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Journalist explains why US doesn’t need hackers to control the world, and it’s hard to disagree

RT | October 5, 2018

‘Russian hackers’ have become the go-to bogeymen for Washington. There’s little mention of American hackers though – probably because they aren’t needed, since most of the internet is a branch of US intelligence.

The US, which is now raising massive alarm over Russia’s supposed efforts to hack everything Americans hold dear, has been refusing to sign a treaty on cyberspace behavior with Russia for almost a decade now. The reason is simple, one Russian-American author explains: Washington doesn’t need a treaty, because it dominates the digital space completely as it is.

Washington’s panic over ‘Russian hackers’ is just a reflection of what it’s been doing to the world for years, says Yasha Levine, the author of ‘Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet.’

And thanks to surveillance programs like PRISM, outed by Edward Snowden 2013, the US doesn’t even need hackers: just by being on social media or using Google, you’re voluntarily surrendering your data to the NSA.

Far from scaling back its snooping after Snowden pulled the curtain on PRISM, the US has multiplied its efforts. Citing ‘national security’, lawmakers renewed the NSA’s sweeping spying powers this year. Domestic phone surveillance tripled last year, user data requests to Apple doubled, and user data requests to Google were at an all-time high.

And just recently, the ‘Five eyes’ powers – the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – issued a memo demanding that tech giants implement ‘backdoors’ to allow governments direct access to users’ encrypted data.

The entire narrative of cyber threats to the “good guys” US is a smokescreen to hide the unenviable fact: it’s the US that’s the apex predator of the digital ocean.

October 6, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

Shutting Down Free Speech in America: Government and Lobbyists Work Together to Destroy the First Amendment

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | September 24, 2018

During the past several years, there has been increased pressure coming from some in the federal government aided and abetted by powerful advocacy groups in the private sector to police social and alternative media. It is a multi-pronged attack on the First Amendment which has already limited the types of information that Americans have access to, thereby narrowing policy options to suit those in power

The process has been ostensibly driven by concerns over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, but it is really about who controls and limits the public’s right to know what is going on out of sight in Washington and New York City, where politics and money come together. If one is interested in the free flow of information and viewpoints that comes with the alternative media, it certainly does not look that way. Robert Parry described it as a deliberate process of “demonizing and silencing dissent that questions mainstream narratives.”

Last October top executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter were summoned to Capitol Hill for a discussion of their role in what is alleged to be Russia’s influence on the presidential campaign and went back home contrite and promising to improve. They have indeed improved by punishing members whose views have been found to be unacceptable, blocking them and suspending their access to the sites. Meanwhile, the federal government for its part has attempted to silence independent non-U.S. based voices by declaring Russian media outlets RT America and Sputnik to be “foreign agents,” requiring them to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA). It is an unprecedented action against a news agency and invites quid-pro-quo for U.S. media operating overseas, leaving the American public more ignorant of world affairs than it already is.

Qatar based Al-Jazeera, which has been particularly targeted by Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as “a major exporter of hate against the Jewish people,” will also be required to register with FARA to comply with the new National Defense Authorization Act. Al-Jazeera, it should be noted, has employed undercover investigative journalism to expose the corruption of Britain’s government by Israeli supported Jewish groups. It’s similar series on the activity of Zionist lobbyists in America is on hold due to threats from Jewish organizations to severely punish the network if the documentary should ever be aired.

More recently Facebook has been active in removing accounts and advertising, much of it pro-Palestinian or otherwise critical of Israel, but also to include highly respectable Telesur’s “The Empire Files,” which looked at the consequences of U.S. sanctions on Venezuela. Anything that criticizes the corporate worldview is fair game for censorship. American Herald Tribune, which is critical of U.S. foreign policy in many areas, has recently had its Gmail shut down while Google also stopped servicing ads on its website. Its Facebook page was also closed, all done without any warning or explanation.

One of the organizations most interested in limiting conversations about what is going on in the world is the ADL which claims that it is “the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism and hate of all kinds,” though it clearly excludes incitement or even physical harm directed against Palestinian Arabs resentful of the Israeli occupation of their country. Its definition of “hatred” is really quite selective and is focused on anyone criticizing Israel or Jewish related issues. Its goal is to have any such speech or writing categorized as anti-Semitism and, eventually, to have “hate crime” legislation that criminalizes such expressions.

It is particularly ironic that Israel, which has now declared that it is in no way subject to international law, has itself proposed across the board censorship of the most prominent social media platforms on a global scale by creating an “international coalition that would make limiting criticism of Israel its primary objective.” It would operate through a “loose coalition… [that] would keep an eye on content and where it is being posted, and members of the coalition would work to demand that the platforms remove the content… in any of their countries at the request of members.”

More recently, Israel has been exposed by Wikileaks as hosting a conference describing how it now has a Command Center that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to scan the internet worldwide looking for “anti-Semitic” content. For Israel, anti-Semitic content means any criticism of its government or its behavior towards the Arabs. It reportedly pulls 200,000 posts a day and then reviews them using AI for content considered to be unacceptable. The roughly 10,000 posts determined to be anti-Semitic are then passed on to “intelligence and law enforcement agencies” in countries that have hate speech legislation for further action. The Israeli government also complains directly to the social media source to have the material taken down and works through Jewish organizations in cities and countries where there is considerable “anti-Semitic” activity to pressure governments to act even if there is no legal basis.

As most genuine independent journalism is currently limited to the alternative media, and that media lives on the internet, the ADL and those who are acting in collusion with the Israeli government are focusing on “cyberhate” as the problem and are working with major internet providers to voluntarily censor their product. On October 10th, 2017 the ADL issued a press release out of its New York City offices to explain just how far the censorship process has gone. The organization boasted of the fact that it was working with Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter “to engineer new solutions to stop cyberhate.” Apple is not identified by name in the press release but one should presume that it is also involved, as well as YouTube, which is owned by Google. When you consider that the associates in this venture with ADL are vast corporations that control huge slices of the communications industry, the consequences of some kind of corporate decision on what constitutes “hate” become clear. Combatting “cyberhate” will inevitably become across-the-board censorship for viewpoints that are considered to be unacceptable, including any criticism of Israel.

ADL will be the “convener” for the group, providing “insight on how hate and extremist content manifests – and constantly evolves-online.” Which means it will define the problem, which it calls the “spew[ing] of hateful ideologies” so the corporate world can take steps to block such material. And “the initiative will be managed by ADL’s Center for Technology and Society in Silicon Valley.”

Facebook already employs thousands of censors and there is literally no limit to how far those who want to restrict material that they consider offensive will go. To be sure, most groups who want to limit the flow of information do not have the clout or resources of ADL with its $64 million annual operating budget so its “cyberhate” campaign will no doubt serve as a model that others will then follow. For ADL, reducing criticism of Israel is a much-sought-after goal. For the rest of us, it is a trip into darkness.

September 25, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Researcher Takes on Google’s Subversive Electioneering

Large Google Manipulation: How the search engine brings Clinton millions of votes

Sputnik – September 21, 2018

Big tech companies like Google have the power to “shift upwards of 12 million votes with no one knowing they’re doing so,” a research psychologist told Radio Sputnik Thursday, underscoring the influence profit-making firms can have on public elections.

That, he said, is too much power for “just a couple of executives” and is why tech giant monopolies need to be thought of as public utilities and not private entities.

“Research I have been directing in recent years suggests that Google, Inc., has amassed far more power to control elections — indeed, to control a wide variety of opinions and beliefs — than any company in history has ever had,” research psychologist Robert Epstein says.

In 2015, Dr. Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, wrote a groundbreaking paper about the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME), published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

“Google’s search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more — up to 80 percent in some demographic groups — with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated,” Epstein wrote in Politico at the time.

That kind of a margin could tilt an election, he noted. Indeed, Epstein’s research shows that Google manipulated search results to display pro-Hillary Clinton results higher on the page than others.

With Google reaching a billion users last year, according to The Verge, and the company collecting over $100 billion a year in revenue, the tech giant has acquired an unheard-of power over how we think and how we access information.

Epstein spoke with Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear Thursday about the next phase of his studies: an “electronic cat and mouse game,” a system for collecting, monitoring and analyzing data that can identify and quantify “every single manipulation, every single kind of bias there is,” to hold tech giants accountable.

​”I’ve calculated that the big tech companies can shift upwards of 12 million votes with no one knowing they’re doing so without and leaving a paper trail for the authorities to track,” Epstein told Sputnik.

Google claims user activity causes the manipulation, but Epstein said his research found that it affected both red and blue states and that the first 10 results in searches were consistently biased towards Hillary Clinton.

“All reasonable people… will agree that no private company should have the power to decide what content billions of people around the world will see or will not see. Just think about that issue. Whoever that power should be given to, it’s certainly not to a private company in Mountain View, California; it’s just not. We might need entities that are spin offs from the United Nations, we might need nonprofits, nonpartisan groups… we can all agree it can’t be in the hands of a private company. That’s absurd.”

“The search engine itself is an index to what’s on the internet; it’s an index, basically, to all knowledge. Well, the internet doesn’t belong to Google. The internet belongs to the world, and the index to the internet must be public. And by public I don’t just mean public like, USA; it has to be controlled internationally. There has to be transparency; a lot of cooperation is going to be necessary. And I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but the fact is, that index has to be public — period.”

“In terms of laws or regulations or antitrust actions, there’s some things in motion. There’s lots going on in the EU in that regard; people are gearing up in Washington, DC. Right now there are hearings, there’s talk about antitrust actions — I think some things will happen. I don’t think law or regulation is going to help us very much, because law and regulation moves very slowly. Painfully slowly — sometimes, in fact, it gets stalled, completely stalled. Whereas tech, though, tech moves lightning fast,” Epstein said.

“There is a solution here — in some ways it’s a lighter touch because it doesn’t involve changes in laws and regulations — and that is monitoring. I successfully developed and implemented, deployed a monitoring system in 2016 that was written up in the Washington Post… I’m working now with business partners and with academics on three continents to scale up and broaden what we did in 2016. You have to envision here, probably within the next year, the beginnings of what I call a ‘worldwide ecology of passive monitoring systems.’ That is: systems that can’t be detected, that will show us 24/7 what these big tech companies are showing people or what they’re telling people through these new audio devices.”

“By collecting that data, by monitoring it, by analyzing it rapidly, we will be able to detect, very precisely, when Mark Zuckerberg sends out a targeted ‘go out and vote’ message, for example, that could easily flip an election. We’ll see whether there is bias in search results or search suggestions. We will actually be able to quantify shadowbanning, very precisely, on Twitter and elsewhere. So every single manipulation, every single kind of bias there is, we’ll be able to capture it at the moment. You see, it’s all ephemeral content; it’s transitory. It comes, it goes, it’s gone, it’s not stored anywhere, and then we speculate about what’s going on,” he said.

“Well, with monitoring systems in place, we won’t have to speculate. I believe that these systems will make the big tech companies accountable to the public for the first time. And there’s another advantage here: whereas law and regulation is always behind whatever’s going on, monitoring systems basically are their new technologies. We’re fighting tech with tech, and monitoring systems can keep up with whatever is happening in technology. As technology changes, matures, whatever, the monitoring systems change and mature; they adapt. A cat and mouse game, an electronic cat and mouse game that never stops, maybe goes on for decades.”

Noting how the first companies that provided services such as electrical power, fire departments and roads were initially private but are today thought of as ubiquitous public utilities, Epstein told hosts Walter Smolarek and John Kiriakou that “that’s what happening now with these big tech companies, particularly the search engines, but I would argue we could even put Facebook into that category as well. Once a market is dominated by a monopoly, once the barriers to entry are so large that really no one can get in, and that’s where we are now, and once we become dependent on these services, once they become essential services, which certainly Google’s search engine is, once that happens we have to look at it through a different lens. And that’s happened over and over again in recent history, and I think that’s where we are right now.”

“There is a big difference though,” between older monopolies like Standard Oil and AT&T and internet companies like Google and Facebook, he said. “Those companies were doing things that, for the most part, we could see and we could understand. Whereas what Google and Facebook and Twitter are doing — a lot of what they’re doing we can’t see, we can’t understand. That’s what my discoveries have been about for more than five years. We’re talking about extremely powerful tools for altering people’s thinking.”

“Let’s think about Google for what it really is: a surveillance machine,” he said.

“Let’s think about its real effect, which is the control of thinking and behavior and opinion. Basically it’s the most powerful mind control machine that has ever — ever — been invented in human history.”

“That brings me to the key question: what if the mind control machine doesn’t want you thinking bad things about the mind control machine?”

“This is not AT&T,” he said. “It’s a different beast entirely — and it’s a scary beast.”

Epstein said there wasn’t much recourse in the field of the law. He noted that Google gets sued — a lot — and you can view the catalog of cases brought against the tech giant at Google Crimes, but “when these cases go to court, 99 times out of 100 Google wins, hands down. Because we don’t have laws and regulations that protect us from these companies, and over and over again, the courts rule that these companies are protected, either by [Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996] or by the First Amendment right to free speech.”

Epstein noted that court rulings repeatedly recognized Google’s right to free speech as a private company. He further pointed out that Google, with “one of the highest profit margins of any country in history,” can simply shrug off any fines leveled against it for its conduct — such as the European Union did earlier this year, when it fined Google $5.1 billion, or last year when it leveled a $2.7 billion fine against it for having biased search results.

Epstein told Radio Sputnik about what he called “a landmark article” by him that will be published in the periodical Fast Company in the next few days, which is presently titled, “How Big Tech Could Quietly Hijack Democracy: A Researcher Describes 10 Ways that the Big Tech Companies Can Shift Millions of Votes in the Midterm Elections Without Anyone Knowing.”

“These are not old-fashioned techniques,” he said, like mudslinging ads or untrue billboards and TV ads. “This is all clandestine, this is all invisible to users and all involves ephemeral content, which means it doesn’t leave a paper trail. And it’s all in the hands of just a couple of executives in the northwest corner of the United States. And it’s affecting not just people here, it’s affecting billions of people around the world… Something is wrong with this system.”

See also:

Google Seeks to Dictate Truth Using Dubious New Technology

Google’s Pro-Clinton Search Bias Reflects US Tech Firms’ Ties to ‘Deep State’

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Twitter blocks real Iranians’ accounts, overlooks US ‘regime change’ propaganda: Zarif

Press TV – September 16, 2018

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Twitter has blocked the accounts of “real Iranians” but overlooks the “regime change” propaganda spewing out of Washington.

Zarif made the remarks in a post on his official Twitter page on Sunday addressing Jack Patrick Dorsey, the co-founder and CEO of Twitter.

He said the accounts of real Iranians, including TV presenters and students, have been shuttered for allegedly being part of an “influence operation.”

“How about looking at actual bots in Tirana used to prop up ‘regime change’ propaganda spewed out of DC?” the top Iranian diplomat asked, alluding to the anti-Iran terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), whose members are currently based in Albanian capital city.

Back in August, Google removed 39 YouTube channels linked to the Iranian state broadcaster. Google terminated those accounts, along with six blogs on its Blogger service and 13 Google+ accounts linked with Iran. The move came after Twitter and Facebook also blocked hundreds of accounts on suspicion of possible ties with Iran.

The MKO has a dark history of assassinations and bombings against the Iranian government and nation. It notoriously sided with former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, in his eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s.

The group has been behind most of the terrorist attacks, which have claimed the lives of nearly 17,000 Iranians since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979.

Initially designated as a terrorist organization by Europe and the US, the group has established close links with Western political parties.

In recent years, several media reports have emerged about top political figures in the US and Europe receiving money from the MKO to speak favorably of the terrorist group.

In September 2016, the last remaining members of the terrorist group were relocated from Camp Liberty (Hurriya), a former US military base near the Iraqi capital Baghdad, to Albania.

Iraq had long urged MKO remnants to leave the country, but a complete eviction of the terrorists had been hampered as a result of the US and European countries’ support for the group.

September 16, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

Google’s Mass Surveillance Power Threatens Democracy

Sputnik – 29.08.2018

On Monday, US President Donald Trump criticized tech giant Google for allegedly spreading misinformation about him and accused the company of hiding stories with positive content about his presidency.

“Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD… 96% of results on ‘Trump News’ are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!” Trump said Tuesday on Twitter.

​Dr. Robert Epstein, the senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear that while Trump’s outrage was directed at Google’s reported suppression of right-wing outlets, beneath the surface are huge implications about Google’s power and ability to surveil virtually every part of people’s lives.

“The censorship phenomenon, I’ve been writing about that for quite awhile,” Epstein told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

“I did an investigative piece for US News and World Report called ‘The News Censorship,’ and because of Trump’s tweets on the issue, I would urge people to take a look at that article again. There are legitimate issues here, whether Trump is right or wrong, and whether conservative stories are being suppressed.”

“That, in my opinion, is irrelevant to the larger issues here, which is that Google has the power, so does Facebook and Twitter, to suppress all kinds of material. It acknowledges suppressing all kinds of material, and who on Earth gave it that kind of power to determine what 2.5 billion people around the world see or don’t see? That’s the big issue here,” Epstein added.

On Tuesday, Google said that its search results didn’t favor a particular political ideology.

“Search is not used to set a political agenda, and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology,” a Google spokesperson said.

On Tuesday, Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow told reporters that the US administration is considering the possibility of tightening regulations on Google.

When asked whether the Trump administration was looking into possible regulation for Google, Kudlow said, “We’ll let you know. We’re taking a look at it,” Sputnik reported Tuesday.

“The Trump administration might be going ahead, somewhat aggressively, looking into the regulation of Google,” Epstein told Radio Sputnik.

“Google and Facebook have nothing to sell except us. So, it’s a completely different business model [than Microsoft]. Microsoft sells a few things, but mainly they sell software. Google sells us,” Epstein continued.

“It’s a business model, the surveillance business model, which I believe should be illegal, in part because it is inherently deceptive, but also because it’s a tremendously dangerous because of the information they are collecting about us and the ways they are discovering to use that information, not just to determine what we buy and who we vote for, but ultimately to build models of us that allow companies to predict our behavior and ultimately to exercise more and more control over our thinking and behavior. It’s a dangerous and deceptive business model which should be illegal. Period,” Epstein argued.

“The fact is that major news organizations and major universities very mindlessly and naively share all of their emails, outgoing and ingoing, and very important documents with Google, naively thinking that Google doesn’t share, store or analyze such information. The fact is, we are talking about organizations like the New York Times, The Guardian, the Financial Times. We are talking about the Daily Caller, The Hill. All of these organizations and many more and major universities share all of their email with Google. It’s absolutely absurd,” Epstein added.

“Google is the biggest data miner in the history of humankind. Google in fact collects the data and stores this sensitive data. This gives Google the ability to monitor ongoing investigations. This gives Google the ability to assess companies that they might want to buy, to make interesting stock decisions. This gives Google access to a world of information that they should have no access to whatsoever,” Epstein continued.

On Tuesday, The US president also told reporters at the White House that Google is taking advantage of a lot of people and characterized the charge against the tech giants as very serious. Trump said “thousands and thousands of complaints” were coming in about the tech companies.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

IRIB slams closure of its social media accounts as ‘clear censorship’

Press TV – August 25, 2018

The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has condemned a coordinated move to block its channels on social media platforms, describing it as a “clear example of censorship” aimed at preventing the dissemination of truth and alternative viewpoints online.

In a Saturday statement, the IRIB World Service said “stifling independent media” amounts to a “political scandal” taking place in the age of communications and freedom of press.

On Thursday, Google removed 39 YouTube channels linked to the Iranian state broadcaster. Google terminated those accounts, along with six blogs on its Blogger service and 13 Google+ accounts linked with Iran. The move came after Twitter and Facebook also blocked hundreds of accounts on suspicion of possible ties with Iran.

“We identified and terminated a number of accounts linked to the IRIB organization that had disguised their connection to this effort,” Google Vice President Kent Walker said in a statement.

Elsewhere in its statement, the IRIB said Iran’s Spanish-language television channel, Hispan TV, had done nothing but reveal crimes committed by the Israeli regime and its masters and broadcast criminal acts carried out against humanity in Palestine, Yemen and other parts of the world.

It added that Iran’s well-known Arabic-language Al-Alam news network has been for years exposing the plots hatched by enemies of regional countries, including Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon and Palestine.

The channel has shown crimes by the Israeli regime in the Gaza Strip and those of Saudi Arabia in Yemen, it said.

Al-Alam and Hispan TV’s YouTube channels are among Iranian social media channels targeted.

The statement emphasized that the IRIB once again slammed the closure of independent Iranian media on social networks and noted that they would always remain loyal to the slogan of defending the oppressed people, disclosing crimes by the global hegemony and its allies in the region and across the world and echoing the voice of the voiceless in the world.

The IRIB said it reserves the right to pursue legal measures against those who have placed limitation on its channels.

These pressures indicate that independent media have “considerably influenced the public opinion” despite widespread propaganda by arrogant powers that fear truth revelation and dissemination, it added.

However, the IRIB channels would continue their path with strength, it pointed out.

Read more:

August 25, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

How Do You Tell If The Earth’s Climate System “Is Warming”?

By Francis Menton | Manhattan Contrarian | August 9, 2018

The earth’s climate system “is warming.” True or false? The answer is that there is no definitive answer. And if someone tells you there is, then that person doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.

A more precise answer to the question is that whether the earth’s climate system “is warming” or “is cooling” entirely depends on who gets to pick the start date for the analysis. If you are the one who gets to pick the start date, then you can make it so that the system is either warming or cooling, whichever you would like for your purpose of the moment.

But of course, there are many people out there today with a lot invested in the proposition that the climate system “is warming.” That proposition is a key tenet of global warming alarmism. To “prove” the point that the system “is warming,” advocates use the simple trick of picking a start point to their liking, making for a presentation that appears to support their position. Have you been fooled by this simple trick? The advocates leave it up to you to figure out that if you picked a different start point, you could just as easily make an equally convincing presentation showing that the climate system “is cooling.” A lot of seemingly intelligent people can’t figure that out, and get taken in by the scam.

I raise this point today because it appears that, as part of the campaign to suppress disfavored political speech, Google has begun within the past few days adding a legend at the bottom of YouTube videos that express politically incorrect views in the field of climate science. For example, here is the legend that they have added to a video made for Prager University by eminent MIT atmospheric physicist and climate skeptic Richard Lindzen:

Lindzen YouTube Video.jpg

“Multiple lines of scientific evidence show that the climate system is warming.

The quote comes from the first two sentences of this Wikipedia entry with the title “Global warming.” Well, Wikipedia says it, so I guess it must be true!

According to this post at BuzzFeed on August 7, others who have been subject to having the same legend affixed to their work include Tony Heller of the Deplorable Climate Science Blog, Mark Morano of Climate Depot, and the Heartland Institute. (So far, nothing comparable has happened to the Manhattan Contrarian; but then, I don’t make YouTube videos.)

So let’s investigate the question of whether the earth’s “climate system” is or is not warming. You could, for example, look at the chart presented by Wikipedia in that entry. Here it is:

Wikipedia GAST trend.png

That looks rather dramatic. On the other hand, the whole vertical scale of the chart is only about 1.5 deg C; and they picked 1880 as their start date. (The slope here is also greatly accentuated by some very large and questionable “adjustments” that have made earlier years cooler and more recent years warmer. You can read my eighteen part series “The Greatest Scientific Fraud Of All Time” for much more detail. But those details are not critical for understanding the current issue.)

Does your skeptical mind possibly think, when they use that phrase “century scale,” is that just a bias-free description of the issue at hand, or is it instead a hand-wave to provide a fake justification for picking a preferred start date? Why do we need to go back 138 years when we are considering a question phrased in the present tense — whether the climate “is” warming? Wouldn’t the present tense normally be used to cover a much shorter period, like a year or two or three at most?  So you ask, what has the climate system been doing during that time? For the answer, how about looking for temperature data to the far more accurate UAH satellite-based series which provides monthly data points going back to 1979. Here is the latest chart from that source:

UAH_LT_1979_thru_July_2018_v6-550x317.jpg

This time, you get to pick the start date. To cover the last few years, how about picking early 2016?  After all, these last couple of years should be a much better indicator of whether the climate “is” warming or cooling than the entire last 138 years. Really, what do temperatures more than 100 years ago, or even 30 or 40 years ago, have to do with the question of whether the earth’s climate “is” warming? So we look at the UAH chart, and we find our answer: since early 2016 temperatures have fallen by more than 0.5 deg C. Thus, once we get to pick our preferred start time, it is obvious that the climate system “is cooling.”

Or, you can pick a different start date to your liking. How about 1998? That will give you an entire 20 year run. It’s hard to say that the verb “is” should cover a period of more than 20 years. On the UAH series you can see that temperatures have also fallen about 0.4 deg C since early 1998. Again, even on this substantially longer scale, the earth “is cooling.” (Note, however, that there is a significant difference between the Wikipedia chart and the UAH satellite series as to what has happened since 1998. On the Wikipedia chart the latest reading (2017?) is up about 0.3 deg C from 1998; while on the UAH series, the latest reading (July 2018) is down about 0.4 deg C from the then-records set in 1998. That’s those “adjustments” in the surface temperature record that I was talking about. I would say that there is no credible position that the heavily adjusted surface temperature record that Wikipedia relies on should be used for this purpose over the far more accurate and un-tampered UAH satellite record.)

But how about if we decide that there is something to this “century-scale” thing? Let’s agree that we’re going to go back many, many decades to determine if the earth “is warming.” But if we’re going to do that, where do we stop? If you want, you can go back a hundred million years; or even a billion. And if you follow this subject a little, you probably know that the 1700s and 1800s are a very suspect era to start a series like this, because those centuries are a known cold period sometimes referred to as the “Little Ice Age.” Picking a date in the “Little Ice Age” as the start point to prove warming is what’s called “cheating.” Let’s pick something more fair.  How about going back a nice round millennium?  Was that time warmer or cooler than now?

OK, they didn’t have networks of thermometers set up around the globe in the 11th century, let alone the highly accurate satellites that we have today. But scores of scientists have done hundreds of studies based on many sorts of “proxies” to determine at least whether it was warmer or cooler at that time than today. It turns out that the evidence is rather overwhelming that it was warmer. Actually, this is what is known as the “Medieval Warm Period.” But picking a date in that period as your start date for deciding whether the earth “is warming” is no more fair or unfair than picking a date in the “Little Ice Age.”

Here is a compilation of dozens of studies reaching the conclusion that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than the present:  “More than 700 scientists from 400 institutions in 40 countries have contributed peer-reviewed papers providing evidence that the Medieval Warm Period was real, global, & warmer than the present.”  Examples:

There are literally dozens more, if you follow the links.  The conclusion is inescapable: on a centuries-scale basis, the earth’s climate system “is cooling.”

And by the way, if you want to keep going back farther and farther, you can keep finding time periods that were warmer than the present.  Examples: the Roman Warm Period, from around 250 BC to 450 AD; and the Holocene Climate Optimum, about 5000 to 3000 BC.

So here’s the real answer to the question of whether the earth’s ciimate system “is warming”:

  • If your start date is June 2018, it “is warming.”
  • If your start date is January 2016, it “is cooling.”
  • If your start date is January 1998, it “is cooling.”
  • If your start date is 1880, it “is warming.”
  • If your start date is the year 1000, it “is cooling.”
  • If your start date is the Dark Ages, it “is warming.”
  • If your start date is Roman times, it “is cooling.”

In short, the question is completely meaningless.

It’s hard to believe that the supposed geniuses at Google could be taken in by a scam so obvious and so transparent. But that’s the world we live in.

August 12, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

The Real “Fake News” From Government Media

By Scott Lazarowitz | ActivistPost | July 31, 2018

Facebook has announced its campaign against “fake news.” But, according to some workers’ own admission, conservatives are being censored.

And Google also wants to censor “fake news.” But Google also was shown to treat conservative websites, but not liberal ones, as “fake news.”

The same thing seems to be going on with Twitter. And again, conservatives are complaining.

But who is to decide what is “fake news”? Who will be Facebook and Google’s sources for real news?

In 2013 the U.S. Senate considered a new a shield law to protect journalists. In the lawmakers’ attempts to narrow the definition of a journalist, some Senators including Sen. Dianne Feinstein only wanted to include reporters with “professional qualifications.”

“Professional” publications such as the New York Times, the “Paper of Record,” would apparently be protected.

So one can conclude that the New York Times can be a source of “real” news for Facebook or Google, despite all the Times‘ errorsscrew-ups, and corrections, right?

According to one NYT former reporter, the Times has been a “propaganda megaphone” for war. Also a partner with the CIA to promote Obama’s reelection bid.

Or CNN, “The Most Trusted Name in News” which wins its own “fake news” awards with its errorsscrew-ups and corrections.

During the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign, there were collusions between then-CNN contributor and DNC operative Donna Brazile, who was outed by WikiLeaks in her giving candidate Hillary Clinton questions in advance for a CNN Town Hall.

Other emails that were leaked to WikiLeaks informed us that reporters obediently followed instructions from the Hillary Clinton campaign on how to cover the campaign. These include reporters from the New York Times such as Maggie Haberman who said the campaign would “tee up stories for us,” and Mark Leibovich, who would email Clinton flunky Jennifer Palmieri for editing recommendations.

And Politico reporter Glenn Thrush asked Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta for approval of stories on Clinton. Thrush was then hired by the New York Times. After Thrush was then suspended from NYT over allegations of sexual misconduct, the Times ended the suspension, stating that while Thrush had “acted offensively,” he would be trained to behave himself. Hmm.

But all this from the 2016 campaign reminded me of the “JournoLists,” the group of news journalists who participated in a private forum online from 2007-2010. The forum was to enable news reporters to discuss news reporting and political issues in private and with candor, but also, it was revealed, to discuss ways to suppress negative news on then-2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama.

For instance, according to the Daily Caller, some members of the group discussed their criticism of a 2008 debate in which Obama was questioned on his association with the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The Nation‘s Richard Kim wrote that George Stephanopoulos was “being a disgusting little rat snake.” The Guardian‘s Michael Tomasky wrote that “we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy.”

Spencer Ackerman, then with the Washington Independent and now of the Daily Beastwrote, “If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they’ve put upon us. Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”

The Nation‘s Chris Hayes wrote, “Our country disappears people. It tortures people. It has the blood of as many as one million Iraqi civilians — men, women, children, the infirmed — on its hands. You’ll forgive me if I just can’t quite dredge up the requisite amount of outrage over Barack Obama’s pastor.”

(But has Hayes criticized Obama’s assassination program, or Obama’s bombings or the blood on Obama’s hands? Just askin’)

In an open letter, according to the Daily Caller, several of the JournoList members called the ABC debate a “revolting descent into tabloid journalism,” because of the moderators’ legitimate questions on Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

So, in today’s Bizarro World, objectively questioning a candidate on a controversial issue is now “tabloid journalism,” but making things up like “Trump-Russia collusions” and repeating the propaganda over and over – that’s not “tabloid journalism.”

The JournoLists also included reporters from Time, the Baltimore Sun, the New Republic, Politico, and Huffington Post.

Now, are those the sources of “real news” that Facebook, Google and Twitter want to rely upon to combat “fake news”?

And who exactly were the “JournoLists” promoting? Obama?

Regarding Obama’s own crackdown on actual journalism, Fox News reporter James Rosen was accused by the feds of being a “co-conspirator” with State Department leaker Stephen Jin-Woo Kim in violating the Espionage Act. Rosen’s correspondences with Kim were seized by Obama’s FBI, along with Rosen’s personal email and phone records. The FBI also used records to track Rosen’s visits to the State Department.

Apparently, then-attorney general Eric Holder went “judge-shopping” to find a judge who would approve subpoenaing Rosen’s private records, after two judges rejected the request.

Commenting on James Rosen and the FBI’s abuse of powers, Judge Andrew Napolitano observed that “this is the first time that the federal government has moved to this level of taking ordinary, reasonable, traditional, lawful reporter skills and claiming they constitute criminal behavior.”

And there was the Obama administration’s going after then-CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson, possibly for her reporting on Benghazi and Fast and Furious. Attkisson finally resigned from CBS news out of frustration with the company’s alleged pro-Obama bias and with CBS’s apparently not airing her subsequent reports.

In 2013 CBS News confirmed that Attkisson’s computers had been “accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions.” In 2015 Attkisson sued the Obama administration, claiming to have evidence which proves the computer intrusions were connected to the Obama DOJ.

In Attkisson’s latest lawsuit update, after her computer was returned to her following the DOJ Inspector General’s investigation, her forensics team now believes her computer’s hard drive was replaced by a different one.

Now back to “fake news.”

After Donald Trump locked up the Republican Presidential nomination in May, 2016, there were significant events in the next two months. Fusion GPS and former British spy Christopher Steele colluded to get opposition research on behalf of Hillary Clinton, the FBI applied for a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign associates, and Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner had a possibly set-up meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.

Also within that same period, the DNC claimed that its computers were hacked but the DNC wouldn’t let FBI investigate. The Washington Post published an article claiming, with no evidence presented, that “Russian government hackers” took DNC opposition research on Trump.

It was very shortly after the November, 2016 Presidential election that the Washington Post published an article on a “Russian propaganda effort to spread ‘fake news’ during the election.” To escalate the media’s censorship campaign perhaps?

The campaign against “fake news” coincided with Obama minions at FBI, DOJ and CIA apparently panicking over a possible Trump presidency and their allegedly abusing their powers to attempt to take down Trump.

So the news media seem to be on a crusade to fabricate “Trump-Russia collusions” and repeat it over and over, and to vilify, ignore and squash actual investigative research and reporting on what exactly the FBI and DOJ bureaucrats have been doing. Call such real investigative reporting “fake news,” “conspiracy theory,” and so forth.

In the end, Facebook, Twitter and Google might want to reconsider relying on the mainstream news media led by the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN, and instead include citizen journalists and non-government-sycophant media to provide news and information.

UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh has noted that the Founders generally viewed the freedom of the Press to apply to every citizen to print, publish or express accounts of events. We really need to highlight that kind of old-fashioned, honest journalism.

August 3, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hardcore Hitler on Hitler in Helsinki

CJ Hopkins | Consent Factory | July 10, 2018

Here it comes, the moment we’ve been waiting for, when Trump and Putin meet in Helsinki to officially launch the Destruction of Democracy, and very possibly the Apocalypse itself. That’s right, folks, once again, it appears we’re looking at the end of everything, because according to the corporate media, on July 16, 2018, Trump is probably going to disband NATO so that Putin can invade the Baltic states, then Germany, then the rest of Europe, and then presumably order an all-out thermonuclear strike on the United States, which will pretty much end civilization as we know it. Or perhaps the plan is to do away with NATO, withdraw all American troops from Poland, let Putin rape and pillage Western Europe, and then have North Korea nuke both coasts of the US mainland (and Canada, of course) so that a Putin-Nazified Middle Amerika will have carte blanche to exterminate the Mexicans and make women wear those “Handmaid” costumes, or some other ridiculously paranoid scenario, possibly involving Susan Sarandon as some kind of Putin-Nazi triple agent.

Tragically, the global neoliberal establishment is completely powerless to stop Trump and Putin from carrying out this evil scheme (whatever it turns out to be in the end), because even the US Intelligence Community has to obey the law, after all, and not do anything sneaky, or unethical, not even with the fate of democracy at stake. No, unlike the Russians, who go around blatantly poisoning people with novichok oatmeal more or less whenever they like, the global capitalist ruling classes’ hands are tied by their own integrity. All they can do is watch in horror as these two Hitlerian megalomaniacs destroy their entire global empire and establish a thousand-year Putin-Nazi Reich.

Thank God at least the corporate media are raising their collective voices in protest. In a recent piece in The Washington Post, Max Bergmann of the Center for American Progress warns that “this is a summit about appeasement, and we should be terrified that Trump is going to sell out America and its allies.” According to Bergmann, Trump might “accidentally” share state secrets with Putin, or promise to reduce support for our freedom-loving Ukrainian Nazis, or stop trying to overthrow the Syrian government so that Syria, with the help of Russia and Iran, can launch a sneak attack on Israel and drive “the Jews” into the sea. Worse still, Bergmann speculates, he might make “secret agreements” with Putin without telling the editors of The Washington Post, which … God help us all if that ever happened.

Not to be out-apocalypsed by The Post, Roger Cohen of The New York Times published a full-blown dystopian vision wherein Trump, Putin, Marine Le Pen, the AfD, and a variety of other globalist-hating Hitler-alikes form “the Alliance of Authoritarian and Reactionary States” (the “AARS”), disband the European Union and NATO, impose international martial law, and start ethnically cleansing the West of immigrants. Matteo Salvini and Horst Seehofer, decked out in full Putin-Nazi regalia, personally supervise the genocidal purges, which frightened Europeans come to support after Putin’s irresistible “fake news” bots brainwash them into believing that a little Russian girl named “Tatiana” has been abducted by Moroccan migrants off a beach along the Costa del Sol.

And as if that wasn’t horrifying enough to whip folks up into a mindless frenzy, The New York Times (which, let’s remember, is an extremely distinguished and respected newspaper, and not at all a cheap propaganda rag) produced this charming little animated film depicting Putin and Trump as … well, a couple of tongue-sucking, titty-pinching homos. I found this kind of weird at first, as I had thought such ugly anti-gay sentiment had disappeared from liberal society, but apparently it’s fine in Resistance circles to stigmatize your enemies as butt-humping queers in order to render them more repulsive in the eyes of your sophisticated, liberal audience. I did a little research, and it appears this “Hitler on Hitler” porno The Times produced is just the latest in a rather long line of Trump on Putin “homo” jokes, which are perfectly harmless when told by liberals, but when told by conservatives are homophobic hate crimes.

Look, I’m not a fan of poofter humor, or the corporate media, or the so-called “Resistance,” but neither am I a fan of Trump, nor am I, technically, an employee of Putin. What I am is a student of propaganda, media manipulation, and mass hysteria, and though I experienced the roll-out of the War on Terror, and assorted other propaganda campaigns (like Obama’s “Hope and Change” routine, Reagan’s “Morning in America” schtick, George H.W. Bush’s “New World Order,” and Bill Clinton’s “Third Way” happy horseshit), I have never witnessed anything like this. Most of those other propaganda campaigns at least bore some vague resemblance to reality. What we’re experiencing now is more akin to the kind of behavior that goes on in cults … where people are conditioned to surrender their reason (and, ultimately, to conform their perception) to whatever paranoid official narrative the leader of the cult has invented, and eventually to direct their fear and hatred, not only at the cult’s official enemy, but at anyone who questions the cult’s “reality.”

If you believe cults work because people are gullible, or stupid, you need to do some research. Cults work because their members are gradually conditioned to detach from “society” (i.e., the social body that conditioned them as children) and conform to the social body of the cult. This conditioning happens systematically, often over the course of years. Scientology cult members are not introduced to the “body thetans” story the day they walk in. Nor were the Manson girls ready to butcher a house full of people for Charlie at first … it took months of orgies, acid trips, and other de- and re-programming techniques to get them to buy into his paranoid prophecy of Imminent Racist Hippie Apocalypse.

Which is what I find so disturbing, presently. The ease with which the neoliberal ruling classes have programmed millions of Western consumers to believe a narrative no less ridiculous than Scientology’s “body thetans,” Manson’s “Helter Skelter” … or take your pick of any number of other cult narratives. The speed at which they switched from the War on Terror narrative to the Putin-Nazi narrative attests to the power of the corporate media and the neoliberal propaganda machine, generally. It really is an amazing achievement. In less than two years, they managed to condition a significant portion of the Western masses to forget about “the Islamic terrorists” that they had been conditioned to live in fear of, and to transfer their fear and hatred to Trump, and Putin, and anyone who appears to support them, or doesn’t sufficiently hate and fear them.

The ruling classes have achieved this feat by generating an ongoing series of episodes of mass hysteria. Most of them last a week or two, but their cumulative effect is powerful and enduring. Fake news, bots, travel bans, Confederate statues, neo-Nazi rallies, “novichok” attacks, kids in cages … anything the corporate media can use to channel more hatred toward Trump and Putin. None of these episodes are generated out of whole cloth. Obviously, the Russians are pursuing their interests, there is a white supremacist subculture in the United States, as there always has been, those kids were put in those cages, and so on … none of which began with Trump, or has anything exclusively to do with Putin, or triggered mass protests and widespread outrage until the neoliberal ruling classes and corporate media decided it should.

The upcoming summit is next on the list. It won’t be as juicy as the baby concentration camps, but it will do as far as reminding people that Trump is a secret Russian operative, or traitor (or quisling, as Paul Krugman would have it), conspiring with Putin to destroy democracy … that is, when they’re not fellating each other. Once the summit has come and gone, and democracy has miraculously survived, they will generate another round of Hitler hysteria, and Resistance cultists will spring into action like salivating Pavlov’s dogs, denouncing whatever unspeakable horror they had completely ignored for the previous eight years, jabbering about concentration camps, and ripping MAGA hats off teenagers. Purely for the sake of entertainment, I’m hoping it will be the secret Nazi code the Department of Homeland Security is embedding in its press materials, presumably to alert the Underground Network of Putin-Nazi Militias to stand by for imminent government takeover, the “securing of the future for white people and their children,” and the weeks of homosexual Odinist orgies that are sure to follow.

Seriously, though, the absolute genius of the ruling classes’ Putin-Nazi narrative (which rational people are underestimating) is that it is virtually impossible to criticize it without being labeled a Trump supporter, a Putin apologist, or a crypto-Nazi. Like Scientology’s Suppressive Persons (i.e., those who criticize Scientology), Putin-Nazi narrative deniers “seek to upset, continuously undermine, spread bad news about and denigrate” the cult. These are typically ex-cult members who no longer subscribe to official cult teachings, and are thus an existential ideological threat. Such persons are to be stigmatized and shunned, “so that others will know not to associate with them.” (Those quotes are from the Scientology website, but the same rules apply in every cult.)

Glenn Greenwald is probably the best example of a prominent Putin-Nazi narrative denier (and he is harassed for it on an daily basis), but an hour or two of research on Twitter will reveal the same dynamic at work against much less famous “pillow biting traitors.” Nor is it just fanatical cultists on Twitter. If you happened to google your humble narrator at any point during the last nine months, and were concerned that the people “People Also Search For” in my “Knowledge Panel” are mostly anti-Semites and “alt-right” types … well, I wrote about that in November of last year. (I have since repeatedly written to Google and advised them to occasionally alternate the anti-Semites they are associating me with, as using the exactly the same ones for months is lazy, and makes it rather difficult to blame their “search results” on some innocent algorithm.)

But what do I know? Maybe I’m just paranoid, and Google isn’t out to get me. Or maybe they know me better than myself, and I really am a crypto-Nazi, or some other kind of Suppressive Person, and democracy really is on the brink of disaster. After all, Glenn Greenwald just flew over to Moscow, and was selfied in the company of Edward Snowden, and Putin is poisoning random people in Amesbury for no apparent reason, and Susan Sarandon hacked the election, or dropped a Sarin bomb on Douma, or else Putin did, or maybe it was Xenu, or the Russians are about to take down the entire American fiberoptic network, and I almost forgot those four hundred white supremacist idiots who are planning to gather and bellow Nazi slogans at each other in Lafayette Square on August 12, and who are already receiving international coverage, because we can’t afford to ignore a few hundred racist morons in polo shirts … if we did, well, who knows what that might lead to? People might actually have a moment to pause and think about what’s going on, and why it’s going on, and who it serves, and try to put it all into some kind of perspective, before they react to the next Pavlovian stimulus the media waves in their faces. Ready? Good. Because here it comes …

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant.

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Google, Big Tech and the US War Machine in the Global South

By Michael Kwet | CounterPunch | April 27, 2018

The recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica fiasco deepened public concern about the political power and allegiances of Big Tech corporations. Soon after the story went viral, 3,100 Google employees submitted a petition to Google CEO Sundar Pichai protesting Google’s involvement in a Pentagon program called “Project Maven”.

Last week, the Tech Worker’s Coalition launched a petition protesting tech industry participation in development for war, urging Google to break its contract with the Department of Defense (DoD). Will Pichai respond?

Google has a lot to answer for. In March 2016, then US Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, tapped then Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt to chair the DoD’s new Innovation Advisory Board. The Board would give the Pentagon access to “the brightest technical minds focused on innovation” –  culled from Silicon Valley.

More recently, details about Project Maven emerged. The project uses machine learning and deep learning to develop an AI-based computer vision solution for military drone targeting. This innovative system turns reams of visual data – obtained from surveillance drones – into “actionable intelligence at insight speed.”

Because there are many more hours of surveillance footage than a team of humans can view, most of the footage cannot be evaluated by Pentagon workers. Using AI, Project Maven steps in to make sure no footage goes unwatched. The AI performs analytics of drone footage to categorize, sift and identify the items the DoD is looking for – cars, people, objects and so on – and flag the sought-after items for a human to review.  The project has been successful, and the Pentagon is now looking to make a “Project Maven factory”.

Reports of Google’s participation in Project Maven comes amidst news they are bidding alongside Amazon, IBM and Microsoft for a $10 billion “one big cloud” servicing contract with the Pentagon. Eric Schmidt, who is no longer CEO of Google or Alphabet, but who remains a technical advisor and board member at Google’s parent company Alphabet, claims to recuse himself of all information about Google AI projects for the Pentagon, because he also chairs the DoD’s Innovation Advisory Board.

Schmidt’s central role in this story underscores controversy about Google’s close relationship to the US military. In 2013, Julian Assange penned an essay highlighting Google’s sympathy for the US military empire in his essay, The Banality of ‘Don’t Be Evil’– a criticism of Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s co-authored book, The New Digital Age.

In 2015, Schmidt hosted Henry Kissinger for a fireside chat at Google. He introduced Kissinger as a “foremost expert on the future of the physical world, how the world really works” and stated Kissinger’s “contributions to America and the world are without question.”

For many, Henry Kissinger’s “contributions” are drenched in the blood of the Global South. Declassified documents show that during the Vietnam/Indochina War, Kissinger, then a national security advisor, transmitted Nixon’s orders to General Alexander Haig: use “anything that flies on anything that moves” in Cambodia. According to a study by Taylor Owen and Ben Kiernan (Director of Genocide Studies at Yale University), the United States dropped more tons of bombs on Cambodia than all of the Allies during World War II combined. Cambodia, they conclude, may be the most bombed country in history. By all reason, Kissinger should be tried for genocide.

Carpet bombing Cambodia is just one of many crimes carried out by Dr. Kissinger. During his time in government, he bolstered “moderate” white settler-colonial forces in Southern Africa to subvert the black liberation struggle for independence and self-determination. The US deemed Nelson Mandela, the African National Congress and other, less-recognized black liberation groups as “terrorist” and “communist” threats to US interests. The apartheid regime subjugated the black majority not only inside South Africa, but in brutal wars across the border in countries like Angola and Mozambique.  More than 500,000 Africans died in Angola alone.

US corporations profited from business in the region, and provided white supremacists the arms, vehicles, energy resources, financial support and computer technology used to systematically oppress black people. IBM was a primary culprit, supplying the apartheid state with the bulk of computers used to denationalize the black African population and administer the state, banks, police, intelligence and military forces.

On April 6, 2018, Kissinger welcomed one of today’s new tech leaders, Eric Schmidt, to keynote the annual Kissinger Conference at Yale University. This year’s theme was Understanding Cyberwarfare and Artificial Intelligence. After praising the ROTC and Ash Carter (both in attendance), Schmidt told the audience it is a “tremendous honor to be on the same stage as Dr. Kissinger, and we all admire him for all the reasons we all know.” In his speech, he spoke of how the US must develop AI to defend against today’s familiar adversaries: the “nasty” North Koreans, the Russians, the Chinese. A couple of Yale students were kicked out for protesting.

In decades past, human rights advocates famously challenged the development of technology for racial capitalism. Activists, including students and workers, pressured IBM, General Motors and other corporations to stop aiding and abetting apartheid and war.

Today, a new wave of technology is being tapped by military and police forces. IBM has partnered with the City of Johannesburg for early efforts at “smart” policing, while Africa and the Middle East are targets of the US drone empire. Activists advocating democracy and equality inside Africa and the Middle East are staunchly opposed to these developments.

The bi-partisan effort to police Trump-designated “shithole” countries with advanced weaponry has Big Tech on its side. Google’s involvement with Project Maven constitutes active collaboration in this endeavor.

An activist campaign about Silicon Valley’s collaboration with the US military could be unfolding. However, it’s going to take grassroots pressure across the world to make technology work for humanity.

Michael Kwet is a Visiting Fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.

April 30, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blocked By Facebook and the Vulnerability of New Media

By Craig Murray | April 26, 2018

This site’s visitor numbers are currently around one third normal levels, stuck at around 20,000 unique visitors per day. The cause is not hard to find. Normally over half of our visitors arrive via Facebook. These last few days, virtually nothing has come from Facebook:

What is especially pernicious is that Facebook deliberately imposes this censorship in a secretive way. The primary mechanism when a block is imposed by Facebook is that my posts to Facebook are simply not sent into the timelines of the large majority of people who are friends or who follow. I am left to believe the post has been shared with them, but in fact it has only been shown to a tiny number. Then, if you are one of the few recipients and do see the post and share it, it will show to you on your timeline as shared, but in fact the vast majority of your own friends will also not receive it. Facebook is not doing what it is telling you it is doing – it shows you it is shared – and Facebook is deliberately concealing that fact from you.

Twitter have a similar system known as “shadow banning”. Again it is secretive and the victim is not informed. I do not appear to be shadow banned at the moment, but there has been an extremely sharp drop – by a factor of ten – in the impressions my tweets are generating.

I am among those who argue that the strength of the state and corporate media is being increasingly and happily undermined by our ability to communicate via social media. But social media has developed in such a way that the channels of communication are dominated by corporations – Facebook, Twitter and Google – which can in effect turn off the traffic to a citizen journalism site in a second. The site is not taken down, and the determined person can still navigate directly to it, but the vast bulk of the traffic is cut off. What is more this is done secretly, without your being informed, and in a manner deliberately hard to detect. The ability to simply block the avenues by which people get to see dissenting opinions, is terrifying.

Furthermore neither Facebook nor Twitter contact you when they block traffic to your site to tell you this is happening, let alone tell you why, and let alone give you a chance to counter whatever argument they make. I do not know if I am blocked by Facebook as an alleged Russian bot, or for any other reason. I do know that it appears to have happened shortly after I published the transcript of the Israeli general discussing the procedures for shooting children.

April 26, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 5 Comments

Pentagon Capitalism and Silicon Valley: Google’s Drone War Project Shows Big Data’s Military Roots

By Elliott GABRIEL | Mint Press News | April 6, 2018

Google — the advertising and search engine monolith that once touted its official commitment, “Don’t be evil” — has thrown its full weight behind the U.S. military-industrial complex’s fast-advancing unmanned drone program – and more than three thousand of its employees will have none of it.

In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, over 3,100 employees invoked the now-discarded slogan in an appeal demanding that the company not allow its artificial intelligence technology to be used to improve the targeting capabilities of the United States’ deadly drone fleet. Google’s Project Maven is an AI surveillance engine that uses footage captured by the U.S. Armed Forces’ unmanned aerial vehicles to detect and track objects such as vehicles, while combing through, organizing, and feeding the processed data to the Pentagon.

Watch | Project Maven: The Pentagon’s New Artificial Intelligence

The letter, which is fast making the rounds on Google campuses and internal communication servers, demands the cancellation of the project and the public adoption of a policy pledging that neither Google nor its contractors produce technology for warfare. The letter states:

“This plan will irreparably damage Google’s brand and its ability to compete for talent. Amid growing fears of biased and weaponized AI, Google is already struggling to keep the public’s trust. By entering into this contract, Google will join the ranks of companies like Palantir, Raytheon, and General Dynamics. The argument that other firms, like Microsoft and Amazon, are also participating doesn’t make this any less risky for Google. Google’s unique history, its motto Don’t Be Evil, and its direct reach into the lives of billions of users set it apart.”

However, journalist and author Yasha Levine has explained in his new book Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet that Google has long been a leading Silicon Valley vendor to the U.S. repressive state:

“Over the years, [Google] supplied mapping technology used by the U.S. Army in Iraq, hosted data for the Central Intelligence Agency, indexed the National Security Agency’s vast intelligence databases, built military robots, co-launched a spy satellite with the Pentagon, and leased its cloud computing platform to help police departments predict crime. And Google is not alone. From Amazon to eBay to Facebook … Some parts of these companies are so thoroughly intertwined with America’s security services that it is hard to tell where they end and the U.S. government begins.

The grim calculus of remote-controlled warfare

An Air Force RPA reconnaissance drone is retrofitted for use in attack squadron. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

Thousands of alleged “combatants” have been killed in U.S. drone strikes since the start of the post-9/11 “War on Terror.” Former President Barack Obama ramped up the targeted killing program using drones in 2009, pledging that the use of unmanned aerial platforms was part of a “just war—a war waged proportionally, in last resort, and in self-defense.”

Reports have shown that the use of drones in such locales as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and other theaters of operations have claimed a vast number of civilian lives — over 15,000 in 2017, according to surveys. According to New York Times Magazine, which surveyed 150 Coalition drone strikes carried out in Iraq over an 18-month period, one out of every five strikes kills civilians.

Watch | Suffering in Silence: a documentary about the war on terror in Pakistan

The American Civil Liberties Union has denounced the use of such tactics as contrary to international law:

“A program of targeted killing far from any battlefield, without charge or trial … violates international law, under which lethal force may be used outside armed conflict zones only as a last resort to prevent imminent threats, when non-lethal means are not available.

There is very little information available to the public about the U.S. targeting of people far from any battlefield, so we don’t know when, where and against whom targeted killing can be authorized … The secrecy and lack of standards for sentencing people to death, resulting in a startling lack of oversight and safeguards, is one of our prime concerns with this program.”

In 2007 at the height of George W. Bush’s “troop surge” in Iraq, Google enlisted in the “Global War on Terror” in a discrete partnership with Lockheed Martin. While enhanced versions of Google Earth were already at the disposal of government agencies, the tech firm helped to design a Google Earth product for the Pentagon’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency that displayed a visual representation of U.S. and Iraqi military bases in Iraq as well as the location of Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad, allowing occupation forces to oversee and manage the bloody fratricidal warfare between the groups as well as the possible location of insurgent organizations within their ranks.

It was during this same year that the development and use of Air Force drones in the Iraqi quagmire dramatically increased, nearly doubling between January and October of 2007.

Google defends its public image (and low-profile military ties)

Claiming that it values the input of its employees as an “important part” of its company culture, Google has promised to address the AI-drone issue without making specific comments on the employees’ demands. In a statement Tuesday, the company said:

“Any military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns. We’re actively engaged across the company in a comprehensive discussion of this important topic and also with outside experts, as we continue to develop our policies around the development and use of our machine learning technologies.”

Google has also defended its participation in the Pentagon program with the claim that its usage is specifically for non-offensive purposes and uses open-source object-recognition software based on non-classified data that’s freely available to any users of the Google Cloud, and could in fact save lives while saving labor through the use of AI.

Google’s own top corporate chiefs are quite close to the Pentagon: Google vice president Milo Medin serves on the Department of Defense’s tech advisory body, the Defense Innovation Board, which is also chaired by former Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, who remains an executive board member at Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc.

Google itself has long been interested in developing its own line of drone products, including private delivery drones.

The company is also a leader in AI and machine-learning technology. Its subsidiary DeepMind Technologies, Inc. has recently developed a program based on Google Street View that allows AI-based platforms to take part in long-range navigation and cross complicated urban environments. The navigator AI system is capable of steering everything from autonomous, self-driving cars to robotic vacuums and even unmanned drones.

Watch | Eric Schmidt at the Artificial Intelligence and Global Security Summit

Last November in a keynote address on artificial intelligence in warfare before Washington-based think-tank the Center for a New American Security, Schmidt pinned anxiety about his company’s acquisition of DeepMind on “a general concern in the tech community of somehow the military-industrial complex using their stuff to kill people incorrectly, if you will.”

“It comes from a, it’s essentially related to the history of the Vietnam War and the founding of the tech industry,” Schmidt added.

Indeed, Levine argues:

“In the 1960s, America was a global power overseeing an increasingly volatile world: conflicts and regional insurgencies against U.S.-allied governments from South America to Southeast Asia and the Middle East. These were not traditional wars that involved big armies but guerrilla campaigns and local rebellions, frequently fought in regions where Americans had little previous experience. Who were these people? Why were they rebelling? What could be done to stop them? In military circles, it was believed that these questions were of vital importance to America’s pacification efforts, and some argued that the only effective way to answer them was to develop and leverage computer-aided information technology.”

Surveillance capitalism’s military-industrial roots

In a 2014 essay for Monthly Review magazine titled “Surveillance Capitalism: Monopoly-Finance Capital, the Military-Industrial Complex, and the Digital Age,” authors John Bellamy Foster and Robert W. McChesney coined the phrase surveillance capitalism, tracing its origins to the inception of a post-World War II “new Pentagon capitalism” that came to be known as the military-industrial complex.

Under the model – revolutionized by then-Army Chief of Staff and later President Dwight D. Eisenhower – the U.S. technological, scientific research and industrial capacity were to become “organic parts of our military structure” in conditions of national emergency, effectively giving the civilian economy a dual-use purpose. In a 1946 memorandum, Eisenhower noted:

“The future security of the nation… demands that all those civilian resources which by conversion or redirection constitute our main support in time of emergency be associated closely with the activities of the Army in time of peace.”

The model became a permanent feature of the U.S. economy, giving birth to a sprawling military-civilian economic base Eisenhower famously criticized in his 1961 farewell address to the nation. Civilian industry, science, and academia were used alongside an exorbitant and perpetually-expanding war budget to underwrite the Defense Department’s never-ending state of conflict with Cold War enemies and unruly populations, making the world safe for the unchallenged reign of U.S. monopoly capitalism (imperialism) and “pump-priming” the economy whenever an additional surge of “military Keynesian” government spending was required.

Watch | Richard Wolff On Trump’s Defence Spending

According to the popular history of the internet’s origin, it was conceived in 1969 by scientists at the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), who sought to create a means of “internetworking” Pentagon-sponsored computer mainframes belonging to government agencies, universities and defense contractors across the United States and NATO bloc. Known as Arpanet, the decentralized system allowed for military nodes – down to a battlefield level – to network and share data quickly and wirelessly. In the event of a nuclear strike or major war where swathes of the network were destroyed, the Arpanet would remain operational.

Levine posits that a primary purpose of conceiving the “information superhighway” was the need for a computerized counterinsurgency tool that could predict and check the “perceived global spread of communism” and provide real-time surveillance of potential threat groups:

“The Internet came out of this effort: an attempt to build computer systems that could collect and share intelligence, watch the world in real time, and study and analyze people and political movements with the ultimate goal of predicting and preventing social upheaval. Some even dreamed of creating a sort of early warning radar for human societies: a networked computer system that watched for social and political threats and intercepted them in much the same way that traditional radar did for hostile aircraft. In other words, the Internet was hardwired to be a surveillance tool from the start. No matter what we use the network for today — dating, directions, encrypted chat, email, or just reading the news — it always had a dual-use nature rooted in intelligence gathering and war.”

The Arpanet system formed the backbone of U.S. military communications from 1969 until 1989, when the World Wide Web was introduced to civilian consumers. The unveiling of the World Wide Web opened the floodgates to the use of the internet by users across the globe, as well as its subsequent commercialization and the resulting dot com boom of the mid-to-late 1990s, when Google was founded.

Watch | Yasha Levine on why we lost our fear of computers as tools of social control

The rapid advance of digital technology has ensured that the U.S. economy — and social life itself — is now dominated by big-data giants like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (GAFA), as well as Microsoft, Intel, Cisco Systems, IBM and Hewlett-Packard. This new technology-dominated market environment, where private user info is parsed, monetized, packaged and sold, has been encapsulated by the well-worn cliché: “data is the new gold.”

Vast strides in biometrics, analytics research, AI, and deep-learning technology – perfected not only by Google but by academic researchers and technology firms across the globe – have vastly boosted the state’s ability to surveil and control populations and police dissent across the globe. Many of the technologies developed by global arms, surveillance, and data-analysis firms are supplied to countries requiring tailor-made solutions to unrest such as India, China, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan.

The extent of Silicon Valley’s integration with the U.S. government was laid bare to the public in 2013, when Edward Snowden provided evidence proving that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had direct access to the internal servers of nine major tech firms – AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PalTalk, Skype, YouTube, and Yahoo – each of which provided direct access through major internet service providers to the NSA through its secret projects like Boundless Informant and Prism.

Foster and McChesney explained:

“These monopolistic corporate entities readily cooperate with the repressive arm of the state in the form of its military, intelligence, and police functions. The result is to enhance enormously the secret national security state, relative to the government as a whole.

Edward Snowden’s revelations of the NSA’s Prism program, together with other leaks, have shown a pattern of a tight interweaving of the military with giant computer-Internet corporations, creating what has been called a ‘military-digital complex.’ Indeed, Beatrice Edwards, the executive director of the Government Accountability Project, argues that what has emerged is a ‘government-corporate surveillance complex.”

Information superiority and the modern battlefield

At present, the digitalization of the military-industrial complex gives the United States a commanding edge in terms of military technology and high-tech warfare, which is augmented by optical spy satellites capable of capturing remarkably detailed ground-level imagery, successive generations of wireless networking technologies, pattern-recognition and machine-learning systems, and unmanned warfighting platforms.

As a matter of survival, however, all modern militaries – both regular and irregular, large and small – are being forced to adapt to the digitization of warfare. China, Russia, and even non-state actors like Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah are fast making technological advances to keep pace in the informationized battlefield.

The weaponized nature of digital technology is a pandora’s box that may prove impossible to close. Be that as it may, Google’s employees are livid about their participation in these developments:

“We cannot outsource the moral responsibility of our technologies to third parties … Building this technology to assist the U.S. Government in military surveillance – and potentially lethal outcomes – is not acceptable.”

While the tech conglomerate workers’ attempt to decouple Google from the Pentagon may be in vain, one can only applaud their efforts to protest the tech conglomerate’s complicity in the bloodshed wrought by U.S. imperialism through its array of increasingly high-tech implements of death.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment