
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In short, this emerging American neo-fascism in its various forms is largely about social and racial cleansing and its end point is the construction of prisons, detention centers, enclosures, walls, and all the other varieties of murderous apparatus that accompany the discourse of national greatness and racial purity. Americans have lived through 40 years of the dismantling of the welfare state, the elimination of democratic public spheres, such as schools and libraries, and the attack on public goods and social provisions. In their place, we have the rise of the punishing state with its support for a range of criminogenic institutions, extending from banks and hedge funds to state governments and militarized police departments that depend on extortion to meet their budgets.
economistsview.typepad.comI have a new post at MoneyWatch:The toughest question about global trade: This year's battle for the White House has put international trade in the spotlight. Donald Trump has led the charge against trade agreements, but Hillary Clinton's reversal of her support for President Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) also reflects the evolving view of the benefits of globalization.The American public has long been suspicious of international trade, but economists have been much more supportive. However, new evidence in the economics literature has caused a rethinking of how to evaluate trade agreements.Tom aka Rusty said...
This research documents that the negative effects of globalization on employment and wages are larger than many people realized. In addition, it recognizes that most of the benefits have accrued to those at the top of the income distribution while the costs -- lost jobs, lower wages and fewer attractive employment opportunities -- have fallen mainly on the working class.
One response from many advocates is to point out that international trade has lifted millions of people around the world out of poverty and that reducing the pace of globalization would slow the rate of global poverty reduction.
All of which brings up an important and rather difficult question: Just how should we value international trade? ...Who decided that US workers would be required to sacrifice to create a middle class in China (and the Chinese military, oops)? Why didn't the elites join in the sacrifice? Why no transparency? Or was this pushed with great theories that didn't work? Just wondering.
100 years after the Battle of the Somme, it's hard to see that much has been learned from the catastrophe of the Great War and the decades of slaughter that followed it. Rather than get bogged down (yet again) in specifics that invariably decline into arguments about who know more of the historical detail, I'm going to try a different approach, looking at the militarist ideology that gave us the War, and trying to articulate an anti-militarist alternative. Wikipedia offers a definition of militarism which, with the deletion of a single weasel word, seems to be entirely satisfactory and also seems to describe the dominant view of the political class, and much of the population in nearly every country in the world.Militarism is the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it
aggressively[^1] to defend or promote national interests
Wikipedia isn't as satisfactory (to me) on anti-militarism, so I'll essentially reverse the definition above, and offer the following provisional definitionAnti-militarism is the belief or desire that a military expenditure should held to the minimum required to protect a country against armed attack and that, with the exception of self-defense, military power should not be used to promote national interests
I'd want to qualify this a bit, but it seems like a good starting point.
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My case for anti-militarism has two main elements.
- First, the consequentialist case against the discretionary use of military force is overwhelming. Wars cause huge damage and destruction and preparation for war is immensely costly. Yet it is just about impossible to find examples where a discretionary decision to go to war has produced a clear benefit for the country concerned, or even for its ruling class. Even in cases where war is initially defensive, attempts to secure war aims beyond the status quo ante have commonly led to disaster.
- Second, war is (almost) inevitably criminal since it involves killing and maiming people who have done nothing personally to justify this; not only civilians, but soldiers (commonly including conscripts) obeying the lawful orders of their governments.
Having made the strong case, I'll admit a couple of exceptions. First, although most of the above has been posed in terms of national military power, there's nothing special in the argument that requires this. Collective self-defense by a group of nations is justified (or not) on the same grounds as national self-defense.
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[^1]: The deleted word "aggressive" is doing a lot of work here. Almost no government ever admits to being aggressive. Territorial expansion is invariable represented as the restoration of historically justified borders while the overthrow of a rival government is the liberation of its oppressed people. So, no one ever has to admit to being a militarist.
Dylan 07.04.16 at 6:20 am 2Is it obvious that limiting use of military force to self-defense entails a minimal capability for force projection?
If the cost of entirely securing a nation's territory (Prof Q, you will recognise the phrase "Fortress Australia") is very high relative to the cost of being able to threaten an adversary's territorial interests in a way that is credible and meaningful – would it not then be unavoidably tempting to appeal to an expanded notion of self-defence and buy a force-projection capability, even if your intent is genuinely peaceful?
To speculate a little further – I would worry that so many people would need to be committed to "national defence" on a purely defensive model that it would have the unintended side effect of promoting a martial culture that normalises the use of armed force.
Of course, none of this applies if everyone abandons their force-projection capability – but is that a stable equilibrium, even if it could be achieved?
Lowhim 07.04.16 at 6:24 am 3Well, you'll be pleased to know that they're working hard on WWI's perception . Many of us working against militarism. Not easy. And the linked NYtimes piece is worth reading.
Ze K 07.04.16 at 7:21 am 4I think it'd make sense to talk about imperialism, rather than militarism. Military is just a tool. One could, for example, bribe another country's military leaders, or finance a paramilitary force in the targeted state, or just organize a violence-inciting mass-media campaign to produce the same result.
bad Jim 07.04.16 at 7:54 am 5We'd need an alternative history of the Cold War to work through the ramifications of a less aggressive Western military. Russia would have developed nuclear weapons even if there hadn't been an army at its borders, and the borders of the Eastern bloc were arguably more the result of opportunity than necessity. The colonial wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan and everywhere else could be similarly described.
After World War I, the chastened combatants sheepishly disarmed, cognizant of their insanity. World War II taught a different lesson, perhaps because, in contrast to the previous kerfuffle, both the Russian and American behemoths became fully engaged and unleashed their full industrial and demographic might, sweeping their common foes from the field, and found themselves confronting each other in dubious peace.
Both sides armed for the apocalypse with as many ways to bring about the end of civilization as they could devise, all the while mindlessly meddling with each other around the globe. Eventually the Russians gave up; their system really was as bad as we thought, and Moore's law is pitiless: the gap expands exponentially. They've shrunk, and so has their military.
So why is America such a pre-eminent bully, able to defeat the rest of the world combined in combat? Habit, pride, domestic politics, sure; but blame our allies as well. Britain and France asked us to to kick ass in Libya, and Syria is not that different. We've got this huge death-dealing machine and everyone tells us how to use it.
Ridiculous as it is, it's not nearly as bad as it was a hundred years ago, or seventy, or forty. We may still be on course to extinguish human civilization, but warfare no longer looks like its likely cause.
david 07.04.16 at 8:14 amAs you point out in fn1, nobody seems to ever fight "aggressive" wars. By the same token, there's no agreed status quo ante. For France in 1913, the status quo ante bellum has Lorraine restored to France. Also, Germany fractures into Prussia and everyone else, and the Germans should go back to putting out local regionalist fires (as Austria-Hungary is busy doing) rather than challenging French supremacy in Europe and Africa please.Anderson 07.04.16 at 9:07 am
The position advanced in the essay is one for an era where ships do not hop from coaling station to coaling station, where the supremacy of the Most Favoured Nation system means that powerful countries do not find their domestic politics held hostage for access to raw materials controlled by other countries, where shipping lanes are neutral as a matter of course, and where the Green Revolution has let rival countries be content to bid, not kill, for limited resources. We can argue over whether this state of affairs is contingent on the tiger-repelling rock or actual, angry tigers, but I don't think we disagree that this is the state of affairs, at least for the countries powerful enough to matter.
But, you know, that's not advice that 1913 would find appealing, which is a little odd given the conceit that this is about the Somme. The Concert of Europe bounced from war to war to war. Every flag that permits war in this 'anti-militarist' position is met and then some. It was unending crisis after crisis that miraculously never escalated to total war, but no country today would regard crises of those nature as acceptable today – hundreds of thousands of Germans were besieging Paris in 1870! Hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen were dead! If Napoleon III had the Bomb he would have used it. But he did not. There was no three score years of postwar consumer economy under the peaceful shadow of nuclear armageddon.
3: "After World War I, the chastened combatants sheepishly disarmed, cognizant of their insanity." One could only wish this were true. Germany was disarmed by force and promptly schemed for the day it would rearm; Russia's civil war continued for some years; France and Britain disarmed because they were broke, not because they'd recognized any folly. … Quiggin, I don't know if you read Daniel Larison at The American Conservative; his domestic politics would likely horrify us both, but happily
jake the antisoshul sohulist 07.04.16 at 1:32 pm
Other than the reference to "the redempive power of war", the mythification of the military is not mentioned in the definition of militarism. I don't think a definition of militarism can focus only on the political/policy aspects and ignore the cultural aspects.
Militarism is as much cultural as it is political, and likely even more so.
Theophylact 07.04.16 at 2:17 pm
Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium; atque, ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant (To plunder, butcher, steal, these things they misname empire: they make a desolation and they call it peace).
LFC 07.04.16 at 4:55 pm
from the OP:
100 years after the Battle of the Somme, it's hard to see that much has been learned from the catastrophe of the Great War
The counterargument to this statement is that the world's 'great powers' did indeed learn something from the Great War: namely, they learned that great-power war is a pointless endeavor. Hitler of course didn't learn that, which is, basically, why WW2 happened. But there hasn't been a great-power war - i.e., a sustained conflict directly between two or more 'great' or major powers - since WW2 (or some wd say the Korean War qualifies as a great-power war, in which case 1953 wd be the date of the end of the last great-power war).
The next step is to extend the learned lesson about great-power war to other kinds of war. That extension has proven difficult, but there's no reason to assume it's forever impossible.
p.s. There are various extant definitions of 'great power', some of which emphasize factors other than military power. For purposes of this comment, though, one can go with Mearsheimer's definition: "To qualify as a great power, a state [i.e., country] must have sufficient military assets to put up a serious fight in an all-out conventional war against the most [militarily] powerful state in the world" (The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001), p.5). Using this definition of 'great power', the last war in which two or more great powers directly fought each other in any kind of sustained fashion (i.e. more than a short conflict of roughly a week or two [or less]) was, as stated above, either WW2 or Korea (depending on one's view of whether China qualified as a great power at the time of the Korean War).
Lupita 07.04.16 at 7:06 pm
ZM @ 7 quoting Mary Kaldor:
An emphasis on justice and accountability for war crimes, human rights violations and economic crimes, is something that is demanded by civil society in all these conflicts. Justice is probably the most significant policy that makes a human security approach different from current stabilisation approaches.
Bringing Bush, Blair, and Aznar to justice would be the greatest deterrent for further war. I like the part about economic crimes. Justice brings peace.
Kevin Cox 07.04.16 at 9:19 pm
The place to start is with the Efficient Market Hypothesis as the mechanism to allocate resources. This hypothesis says that entities compete for markets. War is a tool of competition for resources. Think Iraq.
Instead of allocating resources via markets let us allocate resources cooperatively via the ideas of the Commons. Start with "Think like a Commoner: A short introduction to the Life of the Commons" by David Bollier.
A country that uses this approach to the allocation of resources will not want to go to war and will try to persuade other countries to use the same approach.
The place to start is with renewable energy. Find a way to "distribute renewable energy" based on the commons and anti militarism will likely follow.
Anarcissie 07.05.16 at 12:31 am
Lupita 07.04.16 at 10:22 pm @ 46 -
While the Nuremberg War Crimes tribunal hanged Nazis for doing exactly what Bush 2 and company did, I doubt if starting a war of aggression is against U.S. law in an enforceable way. However, since the war was completely unjustified, I suppose Bush could be charged with murder (and many other crimes). This sort of question is now rising in the UK with regard to Blair because of the Chilcot inquiry.
Ze K 07.05.16 at 1:29 pm
Not in internal national politics, but in international law. There's something called 'crimes againt peace', for example. Obviously it's not there to prosecute leaders of boss-countries, but theoretically it could. And, in fact, the fact that it's accepted that the leaders of powerful countries are not to be procesuted is exactly a case of perversion of justice you are talking about… no?
Anarcissie 07.05.16 at 1:56 pm
Watson Ladd 07.05.16 at 3:57 am @ 56 -
According to what I read at the time the US, or at least some of its leadership, encouraged the Georgian leadership to believe that if they tried to knock off a few pieces of Russia, the US would somehow back them up if the project didn't turn out as well as hoped. Now, I get this from the same media that called the Georgian invasion of Russia 'Russian aggression' so it may not be very reliable, but that's what was said, and the invasion of a state the size of Russia by a state the size of Georgia doesn't make much sense unless the latter thought they were going to get some kind of help if things turned out badly. I guess the model was supposed to be the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, but bombing the hell out of Serbia is one thing and bombing the hell out of Russia quite another.
It is interesting in regard to Georgia 2008 to trace the related career of Mr. Saakashvili, who was then the president of Georgia, having replaced Mr. Shevardnadze in one of those color revolutions, and was reported to have said that he wanted Georgia to become America's Israel in central Asia. The Georgians apparently did not relish this proposed role once they found out what it entailed and kicked him out. He subsequently popped up in Ukraine, where according to Wikipedia he is the governor of the Odessa Oblast, whatever that means. Again, I get this from our media, so it may all be lies; but it does seem to make a kind of sense which I probably don't need to spell out.
Ze K 07.05.16 at 2:10 pm
No, south Ossetia was a part of Georgia. They were fighting for autonomy (Georgia is a bit of an empire itself), and Russian peacekeeping troops were placed there to prevent farther infighting. One day, Georgian military, encouraged by US neocons, started shelling South Ossetian capital, killing, among other people, some of the Russian peacekeeprs, and this is how the 2008 war started.
Ze K 07.05.16 at 2:31 pm
…a lot of these ethnic issues in Georgia are really the legacy of stalinism, when in many places (Abkhazia, for sure) local populations suffered mass-repressions with ethnic Georgians migrating there and becaming majorities (not to mention, bosses). Fasil Iskander, great Abkhaz writer, described that. Once the USSR collapsed, it all started to unwind, and Georgia got screwed. Oh well.
Anarcissie 07.05.16 at 4:34 pm
Ze K 07.05.16 at 2:38 pm @ 80 -
The Russian ruling class experimented with being the US ruling class's buddy in the 1990s, sort of. It didn't work well for them. The destruction of Yugoslavia, the business in Abkhazia and Ossetia, the coup in Ukraine, the American intervention in Syria which must seem (heh) as if aimed at the Russian naval base at Tartus, the extensions of NATO, the ABMs, and so on, these cannot have been reassuring. Reassurance then had to come from taking up bordering territory, building weapons, and the like. Let us hope the Russian leadership do not also come to the conclusion that the best defense is a good offense.
Lupita 07.05.16 at 5:52 pm
We're a nation of killers.
Justice can ameliorate that problem. For example, Pinochet being indicted, charged, and placed under house arrest until his death (though never convicted) for crimes against humanity, murder, torture, embezzlement, arms trafficking, drugs trafficking, tax fraud, and passport forgery and, in Argentina, Videla getting a life sentence plus another 500 being convicted with many cases still in progress, at the very least may give pause to those who would kill and torture as a career enhancement move in these countries and, hopefully, throughout Latin America. Maybe one of these countries can at least indict Kissinger for Operación Cóndor and give American presidents something extra to plan for when planning their covert operations.
For heads of state to stop behaving as if they were untouchable and people believing that they are, we need more convictions, more accountability, more laws, more justice.
Asteele 07.05.16 at 7:42 pm
In a capitalist system if you can make money by impoverishing others you do it. There are individual capitalists and firms that make money off of war, the fact that the public at large sees no aggregate benefit in not a problem for them.
Anarcissie 07.05.16 at 8:35 pm
LFC 07.05.16 at 5:28 pm @ 85 -
I think that, on the evidence, one must doubt (to put it mildly) that either the Russian or the American leadership care whether Mr. Assad is a nice person or not. They have not worried much about a lot of other not-nice people over recent decades as long as the not-nice people seemed to serve their purposes. Hence I can only conclude that the business in Syria, which goes back well before the appearance of the Islamic State, is dependent on some other variable, like maybe the existence of a Russian naval base in mare nostrum. I'm just guessing, of course; more advanced conspiratists see Israeli, Iranian, Saudi, and Turkish connections. Note as well that the business in Ukraine involved a big Russian naval base. And I used to heard it said that navies were obsolete!
ZM 07.06.16 at 7:06 am
There has been coverage in The Guardian about the Chilcot report into the UK military interventions in Iraq.
"The former civil servant promised that the report would answer some of the questions raised by families of the dead British soldiers. "The conversations we've had with the families were invaluable in shaping some of the report," Chilcot said.
Some of the families will be at the launch of the report at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, at Westminster. Others will join anti-war protesters outside who are calling for Blair to be prosecuted for alleged war crimes at the international criminal court in The Hague.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday, Karen Thornton, whose son Lee was killed in Iraq in 2006, said she was convinced that Blair had exaggerated intelligence about Iraq's capabilities.
"If it is proved that he lied then obviously he should be held accountable for it," she said, adding that meant a trial for war crimes. "He shouldn't be allowed to just get away with it," she said. But she did not express confidence that Chilcot's report would provide the accountability that she was hoping for. "Nobody's going to be held to account and that's so wrong," she said. "We just want the truth."
Chilcot insisted that any criticism would be supported by careful examination of the evidence. "We are not a court – not a judge or jury at work – but we've tried to apply the highest possible standards of rigorous analysis to the evidence where we make a criticism."
Jeremy Corbyn, who will respond to the report in parliament on Wednesday, is understood to have concluded that international laws are neither strong nor clear enough to make any war crimes prosecution a reality. The Labour leader said last year Blair could face trial if the report found he was guilty of launching an illegal war.
Corbyn is expected to fulfil a promise he made during his leadership campaign to apologise on behalf of Labour for the war. He will speak in the House of Commons after David Cameron, who is scheduled to make a statement shortly after 12.30pm. "
Layman 07.06.16 at 11:45 am
Only Tony Blair could read the Chilcot report and claim it vindicates his conduct.
LFC 07.06.16 at 5:48 pm
B. Dunbar @123
Interstate wars have declined, and the 'logic' you identify might be one of various reasons for that.
The wars dominating the headlines today - e.g. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine/Donetsk/Russia - are not, however, classic interstate wars. They are either civil wars or 'internationalized' civil wars or have a civil-war aspect. Thus the 'logic' of business-wants-peace-and-trade doesn't really apply there. Apple doesn't want war w China but Apple doesn't care that much whether there is a prolonged civil war in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, etc.
So even if one accepted the argument that 'capitalism' leads to peace, we'd be left w a set of wars to which the argument doesn't apply. I don't have, obvs., the answer to the current conflicts. I think (as already mentioned) that there are some steps that might prove helpful in general if not nec. w.r.t. specific conflict x or y.
The Kaldor remark about reversing the predatory economy - by which I take it she means, inter alia, black-market-driven, underground, in some cases criminal commerce connected to war - is suggestive. Easier said than done, I'm sure. Plus strengthening peacekeeping. And one cd come up w other things, no doubt.
Ze K 07.06.16 at 6:35 pm
@120, 121, yes, Georgians living in minority areas did suffer. But ethnic cleansing/genocides that would've most likely taken place should the Georgian government have had its way were prevented. Same as Crimea and Eastern Ukraine two years ago. This is not too difficult to understand – if you try – is it? Similarly (to Georgians in Abkhasia) millions of ethnic Russians suffered in the new central Asian republics, in Chechnya (all 100% were cleansed, many killed), and, in a slightly softer manner, in the Baltic republics… But that's okay with you, right? Well deserved? It's only when Abkhazs attack Georgians, then it's the outrage, and only because Russia was defending the Abkhazs, correct?
Lupita 07.07.16 at 3:23 pm
My impression since yesterday is that, while Brits are making a very big deal out of the Chilcot report, with much commentary about how momentous it is and the huge impact it will have, coverage of this event by the US media is notoriously subdued, particularly compared with the hysterical coverage Brexit got just some days ago. This leads me to believe that it is indeed justice that is feared the most by western imperialists such as Bush, Blair, Howard, Aznar, and Kwaśniewski and the elites that supported them and continue to cover up for them. I take this cowardly and creepy silence in the US media as an indicator that Pax Americana is so weakened that it cannot withstand the light of justice being shined upon it and that the end is near.
Anarcissie 07.07.16 at 3:46 pm
Lupita 07.07.16 at 3:23 pm @ 147 - For the kind of people in the US who pay attention to such things, the Chilcot Report is not really news. And the majority don't care, as witness the fortunes of the Clintons.
Anarcissie 07.08.16 at 12:25 am
Brett Dunbar 07.07.16 at 11:47 pm @ 160 -
If capitalist types are so totally against war, it's hard to understand why the grand poster child of capitalism, the plutocratic United States, is so addicted to war. It is hard to consider it an aberration when the US has attacked dozens of countries not threatening it over the last fifty or sixty years, killed or injured or beggared or terrorized millions of noncombatants, and maintains hundreds of overseas bases and a world-destroying nuclear stockpile. What could the explanation possibly be?
As human powers of production increase, at least in potential, existing scarcities of basic goods such as food, medicine, and housing are overcome. If people now become satisfied with their standard of living - not totally satisfied, but satisfied enough not to sweat and strain all the time for more - sales, profits, and employment will fall, and capitalists will become less important. In order to retain their ruling-class role, there needs to be a constant crisis of production-consumption which only the capitalist masters of industry can solve. Hence new scarcities must be produced. The major traditional methods of doing this have been imperialism, war, waste, and consumerism (including advertising). Conceded, major processes of environmental destruction such as climate change and the vitiating of antibiotics may lead to powerful new self-reinforcing scarcities which will take their place next to their traditional relatives, so that producing new scarcities would be less of a problem.
Anarcissie 07.08.16 at 2:30 am
LFC 07.08.16 at 1:30 am @ 163:
'OTOH, I don't think capitalism esp. needs war to create this kind of scarcity….'
But then one must explain why the major capitalist powers have engaged in so much of it, since it is so dirty and risky. I suppose one possible explanation is that whoever has the power to do so engages in it, capitalist or not; it is hardly a recent invention. However, I am mindful of the position of the US at the end of World War 2, with 50% of the worlds total productive capacity. Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive! So war turned out to be pretty handy for some people. And now we have lots of them.
Matt_L 07.08.16 at 3:32 am
John Quiggin, I think your definition of militarism is flawed. I think that cultural attitudes and the social status of the military are very important as well. To paraphrase Andrew Bacevich, Militarism is the idea that military solutions to a country's problems are more effective than they really are. Militarism assumes that the military's way of running things is inherently correct. A militaristic society glorifies violence and the people who carry it out in the name of the state.
I also think that just reducing military spending or the capacity for military action is not enough to counter serious militarism. Austria-Hungary was a very militaristic society, but it spent the less on armaments than the other European Powers in the years leading up to 1914. The leaders of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy caused World War One by invading Serbia for a crime committed by a Bosnian Serb subject of the Monarchy. They had some good guesses that the Serbian military intelligence was involved, but not a lot of proof.
Franz Joseph and the other leaders chose to solve a foreign policy problem by placing armed force before diplomacy and a complete criminal investigation. Their capacity to wage war relative to the other great powers of Europe did not enter into their calculations. They chose force first and dealt with the consequences later. So militarism can exist and flourish on a tight budget. Its all about mentality.
stevenjohnson 07.08.16 at 9:29 pm
"Great Power warfare became a lot less common after 1815, at the same point that the most advanced of the great powers developed capitalism."
In Europe, locus of the alleged Long Peace, there were the Greek Rebellion; the First and Second Italian Wars of Independence; the First and Second Schleswig Wars; the Seven Weeks War; the Crimean War; the Franco-Prussian War; the First and Second Balkan Wars. Wars between a major capitalist state and another well established modern state included the Opium Wars; the Mexican War; the French invasion of Mexico; the War of the Triple Alliance; the War of the Pacific; the Spanish-American War; the Russo-Japanese War. Assaults by the allegedly peaceful capitalist nations against non-state societies or weak traditional states are too numerous to remember, but the death toll was enormous, on a scale matching the slaughter of the World Wars.
Further the tensions between the Great Powers threatened war on numerous occasions, such as conflict over the Oregon territory; the Aroostook "war;" the Trent Affair; two Moroccan crises; the Fashoda Incident…again, these are too numerous to remember.
The notion that capitalism is peaceful is preposterous, even if you accept the bizarre notion that only wars between the capitalist Great Powers really count as wars. It's true that it's tacitly presumed by many, perhaps most, learned authorities. But that is an indictment of the authorities, not a justification for the claim. The closely related claim that capitalism is responsible for technological advancement on inspection suggests that the real story is that technological progress enabled the European states to begin empires that funded capitalist development.
Hidari 07.09.16 at 11:13 am
' Capitalist states tend to avoid war with their trading partners.'
This has an element of truth in it, but it can be parsed in a number of ways. For example, 'Rich, powerful countries tend to avoid war with other rich, powerful countries'. After all, in the 2nd half of the 20th century, the US avoided going to war with Russia, despite having clear economic interests in doing so (access to natural resources, markets) mainly because Russia was strong (not least militarily) and the cost-benefit matrix never made sense (i.e. from the Americans' point of view).
A much stronger case can be made that self-proclaimed Socialist states tend not to go to war with each other. After all, there were big fallings out between the socialist (or 'socialist', depending on your point of view) countries in the 20th century but they rarely turned to war, and when they did (Vietnam-Cambodia, Vietnam-China) they were short term and relatively limited in scope. The Sino-Soviet split was a split, not a war.
But again this is probably not the best way to look at it. A much stronger case can be made that the basic reason for the non-appearance of a Chinese-Russian war was simply the size and population of those countries. The risks outweighed any potential benefits.
Of course, between 1914 and 1945, lots of capitalist states went to war with each other.
Anarcissie 07.09.16 at 3:22 pm
Layman 07.09.16 at 2:59 pm @ 188 -
One explanation, I think already given, is that the capitalist powers were too busy with imperial seizures in what we now call the Third World to fight one another. In the New World, the United States and some South American states were busy annihilating the natives, speaking of ethnic cleansing. If capitalism is a pacific influence, the behavior of the British and American ruling classes since 1815 seems incomprehensible, right down to the present: the plutocrat Clinton ought to be the peace candidate, not the scary war freak.
Hidari 07.09.16 at 5:44 pm
Surely (assuming that it's real) the decline in wars in some parts of the world since 1945 is because of the Pax Americana?
Most countries are too frightened to attack (at least directly) the United States. There is a sense in which the US really is the 'Global Policeman'.
Anarcissie 07.09.16 at 11:55 pm
Or the global Mafia capo di tutti capi.
Ze K 07.10.16 at 6:39 am
WaPo: Trump, Adviser Carter Page are 'Broadly Non-Interventionist'
…WaPo continues that Trump is "broadly noninterventionist, questioning the need for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and calling for Europe to play a larger role in ensuring its security." Page, too, "has regularly criticized U.S. intervention":
In one article for Global Policy Journal, he wrote, "From U.S. policies toward Russia to Iran to China, sanctimonious expressions of moral superiority stand at the root of many problems seen worldwide today."
Page wrote that the war in eastern Ukraine was "precipitated by U.S. meddling in the Maidan revolution…
And so, here we are: Trump is the lesser evil in this cycle. Vote Trump, save the world.
LFC 07.10.16 at 2:40 pm
Surely (assuming that it's real) the decline in wars in some parts of the world since 1945 is because of the Pax Americana?
Started to write a long reply but decided no point. Shorter version: reasons for no WW2-style-war in Europe from '45 to '90 are multiple; 'pax Americana' only one factor of many.
End of CW was destabilizing in various ways (e.g., wars in ex-Yugoslavia) but so far not enough to reverse the overall trend in Europe. Decline in destructiveness of conflict in some (not all) other parts of the world has to do in large part w change in nature/type of conflict (sustained interstate wars have traditionally been the most destructive and they don't happen much or at all anymore, for reasons that are somewhat debatable, but, again, pax Americana wd be only one of multiple reasons, if that).
LFC 07.10.16 at 2:54 pm
Re Carter Page (see Ze K @194)
Page refused [speaking in Moscow] refused to comment specifically on the U.S. presidential election, his relationship with Trump or U.S. sanctions against Russia, saying he was in Russia as a "private citizen." He gave a lecture, titled "The Evolution of the World Economy: Trends and Potential," in which he noted that Russia and China had achieved success in Central Asia, unlike the United States, by pursuing a respectful [sic] foreign policy based on mutual interest.
He generally avoided questions on U.S. foreign policy, but when one attendee asked him whether he really believed the United States was a "liberal, democratic society," Page told him to "read between the lines."
"If I'm understanding the direction you're coming from, I tend to agree with you that it's not always as liberal as it may seem," he said. "I'm with you."
In a meeting with The Washington Post editorial board in March, Trump named Page, a former Merrill Lynch executive in Moscow who later advised the Russian state energy giant Gazprom on major oil and gas deals, as one of his foreign policy advisers. Page refused to say whether his Moscow trip included a meeting with Russian officials. He is scheduled to deliver a graduation address Friday at the New Economic School, a speech that some officials are expected to attend.
Above quote is from the Stars & Stripes piece, evidently republished from WaPo, linked at the 'Washington's Blog' that Ze K linked to.
If you want to put for. policy in the hands of the likes of Carter Page (former Merrill Lynch exec., Gazprom adviser), vote Trump all right.
HRC's for. policy advisers may not be great, but I don't think this guy Page is better. He does have connections to the Russian govt as a past consultant, apparently, which is no doubt why Ze K is so high on him.
Ze K 07.10.16 at 3:16 pm
You bet this guy Page is better. Anyone is better.
And why would I care at all (let alone "no doubt") if he was a Gazprom consultant? What the fuck was that supposed to mean? Asshole much?
LFC 07.10.16 at 5:25 pm
And why would I care at all (let alone "no doubt") if he was a Gazprom consultant?
B.c Gazprom is a Russian state-owned company and a fair inference from your many comments on this blog (not just this thread but others) is that you are, in general, favorably disposed to the present Russian govt. and its activities. Not Gazprom in particular necessarily, but the govt in general. You make all these comments and then get upset when they are read to say what they say.
You consistently attack HRC as a war-monger, as corrupt etc. You consistently say anyone wd be better. "Vote Trump save the world." You said there was no Poland in existence in '39 when the USSR invaded it. Your comments and exchanges in this thread are here for anyone to read, so I don't have to continue.
Ze K 07.10.16 at 5:44 pm
"You make all these comments and then get upset when they are read to say what they say. "
You're right; come to think of it, you've been into slimeball-style slur for a while now, and I should've gotten used to it already, and just ignored you. Fine, carry on.
Anarcissie 07.11.16 at 2:19 am
@Hidari 07.10.16 at 2:57 pm @ 197 -
Although the term 'global policeman' (or 'cops of the world') is mostly used ironically (in my experience), 'policeman' does have a straight meaning, denoting a person who operates under the authority of law, whereas the supreme Mafia capo is a law and authority unto himself, at least until someone assassinates him. I think this second metaphor more closely approximates the position and behavior of the present United States.
One Man's War: Bringing Iraq to the United StatesThursday, 09 June 2016 10:21 By Mark Wilkerson , TomDispatch | Op-Ed
(Image: Haymarket Books) Memorial Day is over. You had your barbeque. Now, you can stop thinking about America's wars and the casualties from them for another year. As for me, I only wish it were so.
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It's been Memorial Day for me ever since I first met Tomas Young. And in truth, it should have felt that way from the moment I hunkered down in Somalia in 1993 and the firing began. After all, we've been at war across the Greater Middle East ever since. But somehow it was Tomas who, in 2013, first brought my own experience in the US military home to me in ways I hadn't been able to do on my own.
That gravely wounded, living, breathing casualty of our second war in Iraq who wouldn't let go of life or stop thinking and critiquing America's never-ending warscape brought me so much closer to myself, so bear with me for a moment while I return to Mogadishu, the Somalian capital, and bring you -- and me -- closer to him.
In that spring of 1993, I was a 22-year-old Army sergeant, newly married, and had just been dropped into a famine-ridden, war-torn country on the other side of the planet, a place I hadn't previously given a thought. I didn't know what hit me. I couldn't begin to take it in. That first day I remember sitting on my cot with a wet t-shirt draped over my head, chugging a bottle of water to counter the oppressive heat.
I'd trained for this -- a real mission -- for more than five years. I was a Black Hawk helicopter crew chief. Still, I had no idea what I was in for.
So much happened in Somalia in that " Black Hawk Down " year that foreshadowed America's fruitless wars of the twenty-first century across the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa, but you wouldn't have known it by me. That first day, sitting in a tent on the old Somali Air Force base in Baledogle, a couple of hours inland from the capital city of Mogadishu, I had a face-to-face encounter with a poisonous black mamba snake. Somehow it didn't register. Not really.
This is real , I kept telling myself in the six months I spent there, but in a way it wasn't or didn't seem to be.
After about a month, my unit moved to the airport in Mogadishu -- away from the snakes, scorpions, and bugs that infested Baledogle, but closer to dangers of a more human sort. Within a few weeks, I became used to the nightly rat-tat-tat of machine gun fire coming at us from the city. I watched the tracers streak by as we crouched behind our sandbagged fighting positions. We would return from missions to find bullet holes in the skin or rotor blades of our Black Hawk helicopters, or in one case a beer-can-sized hole that a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) round punched cleanly through the rear stabilizer without -- mercifully -- detonating.
And yet none of it felt like it was quite happening to me. I remember lying on my cot late at night, not far from the flight line full of Black Hawks and Cobras, hearing the drone of low-flying American AC-130 gunships firing overhead for hours on end. The first boom would come from the seaward side of the field as the gunship fired its M102 howitzer. A few seconds later, another boom would mark the round's arrival at its target across town, sometimes with secondary explosions as ammunition stores went up. Lying there, I remember thinking that those weren't the routine training rounds I'd heard a hundred times as they hit some random target in a desolate training area. They were landing on real targets, actual people.
Two other memorable boom s come to mind -- one as we waited in the back of a sun-baked supply truck, heading out on a volunteer mission to give inoculations to kids at a Somali orphanage. Boom . The ground shook to the sound of one of our Humvees and the four Army soldiers in it being blown apart by the sort of remote-controlled bomb that would become a commonplace of insurgents in America's twenty-first century wars. And a second, the loudest during my six months there, as a generator perhaps 20 feet from our tent exploded into flames from an incoming RPG round that found its target in the middle of the night.
This is real . I kept saying that to myself, but truthfully the more accurate word would have been surreal . The care packages I was receiving, the Tootsie Rolls and Cracker Jacks and letters from my wife back home telling me how much she missed me might as well have been from another planet.
Our helicopters flew daily reconnaissance missions ("Eyes over Mog" we called them) above the Somali capital. We did battle damage assessments, checking out pockmarked buildings the AC-130s had targeted the night before, or the shot-up safe house that Somali warlord Mohamed Aidid -- our operation's target (just as the US would target Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and the leaders of various terror groups) -- had reportedly been using as a control center. Once a beautiful mansion, it was now riddled with thousands of bullet holes and TOW missile craters.
We flew over Mogadishu's bustling marketplace, sometimes so low that the corrugated metal roofs of the stalls would blow off from our rotor wash. We were always looking for what we called "technicals" -- pick-up trucks with machine guns mounted in their beds -- to take out. Viewing that crowded marketplace through the sight of a ready-to-rock M-60 machine gun helped reinforce the message that all of this was beyond surreal.
Lives were ending violently here every day, and my own life, too, could have ended at any moment. Yet it was just about impossible to believe that all of a sudden I was in the middle of a violent set of incidents in a third-world hellhole, the sort of thing you might read about in the paper, or more likely, would never hear about at all. You'd never know about our near-nightly scrambles to our fighting positions behind a pile of sandbags, as the AK-47s cracked and the tracers flew overhead. It wouldn't even register as a blip in the news back home. In some bizarre way, I was there and it still wasn't registering.
A Soldier Just Like Me
Just days after returning home from Somalia, I (like so many others) watched the footage of dead American soldiers -- at least one a Black Hawk crew chief -- being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu by cheering Somalis. For the first time, I found myself filled with a sense of dread, a profound that-could-have-been-me feeling. I imagined my mother looking at such a photo of me, of her dead son's body -- as someone's mother was undoubtedly doing.
If my interior landscape was beginning to shift in unsettling ways, if the war, my war, was finally starting to come home, I remained only minimally aware of it. My wife and I started a family, I got a civilian job, went to college in the evening using the GI Bill, and wrote a couple of books about music -- my refuge.
Still, after Somalia, I found myself drawn to stories about war. I reread Stephen Ambrose's blow-by-blow account of the D-Day landings, picked up Ron Kovic's Vietnam memoir, Born On The Fourth Of July , for the first time, and even read All Quiet On The Western Front . And all of them somehow floored me. But it wasn't until I watched Body of War , Phil Donahue's 2008 documentary about Iraq war veteran and antiwar activist Tomas Young, that something seemed truly different, that I simply couldn't shake the feeling it could have been me.
Tomas was a kid who had limited options -- just like me. He signed up for the military, at least in part, because he wanted to go to college -- just like me. Yes, just like so many other kids, too -- but above all, just like me.
He, too, was deployed to one of America's misbegotten wars in a later hellhole, and that's where our stories began to differ. Five days after his unit arrived in Iraq -- a place he deployed to grudgingly, never understanding why he was being sent there and not Afghanistan -- Tomas was shot, his spinal cord severed, and most of his body paralyzed. When he came home at age 24, he fought the natural urge to suffer in silence and instead spoke out against the war in Iraq. Body of War chronicled his first full year of very partial recovery and the blossoming of his antiwar activism.
Just a few weeks after the film's release, however, it all came crashing down. He suffered a pulmonary embolism and sank into a coma, awakening to find that he'd suffered a brain injury and lost much of the use of his hands and his ability to speak clearly. The ensuing years were filled with pain and debilitating health setbacks. By early 2013, he was in hospice care, suffering excruciating abdominal pain, without his colon, and on a feeding tube and a pain pump. Gaunt, withered, exhausted, he continued to agitate against America's never-ending war on terror from his bed, and finally wrote a " last letter " to former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney, airing his grievances, which got significant media attention .
When I read it, I felt that he might have been me if I hadn't lucked out in Mogadishu two decades earlier. Maybe that's what made me reach out to him that April and tell him I wanted to learn more about what had happened to him in the years between Body of War and his last letter, about what it meant to go from being an antiwar agitator in a manual wheelchair to a bedridden quadriplegic on a feeding tube and under hospice care, planning to soon end his own life.
A Map of the Ravages of War
When I finally met Tomas, I realized how much he and I had in common: the same taste in music and books, the same urge to be a writer. We were both quick with the smart-ass comment and never made to be model soldiers because we liked to question things.
Each moment we spent together only connected us more deeply and brought me closer to the self that war had created in me, the self I had kept at such a distance all these years. I began writing his story because I felt compelled to show other Americans someone no different from them who had had his life, his reality, upended by one of our military adventures abroad, by deployment to a country so distant that it's an abstraction to most of us who, in these days of the All-Volunteer Army, don't have a personal connection either to the US military or to the wars it so regularly fights.
A historically low percentage of our population -- less than half a percent -- actually serves in the military. Compare that to around 9% during the Vietnam War, and 12% during World War II. Remarkably few of us ever see combat, ever even know anyone who was in combat, ever get to hear firsthand stories of what went on or witness what life is like for such a returning veteran. Not surprisingly, America's wars now largely go on without us. There is no personal connection. Here in "the homeland" -- despite the overblown fears of "terrorism" -- it remains "peacetime." As a consequence, few of us are engaged by veterans' issues or the prospect -- essentially, the guarantee -- of more war in the American future.
Tomas understood the importance of sharing the brutal fullness of his story. For him, there were to be no pulled punches. When I told him I wanted others to learn of his harrowing tale, of his version of the human cost of war, that I wanted to help him to tell that story, he responded that he had indeed wanted to write his own book. He'd scrapped the project because he could no longer write, and even Dragon voice-to-text software wouldn't work because his speech had become so degraded after the embolism struck.
Instead, he shared everything. Tomas and his wife, Claudia, opened their lives to me. I slept in their basement. During my periodic visits, he introduced me to an expansive mind in a shrunken world, a mind that wanted to range widely in a body mostly confined to a hospital bed, surrounded by books, magazines, and an array of tubing that delivered medications and removed bodily wastes in a darkened bedroom.
"I need to be fed," he said to me one day. "Do you want to see what that's like?" Then, he lifted his shirt and showed me the maze of tubing and scars on his body. It was a map of the ravages of war.
He was unflinchingly honest, sensing the importance of his story in a country where such experiences have become uncommon fare. Like his comic book heroes Batman and the Punisher, he wanted to make sure that no one would have to endure what he'd gone through.
An All-Too-Real Life and Surreal Wars
Tomas Young's war ended on the night before Veterans' Day 2014 when he passed away quietly in his sleep. His pain finally came to an end.Body of War By Phil Donahue, Ellen Spiro, The Real News Network | Film Veterans, We're Sorry for How Our Country Treated You By The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed Veterans Urge Presidential Candidates to Say No to Militarism
The bullets that hit him in the streets of Baghdad in 2004 brought on more than a decade of agony and hardship, not only for him, but for his mother, his siblings, and his wife. Their suffering has yet to end.
Stories of the reality of war and its impact on this country are more crucial now than ever as America's wars seem only to multiply. Among us are more than 2.5 million veterans of our recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We owe it to them to read their accounts -- and an increasing number of them are out there -- and do our best to understand what they've been through, and what they continue to go through. Then perhaps we can use that knowledge not only to properly address their needs, but to properly debate and possibly -- like Tomas Young -- even protest America's ongoing wars.
It would have been perfectly understandable for Tomas to have faced the pain, frustration, and failing health of his final years privately and in silence, but that wasn't him. Instead, he made his story part of our American record. To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.com here .
Mark WilkersonMark Wilkerson spent eight years in the US Army as an AH-1 Cobra and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crew chief with the 3rd Infantry and 101st Airborne Divisions. He was deployed with the 101st to Somalia for six months in 1993. He is the author of Who Are You: The Life of Pete Townshend and co-wrote Pearl Jam Twenty . He has three children: Alex, Nick and Sam. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, Melissa. His latest book is Tomas Young's War (Haymarket Books).
www.pcworld.comMay 18, 2016
PCWorldYou're probably giving away more than you think
The location stamps on just a handful of Twitter posts can help even low-tech stalkers find you, researchers found.
The notion of online privacy has been greatly diminished in recent years, and just this week two new studies confirm what to many minds is already a dismal picture.
First, a study reported on Monday by Stanford University found that smartphone metadata-information about calls and text messages, such as time and length-can reveal a surprising amount of personal detail.
To investigate their topic, the researchers built an Android app and used it to retrieve the metadata about previous calls and text messages-the numbers, times, and lengths of communications-from more than 800 volunteers' smartphone logs. In total, participants provided records of more than 250,000 calls and 1.2 million texts.
The researchers then used a combination of automated and manual processes to understand just what's being revealed. What they found was that it's possible to infer a lot more than you might think.
A person who places multiple calls to a cardiologist, a local drug store, and a cardiac arrhythmia monitoring device hotline likely suffers from cardiac arrhythmia, for example. Based on frequent calls to a local firearms dealer that prominently advertises AR semiautomatic rifles and to the customer support hotline of a major manufacturer that produces them, it's logical to conclude that another likely owns such a weapon.
The researchers set out to fill what they consider knowledge gaps within the National Security Agency's current phone metadata program. Currently, U.S. law gives more privacy protections to call content and makes it easier for government agencies to obtain metadata, in part because policymakers assume that it shouldn't be possible to infer specific sensitive details about people based on metadata alone.
This study, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests otherwise. Preliminary versions of the work have already played a role in federal surveillance policy debates and have been cited in litigation filings and letters to legislators in both the U.S. and abroad.
It takes as few as eight tweets to locate someone
Researchers at MIT and Oxford University, meanwhile, have shown that the location stamps on just a handful of Twitter posts can be enough to let even a low-tech snooper find out where you live and work.
Though Twitter's location-reporting service is off by default, many Twitter users choose to activate it. Now, it looks like even as few as eight tweets over the course of a single day can give stalkers what they need to track you down.
The researchers used real tweets from Twitter users in the Boston area; users consented to the use of their data and also confirmed their home and work addresses, their commuting routes, and the locations of various leisure destinations from which they had tweeted.
The time and location data associated with the tweets were then presented to a group of 45 study participants, who were asked to try to deduce whether the tweets had originated at the Twitter users' homes, workplaces, leisure destinations or commute locations.
Bottom line: They had little trouble figuring it out. Equipped with map-based representations, participants correctly identified Twitter users' homes roughly 65 percent of the time and their workplaces at closer to 70 percent.
Part of a more general project at MIT's Internet Policy Research Initiative, the paper was presented last week at the Association for Computing Machinery's Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.
"Many people have this idea that only machine-learning techniques can discover interesting patterns in location data, and they feel secure that not everyone has the technical knowledge to do that," said Ilaria Liccardi, a research scientist at MIT's Internet Policy Research Initiative and first author on the paper. "What we wanted to show is that when you send location data as a secondary piece of information, it is extremely simple for people with very little technical knowledge to find out where you work or live."
Twitter said it does not comment on third-party research, but directed users to online information about its optional location feature.
mikedow. 3d ago
Ambrose Bierce lost much public cachet when he predicted(?) McKinley would meet with a bullet, as some believed his words were assumed as justification by the assassin.
From his "Devil's Dictionary":
WAR, n. A by-product of the arts of peace. The most menacing political condition is a period of international amity. The student of history who has not been taught to expect the unexpected may justly boast himself inaccessible to the light. "In time of peace prepare for war" has a deeper meaning than is commonly discerned; it means, not merely that all things earthly have an end-that change is the one immutable and eternal law-but that the soil of peace is thickly sown with the seeds of war and singularly suited to their germination and growth. It was when Kubla Khan had decreed his "stately pleasure dome"-when, that is to say, there were peace and fat feasting in Xanadu- that he heard from afar Ancestral voices prophesying war.
One of the greatest of poets, Coleridge was one of the wisest of men, and it was not for nothing that he read us this parable. Let us have a little less of "hands across the sea," and a little more of that elemental distrust that is the security of nations. War loves to come like a thief in the night; professions of eternal amity provide the night.
His entry just previous to this is for:
WALL STREET, n. A symbol of sin for every devil to rebuke. That Wall Street is a den of thieves is a belief that serves every unsuccessful thief in place of a hope in Heaven...
I have a copy of his book "Tales of Soldiers and Civilians"; it's like reading a depressive version of Edgar Allen Poe, all foreboding and involving some supernatural force. Perhaps that's all he could find to explain the madness of the Civil War.
May 28, 2016 | theguardian.com
As America marks Memorial Day, politicians should spare us the saber-rattling and reserve some space for silence
... ... ...
The times are such that fantasy war-mongering is solidly mainstream. We've seen candidates call for a new campaign of "shock and awe" (Kasich), for carpet-bombing and making the desert glow (Cruz), for "bomb[ing] the shit out of them" (Trump), for waterboarding "and a hell of a lot worse" (Trump again), and for pre-emptive strikes and massive troop deployments (Jeb). One candidate purchased a handgun as "the last line of defense between Isis and my family" (Rubio), and the likely Democratic nominee includes "the nail-eaters – McChrystal, Petraeus, Keane" among her preferred military advisers, and supports "intensification and acceleration" of US military efforts in Iraq and Syria. Yes, America has many enemies who heartily hate our guts and would do us every harm they're able to inflict, but the failures of hard power over the past 15 years seem utterly lost on our political class. After the Paris attacks last December, Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard suggested that a force of 50,000 US troops deployed to Syria, supported by air power, would crush Isis in short order, leading to the liberation of Fallujah, Mosul, and other Isis strongholds. "I don't think there's much in the way of unanticipated side-effects that are going to be bad there," opined Kristol – funny guy! – who back in 2002 said that removing Saddam Hussein "could start a chain reaction in the Arab world that would be very healthy".
... ... ...
"A night of waking," as Bierce tersely described it years later. The sheer volume and accuracy of ordnance made this a new kind of war, a machine for pulping acres of human flesh. Regardless of who was winning or losing, shock-and-awe was the common experience of both sides; Confederate and Union soldiers alike could hardly believe the things they were doing and having done to them, and when Bierce turned to the writer's trade after the war, some fundamental rigor or just plain contrariness wouldn't let him portray his war in conventionally heroic terms. In his hands, sentimentality and melodrama became foils for twisted jokes. Glory was ambiguous at best, a stale notion that barely hinted at the suicidal nature of valor in this kind of war. A wicked gift for honesty served up the eternal clash between duty and the survival instinct, as when, early in the war, Bierce and his fellow rookies come across a group of Union dead:How repulsive they looked with their blood-smears, their blank, staring eyes, their teeth uncovered by contraction of the lips! The frost had begun already to whiten their deranged clothing. We were as patriotic as ever, but we did not wish to be that way.
... ... ...
Black humor sits alongside mordantly cool accounts of battles, wounds, horrors, absurd and tragic turns of luck. There are lots of ghosts in Bierce's work, a menagerie of spirits and bugaboos as well as hauntings of the more prosaic sort, people detached in one way or another from themselves – amnesiacs, hallucinators, somnambulists, time trippers. People missing some part of their souls. Often Bierce writes of the fatal, or nearly so, shock, the twist that flips conventional wisdom on its back and shows reality to be much darker and crueler than we want to believe. It's hard not to read the war into much of Bierce's writing, even when the subject is ostensibly otherwise. He was the first American writer of note to experience modern warfare, war as mass-produced death, and the first to try for words that would be true to the experience. He charted this new terrain, and it's in Bierce that we find the original experience that all subsequent American war writers would grapple with. Hemingway and Dos Passos in the first world war; Mailer, Heller, Jones and Vonnegut in the second world war; O'Brien, Herr and Marlantes in Vietnam: they're all heritors of Bierce.
It's not decorative, what these writers were going for. They weren't trying to write fancy, or entertain, or preach a sermon; they weren't writing to serve a political cause, at least not in any immediate sense. One suspects that on some level they didn't have a choice, as if they realized they would never know any peace in themselves unless they found a way of writing that, if it couldn't make sense of their war, at least respected it. Words that represented the experience for what it was, without illusion or fantasy. Words that would resist the eternal American genius for cheapening and dumbing down.
.... ... ...
...unhinged fantasizing has been the defining pattern of the Era of Endless War, in which people – old men, for the most part, a good number of them rich – who never experienced war – who in their youth ran as fast from it as they could – send young men and women – most of them middle- and working-class – across oceans to fight wars based on half-facts, cooked intelligence, and magical thinking on the grand geopolitical scale. Surely it's no coincidence that the Era of the AUMF, the Era of Endless War, is also the Golden Era of the Chickenhawk. We keep electing leaders who, on the most basic experiential level, literally have no idea what they're doing.
Maybe they get away with it because we the people who keep voting them into office don't know anything about war ourselves. We know the fantasy version, the movie version, but only that 1% of the nation – and their families – who have fought the wars truly know the hardship involved. For the rest of us, no sacrifice has been called for: none. No draft. No war tax (but huge deficits), and here it bears noting that the top tax rate during the second world war was 90%. No rationing, the very mention of which is good for a laugh. Rationing? That was never part of the discussion. But those years when US soldiers were piling sandbags into their thin-skinned Humvees and welding scrap metal on to the sides also happened to coincide with the heyday of the Hummer here at home. Where I live in Dallas, you couldn't drive a couple of blocks without passing one of those beasts, 8,600 hulking pounds of chrome and steel. Or for a really good laugh, how about this: gas rationing. If it's really about the oil, we could support the troops by driving less, walking more. Or suppose it's not about the oil at all, but about our freedoms, our values, our very way of life – that it's truly "a clash of civilizations", in the words of Senator Rubio. If that's the case, if this is what we truly believe, then our politicians should call for, and we should accept no less than, full-scale mobilization: a draft, confiscatory tax rates, rationing.
Some 3.5 million Americans fought in the civil war, out of a population of 31 million. For years the number killed in action was estimated at 620,000, though recent scholarship suggests a significantly higher figure, from a low of 650,000 to a high of 850,000. In any case, it's clear that the vast majority of American families had, as we say these days, skin in the game. The war was real; having loved ones at risk made it real. Many saw battles being fought in their literal backyards. Lincoln himself watched the fighting from the DC ramparts, saw men shot and killed. The lived reality of the thing was so brutally direct that it would be more than 50 years before the US embarked on another major war. To be sure, there was the brief Spanish-American war in 1898, and a three-year native insurgency in the Philippines, and various forays around the Caribbean and Central America, but the trauma of the civil war cut so deep and raw that the generation that fought it was largely cured of war. Our own generation's appetite seems steadily robust even as we approach the 15th anniversary of the AUMF, which, given the circumstances, makes sense. As long as we're cocooned in our comfortable homeland fantasy of war, one can safely predict a long and successful run for the Era of the Chickenhawk
Bierce survived his own war, barely. Two weeks after writing to a friend "my turn will come", and one day before his 22nd birthday, he was shot in the head near Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia. The sniper's ball broke his skull "like a walnut", penetrating the left temple, fracturing the temporal lobe and doglegging down and around behind his left ear, where it stayed. Head shots in that era were almost always fatal, but Bierce survived not only the initial wound, but an awful two-day train ride on an open flatcar to an army hospital in Chattanooga.
He recovered, more or less. Not the easiest personality to begin with, Bierce showed no appreciable mellowing from his war experience. His life is an ugly litany of feuds, ruptures, lawsuits, friends betrayed or abandoned, epic temper tantrums and equally epic funks. He was a lousy husband – cold, critical, philandering – and essentially abandoned his wife after 17 years of marriage. His older son shot himself dead at age 16, and the younger drank himself to death in his 20s; for his own part, Bierce maintained a lifelong obsession with suicide. In October 1913, after a distinguished, contentious 50-year career that had made him one of the most famous and hated men in America, Bierce left Washington DC and headed for Mexico, intending to join, or report on – it was never quite clear – Pancho Villa's revolutionary army. En route, dressing every day entirely in black, he paid final visits to the battlefields of his youth, hiking for miles in the Indian summer heat around Orchard Knob, Missionary Ridge, Hell's Half-Acre. For one whole day at Shiloh he sat by himself in the blazing sun. In November he crossed from Laredo into Mexico, and was never heard from again, an exit dramatic enough to inspire a bestselling novel by Carlos Fuentes, The Old Gringo, and a movie adaptation of the same name starring Gregory Peck.
Late in life, Bierce described his military service in these terms:It was once my fortune to command a company of soldiers – real soldiers. Not professional life-long fighters, the product of European militarism – just plain, ordinary American volunteer soldiers, who loved their country and fought for it with never a thought of grabbing it for themselves; that is a trick which the survivors were taught later by gentlemen desiring their votes.
About those gentlemen – and women – desiring votes: since when did it become not just acceptable but required for politicians to hold forth on Memorial Day? Who gave them permission to speak for the violently dead? Come Monday we'll be up to our ears in some of the emptiest, most self-serving dreck ever to ripple the atmosphere, the standard war-fantasy talk of American politics along with televangelist-style purlings about heroes, freedoms, the supreme sacrifice. Trump will tell us how much he loves the veterans, and how much they love him back. Down-ticket pols will re-terrorize and titillate voters with tough talk about Isis. Hemingway, for one, had no use for this kind of guff, as shown in a famous passage from A Farewell to Arms:There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of the places had dignity. Certain numbers were the same way and certain dates and these with the names of the places were all you could say and have them mean anything. Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates.caravanserai , 2016-05-31 01:46:32The author, like most Americans, is in denial about America's role in the world. The reason the US spends more on defense than the next 12 countries has nothing to do with self-defense. America wants to maintain its global military dominance. Both parties agree on this. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, the war's purpose was to demonstrate American military power. Bill Kristol takes this a stage further and wants America to play the role of global hegemon and be in a state of constant war. This is a stupid idea.JohnManyjars , 2016-05-31 01:12:38
Even if Saddam had WMDs, he still had nothing to do with 9/11. The politicians are very good at finding new scapegoats and switching the blame. A bunch of Saudis attacked the US on 9/11 so invade Iraq and Afghanistan. Bin Laden moves to Pakistan so pretend you don't know where he is. Some European terrorists kill other Europeans so Hillary wants to invade Syria. The assumption seems to be that all Muslims are the same, it does not matter where you kill them.Fantastic writing...shame Murika won't listen to any of it.
Reading the comments and conversations below, I found myself sickened and saddened by how many of my fellow Americans can read a considered and well written article like this and imagine it is a partisan screed.
It is a simple an obvious fact that the people most eager to see the US go to war, in every generation, are not the people who will suffer and die in those wars. Today is our Memorial Day. This is an article suggesting we, as Americans, stop and think about the people who were wounded and those who died in service to our country. Set aside your partisan rage and consider those people and their deaths, before you listen to words from any politician calling for more of those deaths.
"Endless war," but it's not only attacks against other nations, it's a war against civil liberties thus leading to a state in which, whistle blowers, folks who poke holes in the government's 911 theory or complain about military operations in the China Sea may be considered unpatriotic, maybe worse.DubikauA friend recently asked, "What's the big deal about wars? I'v seen them on TV lots of times. They have nothing to do with me." Alas, a generation or two after a devastating conflict, it seems people forget. The lessons of history are unknown or irrelevant to the ignorant, the horror beyond imagination. That the clown, Trump, has made it this far is a living horror movie. As Emerson said about someone:Bellanova Nova
"The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons."
He's a liar and a joke. Neither friends nor enemies can take him seriously and he is unpredictable.Excellent article.Philip Lundt
We must start talking seriously about Trump's pathology guarantees conflict and chaos, and should he get elected, an escalation of an endless war. The ramifications of his incurable and uncontrollable character defect in a political leader are dire and people should be educated about them before it's too late: https://medium.com/@Elamika/the-unbearable-lightness-of-being-a-narcissist-251ec901dae7#.xywh6cceu
As a veteran I have to ask you Ben: who gave you "permission to speak for the violently dead?"villas1
A lot of people love Donald Trump. It's not because they are racists warmongers, ignorant, misinformed or stupid. Veterans overwhelmingly support Donald trump. Go ahead call us racists and warmongers too.
And the hypocrisy of all this is how Hillary Clinton doesn't have a problem with war. She participated in toppling Libya and she was doing the same to Syria. So how is it all about Trump and what a war monger he is?Bravo. War is a racket.olman132 -> villas1As practiced in the US, certainly. The corporations that sell war materiel actively push their products, ensure the support of the government through political contributions, and engage in blackmail by spreading out manufacturing over many locations. In this manner, the only way to profit is by selling weapons, killing more people. What state or city will want to lose employment by letting a manufacturer close? It is incredibly difficult to close an un-needed military base for the same reason, whether here or abroad. War is a great racket, the US has it down pat.Jim GivenWhen your'e putting your life at risk in a war zone wondering if you're going to make it back home, there's damned little discussion about politics. Whatever your reasons might have been for signing on the dotted line, all that matters then is the sailor, soldier, marine or airman standing beside you. It's discouraging, although painfully predictable, to read so few comments about veterans and so many comments about divisive politics.MshandHillary Clinton has started more wars, caused more death than Donald Trump....and yet....you don't mention that do you "We came, He died, We Laughed"USApatriot12Unfortunately we're in a position where the United States is a debtor nation, and the easiest way to keep the house of cards from falling is to maintain "full spectrum dominance" in the words of the Pentagon. There's no easy way to unwind this situation. It is, however, absolutely crucial to keep a known psychopath like Clinton out of the command chair.
For over 30 years, Americans have been carefully "programmed" 24/7, by deliberate Fear / Fear / Fear propaganda, so we would believe that the entire world is full of evil, maniacal enemies out to "get us."
Of course there always ARE insane haters out there, who are either jealous of America's wealth, or who (more sophisticated than that) resent America's attempt to colonize-by-marketing, the entire world for its unchecked capitalism. Two sides of the same American "coin." Those who are conscripting jobless, hopeless young men overseas to be part of an equally mad "fundamentalist" army against America ~ benefit hugely FROM our militarism, which "proves their point," from their warped perspective.
Thus do the (tiny minority) of crazy America-haters out there (who we help create WITH our militarism), serve as ongoing Perfectly Plausible Proof for Paranoia ~ the fuel for 24/7 fear/fear/fear propaganda. And who benefits from that propaganda? Oh wait, let us all think on that. For five seconds.
In 1959, Republican war hero and President Dwight David Eisenhower warned us against combining the incentives of capitalism with the un-audited profitability of wars: the "military industrial complex." But in we Americans' orgy of personal materialism since the 1960's, we all forgot his warning and have let that "complex" take over the nation, the world, all our pocketbooks (53% or more of our treasury now goes to "defense" ~ what a lying word THAT is).
Answer? It it the 1-percent, crazily Wealth Hoarder super-rich who (a) profit insanely from Eternal War and who now own (b) America's so-called "free press" (ha ha), the latter of which now slants all news towards Threat, Fear, and War, again, 24/7. And now that "their" Nazi Supreme Court has ruled that "money" = free speech, that same of sociopathic criminal class ALSO is coming to own politics. Welcome to fully blooming Corporate Fascism, folks.
In his book "1984" George Orwell wrote, "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." Have we fallen so far that we are living that nightmare without question? When we hear the voices of politicians, with those on the political right being the most egregious offenders, clamoring for war, we must not forget the cost. Not just in terms of treasure, but especially of the blood spilled by our men and women in uniform. Ask, "Are the causes they are being asked to fight...and die...for, worthy of the sacrifice?"
Jim Given -> bullypulpit
I'm afraid that yes, we actually have fallen that far. The Patriot Act is the quintessential example. Who could possibly oppose something called The Patriot Act?
Jim Given -> bullypulpit
The War on Terror, another fine example. What, you oppose fighting terrorists? The language stifles (reasoned) dissent. It's brilliant, really.
Every year I get an uncomfortable sensation around Memorial Day. I know why now thanks to this article. I didn't serve in the armed forces. Not for want. I was a post Vietnam teenager. The armed forces were a joke during the Carter years and the US was in the middle of detante with the USSR. Nothing to fight about and the word terrorist was still a few years away from being reinvented. My Dad was a decorated veteran of the police action in Korea. He lost his best friend there. He rarely talked about it. He and I sat on the couch watching the fall of Saigon on TV. He silently cried. It was all for not. All those lives, all that misery, all for nothing but power and glory. He knew it and I've known it since but just couldn't put a finger on it. Thanks for this article.
talenttruth -> Tom Farkas
Tom, what a beautiful post. My husband and I (recently married after we were finally "allowed" to, just like "real people"), are both Vietnam veterans (we had to "hide" in order to serve). And I had majored in college in "U.S. Constitutional History," then worked worked (ironically!) in the advertising "industry" (the Lie Factory) for enough years to see how America, business and our society actually works, INSTEAD of "constitutionally."
My self-preoccupied generation sleepwalked from the 1960's until now, foolishly allowing the super-rich to gradually make nearly every giant corporation dependent on military contracts.
Example? The European Union has openly subsidized its aircraft manufacturer, Airbus. But here, in the USA ~ that would be "socialism," and so Boeing was forced instead (in order to compete) to rely on military contracts ("military welfare.") They're both "government subsidization," but ours is crooked.
So what do we get when all corporations "must have" ongoing Business, in order to keep their insatiable profits rolling in? Eternal War. And its "unfortunate side effects" - maimed veterans, dead soldiers, sailors and airmen, and the revolting hypocrisy of "Memorial Day."
On that day, we pay "respect" to those who died serving the Military Marketing Department for America's totally out of control, unchecked capitalism, which only serves the overlords at the top.
Sorry to sound so grim, but I did not serve my country, to have it thus stolen.
When congress votes to fund wars then [they need to] add 75% more for after care. As a combat veteran it pisses me off that [instead] charities are used to care for us. Most are run by want a be military, Senease, types. No charities, it's up to American people to pay every penny for our care, they voted for the war mongers so, so pay up people. Citizens need to know true costs, tax raises, cuts in SS , welfare, cuts in schools. Biggest thing, all elected officials and families and those work for them must use VA hospitals, let's see how that works out.
Jim Given -> Barclay Reynolds
Failure to care for our veterans is a national disgrace. Thanks for your service brother.
SusanPrice58 -> Barclay Reynolds
I agree. While I'm sure that most of these charities try to do well, it always makes me angry to think about why the need for charities to care for veterans exists. If we are determined to fight these wars - then every citizen should have to have deep involvement of some sort. Raise taxes, ration oil, watch footage of battles, restore the draft - whatever. Instead, we insulate ourselves in a nice, warm cocoon of "Support Our Veterans" slogans and flag waving.
"Endless war: Trump and the fantasy of cost-free conflict "
How about Hillary and the fantasy of war, PERIOD. There hasn't been a war she didn't like. Did you listen to her AIPAC speech? No 2 State solution there.
The obscene amount of money the US pays just on the interest on the trillions "borrowed" for the Afghanistan and Iraq adventures would fix most that is wrong with the world. Bush & Cheney discovered if you don't raise taxes, require financial sacrifices, and do not have a draft, that you can wage bogus wars of choice for over a decade without so much as a peep of protest from the public. It is sickening how much good that money could do instead of all the death and destruction it bought.AllenPitt"So easy to be the hero in your wet dreams, your shooter games, your securely located war rooms stocked with emergency rations and the external defibrillator. This sort of unhinged fantasizing has been the defining pattern of the Era of Endless War, in which people – old men, for the most part, a good number of them rich – who never experienced war – who in their youth ran as fast from it as they could – send young men and women – most of them middle- and working-class – across oceans to fight wars based on half-facts, cooked intelligence, and magical thinking on the grand geopolitical scale. Surely it's no coincidence that the Era of the AUMF, the Era of Endless War, is also the Golden Era of the Chickenhawk. We keep electing leaders who, on the most basic experiential level, literally have no idea what they're doing."
It is actually NOT Donald Trump who is advocating the endless global conflict and confrontation with Russia, China, India, Iran, Europe and North Korea. The candidate secretly advocating a never-ending war with the rest of the world is -- Madame Secretary, Hillary Clinton, in person. Aided and abetted - publicly - by her right-hand woman, another Madame Secretary, Madeleine Albright and yet another Madame Undersecretary, Samantha Power. All chicken hawks, all neoconservatives, all pseudo-democrats, all on Wall Street payroll, all white, and all women who will never see a second of combat for the rest of their lives.
So, the very major premise of the article is flawed and unsustainable. Which, of course, then makes the entire article collapse as false and misleading.
MOZGODRK -> arrggh
But you are missing the entire point. Trump is NOT advocating the conflict; he is advocating that we TALK to our enemies, so his lack of combat experience is a moot point.
On the other hand, the Clintons, the Alzhe...er, Albright, and the Samantha Power-Tripp are all totally kosher with sending millions to die, knowing that they themselves will not experience a nanosecond of hot cognitive experience.
John Mearsheimer who is a history professor at the University of Chicago wrote a great book about American foreign policy. Mearsheimer explains how American foreign policy has developed over the centuries. He argues that it firs objective was to dominate the Western Hemisphere before extending its reach to Asia and Europe. The War of 1812 and the Monroe Doctrine was part of a plan to dominate the Americas. The U.S. stopped Japan and Germany dominating Asia and Europe in the 20th century. The U.S. continued to view the British Empire as its greatest threat and Roosevelt set about dismantling it during WW2. Once WW2 was won, the Soviet Union became America's new adversary and it maintained forces in Europe to check Soviet expansion.
Mearsheimer argues that the U.S. is often in denial about its behavior and Americans are taught that the U.S. is altruistic and a force for good in the world. Measheimer states that "idealist rhetoric provided a proper mask for the brutal policies that underpinned the tremendous growth of American power." In 1991 the U.S. became the world's only super-power and according to Mearsheimer its main foreign policy objective was to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival. Following the difficult wars in Afghanistan and Iraq the U.S. is less certain of its global role. Mearsheimer claims that America's foreign policy elite is still largely made up of people who want to keep America on top, but these days they usually prefer to keep their views under wraps. Trump seems to be proposing something completely different.Trump is not proposing anything different. His foreign policy is the same as the establishment. He is not anti-war, nor more hawkish than Obama or Clinton. Trumps FP is unilateral i.e. The US will go it alone without the UN or anyone else, attack any country he feels is threatning, without paying attention to intl. law, or "political correctness" as he calls it, i.e. the US will kill and torture as many ppl as it feels like to feel safe, and pay no attention to the Geneva Conventions. Other statements about his intended FP, that the msm calls shocking, has already been done, i.e. bomb the crap out of people, kill families of terrorists, waterboarding and much worse. These have been common policies since 9/11 & before. Another policy is to steal Iraq's oil. This has been de facto US FP in the Middle East since Eisenhower. The difference is that Trump says it outright. He makes subtext into the text.FalanxI agree with the overall point of this article... but focusing on the GOP and Trump, detracts from its otherwise valid points. What about Wilson, Truman, Johnson, Clinton, Obama and Hillary? Especially Hillary ("We came, We saw, He died") who evidently considers herself a latter day Caesar. The plain fact is that the US was conceived as a warmongering nation. Everyone else in the world understands this.DanInTheDesertWow. What a fantastic article . This is what we need in the era of twitter journalism -- a long think piece. Thank you.[*]
Having said that I have disagree with the conclusion -- we have just a little over a week to avoid a forced choice between two hawks. The chances are slim but not impossible -- be active this weekend. Phonebank for Sanders. Convince a Californian to show up and vote.
Trump is the only candidate I've ever heard question the cost of war, it's part of the reason he said we should flush NATO and we can't police the world for free any longer.
Kenarmy -> PrinceVlad
"Donald Trump would deploy up to 30,000 American soldiers in the Middle East to defeat the Islamic State, he said at Thursday night's debate."
30,000? More like 300,000! The 30,000 will be the dead and wounded. But hey, Trump went to a military academy high school, and thus he has a military background ("always felt that I was in the military" because he attended a military boarding school)- http://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/donald-trump-military-service-213392#ixzz49yKU9awC
PrinceVlad -> Kenarmy
I have no problem with destroying ISIS. I have a problem with fighting Russia over every former Soviet state on their doorstep ala Madam Secretary. The best way to remember the war dead is to work to ensure that their ranks do not swell.
[*] and if anyone is reading who deals with such things -- y'all need to accept paypal or bitcoin so I can subscribe. Who uses their credit card online anymore?
JerseyJeffersonian , May 27, 2016 at 11:28 am
In related developments ( in the matters of legitimacy, and most especially, control ) here are two links:
My comment on this in an email to others…
Amendment IV 
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Obviously, this paints our (overblown) liberties with an over-wide brush, and the Wise Solons of our Senate know just how to get around this superannuated and flawed conceptual framework. Just ignore this amendment. You've got nothing to hide, right , so what are you worried about? Actually, you can hide nothing, and anything you said, wrote, or plausibly thought can and will be held against you at a time convenient for the Security State to whip it out if they have their way.
C'mon, it's an Empire now, and it plays by its own rules, and is not to be chained to some fossilized, starry-eyed claptrap from the Enlightenment. Sheesh.
And my comment in that email on this matter…
Wait, military special forces from over a dozen countries are running an exercise in the supposedly sovereign territory of the United States? What, is this the transnational elite's super-special SWAT team taking off the wraps? And Idiot America loves it. The Founding Fathers weep, just as they do concerning that first item.
Let those malcontents from Green Day whine about the Idiocracy…
February 11, 2014 | pcmag.com
This time last year, no one knew Edward Snowden. But by the end of 2013, his name was on every top 10 list, and the revelations contained with the NSA documents he leaked have inspired today's "The Day We Fight Back" protests.
For a while the information contained with the leaked documents took a backseat to the cultural impulse to dissect Snowden as a celebrity-his Reddit posts about sex and Cosmo asking "What the hell is Edward Snowden's girlfriend thinking right now?" Then Sunday talk shows debated whether Snowden was a was fink, traitor, whistleblower, or spy - as the elusive former contractor made an escape to Russia worthy of a spy-thriller chase scene.
But the Snowden documents contained serious information. Since June, we have learned about a variety of NSA programs, including PRISM, a multilayered, multiagency program that mines the data of suspected terrorists, as well as that of anyone even marginally associated with them. And the information that has been released is reportedly just a fraction of what exists.
Still, we have about eight months worth of data dumps, information that has prompted the promise of action from the White House, bills in the Congress, and today's "Day We Fight Back" protest, which is calling on people around the globe to protest NSA surveillance on the Web and in person. Below, we look back at some of the most alarming revelations from Edward Snowden thus far.
- The NSA intercepts deliveries According to documents published by German newspaper Der Spiegel, the NSA uses a tactic called "method interdiction," which intercepts packages that are en route to the recipient. Malware or backdoor-enabling hardware is installed in workshops by agents and the item then continues on its way to the customer.
- The NSA can spy on PCs not connected to the Internet Der Spiegel also published a document from an NSA division called ANT, which revealed technology the NSA uses to carry out operations, including a radio-frequency device that can monitor and even change data on computers that are not online.
- Phone companies must turn over bulk phone data In April, Verizon was ordered to hand over telephony metadata from calls made from the United States to other countries over the course of three months. The metadata included originating and terminating phone numbers, mobile subscriber identity numbers, calling card numbers, and the time and duration of calls. The secretive nature of the FISA court that made the request for data, however, meant that Verizon and other companies could not discuss the data requests.
- The NSA hacked Yahoo and Google data centers In October, The Washington Post accused the NSA of secretly monitoring transmissions between the data centers of Internet giants Yahoo and Google. Both companies denied giving the NSA permission to intercept such traffic. Google's Eric Schmidt called the move "outrageous," if true, while Yahoo moved to encrypt its data after the revelation.
- The NSA collects email and IM contact lists Hundreds of thousands of contact lists are collected by the NSA in a single day, The Washington Post also revealed. While the targets are outside of the United States, the scope of the collection means that info from U.S. citizens is inevitably included.
- RSA created a backdoor into its encryption software at the NSA's request In December, Reuters reported that the NSA paid RSA $10 million to create a "back door" in its encryption products, which gave the NSA access to data protected by RSA products like Bsafe. RSA denied the report, but the revelation prompted speakers to bow out of this month's RSA Conference.
- The NSA eavesdrops on the phone calls of world leaders. The U.S. government's friends and family calling plan reportedly extends to the content of calls, including tapping into German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone calls from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Berlin. The news prompted German officials to consider creating their own Internet.
- The NSA knows how many pigs you've killed in Angry Birds. The Flappy Bird flap may be bigger, but last month, The New York Times reported that the NSA and British intelligence teamed up to collect and store user data generated by "dozens of smartphone apps," including popular games like Angry Birds. Rovio denied it, but anti-surveillance activists still defaced the developer's website.
- The NSA engages in industrial espionage. The U.S. government has framed the NSA's activities as necessary to keeping citizens safe, but Snowden said on German television, "If there's information at Siemens that's beneficial to U.S. national interests-even if it doesn't have anything to do with national security-then they'll take that information nevertheless."
- Tech companies cooperated with the NSA and then were asked not to talk about it. Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL, and Apple were all named in the PRISM documents and struggled with how to talk to the public about it because of gag orders.
Big brother is watching us all.
ambrit , May 19, 2016 at 3:48 pmhuman , May 19, 2016 at 5:15 pm
I G Farben isn't alone in Holocaust related evilness. Check out IBMs' part, through their German subsidiary, in making the efficiency of the "Final Solution" feasible. Figures for the liquidation of "undesirables" were available to the New York headquarters of IBM in nearly real time.
As the war wound down, special units attached to the U.S.Army secured and protected IBM 'assets' in Germany, mainly the hardware and specialists who ran things.
The best source I find is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_and_the_HolocaustRP , May 19, 2016 at 7:22 pm
Operation PaperclipHBE , May 19, 2016 at 4:22 pm
Ford werke built trucks for the Germans up until the end of the war. And Prescott Bush (father and grandfather to POTUS 41 & 43) had his assets frozen and seized for trading with the enemy.
But what do I know, I'm just a little prole with no Ivy league credentials. I should just trust my betters.
By all means, go ahead, coronate another .01%er Oligarch to be President. Worked great so far.
Nearly all German corporations/large companies (they funded the parties rise) were complicit with the Nazi war and Holocaust machine and received the benefits of free (to them) slave Labor (reminds me of the US prison Labor system) and the seizure of capital assets in conquered countries.
What happened to them and their leaders. Not much, some were broken up (IG farben) some leaders spent a short stint in prison (alfried Krupp) but nearly all of the largest were allowed to immediately or eventually (Krupp) go on their merry way, so we could "stop communism".
So the very people that funded and were integral to the Nazi party having the funds and ability to rise and benefited most, were slightly scolded at most.
Being and oligarch or a faceless Corporation certainly has it's benefits, especially if there are any "scary" communists (or terrorists) around.
The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and ProsperitySpeaking last week with host Scott Horton on the Scott Horton Show, three-time presidential candidate and former Republican member of the US House of Representatives Ron Paul discussed the military-industrial complex's role in US militarism across the world, including in Latin America and Europe.
After Horton introduced Paul as "the greatest American hero," Paul and Horton entered a fascinating discussion of US foreign policy. Their wide-ranging discussion concerns matters including US intervention in Iraq and Ukraine, a potential "Brexit" - exit of Great Britain from the European Union (EU), and Paul's preference for free trade over international trade deals that Paul says put in place "managed trade to serve the interests of some special interests."
Addressing the influence of the military-industrial complex, Paul comments in the interview on examples in Europe and Latin America.
Speaking of the US putting more troops in Europe near the Russian border, Paul notes that he doesn't think "they have strong evidence that the Russians are about to roll in tanks." Instead, a motivation for the military build-up, Paul says, is "stirring up troubles to justify more military expenditures."
Paul also comments on the military-industrial complex when he discusses how a dispute over which company would profit from its helicopters being used in the US government's "Plan Columbia" was resolved by sending both companies' helicopters to Latin America for use in the drug war effort.
Listen to Paul's complete interview here.
Listen through the end of the interview and you will hear Horton's strong praise for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity (RPI). Paul founded RPI in 2013 after retiring from the House of Representatives. Says Horton:Check out the Ron Paul Institute at ronpaulinstitute.org. They put out great antiwar propaganda all day long seven days a week - the great Dan McAdams, Dr. Paul, Adam Dick and others there at the Ron Paul Institute, ronpaulinstitute.org.Read here Paul's April 10 editorial "As Ukraine Collapses, Europeans Tire of US Interventions" discussed in the interview.
Copyright © 2016 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
Please donate to the Ron Paul Institute
Excerpt from "The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century"By Prof. Claudia von Werlhof Global Research, May 25, 2015 Global Research 19 April 2011 Theme: Global Economy , Poverty & Social Inequality
The following is a preview of a chapter by Claudia von Werlhof in "The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century." (2009)
To read more, order the book online. Help us spread the word: "like" the book on Facebook and share with your friends !
Is there an alternative to plundering the earth?
Is there an alternative to making war?
Is there an alternative to destroying the planet?
No one asks these questions because they seem absurd. Yet, no one can escape them either. Until the onslaught of the global economic crisis, the motto of so-called "neoliberalism" was TINA: "There Is No Alternative!"
No alternative to "neoliberal globalization"?
No alternative to the unfettered "free market" economy?
What Is "Neoliberal Globalization"?
Let us first clarify what globalization and neoliberalism are, where they come from, who they are directed by, what they claim, what they do, why their effects are so fatal, why they will fail and why people nonetheless cling to them. Then, let us look at the responses of those who are not – or will not – be able to live with the consequences they cause.
This is where the difficulties begin. For a good twenty years now we have been told that there is no alternative to neoliberal globalization, and that, in fact, no such alternative is needed either. Over and over again, we have been confronted with the TINA-concept: "There Is No Alternative!" The "iron lady", Margaret Thatcher, was one of those who reiterated this belief without end.
The TINA-concept prohibits all thought. It follows the rationale that there is no point in analyzing and discussing neoliberalism and so-called globalization because they are inevitable. Whether we condone what is happening or not does not matter, it is happening anyway. There is no point in trying to understand. Hence: Go with it! Kill or be killed!
Some go as far as suggesting that globalization – meaning, an economic system which developed under specific social and historical conditions – is nothing less but a law of nature. In turn, "human nature" is supposedly reflected by the character of the system's economic subjects: egotistical, ruthless, greedy and cold. This, we are told, works towards everyone's benefit.
The question remains: why has Adam Smith's "invisible hand" become a "visible fist"? While a tiny minority reaps enormous benefits from today's neoliberalism (none of which will remain, of course), the vast majority of the earth's population suffers hardship to the extent that their very survival is at stake. The damage done seems irreversible.
All over the world media outlets – especially television stations – avoid addressing the problem. A common excuse is that it cannot be explained. The true reason is, of course, the media's corporate control.
What Is Neoliberalism?
Neoliberalism as an economic policy agenda which began in Chile in 1973. Its inauguration consisted of a U.S.-organized coup against a democratically elected socialist president and the installment of a bloody military dictatorship notorious for systematic torture. This was the only way to turn the neoliberal model of the so-called "Chicago Boys" under the leadership of Milton Friedman – a student of Friedrich von Hayek – into reality.
The predecessor of the neoliberal model is the economic liberalism of the 18th and 19th centuries and its notion of "free trade". Goethe's assessment at the time was: "Free trade, piracy, war – an inseparable three!"
At the center of both old and new economic liberalism lies:
Self-interest and individualism; segregation of ethical principles and economic affairs, in other words: a process of 'de-bedding' economy from society; economic rationality as a mere cost-benefit calculation and profit maximization; competition as the essential driving force for growth and progress; specialization and the replacement of a subsistence economy with profit-oriented foreign trade ('comparative cost advantage'); and the proscription of public (state) interference with market forces.
Where the new economic liberalism outdoes the old is in its global claim. Today's economic liberalism functions as a model for each and everyone: all parts of the economy, all sectors of society, of life/nature itself. As a consequence, the once "de-bedded" economy now claims to "im-bed" everything, including political power. Furthermore, a new twisted "economic ethics" (and with it a certain idea of "human nature") emerges that mocks everything from so-called do-gooders to altruism to selfless help to care for others to a notion of responsibility.
This goes as far as claiming that the common good depends entirely on the uncontrolled egoism of the individual and, especially, on the prosperity of transnational corporations. The allegedly necessary "freedom" of the economy – which, paradoxically, only means the freedom of corporations – hence consists of a freedom from responsibility and commitment to society.
The maximization of profit itself must occur within the shortest possible time; this means, preferably, through speculation and "shareholder value". It must meet as few obstacles as possible. Today, global economic interests outweigh not only extra-economic concerns but also national economic considerations since corporations today see themselves beyond both community and nation. A "level playing field" is created that offers the global players the best possible conditions. This playing field knows of no legal, social, ecological, cultural or national "barriers". As a result, economic competition plays out on a market that is free of all non-market, extra-economic or protectionist influences – unless they serve the interests of the big players (the corporations), of course. The corporations' interests – their maximal growth and progress – take on complete priority. This is rationalized by alleging that their well-being means the well-being of small enterprises and workshops as well.
The difference between the new and the old economic liberalism can first be articulated in quantitative terms: after capitalism went through a series of ruptures and challenges – caused by the "competing economic system", the crisis of capitalism, post-war "Keynesianism" with its social and welfare state tendencies, internal mass consumer demand (so-called Fordism), and the objective of full employment in the North. The liberal economic goals of the past are now not only euphorically resurrected but they are also "globalized". The main reason is indeed that the competition between alternative economic systems is gone. However, to conclude that this confirms the victory of capitalism and the "golden West" over "dark socialism" is only one possible interpretation. Another – opposing – interpretation is to see the "modern world system" (which contains both capitalism and socialism) as having hit a general crisis which causes total and merciless competition over global resources while leveling the way for investment opportunities, i.e. the valorization of capital.
The ongoing globalization of neoliberalism demonstrates which interpretation is right. Not least, because the differences between the old and the new economic liberalism can not only be articulated in quantitative terms but in qualitative ones too. What we are witnessing are completely new phenomena: instead of a democratic "complete competition" between many small enterprises enjoying the freedom of the market, only the big corporations win. In turn, they create new market oligopolies and monopolies of previously unknown dimensions. The market hence only remains free for them, while it is rendered unfree for all others who are condemned to an existence of dependency (as enforced producers, workers and consumers) or excluded from the market altogether (if they have neither anything to sell or buy). About fifty percent of the world's population fall into this group today, and the percentage is rising.
Anti-trust laws have lost all power since the transnational corporations set the norms. It is the corporations – not "the market" as an anonymous mechanism or "invisible hand" – that determine today's rules of trade, for example prices and legal regulations. This happens outside any political control. Speculation with an average twenty percent profit margin edges out honest producers who become "unprofitable". Money becomes too precious for comparatively non-profitable, long-term projects,
or projects that only – how audacious! – serve a good life. Money instead "travels upwards" and disappears. Financial capital determines more and more what the markets are and do. By delinking the dollar from the price of gold, money creation no longer bears a direct relationship to production". Moreover, these days most of us are – exactly like all governments – in debt. It is financial capital that has all the money – we have none.
Small, medium, even some bigger enterprises are pushed out of the market, forced to fold or swallowed by transnational corporations because their performances are below average in comparison to speculation – rather: spookulation – wins. The public sector, which has historically been defined as a sector of not-for-profit economy and administration, is "slimmed" and its "profitable" parts ("gems") handed to corporations (privatized). As a consequence, social services that are necessary for our existence disappear. Small and medium private businesses – which, until recently, employed eighty percent of the workforce and provided normal working conditions – are affected by these developments as well. The alleged correlation between economic growth and secure employment is false. When economic growth is accompanied by the mergers of businesses, jobs are lost.
If there are any new jobs, most are precarious, meaning that they are only available temporarily and badly paid. One job is usually not enough to make a living. This means that the working conditions in the North become akin to those in the South, and the working conditions of men akin to those of women – a trend diametrically opposed to what we have always been told. Corporations now leave for the South (or East) to use cheap – and particularly female – labor without union affiliation. This has already been happening since the 1970s in the "Export Processing Zones" (EPZs, "world market factories" or "maquiladoras"), where most of the world's computer chips, sneakers, clothes and electronic goods are produced. The EPZs lie in areas where century-old colonial-capitalist and authoritarian-patriarchal conditions guarantee the availability of cheap labor. The recent shift of business opportunities from consumer goods to armaments is a particularly troubling development.
It is not only commodity production that is "outsourced" and located in the EPZs, but service industries as well. This is a result of the so-called Third Industrial Revolution, meaning the development of new information and communication technologies. Many jobs have disappeared entirely due to computerization, also in administrative fields. The combination of the principles of "high tech" and "low wage"/"no wage" (always denied by "progress" enthusiasts) guarantees a "comparative cost advantage" in foreign trade. This will eventually lead to "Chinese wages" in the West. A potential loss of Western consumers is not seen as a threat. A corporate economy does not care whether consumers are European, Chinese or Indian.
The means of production become concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, especially since finance capital – rendered precarious itself – controls asset values ever more aggressively. New forms of private property are created, not least through the "clearance" of public property and the transformation of formerly public and small-scale private services and industries to a corporate business sector. This concerns primarily fields that have long been (at least partly) excluded from the logic of profit – e.g. education, health, energy or water supply/disposal. New forms of so-called enclosures emerge from today's total commercialization of formerly small-scale private or public industries and services, of the "commons", and of natural resources like oceans, rain forests, regions of genetic diversity or geopolitical interest (e.g. potential pipeline routes), etc. As far as the new virtual spaces and communication networks go, we are witnessing frantic efforts to bring these under private control as well.
All these new forms of private property are essentially created by (more or less) predatory forms of appropriation. In this sense, they are a continuation of the history of so-called original accumulation which has expanded globally, in accordance with to the motto: "Growth through expropriation!"
Most people have less and less access to the means of production, and so the dependence on scarce and underpaid work increases. The destruction of the welfare state also destroys the notion that individuals can rely on the community to provide for them in times of need. Our existence relies exclusively on private, i.e. expensive, services that are often of much worse quality and much less reliable than public services. (It is a myth that the private always outdoes the public.) What we are experiencing is undersupply formerly only known by the colonial South. The old claim that the South will eventually develop into the North is proven wrong. It is the North that increasingly develops into the South. We are witnessing the latest form of "development", namely, a world system of underdevelopment. Development and underdevelopment go hand in hand. This might even dawn on "development aid" workers soon.
It is usually women who are called upon to counterbalance underdevelopment through increased work ("service provisions") in the household. As a result, the workload and underpay of women takes on horrendous dimensions: they do unpaid work inside their homes and poorly paid "housewifized" work outside. Yet, commercialization does not stop in front of the home's doors either. Even housework becomes commercially co-opted ("new maid question"), with hardly any financial benefits for the women who do the work.
Not least because of this, women are increasingly coerced into prostitution, one of today's biggest global industries. This illustrates two things: a) how little the "emancipation" of women actually leads to "equal terms" with men; and b) that "capitalist development" does not imply increased "freedom" in wage labor relations, as the Left has claimed for a long time. If the latter were the case, then neoliberalism would mean the voluntary end of capitalism once it reaches its furthest extension. This, however, does not appear likely.
Today, hundreds of millions of quasi-slaves, more than ever before, exist in the "world system." The authoritarian model of the "Export Processing Zones" is conquering the East and threatening the North. The redistribution of wealth runs ever more – and with ever accelerated speed – from the bottom to the top. The gap between the rich and the poor has never been wider. The middle classes disappear. This is the situation we are facing.
It becomes obvious that neoliberalism marks not the end of colonialism but, to the contrary, the colonization of the North. This new "colonization of the world" points back to the beginnings of the "modern world system" in the "long 16th century", when the conquering of the Americas, their exploitation and colonial transformation allowed for the rise and "development" of Europe. The so-called "children's diseases" of modernity keep on haunting it, even in old age. They are, in fact, the main feature of modernity's latest stage. They are expanding instead of disappearing.
Where there is no South, there is no North; where there is no periphery, there is no center; where there is no colony, there is no – in any case no "Western" – civilization.
Austria is part of the world system too. It is increasingly becoming a corporate colony (particularly of German corporations). This, however, does not keep it from being an active colonizer itself, especially in the East.
Social, cultural, traditional and ecological considerations are abandoned and give way to a mentality of plundering. All global resources that we still have – natural resources, forests, water, genetic pools – have turned into objects of utilization. Rapid ecological destruction through depletion is the consequence. If one makes more profit by cutting down trees than by planting them, then there is no reason not to cut them. Neither the public nor the state interferes, despite global warming and the obvious fact that the clearing of the few remaining rain forests will irreversibly destroy the earth's climate – not to mention the many other negative effects of such actions. Climate, animal, plants, human and general ecological rights are worth nothing compared to the interests of the corporations – no matter that the rain forest is not a renewable resource and that the entire earth's ecosystem depends on it. If greed, and the rationalism with which it is economically enforced, really was an inherent anthropological trait, we would have never even reached this day.
The commander of the Space Shuttle that circled the earth in 2005 remarked that "the center of Africa was burning". She meant the Congo, in which the last great rain forest of the continent is located. Without it there will be no more rain clouds above the sources of the Nile. However, it needs to disappear in order for corporations to gain free access to the Congo's natural resources that are the reason for the wars that plague the region today. After all, one needs diamonds and coltan for mobile phones.
Today, everything on earth is turned into commodities, i.e. everything becomes an object of "trade" and commercialization (which truly means liquidation, the transformation of all into liquid money). In its neoliberal stage it is not enough for capitalism to globally pursue less cost-intensive and preferably "wageless" commodity production. The objective is to transform everyone and everything into commodities, including life itself. We are racing blindly towards the violent and absolute conclusion of this "mode of production", namely total capitalization/liquidation by "monetarization".
We are not only witnessing perpetual praise of the market – we are witnessing what can be described as "market fundamentalism". People believe in the market as if it was a god. There seems to be a sense that nothing could ever happen without it. Total global maximized accumulation of money/capital as abstract wealth becomes the sole purpose of economic activity. A "free" world market for everything has to be established – a world market that functions according to the interests of the corporations and capitalist money. The installment of such a market proceeds with dazzling speed. It creates new profit possibilities where they have not existed before, e.g. in Iraq, Eastern Europe or China.
One thing remains generally overlooked: the abstract wealth created for accumulation implies the destruction of nature as concrete wealth. The result is a "hole in the ground" and next to it a garbage dump with used commodities, outdated machinery and money without value. However, once all concrete wealth (which today consists mainly of the last natural resources) will be gone, abstract wealth will disappear as well. It will, in Marx's words, "evaporate". The fact that abstract wealth is not real wealth will become obvious, and so will the answer to the question of which wealth modern economic activity has really created. In the end it is nothing but monetary wealth (and even this mainly exists virtually or on accounts) that constitutes a monoculture controlled by a tiny minority. Diversity is suffocated and millions of people are left wondering how to survive. And really: how do you survive with neither resources nor means of production nor money?
The nihilism of our economic system is evident. The whole world will be transformed into money – and then it will disappear. After all, money cannot be eaten. What no one seems to consider is the fact that it is impossible to re-transform commodities, money, capital and machinery into nature or concrete wealth. It seems that underlying all "economic development" is the assumption that "resources", the "sources of wealth", are renewable and everlasting – just like the "growth" they create.
The notion that capitalism and democracy are one is proven a myth by neoliberalism and its "monetary totalitarianism".
The primacy of politics over economy has been lost. Politicians of all parties have abandoned it. It is the corporations that dictate politics. Where corporate interests are concerned, there is no place for democratic convention or community control. Public space disappears. The res publica turns into a res privata, or – as we could say today – a res privata transnationale (in its original Latin meaning, privare means "to deprive"). Only those in power still have rights. They give themselves the licenses they need, from the "license to plunder" to the "license to kill". Those who get in their way or challenge their "rights" are vilified, criminalized and to an increasing degree defined as "terrorists" or, in the case of defiant governments, as "rogue states" – a label that usually implies threatened or actual military attack, as we can see in the cases of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, and maybe Syria and Iran in the near future. U.S. President Bush had even spoken of the possibility of "preemptive" nuclear strikes should the U.S. feel endangered by weapons of mass destruction. The European Union did not object.
Neoliberalism and war are two sides of the same coin. Free trade, piracy and war are still "an inseparable three" – today maybe more so than ever. War is not only "good for the economy" but is indeed its driving force and can be understood as the "continuation of economy with other means". War and economy have become almost indistinguishable. Wars about resources – especially oil and water – have already begun. The Gulf Wars are the most obvious examples. Militarism once again appears as the "executor of capital accumulation" – potentially everywhere and enduringly.
Human rights and rights of sovereignty have been transferred from people, communities and governments to corporations. The notion of the people as a sovereign body has practically been abolished. We have witnessed a coup of sorts. The political systems of the West and the nation state as guarantees for and expression of the international division of labor in the modern world system are increasingly dissolving. Nation states are developing into "periphery states" according to the inferior role they play in the proto-despotic "New World Order". Democracy appears outdated. After all, it "hinders business".
The "New World Order" implies a new division of labor that does no longer distinguish between North and South, East and West – today, everywhere is South. An according International Law is established which effectively functions from top to bottom ("top-down") and eliminates all local and regional communal rights. And not only that: many such rights are rendered invalid both retroactively and for the future.
The logic of neoliberalism as a sort of totalitarian neo-mercantilism is that all resources, all markets, all money, all profits, all means of production, all "investment opportunities", all rights and all power belong to the corporations only. To paraphrase Richard Sennett: "Everything to the Corporations!" One might add: "Now!"
The corporations are free to do whatever they please with what they get. Nobody is allowed to interfere. Ironically, we are expected to rely on them to find a way out of the crisis we are in. This puts the entire globe at risk since responsibility is something the corporations do not have or know. The times of social contracts are gone. In fact, pointing out the crisis alone has become a crime and all critique will soon be defined as "terror" and persecuted as such.
IMF Economic Medicine
Since the 1980s, it is mainly the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) of the World Bank and the IMF that act as the enforcers of neoliberalism. These programs are levied against the countries of the South which can be extorted due to their debts. Meanwhile, numerous military interventions and wars help to take possession of the assets that still remain, secure resources, install neoliberalism as the global economic politics, crush resistance movements (which are cynically labeled as "IMF uprisings"), and facilitate the lucrative business of reconstruction.
In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher introduced neoliberalism in Anglo-America. In 1989, the so-called "Washington Consensus" was formulated. It claimed to lead to global freedom, prosperity and economic growth through "deregulation, liberalization and privatization". This has become the credo and promise of all neoliberals. Today we know that the promise has come true for the corporations only – not for anybody else.
In the Middle East, the Western support for Saddam Hussein in the war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s, and the Gulf War of the early 1990s, announced the permanent U.S. presence in the world's most contested oil region.
In continental Europe, neoliberalism began with the crisis in Yugoslavia caused by the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) of the World Bank and the IMF. The country was heavily exploited, fell apart and finally beset by a civil war over its last remaining resources. Since the NATO war in 1999, the Balkans are fragmented, occupied and geopolitically under neoliberal control. The region is of main strategic interest for future oil and gas transport from the Caucasus to the West (for example the "Nabucco" gas pipeline that is supposed to start operating from the Caspian Sea through Turkey and the Balkans by 2011. The reconstruction of the Balkans is exclusively in the hands of Western corporations.
All governments, whether left, right, liberal or green, accept this. There is no analysis of the connection between the politics of neoliberalism, its history, its background and its effects on Europe and other parts of the world. Likewise, there is no analysis of its connection to the new militarism.
 Maria Mies and Claudia von Werlhof (Hg), Lizenz zum Plündern. Das Multilaterale Abkommen über Investitionen MAI. Globalisierung der Konzernherrschaft – und was wir dagegen tun können, Hamburg, EVA, 2003 (1998), p. 23, 36.
 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust: Part Two, New York, Oxford University Press, 1999.
 Maria Mies, Krieg ohne Grenzen. Die neue Kolonisierung der Welt, Köln, PapyRossa, 2005, p. 34.
 Arno Gruen, Der Verlust des Mitgefühls. Über die Politik der Gleichgültigkeit, München, 1997, dtv.
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 Claudia von Werlhof, Speed Kills!, in Dimmel/Schmee, 2005, p. 284-292
 See the "roll back" and "stand still" clauses in the WTO agreements in Maria Mies and Claudia von Werlhof (Hg), Lizenz zum Plündern. Das Multilaterale Abkommen über Investitionen MAI. Globalisierung der Konzernherrschaft – und was wir dagegen tun können, Hamburg, EVA, 2003.
 Richard Sennett, zit. "In Einladung zu den Wiener Vorlesungen," 21.11.2005: Alternativen zur neoliberalen Globalisierung, 2005.
 Claudia von Werlhof, MAInopoly: Aus Spiel wird Ernst, in Mies/Werlhof, 2003, p. 148-192.
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 Michel Chossudovsky, Global Brutal. Der entfesselte Welthandel, die Armut, der Krieg, Frankfurt, Zweitausendeins, 2002.
 Wolfgang Richter, Elmar Schmähling, and Eckart Spoo (Hg), Die Wahrheit über den NATO-Krieg gegen Jugoslawien, Schkeuditz, Schkeuditzer Buchverlag, 2000; Wolfgang Richter, Elmar Schmähling, and Eckart Spoo (Hg), Die deutsche Verantwortung für den NATO-Krieg gegen Jugoslawien, Schkeuditz, Schkeuditzer Buchverlag, 2000.
 Bernard Lietaer, Jenseits von Gier und Knappheit, Interview with Sarah van Gelder, 2006, www.transaction.net/press/interviews/Lietaer 0497.html .The original source of this article is Global Research Copyright © Prof. Claudia von Werlhof , Global Research, 2015
www.theamericanconservative.comby Andrew J. BacevichLet's face it: in times of war, the Constitution tends to take a beating. With the safety or survival of the nation said to be at risk, the basic law of the land-otherwise considered sacrosanct-becomes nonbinding, subject to being waived at the whim of government authorities who are impatient, scared, panicky, or just plain pissed off.
The examples are legion. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln arbitrarily suspended the writ of habeas corpus and ignored court orders that took issue with his authority to do so. After U.S. entry into World War I, the administration of Woodrow Wilson mounted a comprehensive effort to crush dissent, shutting down anti-war publications in complete disregard of the First Amendment. Amid the hysteria triggered by Pearl Harbor, Franklin Roosevelt issued an executive order consigning to concentration camps more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans, many of them native-born citizens. Asked in 1944 to review this gross violation of due process, the Supreme Court endorsed the government's action by a 6-3 vote.
More often than not, the passing of the emergency induces second thoughts and even remorse. The further into the past a particular war recedes, the more dubious the wartime arguments for violating the Constitution appear. Americans thereby take comfort in the "lessons learned" that will presumably prohibit any future recurrence of such folly.
Even so, the onset of the next war finds the Constitution once more being ill-treated. We don't repeat past transgressions, of course. Instead, we devise new ones. So it has been during the ongoing post-9/11 period of protracted war.
During the presidency of George W. Bush, the United States embraced torture as an instrument of policy in clear violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment. Bush's successor, Barack Obama, ordered the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen, a death by drone that was visibly in disregard of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Both administrations-Bush's with gusto, Obama's with evident regret-imprisoned individuals for years on end without charge and without anything remotely approximating the "speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury" guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. Should the present state of hostilities ever end, we can no doubt expect Guantánamo to become yet another source of "lessons learned" for future generations of rueful Americans.
Yet one particular check-and-balance constitutional proviso now appears exempt from this recurring phenomenon of disregard followed by professions of dismay, embarrassment, and "never again-ism" once the military emergency passes. I mean, of course, Article I, section 8 of the Constitution, which assigns to Congress the authority "to declare war" and still stands as testimony to the genius of those who drafted it. There can be no question that the responsibility for deciding when and whether the United States should fight resides with the legislative branch, not the executive, and that this was manifestly the intent of the Framers.
On parchment at least, the division of labor appears straightforward. The president's designation as commander-in-chief of the armed forces in no way implies a blanket authorization to employ those forces however he sees fit or anything faintly like it. Quite the contrary: legitimizing presidential command requires explicit congressional sanction.
Actual practice has evolved into something altogether different. The portion of Article I, Section 8, cited above has become a dead letter, about as operative as blue laws still on the books in some American cities and towns that purport to regulate Sabbath day activities. Superseding the written text is an unwritten counterpart that goes something like this: with legislators largely consigned to the status of observers, presidents pretty much wage war whenever, wherever, and however they see fit. Whether the result qualifies as usurpation or forfeiture is one of those chicken-and-egg questions that's interesting but practically speaking beside the point.
This is by no means a recent development. It has a history. In the summer of 1950, when President Harry Truman decided that a U.N. Security Council resolution provided sufficient warrant for him to order U.S. forces to fight in Korea, congressional war powers took a hit from which they would never recover.
Congress soon thereafter bought into the notion, fashionable during the Cold War, that formal declarations of hostilities had become passé. Waging the "long twilight struggle" ostensibly required deference to the commander-in-chief on all matters related to national security. To sustain the pretense that it still retained some relevance, Congress took to issuing what were essentially permission slips, granting presidents maximum freedom of action to do whatever they might decide needed to be done in response to the latest perceived crisis.
The Tonkin Gulf Resolution of 1964 offers a notable example. With near unanimity, legislators urged President Lyndon Johnson "to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression" across the length and breadth of Southeast Asia. Through the magic of presidential interpretation, a mandate to prevent aggression provided legal cover for an astonishingly brutal and aggressive war in Vietnam, as well as Cambodia and Laos. Under the guise of repelling attacks on U.S. forces, Johnson and his successor, Richard Nixon, thrust millions of American troops into a war they could not win, even if more than 58,000 died trying.
To leap almost four decades ahead, think of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that was passed by Congress in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 as the grandchild of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. This document required (directed, called upon, requested, invited, urged) President George W. Bush "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations, or persons." In plain language: here's a blank check; feel free to fill it in any way you like.
As a practical matter, one specific individual-Osama bin Laden-had hatched the 9/11 plot. A single organization-al-Qaeda-had conspired to pull it off. And just one nation-backward, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan-had provided assistance, offering sanctuary to bin Laden and his henchmen. Yet nearly 15 years later, the AUMF remains operative and has become the basis for military actions against innumerable individuals, organizations, and nations with no involvement whatsoever in the murderous events of September 11, 2001.
Consider the following less than comprehensive list of four developments, all of which occurred just within the last month and a half:
- In Yemen, a U.S. airstrike killed at least 50 individuals, said to be members of an Islamist organization that did not exist on 9/11.
- In Somalia, another U.S. airstrike killed a reported 150 militants, reputedly members of al-Shabab, a very nasty outfit, even if one with no real agenda beyond Somalia itself.
- In Syria, pursuant to the campaign of assassination that is the latest spin-off of the Iraq War, U.S. special operations forces bumped off the reputed "finance minister" of the Islamic State, another terror group that didn't even exist in September 2001.
- In Libya, according to press reports, the Pentagon is again gearing up for "decisive military action"-that is, a new round of air strikes and special operations attacks to quell the disorder resulting from the U.S.-orchestrated air campaign that in 2011 destabilized that country. An airstrike conducted in late February gave a hint of what is to come: it killed approximately 50 Islamic State militants (and possibly two Serbian diplomatic captives).
Yemen, Somalia, Syria, and Libya share at least this in common: none of them, nor any of the groups targeted, had a hand in the 9/11 attacks.
Imagine if, within a matter of weeks, China were to launch raids into Vietnam, Thailand, and Taiwan, with punitive action against the Philippines in the offing. Or if Russia, having given a swift kick to Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, leaked its plans to teach Poland a lesson for mismanaging its internal affairs. Were Chinese President Xi Jinping or Russian President Vladimir Putin to order such actions, the halls of Congress would ring with fierce denunciations. Members of both houses would jostle for places in front of the TV cameras to condemn the perpetrators for recklessly violating international law and undermining the prospects for world peace. Having no jurisdiction over the actions of other sovereign states, senators and representatives would break down the doors to seize the opportunity to get in their two cents worth. No one would be able to stop them. Who does Xi think he is! How dare Putin!
Yet when an American president undertakes analogous actions over which the legislative branch does have jurisdiction, members of Congress either yawn or avert their eyes.
In this regard, Republicans are especially egregious offenders. On matters where President Obama is clearly acting in accordance with the Constitution-for example, in nominating someone to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court-they spare no effort to thwart him, concocting bizarre arguments nowhere found in the Constitution to justify their obstructionism. Yet when this same president cites the 2001 AUMF as the basis for initiating hostilities hither and yon, something that is on the face of it not legal but ludicrous, they passively assent.
Indeed, when Obama in 2015 went so far as to ask Congress to pass a new AUMF addressing the specific threat posed by the Islamic State-that is, essentially rubberstamping the war he had already launched on his own in Syria and Iraq-the Republican leadership took no action. Looking forward to the day when Obama departs office, Senator Mitch McConnell with his trademark hypocrisy worried aloud that a new AUMF might constrain his successor. The next president will "have to clean up this mess, created by all of this passivity over the last eight years," the majority leader remarked. In that regard, "an authorization to use military force that ties the president's hands behind his back is not something I would want to do." The proper role of Congress was to get out of the way and give this commander-in-chief carte blanche so that the next one would enjoy comparably unlimited prerogatives.
Collaborating with a president they roundly despise-implicitly concurring in Obama's questionable claim that "existing statutes [already] provide me with the authority I need" to make war on ISIS-the GOP-controlled Congress thereby transformed the post-9/11 AUMF into what has now become, in effect, a writ of permanent and limitless armed conflict. In Iraq and Syria, for instance, what began as a limited but open-ended campaign of air strikes authorized by President Obama in August 2014 has expanded to include an ever-larger contingent of U.S. trainers and advisers for the Iraqi military, special operations forces conducting raids in both Iraq and Syria, the first new all-U.S. forward fire base in Iraq, and at least 5,000 U.S. military personnel now on the ground, a number that continues to grow incrementally.
Remember Barack Obama campaigning back in 2008 and solemnly pledging to end the Iraq War? What he neglected to mention at the time was that he was retaining the prerogative to plunge the country into another Iraq War on his own ticket. So has he now done, with members of Congress passively assenting and the country essentially a prisoner of war.
By now, through its inaction, the legislative branch has, in fact, surrendered the final remnant of authority it retained on matters relating to whether, when, against whom, and for what purpose the United States should go to war. Nothing now remains but to pay the bills, which Congress routinely does, citing a solemn obligation to "support the troops." In this way does the performance of lesser duties provide an excuse for shirking far greater ones.
In military circles, there is a term to describe this type of behavior. It's called cowardice.
Andrew J. Bacevich is the author of America's War for the Middle East: A Military History , which has just been published by Random House.
Copyright 2016 Andrew J. Bacevich
April 6, 2016 | The American ConservativeThe revelation that an Israeli firm cracked the iPhone raises questions about state-corporate espionage.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) court battle with Apple over the security system in place on iPhones appears to be over. But some experts in the communications security community are expressing concern because of theBureau's unwillingness to reveal what exactly occurred to end the standoff.
According to government sources speaking both on and off the record, the FBI succeeded in breaking through the Apple security measures with the assistance of an unidentified third party. The technique used was apparently not a one-off and is transferable as the Bureau has now indicated that it will be accessing data on a second phone involved in a murder investigation in Arkansas and is even considering allowing local police forces to share the technology. That means that the FBI and whatever other security and police agencies both in the U.S. and abroad it provides the information to will have the same capability, potentially compromising the security of all iPhones worldwide.
The breakthrough in the case leads inevitably to questions about the identity of the company or individual that assisted the Bureau. It means that someone outside government circles would also have the ability to unlock the phones, information that could eventually wind up in the hands of criminals or those seeking to disrupt or sabotage existing telecommunications systems.
No security system is unbreakable if a sophisticated hacker is willing to put enough time, money and resources into the effort. If the hacker is a government with virtually unlimited resources the task is somewhat simpler as vast computer power will permit millions of attempts to compromise a phone's operating system.
In this case, the problem consisted of defeating an "Erase Data" feature linked to a passcode that had been placed on the target phone by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in December's San Bernardino terrorist attack. Apple had designed the system so that 10 failures to enter the correct passcode would lock the phone and erase all the data on it. This frustrated FBI efforts to come up with the passcode by what is referred to as a "brute force" attack where every possible combination of numbers and letters is entered until the right code is revealed. Apple's security software also was able to detect multiple attempts after entry of an incorrect passcode and slow down the process, meaning that in theory it would take five and a half years for a computer to try all possible combinations of a six-character alphanumeric passcode using numbers and lowercase letters even if it could disable the "Erase Data" feature.
Speculation is that the FBI and its third party associate were able to break the security by circumventing the measure that monitors the number of unsuccessful passcode entries, possibly to include generating new copies of the phone's NAND storage chip to negate the 10-try limit. The computer generated passcodes could then be entered again and again until the correct code was discovered. And, of course, once the method of corrupting the Erase Data security feature is determined it can be used on any iPhone by anyone with the necessary computer capability, precisely the danger that Apple had warned about when it refused to cooperate with the FBI in the first place.
Most of the U.S. mainstream media has been reluctant to speculate on who the third party that aided the FBI might be but the Israeli press has not been so reticent. They have identified a company called Cellebrite, a digital forensics company located in Israel. It is reported that the company's executive vice president for mobile forensics Leeor Ben-Peretz was recently in Washington consulting with clients. Ben-Peretz is Cellebrite's marketing chief, fully capable of demonstrating the company's forensics capabilities. Cellebrite reportedly has worked with the FBI before, having had a contract arrangement entered into in 2013 to provide decryption services.
Cellebrite was purchased by Japanese cellular telephone giant Suncorporation in 2007 but it is still headquartered and managed from Petah Tikva, Israel with a North American office in Parsippany, New Jersey and branches in Germany, Singapore and Brazil. It works closely with the Israeli police and intelligence services and is reported to have ties to both Mossad and Shin Bet. Many of its employees are former Israeli government employees who had worked in cybersecurity and telecommunications.
If Cellebrite is indeed the "third party" responsible for the breakthrough on the Apple problem, it must lead to speculation that the key to circumventing iPhone security is already out there in the small world of top level telecommunications forensic experts. It might reasonably be assumed that the Israeli government has access to the necessary technology, as well as Cellebrite's Japanese owners. From there, the possibilities inevitably multiply.
Most countries obtain much of their high grade intelligence from communications intercepts. Countries like Israel, China, and France conduct much of their high-tech spying through exploitation of their corporate presence in the United States. Israel, in particular, is heavily embedded in the telecommunications industry, which permits direct access to confidential exchanges of information.
Israel has in fact a somewhat shady reputation in the United States when it comes to telecommunications spying. Two companies in particular-Amdocs and Comverse Infosys-have at times dominated their market niches in America. Amdocs, which has contracts with many of the largest telephone companies in the U.S. that together handle 90 percent of all calls made, logs all calls that go out and come in on the system. It does not retain the conversations themselves, but the records provide patterns, referred to as "traffic analysis," that can provide intelligence leads. In 1999, the National Security Agency warned that records of calls made in the United States were winding up in Israel.
Comverse Infosys, which dissolved in 2013 after charges of conspiracy, fraud, money laundering and making false filings, provided wiretapping equipment to law enforcement throughout the United States. Because equipment used to tap phones for law enforcement is integrated into the networks that phone companies operate, it cannot be detected. Phone calls were intercepted, recorded, stored, and transmitted to investigators by Comverse, which claimed that it had to be "hands on" with its equipment to maintain the system. Many experts believe that it is relatively easy to create an internal cross switch that permits the recording to be sent to a second party, unknown to the authorized law-enforcement recipient. Comverse was also believed to be involved with NSA on a program of illegal spying directed against American citizens.
Comverse equipment was never inspected by FBI or NSA experts to determine whether the information it collected could be leaked, reportedly because senior government managers blocked such inquiries. According to a Fox News investigative report, which was later deleted from Fox's website under pressure from various pro-Israel groups, DEA and FBI sources said post-9/11 that even to suggest that Israel might have been spying using Comverse was "considered career suicide."
Some might argue that collecting intelligence is a function of government and that espionage, even between friends, will always take place. When it comes to smartphones, technical advances in phone security will provide a silver bullet for a time but the hackers, and governments, will inevitably catch up. One might assume that the recent revelations about the FBI's capabilities vis-à-vis the iPhone indicate that the horse is already out of the stable. If Israel was party to the breaking of the security and has the technology it will use it. If the FBI has it, it will share it with other government agencies and even with foreign intelligence and security services.
Absent from the discussion regarding Apple are the more than 80 percent of smartphones used worldwide that employ the Google developed Android operating system that has its own distinct security features designed to block government intrusion. The FBI is clearly driven by the assumption that all smartphones should be accessible to law enforcement. The next big telecommunications security court case might well be directed against Google.
Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.
April 8, 2016 | The National Interest BlogMark, 2 days agoJust typical propaganda to justify endless billions for a nonexistent threat. ,you have to be a brainwashed neocon idiot or have stock in defense corporations or likely both to believe Russia has any interest in invading anyone. How would we feel if Russia moved missiles and troops to our borders?
iberaldisgust -> Mark , linkUkraine ..... so much for brain washed .....Robert Duran -> liberaldisgust , linkWhat about Ukraine?Nawaponrath -> liberaldisgust, a day agoYes US funded riots that kicked out a democratically elected governmentBrian -> Nawaponrath , a day agoWhat's wrong with that?R.W. Emerson II -> Brian , a day ago
You lost - get over it.
You should be use to it by now since all of your former allies have either joined NATO or want to join NATO as protection against Russia.
You see - we actually don't have to do anything to convince nations to work with us - we just let Russia act the way it normally acts and the rest falls into place.
I'm fond of saying that Putin is our best man in Russia. We couldn't ask for a better ally in helping us dismantle Russia.Actually, it's the hack politicians who join NATO as protection against the people.Brian -> Mark , link
The people oppose the politicians in these "Democracies", but that doesn't seem to matter.
* "Over 10,000 Participate in Anti-NATO Rally in Serbia" , Sputnik News , 27 Mar 2016
* "'Neutrality is Beautiful': Majority of Finns Want to Stay Away From NATO" , Sputnik News , 30 Jan 2016Then we can tell Putin that he doesn't need to modernize his upgrades? Ok - you tell your comrades to stand down and we'll do the same.Sinbad2 -> Brian , linkThe Russians do defense, the US is invader uno numero.Michael DeStefano -> Brian , a day agoRussia should stand down where exactly?Nawaponrath -> Brian , a day agoHe upgraded his army after US funded regime change in Ukraine get your facts rightMichael DeStefano -> Nawaponrath , a day agoActually, he upgraded his army after Georgia launched a surprise blitzkrieg operation on S. Ossetia, killing UN-mandated Russian peacekeepers and a few hundred sleeping Ossets, with or without a wink and a nod from the US. Verdict's still out on that last one. You'll have to wait for Karl Rove's posthumous memoirs for that insight.Nawaponrath -> Michael DeStefano , an hour agoYou are right and Georgia was armed and trained by US and instigated by US to attack Russia and what happened it took Russia 5 days to defeat the well armed US backed Georgians and this is an indicator how the US will fare against a war with Russia - FULL RETREATBrian -> Michael DeStefano , a day agoOh, the story is that Russia invaded Georgia lands.Michael DeStefano -> Brian , a day ago
I'm glad Russians were killed. Good.Well, we already know you're a psychopath. No need to repeat yourself ad nauseam.Ted Jebb -> Brian , linkBrian you really don't know what you are talking about. I doubt you ever have left your neighborhood let alone the state. You talk down about Russia and how great the American military is. But then again like all talk it is just talk. In a real war Russia has many more nukes then we do. They kept their nuclear program up while ours has fallen. Should a real war happen all you will see Brian is flashes of of light everywhere and that will be the end. GET IT WAKE UP !!!Brian -> Nawaponrath , a day agoAnd we did it without firing a shot....Vasya Pypkin -> Brian , a day ago
Another win for the U.S.A.
Not our fault that most of your former allies/republics prefer the U.S. to Russia.
Heh heh.Good. Now you gotta feed them ;)Michael DeStefano -> Brian , a day agoWithout firing a shot? Apparently, you missed the right sector snipers in the Hotel Ukraina, the Azov battalion civilian massacres in Mariupol and the Odessa holocaust, eh?Brian -> Michael DeStefano , a day ago
But we know, you loved every bullet of it. Psychopaths are as psychopaths do.
And BTW, speak for yourself. This 'we' thing is delusional. If 'we' met, you'd understand that quick enough.The Russians brought it upon themselves with their history of bullying...Sinbad2 -> Brian , link
Your neighbors will continue to hate you, and we don't need to do anything about it.
I'll be happy to send a donation to Ukraine so they can buy more defensive weapons - the more Russians that invade their land, the more body bags they can send back to Russia.The US is the bully, and you will pay the price, big time.Michael DeStefano -> Brian , a day agoThe Ukrainians brought it upon themselves, sir. You obviously share in that endearing Ukrainian trait to blame everyone but yourself for the consequences of your actions. Next time, try to keep your banderite fascist ideologues at bay and maybe you'll learn something about those 'European values' that Poroshenko seems to like to lecture the Europeans about, if that ain't a hoot in itself.Ted Jebb -> Brian , linkAlright keyboard commando Brian time for your cookies and milk. Then you will need to return to your padded cell !!!Vin -> Mark , linknonexistent?Nawaponrath -> Vin , a day ago
What just happened in Syria?
What about the untraceable subs Russia has that can knock out our aircraft carries easily? PS: Iran has one and we lost track of it shortly after they purchased it from Russia.
What about the large number of nuclear weapon Russia has and has used this threat in an offensives manor lately?
Are you the type of person who leaves his front door unlocked when you go to work?
Just type up your SS#, Credit Cards, and Name for us please...along with you address since you do not believe in preventive measures to safeguard yourself.What about US bombing Syria before Russia intervene 4 years before killing at least 300,000 civiliansJames Johnson -> Vin , linkYou keep burning the fascist candlestick at both home and abroad your going to get burned.JB 1969 -> Vin , a day agoThe untraceable diesel electric are very short range by ocean going standard AND become more visible it they need to approach the target (The hope to submerge, sit and have a vessel pass very close).Michael DeStefano -> Vin , a day agoOh God, get a dozen cartons of worry beads and geriatric diapers off Amazon and leave the bullcrap where it belongs.Che Guevara , a day agoThe Baltics and Poland should take an example from Finland. Finland has managed to avoid conflict with Russia, without any help from the U.S. or NATO. Threats of imminent Russian invasion are fairy tales.strayshot -> Che Guevara , a day agoUp until they show up on your doorstep asking for a cup of sugar...... and your surrender of the property.Che Guevara -> strayshot , a day agoAre you from Finland?Ex Pat , linkAnother silly "what if" article. A conflict between Nato and Russia will very quickly go nuclear. Nobody wins. Taking the three tiny Baltic countries into Nato was an incredibly stupid move. The purpose was purely to provoke Russia. They can't be defended without going nuclear. They will be lost forever. Nato gains nothing except the claim of being the victim.liberaldisgust -> Ex Pat , linkI doubt that it would " Quickly go Nuclear " as once that line is crossed as you say there is no winner ...... on any level ....Jose Luiz Costa Sousa -> Ex Pat , a day agoMY CONGRATULATIONS FOR YOU OPINION WHICH IS MY OPINION. I AM A PROFESSIONAL ARMY OFFFICER. YOUR OPINION IS THE CORRECT AND THE REAL ONE. ALL THOSE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT WHATEVER STRENGTH AND KIND OF TROOPS OR WEAPONS NATO MIGTH HAVE WHEREVER... WITHIN EUROPE IS SIMPLY SILLY...Sinbad2 -> Jose Luiz Costa Sousa , link
I THINK ANY ARMY OFFICER KNOWS WHAT YOU JUST TOLD... SO EITHER ALL THIS SHIT AROUND WHOM, WHAT AND WHERE TO DEPLOY MILITARY POWER TO STOP THE RUSSIANS IS JUST TO HAVE THE STUPID EUROPEANS SPENDING MORE MONEY BUYING USA WEAPONS OR IF NATO BELIEVES WHAT THEY ARE DOING... THEN THE GENERALS IN CHARGE ARE JUST DONKEYS ... AND I APOLOGIZE TO DONKEYS... OF COURSE ANY VERY FIRST MILITARY ACTION FROM RUSSIA EITHER TO DEFEND ITSELF FROM A NATO/ USA ATTACK OR TO CARRY OUT A PRE EMPTIVE ATTACK WILL BE IMMEDIATELY NUCLEAR... MORE THAN THAT IT WILL BE GLOBAL.... NOT ONLY AGAINST EUROPE... THE MAIN TARGET WILL BE USA AND ITS MILITARY BASES AROUND THE WORLD... AND OF COURSE EUROPE... SO CONVENCIONAL MILITARY MEANS IN SUCH A CONTEXT THEY SHALL BE BASICALLY TROOPS AND EQUIPMENT ABLE TO OPERATE IN A NUCLEAR AND NBQ ENVIRONMENT.Which Army?Sinbad2 -> Ex Pat , linkRussia wouldn't have to go nuclear to defeat Europe, so if it does go nuclear, it will be the US that pushes the button.strayshot -> Ex Pat , a day ago
As the Russian army would be in Europe, the US would nuke Europe.R.W. Emerson II -> strayshot , a day ago"Taking the three tiny Baltic countries into NATO was an incredibly stupid move."
I disagree. Americas' Principles have always stressed spreading Freedom & Liberty as far as possible. Where "we" Americans went wrong was not electing leadership who understood this principle.
I can agree with the Far Left on one thing: Europeans need to bring their military strength back up. It's obvious that my country (USA) is headed down a path of isolationism. A pity, really. Has the Europeans learned to value each other as equals...... or will ancient rivalries tear them apart?The NATO-bloc spends about a trillion dollars each year on the military -- as much as is spent by all other countries in the world combined, and an order of magnitude more than what Russia spends.Nawaponrath -> strayshot , a day ago
If NATO is defending "Freedom", as we're told, then why does it require such a titanic amount of force and money? If U.S.-style "Freedom" is such a good thing, if this Exceptional "Freedom" is something that every sane person wants, then why does it take so much force to impose this "Freedom" on people ?
If I invent something that people want -- a better mouse-trap, say -- do I have to bomb people into buying my product? Do I have to use "police" armed with tanks and machine-guns to round people up and force them into the store where my mouse-trap is sold?
Real freedom is something that sells itself. Freedom is something to live for, not something to kill and be killed for. We develop freedom by exercising our rights, not by turning other countries into rubble!
NATO is selling death and destruction, repackaged as "Freedom and Democracy". Ask what is inside the pretty package! -- then you will understand why this "Freedom" is such a hard sell.Freedom & Liberty via bombs in invasion! Democracy only when US puppet will win otherwise regime change like in Syria and in the past many other countriesSinbad2 -> strayshot , linkBS, the US is a tyrant.Donald Neuland -> strayshot , a day agoyour reply is silly and stupid. Principles never won anything. You are one of those pedantic liberals who think we (but, of course, not you) need to save everyone. Reality says most would rather give up than fight themselves.David James -> Donald Neuland , a day agoI agree with principles (They should not be underestimated!) however I think as Americans we are going to have to be a bit more pragmatic going forward.Brian -> Donald Neuland , a day agoAs the big bad bully in Europe, it would be in your benefit if the U.S. stayed out of things.R.W. Emerson II -> Brian , a day ago
Too bad your former republics and allies prefer the U.S. to Russia.The politicians prefer the U.S. to Russia, perhaps. But I'm not sure that the same can be said of the people.Zero -> Donald Neuland , a day agoA referendum on the future of the Soviet Union was held on 17 March 1991. The question put to voters was: "Do you consider necessary the preservation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a renewed federation of equal sovereign republics in which the rights and freedom of an individual of any nationality will be fully guaranteed?"
Choice .......... ------Votes . -----%
For .............. 56,860,783 .. 73.00
Against .......... 21,030,753 .. 27.00
Invalid ........... 1,809,633 ...... -
Total ............ 79,701,169 . 100.00
Reg., Turnout ... 105,643,364 .. 75.44
Choice .......... ------Votes . -----%
For .............. 22,110,899 .. 71.48
Against ........... 8,820,089 .. 28.52
Invalid ............. 583,256 ...... -
Total ............ 31,514,244 . 100.00
Reg., Turnout .... 37,732,178 .. 83.52
Source: Nohlen & Stöver, "Soviet Union Referendum, 1991 , wikipedia , 14 Oct 2015
-- "Soviet Union referendum, 1991" , US Wow
A similar referendum was held 22 years later, by Gallup. In the 2013 Gallup poll , people in countries formed by the Soviet dissolution said, by a two-to-one margin, that they were worse off than before the Soviet break-up .
But it doesn't matter, of course, what the people think. The "West" -- the U.S. Empire -- decided that the Soviet Union was bad, and the rulers/bankers/gangsters of the "West" know what is best for everyone everywhere . That's because the rulers/bankers of the U.S. Empire are Exceptional, Enlightened and Inherently Superior. They were Born Without Sin, their intentions are Pure and Holy, and they Know More Than God."Reality says most would rather give up than fight themselves."Michael DeStefano -> strayshot , a day ago
That much is certainly true...It was foolish. How did Finland survive as a neutral country? If anyone had any justification for joining NATO after WWII, it was certainly Finland, yet it prospered undisturbed, even benefiting from Russia trade.Peter Tam -> Ex Pat , link
The Baltic leaders are just milking NATO, with their constant 'threat alerts'. And NATO milks them right back. It's a symbiotic milk maid festival.If that happened the Iranian will inherit the worldjimdeim -> Peter Tam , a day agoNo no one would when fallout kills everyone. Fact is if they just blew us up and we never fire one nuke, world ends from fallout.
The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
Last week Defense Secretary Ashton Carter laid a wreath at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington in commemoration of the "50th anniversary" of that war. The date is confusing, as the war started earlier and ended far later than 1966. But the Vietnam War at 50 commemoration presents a good opportunity to reflect on the war and whether we have learned anything from it.
Some 60,000 Americans were killed fighting in that war more than 8,000 miles away. More than a million Vietnamese military and civilians also lost their lives. The US government did not accept that it had pursued a bad policy in Vietnam until the bitter end. But in the end the war was lost and we went home, leaving the destruction of the war behind. For the many who survived on both sides, the war would continue to haunt them.
It was thought at the time that we had learned something from this lost war. The War Powers Resolution was passed in 1973 to prevent future Vietnams by limiting the president's ability to take the country to war without the Constitutionally-mandated Congressional declaration of war. But the law failed in its purpose and was actually used by the war party in Washington to make it easier to go to war without Congress.
Such legislative tricks are doomed to failure when the people still refuse to demand that elected officials follow the Constitution.
When President George HW Bush invaded Iraq in 1991, the warhawks celebrated what they considered the end of that post-Vietnam period where Americans were hesitant about being the policeman of the world. President Bush said famously at the time, "By God, we've kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all."
They may have beat the Vietnam Syndrome, but they learned nothing from Vietnam.
Colonel Harry Summers returned to Vietnam in 1974 and told his Vietnamese counterpart Colonel Tsu, "You know, you never beat us on the battlefield." The Vietnamese officer responded, "That may be so, but it is also irrelevant."
He is absolutely correct: tactical victories mean nothing when pursuing a strategic mistake.
Last month was another anniversary. March 20, 2003 was the beginning of the second US war on Iraq. It was the night of "shock and awe" as bombs rained down on Iraqis. Like Vietnam, it was a war brought on by government lies and propaganda, amplified by a compliant media that repeated the lies without hesitation.
Like Vietnam, the 2003 Iraq war was a disaster. More than 5,000 Americans were killed in the war and as many as a million or more Iraqis lost their lives. There is nothing to show for the war but destruction, trillions of dollars down the drain, and the emergence of al-Qaeda and ISIS.
Sadly, unlike after the Vietnam fiasco there has been almost no backlash against the US empire. In fact, President Obama has continued the same failed policy and Congress doesn't even attempt to reign him in. On the very anniversary of that disastrous 2003 invasion, President Obama announced that he was sending US Marines back into Iraq! And not a word from Congress.
We've seemingly learned nothing.
There have been too many war anniversaries! We want an end to all these pointless wars. It's time we learn from these horrible mistakes.
PoasterToaster Thu, 03/31/2016 - 23:43 | 7389203
You can't just clear a cookie. Google builds a permanent profile on you and stores it at their end. They use a variety of means to do this, such as taking your MAC address and every other bit transmitted on the internet and linking it to a database they have built that records your popular searches and clicks.
This is how people get filter bubbled and steered; dirty internet searches. A clean search would see actual societal interests and trends instead of the contrived ones pushed by the State narrative. It's also part of the meta- and direct data that goes into secret profiles in the "intelligence community".
They think they can use this trendy (yet largely mythical) Big Data to create a precrime division. It's also nice to have dirt on the whole country in case anyone gets out of line and challenges the aristocracy.
Yep, war has always been the best automatic "go to" solution to deflect attention away from elite politician's gross malfeasance.
www.zerohedge.comSubmitted by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,
I am "not isolationist, but I am 'America First,'" Donald Trump told The New York times last weekend. "I like the expression."
Of NATO, where the U.S. underwrites three-fourths of the cost of defending Europe, Trump calls this arrangement "unfair, economically, to us," and adds, "We will not be ripped off anymore."
Beltway media may be transfixed with Twitter wars over wives and alleged infidelities. But the ideas Trump aired should ignite a national debate over U.S. overseas commitments - especially NATO.
For the Donald's ideas are not lacking for authoritative support.
The first NATO supreme commander, Gen. Eisenhower, said in February 1951 of the alliance: "If in 10 years, all American troops stationed in Europe for national defense purposes have not been returned to the United States, then this whole project will have failed."
As JFK biographer Richard Reeves relates, President Eisenhower, a decade later, admonished the president-elect on NATO.
"Eisenhower told his successor it was time to start bringing the troops home from Europe. 'America is carrying far more than her share of free world defense,' he said. It was time for other nations of NATO to take on more of the costs of their own defense."
No Cold War president followed Ike's counsel.
But when the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and the breakup of the Soviet Union into 15 nations, a new debate erupted.
The conservative coalition that had united in the Cold War fractured. Some of us argued that when the Russian troops went home from Europe, the American troops should come home from Europe.
Time for a populous prosperous Europe to start defending itself.
Instead, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush began handing out NATO memberships, i.e., war guarantees, to all ex-Warsaw Pact nations and even Baltic republics that had been part of the Soviet Union.
In a historically provocative act, the U.S. moved its "red line" for war with Russia from the Elbe River in Germany to the Estonian-Russian border, a few miles from St. Petersburg.
We declared to the world that should Russia seek to restore its hegemony over any part of its old empire in Europe, she would be at war with the United States.
No Cold War president ever considered issuing a war guarantee of this magnitude, putting our homeland at risk of nuclear war, to defend Latvia and Estonia.
Recall. Ike did not intervene to save the Hungarian freedom fighters in 1956. Lyndon Johnson did not lift a hand to save the Czechs, when Warsaw Pact armies crushed "Prague Spring" in 1968. Reagan refused to intervene when Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, on Moscow's orders, smashed Solidarity in 1981.
These presidents put America first. All would have rejoiced in the liberation of Eastern Europe. But none would have committed us to war with a nuclear-armed nation like Russia to guarantee it.
Yet, here was George W. Bush declaring that any Russian move against Latvia or Estonia meant war with the United States. John McCain wanted to extend U.S. war guarantees to Georgia and Ukraine.
This was madness born of hubris. And among those who warned against moving NATO onto Russia's front porch was America's greatest geostrategist, the author of containment, George Kennan:
"Expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the post-Cold War era. Such a decision may be expected to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking."
Kennan was proven right. By refusing to treat Russia as we treated other nations that repudiated Leninism, we created the Russia we feared, a rearming nation bristling with resentment.
The Russian people, having extended a hand in friendship and seen it slapped away, cheered the ouster of the accommodating Boris Yeltsin and the arrival of an autocratic strong man who would make Russia respected again. We ourselves prepared the path for Vladimir Putin.
While Trump is focusing on how America is bearing too much of the cost of defending Europe, it is the risks we are taking that are paramount, risks no Cold War president ever dared to take.
Why should America fight Russia over who rules in the Baltic States or Romania and Bulgaria? When did the sovereignty of these nations become interests so vital we would risk a military clash with Moscow that could escalate into nuclear war? Why are we still committed to fight for scores of nations on five continents?
Trump is challenging the mindset of a foreign policy elite whose thinking is frozen in a world that disappeared around 1991.
He is suggesting a new foreign policy where the United States is committed to war only when are attacked or U.S. vital interests are imperiled. And when we agree to defend other nations, they will bear a full share of the cost of their own defense. The era of the free rider is over.
Trump's phrase, "America First!" has a nice ring to it.
Trumps statements are true, but don't go far enough. Since the Soviet Union doesn't exist anymore, there is no reason for NATO to exist, or especially for us to be a part of it. We gain nothing except the promises to go to nuclear war with Russia, even over a shitshow country like turkey, who shot down a fucking Russia plane.
It would also be interesting to see what happens to the welfare states of Western Europe if they were forced to pay for all this shit, or the US left all together.
Surely Trump is not so stupid to believe that we are being "had" by the Europeans in regards to the collective NATO defense budget? Surely he understands NATO is merely a captive audience for arms sales ex USA?
Surely he understands that by paying "more than our share" we are utilizing it to push a fucked up agenda abroad with the complicity of those who are "not paying their share"?
Come on Donald......get with the program.
In a manner of speaking he's right. Other countries don't pay their fair share of the expenses. However, the size and scope of what exists now is orders of magnitude TOO BIG. So everyone else shouldn't pay more, the US should scale back and spend WAY less.
That is what will get someone killed. Scaling back at all and therefore costing any private predatory military supplier / contractor money..
NATO should have been disbanded when USSR was toppled. It's that simple. It's a fucking MIC jobs program now. Let Europe sink or swim on it's own.
Something extraordinary has taken place in the last few weeks.
More and more old-time Republican stalwarts and leaders have laid their voices bare, if not defending Donald Trump, then for certain excoriating the three decade long NeoLib/NeoCon pact that is strangulating American sovereignty and paving the way for a NWO. Paul Craig Roberts, as always, was perhaps the first. But now David Stockman (Reagan's Budget Director), Peggy Noonan (Reagan's speechwriter), Patrick Buchanan (another Reaganite and erstwhile Republican curmudgeon), Robert Bennett (Reagan's head of the Department of Education), and perhaps many more that I am not aware of are coming out of the closet.
It is almost as though Trump's 'take-no-prisoners' ethos, and getting away with it and media and political correctness be damned, is actually creating enough breathing space for others to say what's been on their mind but have been too frightened to speak out about. Well spoken, known, and credible voices are pushing back. This could be a snowball careening downhill turning into an avalanche. If enough of these folks keep emerging from dark corners they could well provide Trump with a political phalanx that diminish the probabliity of something as outrageous as stealing the nomination or even assassination.
One thing is for certain. A civil war is taking place already, and its in the Republican Party.
Smedley Butler would never have the USA in such a criminal organizations.
But then Wall Street and the City of London, plus the Vatican and Tel Aviv call ALL the shots here in 'Murica
Only 725 bases
Hillary can double that
Maybe NATO will come to rescue and save the US from the likes of Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz.
Batman11 , Tue, 03/29/2016 - 15:58
The thing is Europe doesn't need any defence.
The Putin bogeyman, well if we keep our closet doors shut I am sure we will be OK without any military spending at all.
Russian paranoia is an American thing and we never got into that "checking under the bed for Reds" thing in Europe.
Well maybe we will need some spending after the US turned Afghanistan and the Middle East into terrorist training centres.
NATO is just US sponsored interference and we could all do without it.
Come on Trump the world will get on much better without US military spending causing problems.
Freddie , Tue, 03/29/2016 - 15:58
NATO? The USA and European nations cannot even protect their borders from invasion. End NATO. It is only good for genocide against small unarmed countries.
March 23, 2016 | Fort Russ
Words always fail to speak to the human tragedy component of yesterday's 'terrorist' attacks, and my words cannot adequately address them either.
Moreover, it seems in poor judgment to specifically lament over one criminal tragedy, when such criminal tragic events are so rampant around the world, and are often the product of US-NATO operations globally.
The terrorist attacks in Belgium are a direct part of US-NATO's plans to perpetuate war and instability, and destabilization anywhere that the US senses hesitation to fully support its plans.
I have not yet seen evidence that the individuals who pulled off these attacks have any connection to any of the named or known 'terrorist' networks. What I have read so far as a Kurdish media sources claiming that ISIS had claimed responsibility.
For those linking these attacks to the known and documented ISIS/FSA members/soldiers that have now decided to seek 'refuge' in Europe from the way which they created, I would say that while it is possible that any such individuals who came as refugees in the recent wave could have been used in these attacks, such assets already existed and lived in Europe for an indeterminably long time.
There is a link, however, between the 'refugee' crisis and these terrorist attacks, - and that is that these are both components of the general destabilization of the middle-east and now, Europe. From a sociological and strategic point of view, it is difficult to imagine that such 'reverberations' were not foreseen, and therefore expected, and as such perhaps even viewed as desirable by the powers that be. Which powers that be do I speak of?
This type of 'terrorism' fits other well established models that are characterized as a 'strategy of tension', and these historically were planned and executed by assets of US-NATO military intelligence themselves, as part of the Gladio program.
It is unlikely in my view that ISIS, in the meaningful sense of the term, was behind this. Terrorist attacks such as this have a purpose for actual terrorist groups when they are linked with demands, a quid pro quo, release of prisoners, or some change in policy, recognition, or even a cash payment. They come after general warnings, and some inability of the terrorist group to get its demands met.
At the same time we have another 'ISIS' or, if you will, Al Qaeda - as a western intelligence and operations program designed to attack targets designated by their US/NATO handlers.
So we have to divide between military ISIS - that army of mercenaries, misled youth, drug addicts, ex-prisoners, and religious fanatics on the one hand, backed by Turkey and Gulf monarchies, from the 'ISIS' that is more like Al Qaeda - specially trained intelligence and security assets with knowledge of electronics, bomb making, counter-security/penetration, etc. - who are directly controlled by CIA/Mossad/MI6 and Saudi security and Pakistani ISI.
These 'random' attacks serve no tactical purpose for an actual terrorist group in my view, and only increase the chances that European voters or citizens will support some action, direct or kinetic, against ISIS. So this does not serve ISIS's interests.
The US-NATO intelligence program, through Gladio has long time assets in Europe, and the last year has been reminiscent of a time during the Cold War when this strategy of tension reached its peak in Europe during the 1970's.
Then, as perhaps now, the goal was to push European citizens/voters into a hostile position against a generally described 'enemy' - then communism, today 'Islamicism/Islamism'.
"There's a very real difference between allegiance to country–allegiance to people–than allegiance to state, which is what nationalism today is really more about," says Edward Snowden. On February 20, the whistleblowing cybersecurity expert addressed a wide range of questions during an in-depth interview with Reason's Nick Gillespie at Liberty Forum, a gathering of the Free State Project (FSP) in Manchester, New Hampshire.
FSP seeks to move 20,000 people over the next five years to New Hampshire, where they will secure "liberty in our lifetime" by affecting the political, economic, and cultural climate of the state. Over 1,900 members have already migrated to the state and their impact is already being felt. Among their achievements to date:
getting 15 of their brethren in the state House, challenging anti-ridehail laws, fighting in court for outre religious liberty, winning legal battles over taping cops, being mocked by Colbert for heroically paying off people's parking meters, hosting cool anything goes festivals for libertarians, nullifying pot juries, and inducing occasional pants-wetting absurd paranoia in local statists.
Snowden's cautionary tale about the the dangers of state surveillance wasn't lost on his audience of libertarians and anarchists who reside in the "Live Free or Die" state. He believes that technology has given rise to unprecedented freedom for individuals around the world-but he says so from an undisclosed location in authoritarian Russia.
And he reminds us that governments also have unprecedented potential to surveil their populations at a moment's notice, without anyone ever realizing what's happening.
"They know more about us than they ever have in the history of the United States," Snowden warns. "They're excusing themselves from accountability to us at the same time they're trying to exert greater power over us."
In the midst of a fiercely contested presidential race, Snowden remains steadfast in his distrust of partisan politics and declined to endorse any particular candidate or party, or even to label his beliefs. "I do see sort of a clear distinction between people who have a larger faith in liberties and rights than they do in states and institutions," he grants. "And this would be sort of the authoritarian/libertarian axis in the traditional sense. And I do think it's clear that if you believe in the progressive liberal tradition, which is that people should have greater capability to act freely, to make their own choices, to enjoy a better and freer life over the progression of sort of human life, you're going to be pushing away from that authoritarian axis at all times."
Snowden drews laughs when asked if he was eligible to vote via absentee ballot. "This is still a topic of...active research," he deadpans.
But he stresses that the U.S. government can win back trust and confidence through rigorous accountability to citizens and by living up to the ideals on which the country was founded. "We don't want Russia or China or North Korea or Iran or France or Germany or Brazil or any other country in the world to hold us up as an example for why we should be narrowing the boundaries of liberty around the world instead of expanding them," says Snowden.
Runs about 50 minutes.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
0:00 - Edward Snowden, welcome to New Hampshire. Meet the Free State Project.
0:53 - Apple vs. the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Why should strong encryption be legal?
5:02 - Is privacy dead? Should we just get over it?
10:48 - What would a legal and effective government surveillance program look like?
14:53 - Could we have stopped the slide into mass surveillance? Shouldn't we have seen it coming?
19:04 - How can government earn back the trust and confidence of the American people?
21:40 - What's wrong with our political parties?
24:27 - What are Snowden's political beliefs? Is he a libertarian?
26:27 - How did Snowden educate himself? Is he helped or hurt by his lack of formal education?
28:48 - Why did Snowden see bulk surveillance differently than his NSA co-workers?
33:03 - Was the NSA involved in gathering evidence against Ross Ulbricht?
35:39 - Will the government eventually give up fighting internet commerce? Or will they just change tactics?
37:32 - How can Snowden advocate freedom from a place like Russia?
41:00 - How should we teach children about the Internet?
43:43 - Under what conditions would Snowden return to the United States?
Go here for full transcript, downloadable versions, and more links and videos: http://reason.com/reasontv/2016/02/25...
Produced by Todd Krainin and Nick Gillespie. Cameras by Meredith Bragg and Krainin.
Visit http://reason.com/reasontv/2016/02/22... for full text, links, and downloadable versions. And subscribe to Reason TV to be notified when new videos are released.jabbermockyAs an analytical thinker, communicator and recovering professional journalist, I can thoroughly appreciate Ed Snowden's take on the benefits of using pseudonyms when releasing potentially incendiary ideas to the greater population. Fairly sure we both know that no critical thinking goes unpunished in America these days. Mission 1: Stay safe!
Being a former Army Ranger I find it difficult to understand how Americans support the Right to bear Arms but not the Right of Free speech and Privacy of communication. all three amendments have equal rights. While I don't agree with how Snowden leaked the 1984 Surveillance Corporations, I'm glad he did. Sua sponte, Uncle Mike
Robert Van Tuinen2
I am. the government intentionally hid this information and discredited and fire previous whistleblowers. What he did was right and necessary.
"We want a government that is...small...and legitimate". SPEAK FOR YOURSELF! GOVERNMENT IS THE OPPOSITE OF LEGITIMATE. Government is a monopoly on violent coercive force, no matter how small. "Representing the people" is impossible without perpetrating evil on a large percentage. Demand 100% voluntary interaction now. No government=no rulers. We are not a government of law when The Constitution is up for "interpretation". The government is the biggest breach of contract and coersive force ever perpetrated on people. It's historical existance does not argue for its continued existance. Think: zero coersion. Pessimistic? Me too, but look at the social change enabled by digital communication. Look at the Free State Project, Look at cryptography; We may at least find a piece of freedom in this world of coersion and distrust. Things are bad but we are bound to hit bottom. Please applause.j/k.
amazing! This person's value system, sense of morality, loyalty to humanity and liberty is admirable. The people are starving for politicians with that kind of ethos. I wish Ron Paul run for president. I kinda like Bernie Sanders most out of the options offered in this election.
snowden said "im an engineer not a politican". when you listen to Ed Snowden, you must recognize that he is in fact a great philosopher.
when i listen to his answers when he was asked about the apple case. the things he said are exactly right without a single flaw in his descriptions. he described every single aspect and he showed us by doing that, what the apple case is really all about.
he points out: it is important to make sure that a goverment does not allow backdors in encryption, but we have also to accept the reality that we are simply unable to protect us against the NSA surveillance apparatus. again snowden talks about NSAs (in my opinion) the very dangerous ability to store all communication data in advance. by the way: Russ Tice said more then once "they store everything indefinitely".
what Snowden said about the apple case destroys the sophisticated narrative the media has created on purpose to suggest that surveillance can be avoided somehow. there is a nice article on reason.com talking in detail about the Apple case, and how it was planned well in advance.
if i had a single chance to ask mr snowden one question i would ask him "Mr Snowden, do you believe what the goverment has told us about 9/11"? i am sure there was enough time for mr snowden to listen to a guy named David Chandler, or to take a look at the movie "HYPOTHESIS" for example.
it might be interesting to watch his reaction.
If EVERY gubermant agency had ONE person with BALLS like Snowden and told the truth about tyranny the American people (not to be confused with it's slimeball government) would be on the good path to taking our Republic back. Those who perform unconstitutional tasks, or enforce unconstitutional laws against their fellow Americans are TRAITORS and the modern day equivalent to Hitlers SS.
Edward Snowden is a gifted outlier, born with genius brain. How I wish to be born with such mind.
UPDATE 9/05/2015: In a rare exclusive interview from Russia, Edward Snowden states he would come back to the United States if he was guaranteed a fair trial. A fair trial is unlikely says ex-whistle-blower, Daniel Ellsberg. He would not be allowed to confront his accusers. He would not be allowed to testify in front of a jury. It would be like a closed military tribunal, and he would be locked up with no detailed press coverage.
tags: update, edward snowden, hillary clinton, whistle blower, NSA, barack obama
Jason , March 7, 2016 at 5:44 pm
Using a decent VPN for everything is rapidly becoming a must. It probably won't protect you from the NSA, but it will do the job of protecting you from your own ISP.
That you have to protect yourself from your ISP is becoming just one more part of the sad reality that is the modern United States.
NeqNeq , March 7, 2016 at 6:09 pm
+1 to the VPNs.
I would say Tor is about as good except that Google, Akami, and Cloudflare sites (cough NC cough) regularly block Tor exit nodes. Still, you get a little more hardening using Tor browser than other browsers (using defaults).
bob , March 7, 2016 at 6:24 pm
"Verizon Wireless" Even if it were possible to use a VPN with a phone, it would still be affected. It's a MITM (man in the middle) attack.
The story talks about verizon wireless, not what would be called an ISP by most people- home internet. Fios, time warner, Comcast…etc
Jump right into that military intel briar patch, for security®.
NeqNeq , March 7, 2016 at 6:53 pm
Umm… I am not sure if you confusing VPN with something else, but yes. Its trivially easy to use VPN with almost any smartphone.
As for Tor: i agree that State sponsor surveillance is still a risk, but as noted above, the topic was ISPs (and i mentioned websites). When you use a phone, your carrier acts as the ISP.
NeqNeq , March 7, 2016 at 7:02 pm
Oh and for those who might care…
The header with your unique identifier can be scrubbed out when your using a VPN. Verizon only sees that you "went" to the VPN address…all sites you visit see you as coming from the VPN address. Neither the two shall meet without further snooping (which is not covered by the injection Verizon does…that we know of).
Pat , March 7, 2016 at 3:59 pm
Damn, I knew I should have gone through the process to remove the drm from my e books. I might have to look into doing that immediately. But first I should check how my couple of nook newstand subscriptions will be handled.
Whew, I have time. That is in the UK. Still a good warning shot over the bow…Benedict@Large , March 7, 2016 at 4:07 pmhunkerdown , March 7, 2016 at 7:40 pm
"… But U.S. critics say that could allow foreign companies to use the agreement to invalidate U.S. safety rules and regulations."
One thing no one much mentions is that the TPP allows foreign corporations the ability to sue to invalidate regulations, but does not all local corporations the same. In this, TPP privileges foreign over local production, and ensures a race to the bottom on product place of origin.
"A Party may exclude from patentability inventions, the prevention within their
territory of the commercial exploitation of which is necessary to protect ordre public
or morality, including to protect human, animal or plant life or health or to avoid
serious prejudice to nature or the environment, provided that such exclusion is not
made merely because the exploitation is prohibited by its law."
I thought I saw the word morality some place else in the TPP, but apparently, the IP chapter was the only place. Bad research on my part! In any case, beware the ratchet clauses and the enemies within, lest your health system become just "Canadian™" enough for the world market.
March 6, 2016 | The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and ProsperityThe Republican presidential debates have become so he