The Slippery Step-Function: Or, Reasons to be Cheerful.

Really, not so much.

Really, not so much.

An overseas pixel-pal sent me a link to a Daily Mail (UK) piece on the Davos Forum a few days back. I think he expected me to be tickled by the second half of the headline:

Harvard professors warn ‘privacy is dead’ and predict mosquito-sized robots that steal samples of your DNA

—but predictably, it was the front end of that sentence that got under my skin. And on the off chance that the headline hadn’t hammered the point home with sufficient force, the bullet points beneath beat the horse to death:

  • Researchers told Davos that privacy is already non existent
  • Say technology will allow governments and insurance firms to steal DNA
  • Also claims the same technology could help eradicate disease

It’s a tired old story— or at least it seems old, possibly because we’ve heard it so many times. Hell, you’ve heard it repeatedly even here: about that story in Wired, the self-proclaimed cutting-edge voice of the tech-savvy, offering up a token lament for the Cloud’s lack of security before telling us all that there’s no going back so we might as well just get used to it. (Late-breaking update: and sweet smoking Jesus, they’re at it again.) Robert Sawyer debating at the Gallen Symposium, leading off with Scott McNealy’s infamous claim that “You already have zero privacy: get over it”, and proceeding to claim that this was a good thing, something that would make the world a better place.   Not to mention our old buddy David Brin.  But the Daily Mail’s bullet points— and the story that followed— show pretty much the textbook talking points you’ll find in all such arguments:

  1. You have no privacy;
  2. There’s no way to regain your privacy;
  3. But hey, that’s actually a good thing! Think of all the great travel recommendations Google will be able to serve up, once it can read your mind! Think of all the diseases we can cure and contain, now that everyone is being tracked! Think of all the lost puppies we can find!
Third one from the left, actually.

Third one from the left, actually.

It’s especially easy, these days, to believe the first two points at least. Over in the UK, after the overwhelming rejection of the so-called “Snooper’s Charter”— a law that would have forced ISPs to monitor their customers’ online activity and turn it over to pretty much anyone who dressed up like one of the Village People— politicians are still trying to sneak the same damn provisions into different pieces of legislation, hoping that one of these days no one will notice. Here in Canada, the Harper Administration has just tabled a new Bill to Keep Us Safe From Jihadists by, among other things, expanding the surveillance state, reducing civil rights protections, and making it illegal to “promote terrorism” online (which is especially troubling when you remember that “terrorists” is a term that now includes environmental activists). I was chuffed, earlier this week, to see Techdirt harken back to the fears I posted last October on this very ‘crawl. I only wish it had been under happier circumstances.

Naturally, all this extra power comes 100% Oversight-free!, which should be a surprise to no one. What’s more interesting, perhaps, is that CSIS (Canada’s spy agency) is not getting any extra money to go along with the bigger club. They’ve already admitted that they don’t have anywhere near the budget to deal with their current watchlist; there’d seem little point in giving them even more tewwowists to spy on when they can’t handle those already on their plate. This has led some to suggest that the bill is more about electioneering than security, that its purpose is to make anyone who opposes it look “weak on terror” in an election year. It’s not really meant to work.

Perhaps. But that presupposes that Islamic extremists are actually the target of the legislation, and not just the pretext. You don’t need a greatly expanded budget if you’re going after, for example, Amnesty International activists. Or pipeline protestors.

Plenty of people have called Harper evil. I don’t know of anyone who ever called him stupid.

Meanwhile, down in the US— the country that started it all, with its pervasive and mind-boggling surveillance of friend and foe alike— those in power are finally talking about passing laws to rein in unchecked— well, encryption, actually. Because they don’t like it when they can’t spy on us, and they especially don’t like it when companies like Apple and Google— late to the party as they may be— finally wake up to the fact that there are better ways to attract customers than selling them out to every Sheriff Bubba who knocks at the door without a warrant. They don’t like the fact that end-to-end encryption is catching on, that the system is reconfiguring itself so that admins won’t be physically able to comply with Bubba even if they want to. The FBI wants to ban encryption, at least the gummint-proof kind. The Justice Department fears that giving citizens too much privacy will result in a “zone of lawlessness” in which bogeymen might flourish. “Tor obviously was created with good intentions,” admits Leslie Caldwell, assistant attorney general, “but it’s a huge problem for law enforcement. There are a lot of online supermarkets where you can do anything from purchase heroin to buy guns to hire somebody to kill somebody, there are murder for hire sites.”

It’s the go-to rationale for every peeping tom without a warrant: what if terrorists are planning their next daycare-center bombing on bittorrent? What if the plans for the next Parliament shoot-up are right there in someone’s iPhone and we can’t see them? Don’t you know that TOR is 80% pedophiles?

Won’t someone think of the children?

You have to admit: as hypothetical arguments go, it’s pretty much unassailable. If we can’t unlock all the doors, how do we stop evildoers from plotting behind them? The problem is that this argument applies as much to literal doors as to metaphoric ones. There’s no difference in logical structure between Tewwowists might be plotting via encrypted emails and Tewwowists might be plotting in your kitchen. If you agree that the spectre of potential evildoing is sufficient cause to let the government go through your mail without a warrant, how can you then deny them the right to check out your basement on a whim? Are evil deeds are any less nefarious when plotted offline?

It’s worse than a slippery slope. It’s a slippery step-function; the first concession gives everything away.

Which leads to a simple metric I use to assess the claims put forth by wannabe surveillers: simply relocate the argument from cyber- to meatspace, and see how it holds up. For example, Leslie Caldwell’s forebodings about online “zones of lawlessness” would be rendered thusly:

Caldwell also raised fresh alarms about curtains on windows and locks on bathroom doors, both of which officials say make it easier for criminals to hide their activity. “Bathroom doors obviously were created with good intentions, but are a huge problem for law enforcement. There are a lot of windowless basements and bathrooms where you can do anything from purchase heroin to buy guns to hire somebody to kill somebody”

If you remain comfortable with such arguments even when brought down to earth— well, enjoy the Panopticon. I know a few SF writers whose work you might like.

And yet, oddly, I take heart from these things.

I take heart from the fact that the the Free World is trying to curtail freedom at every turn. I take heart from the endless attempts of the UK, the US, and Canada to pry into our private lives and put webcams in our toilets (because you never know when someone might try to avoid prosecution by flushing a bag of coke down the john, you know). I take heart from PRISM and the Snooper’s Charter and Bill-C-whatever-number-they’re-up-to-this-week— because they put the lie to those stories in Wired and the Daily Mail and the New York Times, they put the lie to all those journos and pundits who would tell us that privacy is dead. It gives me hope.

Because if privacy is really dead, why are so many still trying so hard to kill it?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 at 3:08 pm and is filed under Big Brother, legal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

52 Responses to “The Slippery Step-Function: Or, Reasons to be Cheerful.”

  1. digi_owl

    It may be that casual privacy is dead (if it ever existed in the first place), but that what they are hunting for now is enforced privacy…

  2. Nestor

    I tooled around with TOR briefly, got on some .onion sites and found them fabled assassination advertisements.

    A more obvious scam for the gullible I never ever saw outside of a Nigerian prince email. Obviously there’s cash to be made milking the revenge fantasies of economically solvent but socially crippled computer geeks.

  3. Mr Non-Entity

    I love paranoia. It’s where I am pretty much at home, and I feel more at home with every passing day.

    Look, long before the InterNet or WiFi or any of this modern technofuckery existed, there was Tradecraft and there always will be tradecraft. Any serious spy/terrorist/contraband-dealer is going to know and use it, especially in a time when governments everywhere are focusing on electronic intelligence-gathering means.

    Tradecraft: it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood for a little espionage and skulduggery, so the Mother Mary statue in my window is in the left bottom corner, as observed from the outside. On another day, when fear riles the undergrounds of intrigue and transnational thuggery, I find myself moved to do a bit of housecleaning as I do twice a week every week, but now I decide that my Mother Mary statue looks rather better in the right-bottom corner of the window. And having seen that Mother Mary is on the move, people I don’t know and will never meet drive by and see it and decide that perhaps they will go buy some marigolds for the flower planter at their house rather than some mums, and that very night, some daily commuter passes by and observes, and later expresses their grief over the sad passing of dear Muffy the Housecat, and does it long distance to their dear brother in another state, and fifty cars worth of mom-and-pop assassins load up the long knives and get on the freeway to where Mother Mary is on the right side of the window. One of them will visit a house in that town for a family dinner and that carload and the rest of the carloads will have a class reunion picnic at the zoo, and old-fashioned photos will be passed around while everyone reminisces about dear cousin Bob and Fred and John’s personal predelictions and daily schedules, with considerable levity and many instructive anecdotes. And within the week, Mother Mary is back on the left side of the windowsill.

    Now maybe Sheriff Bubba can tell us all exactly how many encrypted e-mails were involved in all of that, though actually he should really be worried about the alleged safety of household pets. Maybe a newfangled AI could scour the phonelines for people crying. That will keep us safe. Or will it? Because the housecat was a one-time pad.

    Allow me to venture the mad suggestion that this isn’t about law-enforcement or national security. Rather, it is about creating the means for unlimited corporate intelligence gathering. You know, so they know where to aim their DNA-collecting robot mosquitoes.

  4. Ashley R Pollard

    All of this has happened before and all of this will (is) happening again.

  5. whoever

    I am currently in info overload * and unable to add just one thing to this conversation except to say that the excuses are–there is no doubt–based on exaggeration and false-flag via various means.

    For example:

    NYPD commissioner wants to make resisting arrest a felony.

    Canadian paper tried to negate statistical analysis by Snowden and Greenwald of chances of death by terrorism with a mistake about location of a “lone wolf” attack.

    “Freedom House” released its “freedom” report for 2014 and mentioned all kinds of things that China, Russia, and “hackers” do while failing to mention that US and allies have done precisely these same things. This is the kind of report that people seeking asylum elsewhere must rely on in order to make the legal argument that, yes, COINTELPRO is back and no one is safe.

    * This is what we call throwing chum into the water in the hopes of creating such a frenzy that the weak points become obscured, one imagines. The other way of looking at it: How RW zealots in DoD turned climate change concerns into a democracy killing policy.

    BTW, hysterical to see the squitobot pic again in different context. Thought for sure that was phony. Silly me.

  6. whoever

    /\ – Cont.

    Speaking of Davos:

    You see, it’s not genetic or even really cultural. It is a conspiracy to keep us stoopid. Privatization of public schools is next step in Idiocracy conversion.

    Well, that and much of cable TV.

  7. Gord Wait

    Since many politicians now define terrorism as ” anything I don’t like ” perhaps this isn’t such a dumb move on the part of our Canadian bubba. At what point will it become unlawful to politely disagree with our nation’s foreign policy?

  8. Christina Miller

    Is this a call to action?

  9. 03

    I maintain that privacy is un-dead.
    Much like mastering the mythological undead, obtaining and maintaining privacy is going to become a dread and eldritch power, a near-magical science and perhaps even an art.

    There will be companies willing to take care of one’s relative privacy (not unlike my peers 01 recently told you about), for a good price. And hat will even work too, unless the company has “benefactors” that don’t like you a lot (Alas, as a pair of sci-fi writers who are rather obscure in the “West” once wrote, “nothing in this world manages to stay without an owner for too long” 🙂 )

    Which, you know, fits well with what the Harward lady actually said, which was (emphasis mine):
    Privacy as we knew it in the past is no longer feasible… How we conventionally think of privacy is dead

    If typical people used to think that privacy is something to be obtained easily and naturally, like oxygen in the atmosphere or morons on youtube, these simpletons have, indeed, thought wrong.
    Privacy, like security, is a process.
    Privacy, like security, is a continuous struggle. A fight extended.

    The mosquito idea is more trouble than it’s worth (you just wait for that thing to become a vector for some flesh-eating shit, then look at the deulge of lawsuits flood in)

  10. Sylocat

    Pro tip: don’t be suckered in by Tor’s “We’re your only ally in the fight against Big Brother” schtick. Tor was financed and built by the US military-surveillance complex, and they’re vulnerable to hacking, too.

    Yes, I felt betrayed (and a bit silly) too.

  11. Y.

    Because if privacy is really dead, why are so many still trying so hard to kill it?

    Nice rhetorical questions, but all sane people know politicians and their lackeys lie all the time.

    Privacy is not dead, yet. No one can read people’s mind, their paper journals, their offline computers (mostly) and so on.

  12. Y.

    Pro tip: don’t be suckered in by Tor’s “We’re your only ally in the fight against Big Brother” schtick. Tor was financed and built by the US military-surveillance complex, and they’re vulnerable to hacking, too.

    Yes, I felt betrayed (and a bit silly) too.

    Tor was built by or with assistance of the US Navy to facilitate browsing on the net without giving away you’re Navy.

    Betrayed how? It’s open source, no? Unless it has some clever backdoors no one has found, yet, or EFF has an burrowing insectivore problem, it’s likely useful.

  13. Y.

    Mr Non-Entity:
    I love paranoia. It’s where I am pretty much at home, and I feel more at home with every passing day.

    Look, long before the InterNet or WiFi or any of this modern technofuckery existed, there was Tradecraft

    Spy shenanigans are going to be pretty much toast in a panopticon society, which is what we deserve and are going to get. IMO – privacy won't be dead, but it'll be the 1984 kind of privacy, that is, they can't read your mind or your diary, provided you never introduce your diary to your smartphone (which you have, because if you don't have one you're automatically suspected of being either a paranoid schizophrenic or a criminal.

    The assholes are going to win, because they care and they're in for the long haul.
    The average joe might care about obvious state brutality or atrocities, so that's why it's all done nicely and politely and you make sure he is distracted enough by sports and boobs and such. Since voters are mostly average, and the elites have more money for propagandists…

  14. 03

    Sylocat: Pro tip: don’t be suckered in by Tor’s “We’re your only ally in the fight against Big Brother” schtick. Tor was financed and built by the US military-surveillance complex, and they’re vulnerable to hacking, too.
    Yes, I felt betrayed (and a bit silly) too.

    Turbo protip:

    Pando is sponsored by Greylock Partners. Greylock Partners has CIA ties.

    Everything, eventually, ends up having an owner.

  15. Monte Davis

    “100% Oversight-free”..? Clearly CSIS has a lot to learn from the smooth working partnership of its US counterparts and their legislative and judicial overseers. The latter may be as vigilant and public-spirited as they like, as long as

    1) the overseen may classify anything (including oversight reports, including reports on abuse of classification) at will

    2) the decisions (and even the involvement) of judicial reviewers are secret by statute

    3) the overseen have thoroughly hacked the internal communications and deliberations of the overseers

  16. whoever

    @Y: They don’t need to read your mind…they’re 90% responsible for what’s on it. 🙂

  17. whoever

    Don’t know of a media outlet that doesn’t have some potentially disturbing connections. DN partly funded by Ford Foundation that also has CIA ties. And Pando also has Palantir / Peter Thiell throwing money at it.

    Was Palantir canceled Cheney’s Canada trip back in ’12, IIRC, saying it was too dangerous. Lol.

  18. Y.

    03: Turbo protip:

    Pando is sponsored by Greylock Partners. Greylock Partners has CIA ties.

    Everything, eventually, ends up having an owner.

    Anyone who did not think CIA would not try to get in a position of being able to influence news organisation needs to think harder. And of course right now when traditional news are going down the shitter, they need to move fast.

    Disinformation is of great interest to every intelligence agency. A good part of the news during the Cold War was disinfo.

    Though they apparently aren’t as invested into it as Soviets were, who spent something like $1 billion supporting and nurturing the US anti-war movement during Vietnam. The rumors about HIV being a bioweapon – KGB did that and planted it into the press through some Indian commie academic. And lots of others too.

    In addition, they’re thought to have even gone as far as having been responsible for memes like ‘critical theory’.

  19. whoever

    Y.: Though they apparently aren’t as invested into it as Soviets were, who spent something like $1 billion supporting and nurturing the US anti-war movement during Vietnam.

    Never seen that substantiated. That was Nixon’s hope when he hilariously asked FBI, CIA, to spy on war protestors, they kind of refused even though they were both already doing it anyway. The Huston Plan:

    It’s the fastest way to smear opponents, much like “think of the children.” As soon as you intimate someone is commie or a terrorist, thinking shuts down, no arguments are heard.

    As for KGB and HIV, how did they get it on that British submarine where patient zero was? 🙂

    There’s apparently a virus that chimp’s are susceptible to that we aren’t and vice versa with HIV. Heard years ago that flipping one gene might reverse that for either species.

    In any case, I think Ned Beatty said it best. There are no longer nation states, just multinationals:

    Plus: Conspiracy Theories and where they come from:

    We are so Pavlov’s canine…or maybe Grandin’s equine. And just as outmatched.

  20. Y.

    whoever: Never seen that substantiated.

    Who am I gonna consider more trustworthy? A paranoid schizophrenic who believes in mind control by microwaves or the highest-ranked member of the GRU who ever defected? I needn’t mention that other GRU defectors say basically the same thing in regards to Soviet propaganda.

    We know t Soviets and later Russians have been propping up various anti-war types fucking all the time. Often, the anti-war movements themselves would have no idea about the ultimate origin of the contributions.

    Useful fools, they can be oh so sincere and oh-so-useful.

  21. whoever

    I provided a URL that stated no link between the antiwar movement and the USSR was ever found. Not me saying it, just me understanding why things happen better than you do.

    Here’s more on that from the NYT:

    Defectors sometimes say what their handlers tell them to in order to get preferential treatment. This happened as recently as Iraq regarding Saddam’s non-existent WMD programs. That’s a no-brainer of a possibility.

    Do you have a valid reason for Vietnam? The reason it went as long as it did was because members of Congress had personal financial interests. For example, some owned the ships that moved ammunition in country. This is also why we have what we have today, though it is not the only reason.

    Or do you think Eisenhower was a paranoid schizophrenic? It’s okay if you do, I guess. Fred Koch thought he was a commie for suggesting sending Americans to die for profit might not be upholding the law, decency, and oaths of office.

    As for microwave nonlethal weapons, it’s right there from FOIA. I don’t have to “believe” anything… The Navy and Army provided the documentation so it is fact.

  22. 03

    What I wonder, is how were Soviets going to benefit from a movement that was supposed to shut down a useless war that caused USA to waste a fuckton of money for a useless country like Vietnam?

    I mean, as a matter of historical fact “commies” managed to “bag” Vietnam eventually, and you just look where it got them in the end.
    Vietnam turned out to be about as useful as a torn, used condom.
    Actually, probably less (after all biological residue and leftover lube is removed, a used condom, even a damaged one, would still make a fanciful blur/tone filter for amateur photography. The more you know! 🙂 )

  23. Y.

    whoever: As for microwave nonlethal weapons, it’s right there from FOIA. I don’t have to “believe” anything… The Navy and Army provided the documentation so it is fact.

    The only thing microwave non-lethal weapons are good for is making people’s skin feel like it’s on fire and giving someone a headache. We’ve already argued about this and your position is BS, as you and others like you who claim someone is beaming auditory hallucinations into your head.

    Defectors sometimes say what their handlers tell them to in order to get preferential treatment. This happened as recently as Iraq regarding Saddam’s non-existent WMD programs. That’s a no-brainer of a possibility.

    Except that that guy was a known liar and alcoholic and the only reason the lies were accepted was that Bush & co wanted the exact BS he was providing. The actual intelligence officials were warning left and right that he can’t be trusted and nothing he says can be verified.

    In regards to Soviets and peace movements, you have lots of defectors, each telling a similar story. Do I need to mention that all the peace activists were utter fools because disarmament was something the Soviets would never have agreed to? USSR was led by men who survived WWII and saw first hand what lack of military preparedness can do to a country.

    Or do you think Eisenhower was a paranoid schizophrenic?

    Existence of the military-industrial-congressional complex doesn’t mean that every war the US got into during the Cold War was pointless. That all these wars were pointless slaughter in the service of capitalists is precisely what Soviet propagandists wanted people to believe.

    In fact, it’s amazing how what left-wing media spew now (the endless stories about racism in the US, etc) is pretty much what my parents kept hearing from the state media during the Cold War. The only news about the West were bad news, and they always kept hearing how Americans were oppressing the blacks, violating civil rights of peace activists(especially ironic), exploiting the 3rd world and so on.

    Do you have a valid reason for Vietnam?

    Ever heard of this thing called communism? You know, the little ideology that could, that ruined something like a third of the world and killed something like 90 million people?

    Of course, you as a fucking Canadian know nothing of it. Canada never had show-trials followed by judicial murder in Canada, you never had the commie party send hundreds of thousands into penal camps, you never had commies confiscate every business and every farm, no matter how small and then steal everyone’s savings on top. And what I’m describing is repression in Czechoslovakia, which was comparatively mild in comparison to what happened elsewhere.

    Vietnam showed the USSR Americans were willing to spill a lot of blood to prevent communism from spreading. Whether it was truly necessary or not is hard to tell, because we don’t have access to alternate timelines.

    On the other hand, Indonesian killed off their entire communist party and it’s hangers-on in a couple of months. So, yeah, they’re more humane way of getting rid of communists than a protracted land war, but they’re not always possible.

  24. Nestor

    03: Pando is sponsored by Greylock Partners. Greylock Partners has CIA ties.

    The CIA should ask for a refund then

  25. 03

    Re Y., on “Canadian whoever”

    Sources indicate 🙂 that whoever is not in Canada 😉

  26. whoever

    Y.: The only thing microwave non-lethal weapons are good for is making people’s skin feel like it’s on fire and giving someone a headache. We’ve already argued about this and your position is BS, as you and others like you who claim someone is beaming auditory hallucinations into your head.

    Don’t think I’ve ever had auditory hallucinations. Have had involuntary thoughts that started at the age of 45 or so and after the Squidgate nonsense began. Might have twice but was half asleep both times so I’ll chalk it up to lucid dreaming.

    The Frey effect however is real. And both the Navy report and Army document disagree with you fundamentally. The Navy document includes all kinds of effects, including neurasthenia, which is essentially paranoia lite. It also can cause thrombosis. The Army document states they can be modulated to simulate drug effects.

    This is, in my opinion, how they turned successful attorney Myron May and contractor Aaron Alexis into shooters. How many times–after perhaps having been dosed with an alkaloid–can a human put up with involuntary panic, stress coupled with the real stuff that comes from covert harassmemt?

    Met a former employee of NSA subcontractor Technodyne in Minneapolis. Went through much of the same crap after going to the partners regarding double dipping a la The Firm. He didn’t even mention it outside. His life was destroyed for pointing out fraud INTERNALLY. He said they later did the same to one of the partners. Mike had SEC and the Washington Post working his case and then all of that imploded. SEC guys quit, WaPo editors pulled the story at the last minute.

    Keenan Munion, whistleblower for the VA scandal. Not only did they falsofy documents to get him fired, and federal judge rejected his case despite having the evidence, he too has been targeted with some sort of NLW.

    And then there’s ousted Honduran President Manual Zelaya who was interviewed by Amy Goodman and mentioned these very weapons. The following month, Goodman was held by Canadian border guards who were behaving paranoid. The month after that, Squidgate.

    This is not Alex Jones b.s. This is the synergy of post WWII research programs and a thoroughly corrupt defense and intelligence sector, who buys or destroys anyone in their path including legislators and judges. It is backed up by history, documentation, and current events.

    If you want to believe in the hero general, that’s a different question. All I see is people who think that they are demigods and everyone else is cannon fodder.

    And this mafiaesque cabal is what’s standing in the way of anying approaching dealing with real problems like pollution, oceans, peak resources, the rise of the multinational and death of the nation state, and population. Unless you think you can shoot your way out of any problem like The Expendables. 🙂

  27. whoever
  28. whoever

    Had to access the longterm memory…

    Right, even CIA at the time, at least some of them, said Curveball was a known alcoholic and liar. Though I note that that tends to describe many Russian military… 😉

    Anyway, he wasn’t the only one and W’s excuse was adding in “the British government has learned.” Where did that come from? Apparently neocon grandmama Michael Ledeen’s imagination when he–allegedly–made the Niger forgery.

    It should also be noted that several other defectors that international con artist and Iranian double agent Achmed Chalabi sent to the US were likewise asked to talk up Iraq’s WMD. Senior Pentagon officials knew they were lying as well, but wanted that to happen so they would have an excuse to invade and nab the oil out from under the French.

    Speaking of which, Exxon just got a huge gov contract to build their own. Guess we don’t want to use French oil equipment.

    Anyway, Chalabi was to be rewarded by being made Iraqi President, but that all went to hell when CIA raided his office. But someone at the Pentagon called him hours before so he could dump the incriminating data.

    I’m not sure what the point of all that is except it’s not even a post-WWII phenomenon. Once saw a Civil War era letter that said, “This is a rich man’s war, and I don’t want any part of it.”

    Enter Ebola, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Balkinization puppet of the week and suddenly it doesn’t seem like a rich man’s war. It seems like survival.

    So are we to expect a Red Dawn scenario? Sharia law instated in the US?

    No. We are our own worst enemies and are doing more damage to ourselves than 10,000 maniacs could ever hope to achieve. We’ll have our kleptocracy mixed with radical Christian/Zionist theocracy with a healthy dose of fascism to shut up anyone who complains.

  29. Joseph Hertzlinger

    Loom at it another way. Nowadays, millions of people can make eye contact with the gorilla but only a handful get beaten up.

  30. Joseph Hertzlinger


    Judging by the support for capitalism in Vietnam, the US won the Vietnam War. It just took longer than expected.

  31. 03

    And more often than not, it’s not a gorilla anymore, but a bunch of half-crazy baboons (they still can have a vicious bite though)

  32. Mr Non-Entity

    @whoever: So are we to expect a Red Dawn scenario? Sharia law instated in the US?

    Um. I am guessing you have never wandered into some venue where the habitual watchers of WWF hold court? It’s a rather specialized subset of the Sports Bar mentality. I don’t have anything against testosterone or even idiocy when taken separately, however when you mix the two in a certain way, what you get is a bizarre cross between bleating sheep and raging bull gorillas. “Are we not Men? What is the Law?” But why should I pick on this particular subculture?

    There have to be a couple of dozen, if not a hundred or so, discrete subcultures in the States which don’t share all that much with each other, besides all tending to drive on the right-hand side of the highways and griping about taxes every April. All might claim to be on the side of Justice, but their idea about what Justice might be will differ from subculture to subculture, if not necessarily between the members of the subculture. Remember, “sharing the stories”, evolving common vision and narrative, that’s what forms subcultures. I remember watching one split in half right in front of me, with one group remaining politically-active and astute former members of the National Guard, and the other group mostly evolving to be those militia wackos that claim that they can coin their own specie to pay taxes and that anything that comes out of a room without (or with) an Admiralty Flag is unconstitutional, unamerican, and generally Tyranny Rampant. Etc etc.

    I don’t think the government (or corporatia) needs to invade our bank records or hack your car’s many microcomputer memories to take and keep control. All they have to do is to pump up the volume, so to speak, on this or that group. Imagine the US being run by WWF (“World Wrestling Federation”) fans. Hell, imagine the world being run by Cosplay people. I think that latter possibility was on the way to reality back when everyone was taking seriously the whole Metrosexualthing, but fortunately the economy crashed. Or maybe that was so that people would hate the idea of Metrosexuals, who — as wealthy good looking people with exceptionally good taste — might be openly coming into their own power architecture “outside of the plan”. But I digress.

    Now take the WWF subculture. Send a meme in there that gets them riled; then they will tend to vote a certain way as a bloc. Crack down on SF Cons and, worse, crack down on their star attractions, the writers and filmmakers. Send the cops after pretty girls dressed up as Supergirl or Batwoman (or whomever), and put a chill into the heart of the SF fandom since these are the guys who would be the first to notice any trends towards tyranny. Hell, convince the WWF that SF guys are all plotting to steal their credit-cards and now you have a subculture of testosterone victims thrashing any nerds they can find, even more than usual. Tell the cops to invariably blame the nerd even if they have to lie on the stand and swear that the nerds were on PCP, and then make sure that no PCP dealer ever sees the inside of a prison, as long as they only sell to WWF addicts and be sure to keep a rolling stock of steroids while you’re at it. Tell the WWF guys who are so overblown on steroids that even their bulging forehead veins are “ripped” that the reason their testicles are shrinking is because the nerds have invented an anti-scrotum ray because they are just jealous of the manliness of the WWF guys and their iron code of honor. Tell the nerds that the WWF guys have all just come to their senses and want help with their homework but are too shy to ask. Now throw in another couple of dozens of subcultures, or even just the dozen or so that have their own well-defined media voices, and you have a glorious case of divide-and-conquer. Society becomes seriously batshit and comes to resemble the run-up to the 2010 US elections.

    The end result of this is a deeply fragmented society that is split along lines of subculture rather than of class or race or income (though those have an influence of course) and just send in some infiltrators to get them all spying on each other, keep your infiltrators in the message flow, and start identifying anyone who could potentially figure out that the subcultures are being manipulated from the outside, and co-opt or remove them. Promote their antithesis to leadership. The WWF guys get more aggressive and barbarian and the nerds get more paranoid. But it all fails when the outraged Cosplay gals take over the world using Pinterest.

    @03: see above, re having a nasty bite. But keep in mind that it might not be half-crazy baboons, so to speak, but rather a bunch of really annoying juvenile gorillas. That might be good, because the silverbacks are as like to smack the juveniles as they are to attack whatever the juveniles have picked to annoy. It could be bad, because if the silverback jumps in, for better or worse whatever they land on will get squished. One can only hope that the metaphor would be resolved in real life by elements of government deciding to act like grown-ups instead of pretending to ignore everything. That might mean actually paying attention for long enough to figure out where to apply their intentions.

  33. whoever

    Mr Non-Entity:

    Um. I am guessing you have never wandered into some venue where the habitual watchers of WWF hold court?

    There have to be a couple of dozen, if not a hundred or so, discrete subcultures in the States which don’t share all that much with each other, besides all tending to drive on the right-hand side of the highways and griping about taxes every April.

    Practically live with it. Kind of why I asked the question.

    The issue with so-called mind control is not that they can control us all with it; it is that they can one the one hand create scenarios that make these subcultures–and I would include the Seven Mountains folk though more as one-power-behind as social dominator types–feel justified in the skewed perspective of reality, and on the other hand “fix” any attempts to curtail any of that. Juries, judges, legislators, journalists, etc all potentially influenced in every manner possible just like in the JTRIG slide. It is the lack of knowledge and being upset for all the wrong reasons with all the wrong ideas about how to fix it that spells our doom in a all-roads-lead-to-multinational-dystopia kind of way.

    For example, some people actually think Obama is a fiscal liberal when literally everything his administration has done has been evil empire friendly, as evidence most recently with the HSBC stuff, who got a written slap on the wrist which in reality meant not much at all for funding terrorism and laundering drug money. If you or I did that, we go to prison longer than child rapist-murderers. The attorney who oversaw that and protected HSBC from the American people will be awarded with the AG position.

    “But Benghazi Muslim-loving socialist NWO gay marriage lover.”

    There is no grepping that we have a very serious systemic problem: The system is broken. Completely. No oversight, not even close to oversight and there is worse than torture as we know it going on. The government itself is schizo. On the one hand, we got the Open Government Directive. On the other, we got the War on Whistleblowers.

    Which does kind of make Obama look nuts. So did that prayer breakfast speech where he said “we” need to be careful not to engage in Crusades and talked down about slavery while simulatenously being the world’s biggest purveyor of both plus the new Inquisition. He spoke as though he has absolutely nothing to do with still-happening extraordinary renditions, Appendix M torture, outsourced torture to FISes, droning of wedding parties and funerals which will ensure that the next generation will never know what peace looks like, and protecting both the financial shenanigans that are destroying the middle class, creating new indentured servitude and debtor’s prison situations, while jailing and/or destroying anyone who had the slightest chance of altering any of it, eg Aaron Swartz. He’s a walking advertisement for Koch being right on big government. I don’t know what their dispute is, they obviously agree on the fundamentals.

    He’s an evil sob, just not in the way they think. They’re being tricked into removing the only power that could prevent Globochem from running every aspect of their lives. They don’t even see it coming. And an election of what people have started calling the duopoly won’t change it.

    Ten years ago, on a message board, someone else referred to it as NASCAR instead of WWF.

    And that board got hacked. Suggest some serious, thorough backups, Peter, if you’ve been procrastinating. Call it a hunch.

    General correction: Kernan Munion with an r. Autocorrect didn’t recognize it as a name so changed it to Keenan.

  34. Mr Non-Entity

    Meanwhile, back to more “futuristic” SF concerns such as our televisions watching us more than we watch them, Samsung reveals that their voice-control system does in fact transmit data to a third-party. One presumes, perhaps not unreasonably, that the third-party in question has forgotten to “don’t be evil” and has invented a robot dog so that they can kick it.

    All of this causes me to wonder if it’s really that far out in left field to wonder whether or not someday we’ll see a situation not unlike a clever bit in Bruce Sterling’s “Holy Fire” (“IIRC”) in which an enhanced canine-AI hybrid cyborg talk-show host gets part of its memory hijacked and gets a bit aggressive in tracking down anyone it thinks might be responsible. One assumes that this might be less difficult than you think (the tracking, not the dog with the AI-enhanced intellect) given that our new cars are also — in some cases — sharing data including location and schedules with “third-party” which may or may not directly be the inventive robodog-kickers, or merely a party (or parties) which share that data with that inventive “fourth-party” for indexing and marketing purposes. And don’t get me started on wondering whether or not that fourth-party information isn’t being churned up with allegedly-protected HIPAA data and resold. There’s nothing quite so daunting as logging on to a certain nationally regarded newspaper for purposes of trolling for the lulz and having the ads all directed at my rather specific medical complaints.

    And this is just the stuff that has actually happened, and is happening right now.

    Philip K Dick was insufficiently paranoid.

  35. 03

    Okay, what the hell is going on here I don’t even, but I want a hit of whatever Spice Melange you’re using in your “divinations”

    Also, what’s it with corpse-hate? Governments, after all, are hardly different from corporations.

  36. Mr Non-Entity

    @03: “but government have less yuppies.”

    Seriously: back when the Great Recession was still emerging, I did this blog post to the effect of “technosocialist bailout?” which I won’t try to link so as to not overstep the bounds with Our Gracious Host. But I drew a lot of analogies to the SF of Mack Reynolds, who is deeply under-appreciated by modern geeks even if he is reliably credited as the originator of the idea of Secure Banking By Cellphone (1969, IIRC). It has been observed elsewhere that as much as one hand was washing the other in the Bush II Administration, it definitely didn’t get any better in the Obama Administration, and in fact it appears that (1) the Obama Administration was so far out of its depth trying to handle a massive global economic meltdown — coming as they were from a populist “social justice” perspective and base — that it only made sense to leave the handling of the whole mess up to the exact folks who got us into it; (2) the Middle Class became understood by even the Obama Administration as being the single greatest impediment to the USA becoming globally competitive, and that without stripping most of the assets of the middle-class it simply wasn’t possible to get enough money back into circulation without launching an inflationary cycle that would not merely deepen the recession into depression, but would by comparison beggar the Great Depression.

    Things Had To Be Done(tm) and they got done. Some of the stuff “01” mentions did happen and other stuff happened that didn’t get much mention, for example truly huge amounts of investment from such places as offshore accounts believed to be probably the laundry funds of the Colombian contraband cartels came into the US with an effective “no questions asked” policy. If you will recall that the uncertainties in the market for Commoditised Debt Obligations approached a classic case of Schrodinger’s Cat — nobody had any idea what anything was actually worth and it was generally believed that actually finding out what things were worth could be the worst possible thing that could happen — and anything was invited that could possibly put non-“deriviative” non-CDO-backed cash onto balance sheets. As I said, “no questions asked”.

    Along with the no-questions-asked (as long as it’s unobligated accounts, cash even more welcome), we moved even more into Mack Reynolds territory, though not in the way MR would have wanted it. In his future history, the eventual Socialist “Paradise” emerged only after an effectively fascistic takeover of the Means of Production when the government started accepting tax payments from corporations only in the form of dividend-bearing class-A voting stock. Eventually, in MR’s works, this sorts out into the vast majority of people being comfortably unemployable, living large off of the Negative Income Tax and a robotic workforce, but that can only work when there isn’t much of a line between government and corporatia, and in fact most of the technical elements of outright Fascism must be in place for it to work. Just keep in mind, for people to state with admiration and conviction “he actually made the trains run on time”, two things have to happen. Anyone failing to make the trains run on time gets taken out and shot (metaphorically or literally, depending), and anyone saying other than that the trains run on time, will be getting the same treatment. The “benign neo-fascism” phase of evolving into MR’s world is a sort of necessary precondition to MR’s world, but it doesn’t assure that MR’s world evolves from it. Indeed, if humans are human and power corrupts, evolving into MR’s world is kind of unlikely.

    So expect a lot of griping — at least — about government, corporatia, and NFP-NGOs (not-for-profit non-governmental organizations). Though I personally feel that our only way into A Better World For All(tm) is going to depend on the NFP-NGOs more than on any other sector. People tend to think of Fascism as being all about Mussolini but the key concepts are really “organicity of the state”, with concepts of individual rights to self-determination going out the window. Fascism tends towards militarism and hating but history shows that war isn’t actually profitable in the long term. So rather than focus on external enemies or even internal enemies, to establish compliance with the will of the regime’s government cadres, internal divisions will be established if only to quell dissent while pumping up competitition and hopefully directing that in ways that aren’t net negatives.

    Information and control of the flow of information are as essential to all of this, and probably whatever privacy people may be allowed to think they have, will be whatever privacy people believe they are allowed. Indeed, for a lot of people, one of the most compelling motives to strive for personal-best levels of accomplishment would be that wealth confers more privacy.

  37. gregm

    Giving you some G+ juice. Because delicious irony.

  38. whoever

    Okay, what the hell is going on here I don’t even, but I want a hit of whatever Spice Melange you’re using in your “divinations”

    Also, what’s it with corpse-hate? Governments, after all, are hardly different from corporations.

    That’s actually my point about all-roads. The Ayn Rand crowd says if you destroy/limit the fed gov, you also limit Globochem. This is, I think, like passing simian legislation and shouting at King Kong to please stop while wagging a finger.

    It’s kind of like this:

    Republicans/Ted Cruz/Seven Mountains/DoD Rad Cats/CIA Rad LDS/Bush45:

    Make the world Biblelandia. Goodbye Muslims, gays, atheists, hello theocracy. The Ten Commandments aka new Pharaohs.

    Peter Thiel/Palantir/Rand&Ron Paul/Kochtopus/TP:

    As at top. The Old West with a rich man living in a fortress doling out crumbs via private mercenaries when he deems them worthy. Let’s call this the There Will Be Blood outcome.

    Omidyar/Bezos/Soros/Obama/Hillary/Democrats: Anything that is beneficial to the multinational while merely appearing on the surface to be helpful to people but in reality that’s spin. Murder and haves & have-nots. And population reduction. Murder here is less about pleasing a false god so much as sadistic fun. Elysium.

    Choose your dystopia.

    As for whatever it was opened my eyes, if this guy knows he’s not talking:

  39. Y.


    Have you ever tried, when you were struggling with your mind control problems, to lock yourself in a shipping container or other similar space enclosed by metal to see whether the intrusive thoughts go away?

  40. Mr Non-Entity

    @whoever: Anything that is beneficial to the multinational while merely appearing on the surface to be helpful to people but in reality that’s spin. Murder and haves & have-nots. And population reduction.

    The thing I seize on here is the phrase “population reduction”. You know, “there’s a story to be had there” though of course it’s been done before in Fiction, that James Bond with the shuttles full of Pretty People that introduces us to “Jaws”, possibly Gattica, etc etc to the point where it’s an almost tired sub-genre.

    Are you — is anyone else? — like me, getting the notion that there may well be fairly large and potentially powerful organizations actually trying to do this? Because actually a lot of policy memes I see floating around, cannot possibly work without something along that line. In my humble and generally mad opinion.

  41. 03

    Re: whoever, on multinationals

    And how do you discern something that is beneficial to multinationals and “the people” (whoever 🙂 those people might be – cause multinationals are made out of people, much like governments, you know) from something that isn’t beneficial to “people” ?

    By what “metric” do you go?

    Freedom of expression is “beneficial” to people if you’re a social liberal or a truly hard-boiled libertarian, but if you’re religious or a hard-boiled “social justice” person, then freedom of expression is a risk, a “soul eroding” or “oppression perpetuating” practice.

    I mean, it’s trivial for multinationals to profit from nice things such as socialized healthcare and cheap housing for the financially disadvantaged (if you can’t think of a way to profit from building cheap-o housing for the poor, you’re not capitalist enough!).

    Does the very fact that some abstract meta-entity profits from something make it a bad thing?

    Now, on have nots

    What exactly is a have-not?
    Are people in socialized housing that are warm, well-fed and have free wi-fi (not a hypothetical in my current country of residence. Admittedly, we’re better that USA but that’s what we get for not having a Republican party :p ) “have-nots” because their apartments are less fancy and their diet is low on caviar ?

    Because if a “have-not” is “anyone that is less fancy and rich than somebody else”, then you probably won’t have a society without them unless you invent an infinite power source and a benevolent AI (so wake me up when The Culture becomes a reality)

    Also, murder is a time-honored human activity. We’re a vicious, aggressive species (that’s why we won, and other hominids died)
    Still, I don’t see current US of A as particularly sadistic, just somewhat mismanaged and engulfed in vicious circles of “retributive” violent attitudes. It could have been so much worse it’s not even funny. It could still get better (other countries got better, and there’s no reason to believe you guys are biologically inferior)

    Re: whoever, Mr Non-Entity
    On population reduction

    And what exactly is wrong with (non-violent, non-murderous) population reduction?

    Do you plan to get any kind of “bonus points” for breeding a few extra billions, or something?

    We know, as a matter of documented empirical fact, that modern civilization is quite sustainable at population way below four billions (fact: at the start of cold war, world population was below four billions, and we were truckin’ just fine!)

    Do you get some kind of weird proliferationist “kick” out of having a bigger population, or is there going to be a highscore after universe ends 🙂 ?

  42. whoever

    Numero Uno: the nature of the corporation. Under the old paradigm, the officers of a corporation have a fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders first and last. Everything else is secondary.

    Secondly, we can look around and see. Made up of people? You can arrest a person. You can make a person not want to do what you don’t want them to do.

    Neither of these is entirely true anymore in the sense that CEOs look out for themselves first, but the shareholders at least come second. The system was supposed to work on checks and balances. Government and business were supposed to be enemies. Monopolies and other ultimately detrimental to the economy issues were dealt with by the government. Now we have the highest incarceration rate in the world due to privatization. Privatization in turn has lead to the Citizens United ruling, and a 90+% sold out legislature. The intelligence community is 75% or so privatized.

    This means that there must be enemies to support the bloated system. This means they expand into non-terrorist related sectors. And, really, anyone who reads the OPERATION NORTHWOODS memo should immediately question the entire War on Terror. Once you grep the history and the mindset, it’s easy as long as you aren’t drawn in by insipid spy shows and the rhetoric.

    For example, Graham Fuller was a CIA officer stationed in Afghanistan in the 80s. Charlie Wilson’s proxy war against the Soviet Union. CIA funded and trained the mujaheddin who eventually developed into the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

    Note that parallel with this, CIA got its hands on Igor Smirnov’s acoustic psycho-correction, which the Russians said was used on special forces in Afghanistan to prepare them for operations against civilian populations. Yes, I think it works to some extent. It’s still just social pressure I think, but when it’s coming in the unconscious backdoor it becomes easier to accept new thoughts as one’s own as opposed to hitting mute when Fred Thomspson comes on to frighten and rip off old people on TV.

    Even more bizarrely, Fuller was married into the Tsarnaev family for a time. That’s right, the guy who “trained” Al Qaeda in the 80s was grand-step-uncle to the Boston Marathon bombers.

    Now, let’s look at what 9/11 did. Really did.

    Increased heroin production 20x. Gave the US the excuse to invade anywhere, anytime, and to crack down on journalists, war protesters, and dissent. Allowed mass surveillance which can be used for insider trading and market manipulation–the tips perhaps passed on to oversight via some third party trading firm that is connected to CIA and NSA in some manner.

    Speaking of that, CIA officer A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard’s former trading company was one of the ones who attemped a shortsell on airline stock on 9/11. I’ll just nnote that one of my former firms’ main clients was DLA Piper, the largest law firm in the world, where Buzzy wound up. Buzzy also went into a panic in the Summer of ’01 because the fire protection system at Langley wasn’t in working order.

    Also note that–back to Seven Mountains–son of Religious Right movement and mercenary Erik Prince got a no-bid contract to go into Afghanistan through Buzzy and Tenet because he was the only party ready to go immediately after 9/11.

    It doesn’t take much once you accept that 90+% of what we hear are lies from all corners, lies we all agree on, to see the motives. Accepting the means, which require not only the kind of tech I focus on but also PSYOPs. etc. is harder, I know. I went through it for years and still wanted to deny it.

    Of course it was waking up this zombie, wrecking his life, “torturing” him, etc. that made it my issue. Otherwise, I just be grazing with the herd like most everyone else.

    It’s not that it could be worse. It’s that it is going to get worse. We just got another AUMF through I think. This one has no geographic limits and DoJ has coined a new term: HVEs. This means the war on ISIS is coming to American soil whether there actually are members of ISIS here or not. Coupled with the right hand intentionally radicalizing people so the left one can go play hero, it is going to get very, very ugly.

    The other result, of course, the more they utilize persistent adversity on the domestic population and create pockets of violence through those other means, the more violence there will be, the more the multinational and cuckoo religious nutjob leadership will get its way.

    In the US, there are at least two states, Tennessee and now Kansas, where you can be fired simply for being LGBT. Does that sound like the bastion of freedom to you that we claim to be? That should be something that the DoJ jumps on and challenges in court. Instead we have these three warring mafia families who pick and choose the fights that serve their own purposes and the big moves tend to help all three.

    The US just fell to 49th place on journalistic freedom. That, at least, is a good sign that someone is noticing.

    Meanwhile, Matt DeHart is about to transported back to his torturers at FBI despite the fact that the UN is starting to smell a rat where the US image v reality is concerned. The judges all agreed that the case was weak and that something was wrong. Yet Harper’s people are sending him back, no doubt in part because of the “lone wolf” shooter events that plagued the area AND INCLUDED A FAMILY MEMBER OF THE ONTARIO IMMIGRATION BOARD.

    See how ridiculous it is? But because the shiny box people aren’t saying it, we cannot accept it.

    Anyway, there was an interesting show on the new US billionaires. Don’t know how much of it is true exactly, but I don’t think it is communistic to suggest that the Reagan era repeal of high taxes for the wealthy was overdone and that it has in part lead us to this point. We privatized because they had too much influence and continue for the same reason with growing influence because they profited from privatization.

    It’s the widening gap with a massive poor sector and few have-it-alls that spells trouble. And that rhymes with F and that stands for Fascism.

    Well, ok, it doesn’t rhyme.

  43. Mr Non-Entity

    @03: re: “population reduction”: There’s nothing wrong at all with population reduction, so long as it isn’t the result of violent intentions or mere malfeasance (such as shoddy construction practices enabled by bribes to inspectors etc). I have long considered it desirable.

    But let me point to the SF classic “the Marching Morons”, CM Kornbluth. In it, we are treated to the result of some simple math in progressions. Everyone with the intelligence to recognize the need for birth control uses it, and nobody else does. Eventually, 99 percent of everyone is just plain stupid, “as stupid as survival will allow”, and a dwindling population of desperate intelligentsia are reaching the fail point in developing and maintaining systems that can support an ever-growing population of increasingly stupid dolts. SPOILER ALERT in case there’s anyone who can read who hasn’t read it: by the time the “protagonist” wakes up from accidental suspended animation, this has gone to such an extreme that the intelligentsia have run out of options and are at the end of their rope, so to speak… mostly because their intelligence and a culture of service have rendered them incapable of even seeing, much less acting upon the notion, that the solution is to fleece the stupid of their very lives. Our “protagonist” has no problems setting up systems that quickly clear quite enough of excess population, but he’s not that level of smart that is going to dither over moral questions or be driven mad by contemplating actually doing the necessary. In the end, he gets what’s coming to him… after the job is done.

    This story is old, well-known, to the point of “goes without saying” for anyone reading SF at any level beyond novelizations of “Star Wars”. At the time it was written, it was clear that the progression was actually underway and it was also the case at the time that there was a global population about a third of today’s population. The only place the story goes totally wrong in its projections, is in the explosive growth of the population of educated intelligentsia, especially over the last two decades or so in places such as India, China, the Arab world, etc. And where the story gets it right? Population growth still occurs, by leaps and bounds. Particularly worrisome, the most explosive growth is in places that are very hard pressed even to supply water, places such as the Levant, the Arabian peninsula and other such arid places as Arizona and California.

    Now add to this various factors such as glacial shrinkage, especially at the headwaters of the Amazon. Yet the population keeps building and building and does so at the fastest rate generally in places where anyone with a heavy hand on the water supply valves can simply push a button and entire metropolitan areas will die of thirst. Heck, they don’t even have to take active measures, all they have to do is to fail to properly allocate future resources or develop sufficient systems. You don’t have to be a science-fiction writer or even a futurist to see what would happen in places like (for example) Quito if water because precious enough for large scale fighting to erupt; one of the first things fought over would be the water supply and eventually someone will call everyone’s bluff and destroy it. Then you’ve got millions on the move and possibly most will not make it. And the refugee flows aren’t going to help matters. This is all easily forseen if your mind doesn’t shy away from it.

    So, sometime just take a look around and ask yourself if you see any signs of design, political or engineering or economic, which point to setting up the playing field as a sort of trap. We all know that Pandemic will come sooner or later. Yet we promote the idea of people living in urban cores rather than in suburbias, not a bad idea of itself. Yet we’ve seen the blight of Welfare Projects here in the States and probably elsewhere. Now imagine that the poor are concentrated into very high-density mixed use Arcologies and then when Pandemic arrives, you’ve got a lot of “undesirables” already packed into the environment that will best assure rapid and universal propagation in that population. Gated Communities are no assured protection, of course, but disease will probably spread less quickly there than in big buildings “efficiently sealed against the vicissitudes of weather and pollution” and making use of shared airflow systems “for economies of scale”. Etc etc. One person sneezes and the whole building dies. Or look for all-electric homes with no provisions for alternative fuels, located in winterkill zones. Or major new housing projects in areas where people will die of thirst before they can walk out, if the water supply is suddenly “not working”. Look for places that would be pretty darn survivable compared to most other places, should civilization’s systems fail… and then note that most such places are hellishly expensive and are affordable only to the well-educated and well-paid.

    And then listen to the politicians talk, and ask yourself if the upshot of it all is the concentration of the poor and even the manual-labor working classes into places that will quickly fall off of the map if there’s significant “system interruptions”. I don’t think there’s an actual Plan yet to Kill The Poor but if such a plan appears, half of the work has already been done. And in the States, some would suggest that groundwork was done mostly by Democrats and that any such project was set back by decades when the Republicans declared and end to “welfare as we know it” and tore down all of the Welfare Projects. This observation, I think, might be what provoked “whoever”‘s remark, but then again, those visions of nasty futures evolving from the “conservative” side of the aisle (so to speak) are equally grim… but possibly with a far lower, and far less cynically intentional, body-count.

  44. whoever

    Re that last part…

    That plus the cop v African Americans thing–straight out of the Church/Tower hearings on COINTELPRO by the way and that was referring to fifty years ago. Now we have fusion centers, that is federal intelligence community access to all state and local law enforcement agencies.

    And because this is really what happened, they tried to turn me into a terrorist in the effort to create the perception that gay = radical just as they have with Muslim = radical. Not difficult to see which of my three dystopic cults might be responsible for that. This is what we call not wasting a resource, eg, attempting to discredit before destroying a witness, a potential whistleblower rather than just hacking his car’s EPROM or…

    …whatever that was.

    And a clarification: Peter Thiel, who wants funds Pando along with Greylock and others, wants to shutdown CIA. Can’t disagree, it’s a broken, inherently corrupt institution beyond fixing. They tried in the 70s and failed, so nuke it from orbit, only way to be sure.

    But Thiel wants to replace it with private firms, like his Palantir. And the reason for that is the Will of the Billionaire Made Manifest. Do we want someone who was able to make a fortune deciding everything including who lives and who dies? Not sure making money and saving the planet really utilize the same skill sets.

    Abrupt nonsequitor, not sure why I am adding it. Probably even said it before.

    Spent most of the past five years gambling on ‘Janus’ blowing the whistle. Just kept making a bigger and bigger ass of myself in order to draw attention to the really over the top cloak-and-dagger situation and this country’s sick infatuation with it, just knowing that at least I would be vindicated to whatever extent this guy could prove actually happened.

    Of course it turns out, he never really existed. Insert witty bible reference and contemplate meaning of “He’s not coming.”

    Instead, barring an end to the world as we know it, I’ve got forty or fifty years before the public catches up to neuroscience and the ugly truth starts trickling out piece by piece–typically because they’ve moved on to something worse and all the crooks died wealthy, so why the fuck not admit what “those bad people in the past did, geez we’re so much better than them as evidenced by how convincingly I lie when I look in the camera and the pricetag on my suit.”

    In any case, I’m about as sick of scripts as Bruks…and so I shuffle on. 😉

  45. Mr Non-Entity


    Almost 20 years ago, when the internet was just coming public, as part of my first website I created a page called “Love, Espionage, and Weird Federal Dope”. Boy, did I get a lot of interesting email from that. A lot of other folks were creating comparable pages, and I found myself privy to documentary resources ranging from “verifiable” to “bogus” and to discussions on everything from MKULTRA to alleged involvement of (like I said, alleged) secretive elements allegedly associated to an obscured-but-discernable linkage between certain researchers into psychopharmacology and neurochemistry as it related to the ability to alter the mental status of potential or actual enemies of the US. Alleged ETs allegedly figured into the picture, I still can’t quite sort out anything that might have actually been anywhere close to some shade of true, from shared “legend” circulated among people who were clearly pretty delusional, but whose tales and histories suggested that these might have been intentionally-imparted delusional systems. Again, subcultures speciate by the stories they share; as one group’s legend parts ways with the legends of another group, so evolves subculture and eventually culture. But some elements, delusory or not, were shared in a way that suggested they might have originated in the same document of unknown provenance. Many of those were shown to be pretty solidly based in researchable fact. Though it’s about 20 years old, looking through Martin Cannon’s “The Controllers” is certainly worth doing. These aren’t exactly new tricks, playing people with music, drugs and sex. Nor is trying to gain political advantage by using all of the above. Also, many of the claims turned out to be bogus at best, arguably intentional disinformation.

    Yet here are some data points: when the US government (mostly NIH) issued their new regulations on human experimentation and informed consent, in about 1996, something close to 90 percent of “experiencer” reporting just stopped. “Experiencers”, of course, were the people who would wake in the night feeling paralysed yet able to perceive a presence in the room, or even to witness what they reported as aliens taking samples from them, usually dismissed as “night hags” or “sleep paralysis”. After 1996, at least in the US or neighboring allies, the reporting ceased almost entirely with the exception of people who were clearly so “out there” that they might well be making their reports from inside mental institutions… and once the main body of reporting stopped, these people also stopped leading to some conjecture that they had only been copy-cat reporting. Absent external support for their “system”, their “system” of beliefs/delusions/whatever moved on.

    Yet… all of this being said… whatever it was that MKULTRA and comparable efforts may have been using towards sad but arguably legitimate military-intelligence ends, seems to have made it out into a greater community. I’m going to say “gangs” but I don’t mean the average street-gangs or even the large transnationals. Now, instead of ETs, the majority of the sort of folks who once were “alien experiencers” are reporting variations on “gang stalking”. Now, that is known by the international law-enforcement community to actually occur, but officially they place incidence at about 1-percent of all actual stalking. Almost all of the verified cases have been more-or-less “cultic” in nature and most of that does seem to be related to cults trying to recruit people with money. Yet there do seem to be other things happening, at least as judged by trying to sift through huge amounts of reporting that is, to speak kindly, less than obviously the product of rational trained observers.

    My guess is that now and then someone hits on something in the same way that someone trying to synthesize some Fentanyl fucked up the enthalpies by overheating their mix and we got MPTP which induces Parkinsonism within hours. Maybe someone’s trying to make their own “bath salts” or fake THC, and came up with some product that isn’t marketable for recreation but makes a doozy of an annoyance. Whatever the case, now and then I see stuff “making the rounds”, and as near as I can tell, it’s some shady outfit or another basically handing out the psychochemical equivalent of home-made “zip guns” to factions of the insane and then pointing such groups at one another to see what happens. Shortly thereafter, some actual official group appears to take notice, and this shit all stops… for a while. This is my own unsupported opinion and I make no claim to authenticity or even that anyone should take me seriously; it sure does sound like science fiction to me. All I can say is “shit happens” and I can also suggest that to the degree anyone can avoid it, this is not something you want to put up on the internet where people can read it, because at the very best, all you would be doing would be publicly rating the effectiveness of harassment tech. Categorize this under “please don’t feed the trolls”, or “don’t be the boy who cried wolf”.

  46. whoever

    Fascinating stuff there.

    Regarding that last part, I frequently find myself torn about that, eg, helping them gauge effectiveness. I decided to err on the side of helping anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation.

    I’ve dealt with more than a few OS TIs. I’ve even said I was one, though there’s only some overlap. I’ve never been mobbed, for example. I can’t recall the last time I thought I might have been followed. Frankly they don’t need to do much. Credibility shot and brainfucked beyond the ability to make the kind of money I was prior to all this.

    There’s a local woman who was a RN for twenty years. She called in on her cousin who was about to go postal at his previous place of work–a big pharma subsidiary acquisition. That was when he trouble started. She’s into many of the things I consider a side-effect delusion, eg implants and exotic science that I find easier to explain other ways. As I’ve mentioned before, simple isolation and trauma, which typically occurs when someone goes off the deep end dark actors being real or no, can cause hallucinations. I really try to be very, very careful about what I consider what where my experience is concerned and take that kind of thing into account. The weirdest weirdest thing was undoubtedly the pair of clouds I saw in January of ’10. That was about a month after Squidgate began. I assumed I had been drugged until things got quiet enough gonna guess nine months later, I re-read Pete’s endnotes and saw the Sony patent thingy.

    I mean if I’m going to have a full-blown visual hallucination, completely without sound, why not an actual shark instead of a cyan and magenta CGI fascimile.

    So, I’m guessing, yeah that actually was the ultrasound thingamabob. Let’s recall that the bridge incident coincided with the release of the Open Government Directive.

    Now I personally think this was part of the Cass Sunstein cognitive infiltration mullarkey. But there’s also the possibility–speaking of schizo government–that this was a sarcastic compliance with the OGD, I suppose. Who better to waste revealing what you are capable of–and have absolutely nobody believe it at the same time–than an asset/fallguy who doesn’t even know that he is an asset? It’s a logic trail that almost eats itself.

    But it seems more likely to me, largely because of the garbage theft in November ’08, that this was something planned to some extent prior to Obama taking office but that continued after the transition.

    As for “necessary” R&D for national security, let me state again: They were, I believe, using NSA tech to spy on banks, law firms, trading companies, etc. for insider trading, market manipulation, etc. purposes. Articles a few months ago showed that Alexander made some exotic trades in Eastern companies. I don’t really see that as national security so much as the financial security of the powerful and privileged. And I see the great outsourcing much the same way.

    It’s not that there aren’t legitimate threats out there, I’m sure that there are. It’s that we built a machine way to large to deal with it and that’s not really anything new. The Cold War had many of the same issues, including outsourcing. It’s just so much larger now that it really is creating it’s own enemies in order to justify its size. And expanding its mission to include people they don’t agree with. That’s the end of the US as we knew it. Whether it ever actually lived up to that image, probably not completely. But what we have now is a perfect storm of insane religious radicals, bigotry dressed up as freedom, and sociopathic greed to choose from. Frankly I’d probably have chosen the latter if they hadn’t screwed up the only relationship in my life that ever really worked. It’s not that I’d have been happy about it, but once you get a taste of what they can do to make you uncomfortable, you think twice.

    Come to think of it, that’s probably what I was doing for twenty years in corporate America. I just didn’t realize it. And I don’t so much miss that part either.

    And I’m rambling. Thanks for reading, all.

    PS: Understand CBS’ Stalker did a gangstalking episode recently. Anyone see it?

  47. Mr Non-Entity

    @whoever: I saw it. Not too bad, was heading in an interesting direction and had lots of useful information, until it decided to take a plot twist into the direction you would have expected in the first five minutes, had not the diversion occurred.

    That being said: here is an absolutely invaluable book, “Dunn’s Conundrum” by Stan Lee (Harper & Row, ca. 1985). It is a story about a man who does “trash covers”. An anthropologist, he now studies trash for a super hush-hush outfit called “the Library”. And now and then, his work pays off, not necessarily in the way he expected.

    […] An “anomaly” has been found in the garbage
    outside one Washington house. It is a
    three-bedroom house, yet the garbage
    is that of 23 adults and one-half of a child.

    Walter examines it. It is “self-conscious garbage,”
    he finds, “garbage that is trying to make a good impression.”

    This is a book written with great good humor, practically Woody Allen near-surrealism. And this stuff actually happens. I’ve had incidents at my place ranging from the central-american guys digging through my recyclable beer-can bin, but at least as it turned out they were responding to a hoax that claims that with 10,000 beer-can tabs you can get someone a month of free dialysis. I’ve seen people digging through Other People’s Refuse searching for Marlboro cigarette packs because of a very similar hoax. Then again, I’ve also seen some Chinese guy rooting through someone’s paper-recycle bin, pulling out letters and imaging the addresses with his cellphone. Who the hell knows. I’ve seen lots more, and that’s just trash covers. Are they trying to collect aluminum behind a hoax? Are they the civic association getting all lawn-nazi over people not properly sorting the recycling or are they documenting non-standard recycling bins? (“shit happens.”) Or is it like the guys who called someone in a hurry when the civic association was taking pictures of them illegally parking their landscaping equipment? who the heck do you call when the civic association is on a rampage of documenting zoning-code violations? I don’t mean to sound belittling but my point is, entirely crazy shit happens just from the Condo Police getting all batshit because they don’t like you painting your mailbox fuchsia. One day you’re out there with your paintbrush trying to match shades with your award-winning pansies and a week later, they’re burning bags of poop on your doorstep along with a folder full of polaroids of you scratching your crotch and a note that says “child molesters must die and paint your mailbox black if you know what’s good for you.”

    Sure it is completely ridiculous but it’s true; you can’t make this stuff up, not really, not unless you too are sitting around the house taking 12 different prescriptions three and four times a day to deal with all of the stresses of retirement. But you don’t need the CIA for this. You can definitely get this from college kids in the engineering department who eavesdropped on the parents hosting a community-association meeting wherein you were disrespected over shrubbery choices or failure to shovel snow on your walks. The cities may be hotbeds of crime but the suburbs eat people alive and Bog only knows what happens in the small towns. Predators seek weakness if only to toy with the prey for practice when they’re not actually hungry… or when they are teaching their young how to hunt. Don’t over-complicate things unnecessarily… then again, who knows. But if you can find a copy of that book, “laugh and learn”. For all you know, there’s someone searching your trash for evidence supporting their incipient divorce… or an impending divorcee searching your trash for pr0n so they know what to pick up from Victoria’s Secret to wear if they’re about to pounce on you.

    But who am I to give advice? I never could tell the difference between Love, and Espionage.

  48. Peter Watts

    Mr Non-Entity: long before the InterNet or WiFi or any of this modern technofuckery existed, there was Tradecraft and there always will be tradecraft…. Allow me to venture the mad suggestion that this isn’t about law-enforcement or national security. Rather, it is about creating the means for unlimited corporate intelligence gathering.

    Well, yeah. The difference is, the NSA has to go to the time and expense of sending a nondescript van with a Florist’s logo on the side to visit your street if they want to look in your window. If they want to spy on your online persona, all they have to do is click a mouse and enter an IP address.

    Of course, once this wondrous Internet of Things gets going, that’s how they’ll look into your living room, too.

    whoever: NYPD commissioner wants to make resisting arrest a felony.

    I thought it already was?

    03: The mosquito idea is more trouble than it’s worth (you just wait for that thing to become a vector for some flesh-eating shit, then look at the deulge of lawsuits flood in)

    Hey. That wouldn’t make a half-bad short story…

    03: Pando is sponsored by Greylock Partners. Greylock Partners has CIA ties.


    whoever: The month after that, Squidgate.

    This is the only example on your list with which I (obviously) have intimate experience, and I don’t buy your interpretation. I was there; these guys were just your plain garden-variety assholes on a power trip. Such people exist naturally; they don’t have to be manufactured using dark tech. And at least in my case, natural-born-asshole seems a much more parsimonious explanation.

    Not that I don’t think we shouldn’t all be worried as shit about overlord agendas, of course. I’m with you there. But sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  49. whoever

    Too many arrows pointing in Langley’s direction, alas. For example, just as Squidgate broke, there was suddenly three interactions with former folks from the theater festival where three actresses, on a year, 88-90, seemed to go insane or similar. One I was close to, and watched from the other side as her ability to reason and cope evaporated almost overnight. I didn’t believe her, that it was either CIA or “the Devil.” But between those events and some others, I converted for a time from atheism/whateverism to Chritianity. Which was I think part of the idea. Just saw an article on some dude saying, “Oh, I didn’t mean Obama was the anitchrist…I meant he was the Seventh King, the one to come just before.” Our nutty, powerful, Christian radicals are far more dangerous than AQ, ISIS, etc. ever could be to the planet and even their respective countries.

    Couple this with the huge influx of LDS into CIA under Reagan/Bush and it begins to become clearer. W is funding a group to convert Jews to Christianity to bring about the Apocalypse.

    The danger is bringing any of that up, you run the risk of sounding antitheist and antisemitic. Like suggesting maybe billionaires should pay more taxes is not communist, I don’t think suggesting this is insane and dangerous should be considered an affront to all religious folks.

    Anyway, the theater was funded in part by the Ford Foundation which has reportedly served as a CIA front from time to time and is where DCI Richard M. Bissell, famous for the spy plane and the Bay of Pigs plan to replace Limnitzer’s NORTHWOODS, came from and went back to being director.

    And who’s to say college students aren’t knowingly and/or unknowingly being used by CIA, Booz, etc. anyway? If there’s one additional thing I keep trying to tell people, it’s that there is a very large grey area. There even was in the 50s and later. We are used to seeing people undercover or blackmailed and turned informant in movies, TV and in the news. There’s a third option. *

    It was realizing that garbage thief, Janus appearances 1 and 2, guy skulking outside Scahill’s place all had a similar build that put it together. That should have been obvious much, much sooner. But that’s part of the point of the PSYOP rigmarole, to confuse the fuck out of you, put you on one of the standard bullshit disinfo lines, Illuminati, grays, satanists, implants, etc.

    They hired magicians. They stated in their guerrilla warfare booklet that the American people and troops were targets as well as the enemy. They colluded with Nazis because it pleased the wealthy and the military industrial complex. They enforce discipline. They pretend to be other than they are.

    It is really that simple.

    * Seems like I read something along those lines in a SciFi novel released last year.

  50. 03

    Re: whoever

    My point is, that shareholders are people.
    And most CEOs (per autopsy results) are people too

    It’s virtually impossible to construct a corporate profit model that benefits “no people at all”, and more often than not, various numbers of people not directly involved with the corpse in question get to benefit

    Now, I’m not particularly willing to engage in speculation regarding the extent to which Afghanistan invasion was engineered to benefit corporation(s), but as far as I am concerned, the confrontation in which rabidly Abrahamic (C-type 🙂 ) PMCs ended up both killing and getting killed by rabidly Abrahamic (M-type 🙂 ) locals is a net good for “humanity at large” (and even USA specifically, despite tremendous amount of money wasted and “global reputation” lost)
    One could only wish for a confrontation in which such agents would mutually exterminate each other utterly symmetrically, like in a perfectly balanced matter/antimatter reaction. Unlikely, yes, but a man woman can dream, right?

    Re: Mr Non-Entity

    I am not particularly concerned about “stupid breeding” because our grasp of intelligence genetics is offensively… poor 🙂 (we know what, one single damn allele that reliably correlates with IQ test performance?).

    I do think you have a point as to centralization of habitation making the “underclass” particularly susceptible to “classical” failure modes (water supply loss, pandemics, etc.), but frankly, centralization is simply efficient (that’s why you and me have a centralized brain that yes, is susceptible to all same failure modes, on a tinier scale).

    In a way, our ability to humanely and efficiently provide humans with their necessities makes them vulnerable to certain failure modes inherent to centralized systems, and yes, decentralization would ameliorate some of that at the cost of efficiency.

    It is not a “plan to murder”, but a simple consequence of a need to provide services efficiently

    Whether we should buffer against seemingly foreseeable catastrophes (novel highly infectious pathogens, water supply failures in highly centralized habitation structures, etc.) and whether “decentralization” is our best (most efficient in terms of cost/protection provided) option for doing so are, of course, interesting policy issues.

  51. whoever

    @03: That’s pretty much Maher’s and Dawkins’ view now as well, though they seem to think Muslims are more prone to killing than the other Abe’s and the numbers really don’t reflect that. Having lived in NYC all those years I knew some Muslims and never really found any who wanted to blow things up, or beat their wives so far as I know, etc. The ignorance in this country makes them ripe for dressing up as boogeymen.

    I just don’t trust our RWRR’s and the other power centers to not involve atheists, gays, etc. For example:

    Antitheist shoots Muslims. That would be a “rank-and-file atheist” to Joe Avg Citizen.

    How do we know, KNOW… that this wasn’t the same damn thing? Remote thrombosis, hypertension, and application of persistent adversity {fancy way of saying incalculable bad luck bordering on divine intervention as explanation} apparently all possible.

    Which does what? Makes the thugs in our bloated Stasi system think atheists are the bad guys as well. The slow expansion of the fuzzy word–used more than you would think by high-ranking officials and legislators alike: “bad guys.” That term alone is a dodge because it doesn’t say lawbreakers. It says “whatever we think is bad.”

    See where I’m going with this, folks? Is thing on? Is this thing on?

  52. whoever